Ian Lavery

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Ian Lavery
Ian Lavery MP.jpg
Lavery speaking at TULO Reception
Member of Parliament
for Wansbeck
Assumed office
6 May 2010
Preceded by Denis Murphy
Majority 7,031 (18.4%)
President of the National Union of Mineworkers
In office
Preceded by Arthur Scargill
Succeeded by Nicky Wilson
Personal details
Born (1963-01-06) 6 January 1963 (age 52)[1]
Ashington, Northumberland, England
Nationality British
Political party Labour
Children Ian, Jr., Liam
Profession Miner
Website www.ianlavery.org.uk

Ian Lavery (born 6 January 1963) is a British Labour Party politician, who has been the Member of Parliament (MP) for Wansbeck since the 2010 general election as well as President of the National Union of Mineworkers.

Early life[edit]

Lavery has lived in Ashington, once the largest coal mining village in Europe, all of his life. After leaving school, Lavery started on a youth training scheme, before working in the construction industry. Following a recruitment campaign by the National Coal Board, he commenced work at Lynemouth Colliery in January 1980.[2] In July 1980, he started a mining craft apprentice and started working at the coalface. In 1981, he was transferred to Ellington Colliery and went to college, receiving a HNC in Mining.

Miners' Strike 1984-85 and aftermath[edit]

During the 1984–85 Miners' Strike Lavery was the only apprentice in the North East area who refused to go to work.[3] He was arrested six or seven times during the strike.

In 1986, Lavery was elected onto the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) committee at Ellington Colliery as Compensation Secretary. Later, he was voted on to the Northumberland Executive Committee, and then on to the North East Area Executive Committee. He claims that because of his union activity, he was barred by management from completing his HND qualification:

"I was the only one in the whole of the North East Area who had completed the HNC who wasn't given that opportunity. I went to see the manager, not that I would have gone by the way, and he said that they didn't think I would be interested. I asked him if he had thought to ask me, and he said no, not really, and he was smiling as he said it."

Lavery claims it was the Miners' Strike that politicized him and led him towards his future career in politics. [4]

Presidency of National Union of Mineworkers[edit]

In 1992, list of thirty-one pits due for closure was announced, Lavery was persuaded to stand for the National Executive Committee of the NUM. In the subsequent ballot, he was elected in the first round having gained more than 50 per cent of the vote. When Arthur Scargill stepped down as NUM President in August 2002, Lavery was elected through the normal balloting procedures, although he stood unopposed. He was perceived by many in the NUM as "the natural successor to Arthur Scargill".[5] Under his leadership membership of the union fell dramatically from over 200,000 to just 1,855 members in 2011.[6]

Member of Parliament[edit]

In February 2010 Lavery became the prospective parliamentary candidate for the Labour Party for Wansbeck[7] and was duly elected Member of Parliament (MP) on 6 May 2010 with a reduced majority of 7,031.


In 2011 during Prime Minister's Question Time Lavery asked a question about health advisor Mark Britnell, whom he mistook as being appointed by the Conservative Party, whereas in fact Britnell was appointed by the Labour Party. Lavery condemned Britnell's actions, only for David Cameron to point out that Britnell was in fact an advisor to the Labour administration. Lavery also got Britnell's first name wrong.[8]

In 2012 Lavery was forced to resign as a Parliamentary aide to Labour’s deputy leader Harriet Harman after going against the party whip to increase the pension age.[9]

Lavery employs his wife as an assistant and in 2012 she was given a pay rise from between £5000-£9999 to between £20000-£24999.[10]

In 2014 Lavery posed for a photograph with his son who had blackened his face to look like Michael Jackson. The photograph caused an outcry among some of Lavery's constituents who said they found it offensive.[11]

Lavery provoked some criticism among the right of the Labour Party when he supported Unite the Union's decision to axe funds for Labour MP's who did not share their values.[12]

In 2015 Lavery said that the Labour party leadership believe that people in the North East of England are "stupid" and an "irrelevance".[13]


Lavery is married with two sons, the younger of whom is a Labour Town Councillor in Ashington.[when?][citation needed]


Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Denis Murphy
Member of Parliament for Wansbeck
Trade union offices
Preceded by
Arthur Scargill
President of the National Union of Mineworkers