Rowenna Davis

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Rowenna Davis
Rowenna Davis crop1.jpg
Southwark Borough Councillor for The Lane ward
In office
5 May 2011 – 22 May 2014
Preceded by Keadean Rhoden
Succeeded by Jamille Mohammed
Personal details
Born (1985-02-28) 28 February 1985 (age 30)
Nationality British
Political party Labour and Co-operative[2]
Residence Bitterne Park, Southampton
Alma mater Balliol College, Oxford
Occupation journalist

Rowenna Davis (born 28 February 1985) is a British author, journalist, political commentator and former Labour Party councillor in Peckham. She was selected on 14 July 2013 as the Labour Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for the highly marginal seat of Southampton Itchen for the 2015 general election.[3]

Early life and education[edit]

Davis was born in Lewisham[1] and spent her early years in Portsmouth and Catford before her family moved to North London, where she attended the comprehensive Hampstead School. In 2003 she and two schoolfriends organised Hands Up For Peace in response to the war in Iraq. This got thousands of other students to make a hand-print bearing their name and a message of peace. These were then printed out, attached to sticks and planted in Parliament Square to make a forest of protest, hoping to influence Prime Minister Tony Blair.[4][5][6][7]

After leaving school, she read Politics, Philosophy and Economics at Balliol College, Oxford. In 2005, while still an undergraduate, she won the Oxford Leadership Prize which is a contest requiring an essay on a contemporary issue of political leadership. Her winning essay, Invisible Leaders, was presented in a novel audio format and won her the prize of £4,000.[8] Her leadership models were those that "create space and opportunity for action".[9] She subsequently did a postgraduate degree in journalism.


Since leaving Oxford, she has worked as freelance journalist, writing for numerous publications including The Guardian,[10] The Independent,[11] the New Statesman, the Mail on Sunday, The Economist, The Times, the Times Higher Education and the Financial Times.[12] Davis has appeared as a political commentator for a variety of current affairs television and radio programmes such as Daily Politics, The Politics Show, Newsnight, Sunday Politics and Sky News.[13]

In September 2011, she published the book Tangled Up in Blue, which is an account of the development of Blue Labour, a movement within the Labour Party initiated by Lord Glasman.[14][15]

Political career[edit]

In 2010, she stood as the Labour candidate for the Cathedrals ward of Southwark, but lost to the Liberal Democrat candidates.[16] She entered a Microsoft contest of ideas for the 18–25 age group and won £10,000 of sponsorship for her plan to engage unemployed, young people in local government, encouraging them to become councillors.[17][18] In May 2011, she was herself elected to Southwark Council as councillor in the Lane ward of Peckham which she won with a swing from the Lib Dems of 12%.[19] As a councillor, she campaigned against the proliferation of betting shops in the borough.[20][21]

She is an active member and supporter of several charitable, political and trade union organisations including Blackfriars Settlement,[22] Crisis over Christmas, Headliners, Make Justice Work, National Union of Journalists and Unite.[10] Davis also supports Envision, and was one of the first Envision Graduates; Davis explained how this experience had influenced her work for the community.[23]

On 13 July 2013, Davis was selected as the Labour Parliamentary Candidate for Southampton Itchen, in the 2015 General Election, to replace John Denham. She has faced criticisms from senior members within the local party for not having links to the city,[24] but Denham endorsed his successor, "I know that Rowenna Davis has the drive and vision to represent Southampton superbly in the years ahead..."[25] In February 2015, Iain Dale predicted that she would increase the Labour majority.[26]

Email hacking[edit]

Her email account was hacked in 2011 and the hacker tried to extort £500 from her for its return. The hacker also impersonated her in fraudulent emails to her five thousand contacts, friends and relatives, trying to persuade them to send money to a Western Union account. The email account was provided by Google who Davis felt were unhelpful initially. After several days, she regained control of the account, following the intervention of a contact who worked at Google.[27][28][29]


  1. ^ a b Rowenna Davis (21 January 2013), "Lewisham", New Statesman, I was born in Lewisham hospital. 
  2. ^
  3. ^ 14 July 2013
  4. ^ Mark Ellis, Stephen Moyes, Helen Cook (21 March 2003), "Gulf War 2: ... Thousands protest in the streets.", Daily Mirror 
  5. ^ E Such, O Walker (2005), "Anti-War Children", Childhood 12 (3): 301–326, doi:10.1177/0907568205054924 
  6. ^ Liz Ford (20 March 2003), "Students raise their hands in protest", The Guardian 
  7. ^ Libby Brooks (26 April 2003), "Kid power", The Guardian 
  8. ^ The Oxford Leadership Prize, Saïd Business School, 2005 
  9. ^ Michael MacCoby (2013), The Leaders We Need, Harvard Business Press, p. 94, ISBN 978-1422163603 
  10. ^ a b "Councillor Rowenna Davis", Register of interests, Southwark Council, 12 July 2011 
  11. ^ Rowenna Davis (7 January 2010), "Running a prison may not sound glamorous but it's never dull", The Independent 
  12. ^ Rowenna Davis (7 December 2007), "Swapping women's rights for ladies' nights", Times Higher Education 
  13. ^ Davis's profile page for the Battle of Ideas, Institute of Ideas, retrieved September 2012 
  14. ^ Abigail O'Reilly (23 October 2011), "Tangled Up In Blue, By Rowenna Davis", The Independent 
  15. ^ George Eaton (14 November 2011), "Tangled Up In Blue By Rowenna Davis", New Statesman 
  16. ^ Election Results for Cathedrals Ward, Southwark Council, 6 May 2010 
  17. ^ Richard Tyler (29 June 2010), "Microsoft backing for young people to enter local politics", Daily Telegraph 
  18. ^ "Young people: Local Government", Life Academy, Hugo & Cat for Microsoft 
  19. ^ Lane Ward by-election result – Labour’s Rowenna Davis elected, Harriet Harman, 5 May 2011 
  20. ^ Petition to restrict Southwark bookmakers, BBC, 14 February 2012 
  21. ^ "The One Show". 2011-03. BBC. BBC One. 
  22. ^ Trustees, Partner and Funder, Blackfriars Settlement, 2011 [dead link]
  23. ^ My London, My Legacy, Environmental Vision, 7 July 2011 [dead link]
  24. ^ Journalist vying to become city's new MP, Southern Daily Echo, 22 May 2013 
  25. ^ "Denham endorses Davis as Labour election candidate",, 7 January 2015 
  26. ^ Iain Dale (2015), "Southampton Itchen", Seat by Seat: The Political Anorak's Guide to Potential Gains and Losses in the 2015 General Election, ISBN 184954882X, Prediction: Increased Labour majority 
  27. ^ Tony Dyhouse (25 October 2011), Email hacking victim Rowenna Davis tells her story, BBC 
  28. ^ Mark Prigg (18 Oct 2011), "Hacked off with Google security", Evening Standard 
  29. ^ Rowenna Davis (16 October 2011), "How an email hacker ruined my life and then tried to sell it back to me", The Observer 

External links[edit]