Colin Pickthall

Colin Pickthall (born 13 September 1944) in Dalton-in-Furness (then Lancashire, now Cumbria) is a politician in the United Kingdom. He was Labour Member of Parliament (MP) for West Lancashire. He was first elected to the House of Commons in 1992, and retired at the 2005 general election.

Pickthall's father was a shipyard fitter. He attended Ulverston Grammar School, and the University of Wales, obtaining a B.A. Hons. English Literature and History. He then went on to the University of Lancaster, where he obtained an M.A. with the thesis "The Influence of Socialism on 20th. Century British Poetry." He became a member of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament and the Labour Party in 1963.

He married a Canadian, Judith Ann in 1973; they have two daughters, Alisoun and Jenny. He initially worked as an English lecturer in the Ruffwood Comprehensive School and Edge Hill College of H.E. (where he became the Head of European Studies)

At the 1987 general election, Pickthall ran for Parliament in West Lancashire, but lost to a Conservative by 1353 votes. Later, in 1989, he won the Ormskirk seat on Lancashire County Council by a very small margin. However, this was sufficient for the Labour Party to take control of the County Council by one seat.

At the 1992 general election, he took the West Lancashire parliamentary seat and in the following elections, in 1997 and 2001, he retained the seat with a substantial majority. In 1992 he became a member of the Select Committee on Agriculture, a post that he maintained until 1997. In 1997 he was appointed parliamentary private secretary (PPS) to Alun Michael MP, later serving Jack Straw MP. He resigned as PPS in 2000 in response to a police investigation into his election expenses. He was later reinstated when the police investigation concluded there had been no wrongdoing. In 2001 he was transferred to the Foreign Office, where he continued as Jack Straw's PPS.

Pickthall is considered a leftist, frequently campaigning about animal welfare and environmental issues. He is opposed to hare coursing (the Waterloo Cup took place at Great Altcar in his constituency) and hunting. His support for the hunting ban led to pro-hunt supporters leaving a dead fox on his doorstep in 2005. He retired from the House of Commons at the 2005 general election. In October 2009 he resigned his position as a Labour Party Branch secretary.

Colin Pickthall is a Distinguished Supporter of the British Humanist Association.

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Ken Hind
Member of Parliament for West Lancashire
Succeeded by
Rosie Cooper