Jim Cunningham
Member of Parliament
for Coventry South
Coventry South East (1992-1997)
Assumed office
9 April 1992
Preceded by Dave Nellist
Majority 7,947 (16.9%)
Personal details
Born (1941-02-04) 4 February 1941 (age 83)
Website www.jimcunningham.org.uk

James Dolan Cunningham (born 4 February 1941). He is the Member of Parliament (MP) for Coventry South, since 1992 (Coventry South East until '97).

Local government

Cunningham began his political career as a Coventry Councillor in 1972 and became the Chair of the Council's Consumer Services Committee from 1975 until 1977. He was also the Vice-Chair of the Finance Committee for three terms, 1975 until 1977, 1979 until 1982 and from 1985 until 1988. He also served as the Vice-Chair of the Leisure Committee from 1975 until 1977, serving as the Chair from 1979 until 1982. He next served as the Vice-Chair of the Transport and Highways Committee from 1983 until 1985 when he became the Chief Whip of the Labour Group on the Council from 1985 until 1987 when he became the Deputy Leader of Coventry City Council.


Cunningham was selected to contest the Coventry South East constituency at the 1992 general election. Cunningham emerged as the victor with a majority of 1,311 votes over the Conservative candidate Martine Hyams.

Cunningham made his maiden speech on 12 May 1992 in which he spoke of the social and economic problems of Coventry and criticised the then level of central government resources allocated to the city.

Following reports from the previous year that the Queen was to agree to pay income tax, which Buckingham Palace and the Prime Minister denied, he called for the Queen and other members of the Royal Family to begin paying income tax in his letter to the Chancellor of the Exchequer in 1992.

He became a member of the Home Affairs Select Committee from 1993 until 1997. He then served on the Trade and Industry Select Committee from 1997 as well as serving upon the House of Commons Panel of Chairs from 1998 leaving both upon the 2001 general election. Cunningham then served on the Constitutional Affairs Select Committee] from 2003 until 2005.

In 2004, he led a parliamentary campaign to prevent Jaguar Cars closing its Browns Lane assembly plant. This campaign included organising a meeting between several workers of the plant and the Prime Minister and the Chancellor of the Exchequer as well as Cunningham joining factory workers when they lobbied the Ford managers at the Paris Motor Show.

Cunningham briefly served on the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister Select Committee in 2005 until the general election.

After the election, he served on the House of Commons Procedures Select Committee until 2006 and served as the Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Solicitor General Mike O'Brien until 2007. Cunningham remained O'Brien's Parliamentary Private Secretary as O'Brien became a Minister of State at the Department for Work and Pensions from 2007 until 2008, then a Minister of State at the Department of Energy and Climate Change from 2008 until 2009 and as a Minister of State at the Department of Health from 2009 until 2010. Cunningham served on the Standards and Privileges Select Committee in 2010.

He served as the Treasurer of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Funerals and Bereavement from 2005 until 2010 and is currently the Vice-Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Chinese Development.

In 2011, Cunningham arranged a meeting with the Minister for Defence Equipment, Support and Technology Peter Luff, as a response to the Rolls-Royce announcement that it would lay off one quarter of its staff at its Ansty plant by 2012 due to the UK defence cuts and the plant's reliance upon repairing and servicing RAF jet engines. As well as these planned redundancies, Rolls-Royce also planned temporary redundancies during periods of low activity and having staff work longer without being paid extra. Cunningham questioned what the government's plans were to secure more work for the plant and met with union officials and management in order to find a solution to safeguard the plant and its work force.