Dame Anne Begg was the Labour MP for Aberdeen South from 1997 to 2015. She was a member of the Work and Pensions Select Committee for fourteen years and chaired it from 2010 to 2015.
She is now a Council member of the SSSC (the Scottish Social Services Council) which is the regulatory body of social and care workers; a non-executive Director of NHS Grampian; and non-executive Board members of Aberdeen Performing Arts. Dame Anne is also the Patron of Cornerstone, a community care charity, and Pushing Out the Boat, a NE Scotland literary magazine. She is a Trustee of the Chance to Flourish charity which disburses funds raised by the Scottish Children’s Charity.
Dame Anne was the first full-time wheelchair user to sit in the Commons since 1880. In the 2011 New Year’s Honours List she was awarded a DBE for services to disabled people and equal opportunities. And in June 2016 she was awarded an Honorary Degree from the University of Aberdeen.
Before entering Parliament Dame Anne was a secondary school teacher for 19 years. She was an English teacher at Webster’s High School in Kirriemuir before eventually becoming Head of Department at Arbroath Academy. Her commitment to education saw her actively involved in the Scottish teachers’ union, the EIS, and she was also an elected member of The General Teaching Council for Scotland.
Dame Anne was born with the rare genetic condition Gauchers Disease which has resulted in her bones breaking regularly. She has used a wheelchair since 1984, the year after she joined the Labour Party and became active in local politics.
Regarding her wheelchair as her “liberator”, Dame Anne has always believed that disabled people should not be excluded from society. She was a founder member of Angus Access Panel and campaigned for civil rights for disabled people. In 1988 Dame Anne was voted Disabled Scot of the Year.