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Exceptional contributions to politics honoured at PSA Awards 2014
HOME SECRETARY WINS TOP PRIZE AT “OSCARS OF WESTMINSTER”
THERESA MAY IS POLITICIAN OF THE YEAR WHILE NICOLA STURGEON, DAVID BLUNKETT AND NORMAN LAMB ALSO TAKE HOME AWARDS AT POLITICAL STUDIES ASSOCIATION’S ANNUAL AWARDS DINNER
Home Secretary Theresa May was named ‘Politician of the Year’ by the Political Studies Association at our Annual Awards Dinner which took place on Tuesday night, 25th November at Church House, Westminster.
Hosted by Channel 4’s Jon Snow, the Ceremony recognises the academics, journalists, campaigners and politicians who have made an exceptional contribution to the study and the practice of politics.
Theresa May was presented with the top gong by BBC Political Editor Nick Robinson in front of a capacity audience at the Westminster venue. Other MPs to pick up awards at the event, which has been dubbed the “Oscars of Westminster”, include David Blunkett (Lifetime Achievement in Politics), Norman Lamb (Best Use of Evidence) and Simon Danczuk (Campaigner of the Year). Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon was named Parliamentarian of the Year while Channel 4’s Michael Crick was this year’s Journalist of the Year.
The judging panel, made up of top political academics alongside Peter Kellner of YouGov, BBC’s Justin Webb and Jackie Ashley of The Guardian, said (of choosing May as ‘Politician of the Year’):
“As one of the longest serving Home Secretaries, Theresa May has dealt exceptionally well with many crises over the last four years, and has become a formidable and effective force in politics”.
May was also commended by the judges for “her tenacity and willingness to take on seemingly intractable problems as well as her continuing commitment to issues of equality and diversity”.
The ‘Politician of the Year’ award has previously been won by David Cameron & Nick Clegg (joint winners 2010), Alex Salmond (2011) and John Bercow (2012).
The new First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon, who was unable to attend the event, scooped the coveted “Parliamentarian of the Year” award. She sent a video message to the audience, thanking the Political Studies Association for honouring her in what was an eventful year for the party which she now leads, the SNP.
David Blunkett was honoured with the prestigious “Lifetime Achievement in Politics” award as he enters his final few months as MP for Sheffield Brightside and Hillsborough. The judges called Blunkett’s achievements “astonishing” and commenting on his career they said:
“‘David Blunkett has been an effective if controversial minister who did much to help Labour’s rise to power and dominance from 1997 through to 2010. There are few people who know just how hard active politics is as a profession and few who have worked so tirelessly to deliver positive social change. He continues to promote political literacy via advocacy of improved citizenship education in schools and active political engagement more generally”.
He was presented with the award, which Jack Straw won at last year’s awards ceremony, by Peter Kellner of YouGov.
Minister of State for Care and Support Norman Lamb MP picked up the prize for the “Best Use of Evidence” with the judges saying:
“Norman Lamb was the unanimous winner of this award for his outstanding work on mental health. His work with the Royal College of Nursing, Skills for Health and Skills for Care to develop new guidance for professionals as well as workforce training guidelines must also be strongly commended”.
The judges also praised Lamb for his launch of Positive and Safe, a two-year programme to end the deliberate use of face-down restraint in all health and care settings.
Rochdale’s MP Simon Danczuk was presented with the ‘Campaigner of the Year’ award by BBC Political Correspondent Iain Watson for leading the campaign to investigate historic child abuse.
The judges commended him for:
“Taking on extremely difficult and sensitive issues and dragging them into the light, and particularly with his book, co-authored with Matthew Baker, for exposing the sordid case of Cyril Smith and the shocking cover-ups which went on”.
Channel 4’s Michael Crick, who presented the PSA Awards Dinner in 2013, accepted “Journalist of the Year” and was picked by the judging panel as:
“He has doggedly spoken truth to power for over thirty years. He is persistent, some might even say relentless, in the pursuit of the truth of a story. He has an encyclopaedic knowledge of British politics which allows him to set his analysis in historical perspective. For some politicians who get themselves into trouble he is the itch that just won’t go away, and by causing such irritation he does a great service to democracy.”
The full list of award winners is below:
Politician of the Year - Theresa May
Parliamentarian of the Year - Nicola Sturgeon
Lifetime Achievement in Politics - David Blunkett
Politician - best use of evidence - Norman Lamb
Campaigner of the Year- Simon Danczuk
Journalist of the Year - Michael Crick
Lifetime Contribution to Political Studies - Professor Susan J Carroll
Special Recognition Award - Professor Iain McLean
Sir Isaiah Berlin Prize for Lifetime Contribution to Political Studies - Baroness Onora O'Neill
Political Studies Communicator - Dr Matthew Goodwin & Dr Robert Ford
Special International Award - Bridget Kendall
W. J. M. Mackenzie Book Prize - Professor Sir Lawrence Freedman
Innovation in Teaching Politics - Dr Helen Williams
PSA Schools Short Video Competition - Portsmouth Grammar School
Photos: Duncan Soar