Stephen Williams grew up in the South Wales village of Abercynon in the Cynon Valley. He has lived in Bristol ever since he came to study history at the University of Bristol, where he was also the President of the SDP/Liberal society.
He has served on Avon County and Bristol City Councils, elected as Councillor for Cabot ward in 1993 aged 26. He was leader of the Bristol Liberal Democrat group from 1995 to 1997.
He won Bristol West in 2005, taking the seat from Labour with 38.3% of the vote, in what was described as one of the biggest swings to the Liberal Democrats of the 2005 General Election. This made him the first Liberal MP ever for that constituency and the first to be elected in the city of Bristol since 1935. He was one of the few MPs to be free from any allegations during the 2009 expenses scandal.
Record Of Delivery
Some of Stephen's proudest achievements include:
- The Station youth project, which received £5million from the Department for Education to help transform an Old Fire Station site on Bridewell Island in the centre of Bristol in to a world class youth hub.
- He ensured tax breaks were to be given to TV animation productions, which ensured Bristol-based Wallace and Gromit creators, Aardman Animations, could stay in Bristol.
- He has also been a vital voice in securing major funding for Airbus, school places and the Green Capital Bid for the city.
After his election on 5 May 2005, Stephen was appointed as the Liberal Democrat public health spokesperson. He won an award from Cancer Research UK for his advocacy of a full smoking ban in public places and has recently been awarded a WHO award for his outstanding contributions to tobacco control. He was nominated for the award by two organisations, Action on Smoking and Health and Smokefree South West.
On 29 November 2005, Stephen attempted to introduce a Ten Minute Rule bill to the House of Commons to reduce the voting age to 16. The motion was supported by a majority of Labour members and Liberal Democrats, but opposed by the Conservatives. It was narrowly defeated by just 8 votes: 136-128. On the 24th January 2013 Stephen again brought forward a backbench motion and led the debate on extending the franchise to 16 and 17 year olds. The motion passed by 119 in favour to 46 against, with a majority of 73 votes. He was recognised as the Total Politics MP of the Month earlier this year for his work.
In June 2006, Stephen launched a campaign against homophobic bullying, after organising the Education and Skills Select Committee's first ever enquiry into the issue of bullying in schools.
Following the election of Nick Clegg as the Liberal Democrat Party leader, Stephen was made the Liberal Democrat spokesperson for Innovation, Universities and Skills.
On his return to Parliament in 2010 Stephen was appointed the chairman of the Liberal Democrat backbench committee for Treasury matters and was also elected to serve on the newly-formed Constitutional Reform Select Committee. On 7th October 2013 he was promoted to Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government.
In January 2015 Stephen was appointed to the Liberal Democrat General Election Cabinet as the party's Communities and Local Government spokesperson.