Representing Southport

Delivering locally

delivering locallyJohn has a long record of achievement serving the people of Southport as a councillor, council leader and Member of Parliament.

John has been directly involved in landmark projects to boost tourism including the building of the sea wall to prevent regular flooding of the seafront and the subsequent development in that area of retail and leisure facilities, along with the restoration of Southport’s Pier and the construction of the Marine Parade Bridge.

He was instrumental in persuading the government to set up the Sea Change Fund to help traditional coastal resorts like Southport and which was the catalyst for the subsequent refurbishment of the Atkinson Centre and the opening of new hotels and conference facilities.

John has also worked with the local rail operator Northern Rail and the Department for Transport to improve Southport’s train service with Manchester, securing assurances that older rolling stock will be phased out earlier than originally planned. He is also working with councillors across the political divide and the Merseyside and Manchester transport authorities to improve rail connections between Southport and Lancashire, particularly Preston and Ormskirk.


John at WestminsterIn his first term at Westminster John served on the Transport, Local Government and Regions Select Committee and was Liberal Democrat education spokesperson with responsibility for schools.

Following his re-election to Parliament in 2005, he served as shadow spokesperson for Transport and Health, and, subsequent to the election of Nick Clegg as party leader worked with Vince Cable as Shadow Treasury spokesperson.

With the formation of the Coalition in 2010 he was appointed as Co-Chair of the Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Committee for Health and Social Care, a position he relinquished at the end of 2013 to focus on producing a report examining the social and economic issues facing the North.

John outside Parliament

John was elected as the member for Southport succeeding Ronnie (now Lord) Fearn in 2001. Born in Liverpool, he graduated in Philosophy from Durham University before entering the teaching profession. He taught in the state and independent sectors and was Head of Philosophy and Religious Studies at Merchant Taylors’ School, Crosby prior to his election. He holds a doctorate in Logic.

John moved to Southport in 1974 and joined the Liberal Party in 1977. From 1987 until 2001 he represented Birkdale as a Sefton councillor. He was elected leader of the Sefton Liberal Democrat group in 1992 and was serving as leader of Sefton Metropolitan Council at the time of his election to parliament. He is married with four grown-up children.