When he was first elected to the Commons as a New Labour MP at the age of 37, David Lock would not necessarily have been anticipating a lengthy career in Parliament.

The first Labour MP to represent the constituency of Wyre Forest for many years, he mainly owed his position to the Blair landslide, which saw a host of Conservative seats unexpectedly fall to the party.

But even Lock would probably not have predicted that his stint at Westminster would prove so short-lived. He famously fell victim to a single-issue campaign over the future of his local hospital, after backing his own government's decision to downgrade it in the face of trenchant local opposition. A barrister by background, Lock was by then a junior minister in the Lord Chancellor's department, and bound by collective responsibility for the health services changes then being implemented.

His nemesis was Richard Taylor, chairman of the Kidderminster Hospital League of Friends, and the man who had led the fight to save its Accident and Emergency department. He stood against Lock as Independent Kidderminster Hospital and Health Concern candidate at the 2001 general election, and won with a majority of 18,000.

Taylor was re-elected in 2005, and was even mentioned as a possible candidate for the Speakership in 2009, but he did not manage to persuade the government to restore his hospital's A&E services.

As for Lock, his first role after leaving Parliament was, in 2002, to help oversee the merger of the National Crime Squad and National Criminal Intelligence Service, which became the Serious Organised Crime Agency in 2006.

But late 2003 he returned to law, first specialising in healthcare law at Mills & Reeve, before joining the public law team at No5 Chambers in Birmingham. He was made a QC earlier this year, and, last month, was the Birmingham Law Society's choice of Barrister of the Year.
Picking up his award, he said: “I am fortunate that the cases on which I work have enormous human interest and are legally fascinating."

Lock has continued to speak out on major public law issues, and recently criticised the coalition's plans to restrict prisoner voting rights in the face of European court judgements.

“Human rights exist to protect all, including minorities, who may be unpopular with other sectors of society, and who do not have the benefit of political power,” he said. “The government... cannot adopt a 'pick and mix approach' to court judgments, implementing the ones it agrees with and ignoring the ones it dislikes.

“Giving prisoners the vote is politically difficult and unpopular, but the government should accept that it is bound by the decisions of the courts, like everyone else.”

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