Clive Betts

Clive Betts
Chairman of the Communities and Local Government Select Committee
Assumed office
10 June 2010
Preceded by Phyllis Starkey
Member of Parliament
for Sheffield South East
Sheffield Attercliffe (1992–2010)
Assumed office
9 April 1992
Preceded by Patrick Duffy
Majority 11,798 (27.0%)
Leader of Sheffield City Council
In office
Preceded by David Blunkett
Succeeded by Mike Bower
Personal details
Born (1950-01-13) 13 January 1950
Sheffield, West Riding of Yorkshire, England
Nationality British
Political party Labour
Domestic partner James Thomas
Alma mater Pembroke College, Cambridge

Clive James Charles Betts MP (born 13 January 1950) is a British Labour Party politician, who was the Member of Parliament for Sheffield Attercliffe from 1992 to 2010, when he became Member of Parliament for Sheffield South East.[1]

Early life

Born in 1950 in Sheffield, Betts was educated at the Longley School in Sheffield, King Edward VII School, Sheffield and Pembroke College, Cambridge, where he received a BA in Economics and Politics.

He joined the Labour Party in 1969 and joined the Trades Union Congress in 1971 as an economist. In 1973 he was appointed as an economist with Derbyshire County Council, and moved to the South Yorkshire County Council in 1974.

In October 1974 he stood for election to the House of Commons in the safe Conservative seat of Sheffield Hallam, being defeated by the incumbent John Osborn. At the subsequent general election he fought the safe Conservative seat of Louth against the sitting MP Michael Brotherton and lost.

Betts had been elected as a councillor to Sheffield City Council in 1976. He was the Council's deputy leader under Roy Thwaites for a year in 1986, and succeeded Thwaites as the council leader later that year. He left the council on his election to Westminster. In 1986 he was appointed as an economist with Rotherham Borough Council.

Parliamentary career

He was selected to contest the safe Labour seat of Sheffield Attercliffe following the retirement of the veteran Labour MP Patrick Duffy. At the 1992 general election, Betts was elected with a large majority, and made his maiden speech on 6 May 1992.

Government career

Betts was made an opposition whip under Tony Blair in 1996, and after the 1997 general election, he entered the government as an Assistant Whip. He was promoted in 1998 to full Whip, with the title of Lord Commissioner to the Treasury, but like the majority of whips at that time was dropped from the government after the 2001 general election.

Select Committee membership

Betts is a previous member of the former Office of the Deputy Prime Minister Select Committee. Since the 2005 general election he has also been a member of the Finance and Services Committee.

Since 10 June 2010 he has been Chairman of the Communities and Local Government Committee, and on 19 June 2015 was returned unopposed as its chairman.[2]


In 2003 Betts was suspended from the House of Commons for 7 days for irregularities involving the employment and visa of Jose Gasparo, a Brazilian student with previous experience as a male escort.[3] The Telegraph newspaper reported on 10 July 2010 that Betts' partner and parliamentary assistant, James Thomas, had tried to edit this fact from Betts' English Wikipedia page in an attempt to cover it up.[4]

Betts was found guilty of breaching the MPs' code of conduct, with the Standards and Privileges Committee stating that he had acted "extremely foolishly" and had risked damaging public confidence in the integrity of Parliament. Particular concerns involved Betts' failure to disclose Gasparo's background to Parliamentary authorities and the fact that Betts had knowingly photocopied an altered document on Gasparo's behalf.[5] Betts apologised unreservedly for his behaviour, which had been described as "well below the standard expected of a Member in terms of ... never undertaking any action which would bring the House of Commons or its members generally into disrepute"[6][7]

EU Referendum

Betts backed remain in the United Kingdom European Union membership referendum, 2016.[8]

Personal life

Betts lives in a farmhouse on the Derbyshire border with his partner James Thomas, who is also employed as his parliamentary assistant.[9] He plays cricket and supports Sheffield Wednesday F.C.


Political offices
Preceded by
David Blunkett
Leader of Sheffield City Council
Succeeded by
Mike Bower
Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Patrick Duffy
Member of Parliament for Sheffield Attercliffe
Constituency abolished
New constituency Member of Parliament for Sheffield South East
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