Debbie Abrahams

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Debbie Abrahams
Member of Parliament
for Oldham East and Saddleworth
Assumed office
13 January 2011
Preceded by Phil Woolas
Majority 3,558 (10.2%)
Personal details
Born (1960-09-15) 15 September 1960 (age 54)
Sheffield, West Riding of Yorkshire, England, UK
Nationality British
Political party Labour
Spouse(s) John Abrahams
Relations 2 daughters
Residence Newhey, Greater Manchester
Alma mater University of Salford, University of Liverpool
Occupation Public health consultant

Deborah Angela Elspeth Abrahams (born 15 September 1960)[1] is a British politician, who has been the Labour Member of Parliament for the Oldham East and Saddleworth constituency since a by-election in January 2011. Her previous career was as a public health consultant.

Early and professional life[edit]

Abrahams was born in Sheffield, the daughter of a dentist. She studied biochemistry and physiology at the University of Salford, and her early employment was as a community worker for a charity in Wythenshawe in south Manchester, where she set up job training programmes for teenagers.[2] She later studied for a Masters degree at the University of Liverpool. Abrahams was head of healthy cities for Knowsley and served on the board of Bury and Rochdale Health Authority.[2] In 2002 Abrahams was appointed chair of Rochdale Primary Care Trust.[3] In June 2006 she resigned from this role, expressing her anger at the use of private health companies in the NHS.[4]

From 2006 to 2010 she was Director of the International Health Impact Assessment Consortium at the University of Liverpool. She married John Abrahams, a former captain of Lancashire County cricket team, in the late 1980s. They have two daughters.[2]

Political career[edit]

Shortly after resigning from the Rochdale Primary Care Trust, Abrahams joined the Labour Party, declaring that she wanted "to challenge health policy at a local and national level to ensure that it reflects [the] core values" of the NHS. She was appointed by Simon Danczuk, then Labour candidate for Rochdale, as his advisor on health,[3] and she stood for Rochdale borough council in Milnrow and Newhey ward in the 2008 local elections.[5]

At the 2010 general election, Abrahams was the Labour Party candidate for Colne Valley;[6] she made a plea to Liberal Democrat voters to back her in order to stop the Conservatives winning power.[7] She was unsuccessful in retaining the seat, which had previously been held by Labour, and ended up in third place.[8] The victorious Conservative MP Jason McCartney said after the election that Abrahams had run "a good, positive campaign" and that in the light of bad-tempered exchanges between Conservatives and Liberal Democrats, he was not surprised that she was close to coming second.[9] Shortly after the general election, Abrahams was selected to fight the Lib Dem held Golcar ward of Kirklees council at the 2011 local elections, she stood down from this in the run-in to the Oldham East and Saddleworth by-election however.

Oldham East and Saddleworth[edit]

In December 2010 she was placed on a shortlist of three to be the Labour Party candidate for the Oldham East and Saddleworth by-election, with speculation that she was the preferred candidate.[10] She was selected as Labour's candidate and went on to win the seat with a majority of 3,558 with 42.1% of the vote.[11]


  1. ^ "Your representatives: Debbie Abrahams". BBC News online. Retrieved 27 July 2011. 
  2. ^ a b c Macmillan, Ross (13 January 2011). "Oldham candidates standing in today's by-election". 
  3. ^ a b "Simon Danczuk announces new health advisor". Rochdale Online. 17 March 2008. Retrieved 14 January 2011. 
  4. ^ Sarah-Kate Templeton, "NHS bonanza 'fails to raise patient care'", Sunday Times, 25 June 2006, p. 2.
  5. ^ Colin Rallings, Michael Thrasher, "Local Elections Handbook 2008", Local Government Chronicle Elections Centre, University of Plymouth, 2008, p. 47.
  6. ^ "Debbie Abrahams", 2010 General Election results, Telegraph website
  7. ^ Jonathan Reed, "The pennine region: Campaigners seeking a welcome in the hillsides as they focus on valleys", Yorkshire Post, 23 April 2010.
  8. ^ "UK general election 2010: Results for Colne Valley". Electoral Commission. Retrieved 14 January 2011. 
  9. ^ "Debbie Abrahams: healthy development for Labour?". Channel 4. Retrieved 14 January 2011. 
  10. ^ Kirsty Buchanan, Ted Jeory, "Tempers short over shortlist", Express On Sunday, 12 December 2010.
  11. ^ "Clegg faces questions over leadership after Lib Dems crash in Oldham by-election". Daily Mail. 14 January 2011. 

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Phil Woolas
MP for Oldham East and Saddleworth
2011 ––present