Nicklaus Thomas-Symonds, FRHistS (born 1980) is a British Labour Party politician, barrister, and academic. He has been the Member of Parliament (MP) for Torfaen since May 2015. Before entering Parliament, he was a chancery and commercial barrister at Civitas Law. Author of "Attlee: A Life in Politics". Author of "Nye: The Political Life of Aneurin Bevan."
Early life and education
Thomas-Symonds was born in Panteg Hospital, Griffithstown, Torfaen, and was brought up in Blaenavon. He attended St. Felix R.C. Primary School, Blaenavon, and St. Alban's R.C. High School, Pontypool. He then studied Philosophy, Politics and Economics at St Edmund Hall, Oxford between 1998 and 2001.
In October 2004, Thomas-Symonds was called to the bar by Lincoln's Inn. He was a barrister specialising in chancery and commercial law, and received numerous accolades for his work. In December 2009, he was awarded a "Red Bag" by Leading Counsel for his work. By 2011, he was already noted as 'a great asset' as a junior in the Court of Appeal by the Legal 500. He regularly featured in Chambers and Partners as a “Leader in the Field” and was identified as a "rising star on the Wales and Chester [legal] circuit". In Chambers and Partners 2016 he was described as “absolutely brilliant”.
Thomas-Symonds was appointed a college tutor at St. Edmund Hall, Oxford, at the age of 21 and became Lecturer in Politics at St Edmund Hall, Oxford, teaching British Politics and Government since 1900; Modern British Government and Politics; Government and Politics of Europe; and Government and Politics of the United States. He taught for other Oxford colleges, including Harris Manchester College. He also taught US Politics on the Oxford Department of Continuing Education’s 'Foundations of Diplomacy' course. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society in 2012.
Thomas-Symonds was selected as prospective Labour parliamentary candidate for Torfaen on 7 March 2015 and subsequently won the seat in the General Election on 7 May 2015. He made his maiden speech on 28 May 2015, without notes. Chris Bryant MP said he had delivered the speech “with panache”.
After a brief stint on the Justice Select Committee, he was appointed Shadow Pensions Minister on 17 September 2015 before being promoted to Shadow Employment Minister on 11 January 2016. He resigned the role of Shadow Employment Minister on 27 June 2016.
Nick Thomas-Symonds was drawn in the ballot for a Private Members’ Bill on 4 June 2015 and introduced the Off-Patent Drugs Bill. This ran out of time at Second Reading on 6 November 2015, but substantial parts of the Bill were later incorporated into the Access to Medical Treatments (Innovation) Bill on 29 January 2016.
On 8 December 2015, Nick Thomas-Symonds was chosen as “Member to Watch” at the Welsh Politician of the Year Awards.
- Thomas-Symonds, Nicklaus (2010). Attlee: a life in politics. London: I.B. Tauris. ISBN 978-1845117795.
- Thomas-Symonds, Nicklaus (2014). Nye: The Political Life of Anerin Bevan. London: I.B. Tauris. ISBN 978-1780762098.
- ‘The Battle of Grosmont, 1405: A Reinterpretation,’ Gwent Local History, Volume 97, Autumn 2004. (Researched by Gareth McCann).
- ‘Michael Foot’s Handling of the Militant Tendency: A Reinterpretation,’ Contemporary British History, Volume 19, No 1, Spring 2005.
- ‘Oratory, Rhetoric and Politics: Neil Kinnock’s Thousand Generations Speech of 1987,’ Llafur: Journal of the Welsh People's History Society, Vol. 9, No. 3, 2006.
- ‘The Hard Sell: When does a new car actually belong to the purchaser?' Solicitors’ Journal, Volume 154, Number 35, 21 September 2010.
- ‘The Problem of the ‘Lame Duck' Government: A Critique of the Fixed-term Parliaments Act’, Parliamentary Affairs, 66(3), July 2013 pp. 540–556, ISSN 0031-2290 (print) ISSN 1460-2482 (online) (written with Dr Raymond Youngs).