New career for Tom
Former MP launches a new business
Former Glasgow South MP Tom Harris is looking to life beyond politics by setting up a new public affairs consultancy.
Along with his wife Carolyn, the King’s Park man has named his business Third Avenue Communications and established a website setting out what it offers to prospective clients.
And he’s already received glowing endorsements from old political rivals - including former SNP First Minister Alex Salmond.
Tom spent 14 years as a Labour MP before losing his seat to the SNP’s Stewart McDonald in the General Election.
A former reporter with the Reformer’s sister papers the East Kilbride News and the Paisley Daily Express, Tom said: “Carolyn had worked with me in my constituency office, so we were both out of a job come May 8.
“Carolyn’s a very good writer and I’ve got a certain amount of experience of Government and as an MP, as well as having been a newspaper reporter.
“That will be useful to companies if they want to know more about how to access Goverment and how it will affect their own organisations.
“A lot of people think the world of politics is quite intimidating, and it involves communication.”
As well as government relations, media training, public relations and corporate communications, Third Avenue will also offer media training – including “how to handle being doorstepped by a pack of news hounds” Tom, who served as railways minister in the Department for Transport, won top MP’s blog in the 2009 Total Politics Top Political Blog Awards.
When looking to a life beyond Westminster, he had a chance encounter with Alex Salmond.
Tom explained: “I bumped into him when I was back down at the Commons, and despite a difference in our politics, I’ve always liked him, have enjoyed his company, and we’ve always got on well.
“He asked what I was thinking of doing, and if I wanted an endorsement, he would be happy to do one.
“And then, as good as his word, it came through a couple of weeks later.
“It was an extremely generous thing for him to do that.”
Alex Salmond said: “I have always found Tom Harris one of the most thoughtful of Westminster politicians. One of the first MPs to understand the power of social media, Tom has always been able to work across the political spectrum. He is held in high regard by SNP representatives.”
Another of those who has endorsed Tom is James Dornan, SNP MSP for Glasgow Cathcart, including King’s Park and Castlemilk.
He added: “Despite being members of different political parties, Tom and I had no difficulty in working together on a number of occasions for the benefit of our constituents. Tom is very well respected and liked across the political spectrum.”
Venture Tom Harris and wife Carolyn have launched a new public affairs business