Alex Sobel

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Alex Sobel

Official portrait of Alex Sobel MP crop 2.jpg
Sobel in 2019
Shadow Minister for Tourism and Heritage
Assumed office
9 April 2020
LeaderKeir Starmer
Member of Parliament
for Leeds North West
Assumed office
9 June 2017
Preceded byGreg Mulholland
Majority10,749 (21.8%)
Leeds City Councillor
for Moortown Ward
In office
2012 – 2018
Preceded byMark Harris
Succeeded byMohammed Shahzad
Personal details
Alexander David Sobel

(1975-04-26) 26 April 1975 (age 45)
Leeds, England
Political partyLabour Co-op
Alma materUniversity of Leeds

Alexander David Sobel (born 26 April 1975) is a British Labour and Co-operative politician who has been the Member of Parliament (MP) for Leeds North West since the 2017 general election. He defeated the Liberal Democrat MP Greg Mulholland who had held the seat since 2005.

Early life[edit]

Sobel was born Alexander David Sobel in Leeds on 26 April 1975.[1][2] His parents, Leopold and Ruth Sobel, migrated from Israel in 1971.[3][4] His family moved south when he was young[5] and Sobel grew up close to Beaconsfield, attending Holtspur Middle School and John Hampden Grammar School.[6] As a teenager, he joined anti-fascist and environmental protests in Leeds.[7] He studied information systems at the University of Leeds, graduating in 1997.[5][3] Sobel worked with social enterprises, and ran the regional body Social Enterprise Yorkshire and the Humber from 2009 until 2017.[5][8]

Political career[edit]

Sobel joined the Labour Party in 1997.[7] In the 2005 general election, he was the Labour candidate for the Beaconsfield constituency, where he came third.[7] Having previously run unsuccessfully in Leeds City Council elections from 2002 to 2007, he was elected as a Labour councillor for the Moortown ward in the 2012 council election, and was re-elected in the 2016 council election.[9][10] He led the council's work on air pollution and climate change.[11] In the 2015 United Kingdom general election, he unsuccessfully contested the Leeds North West constituency. During the election, Sobel and the Leeds North West Labour Party were required to publish an apology leaflet and pay legal costs after falsely claiming the Liberal Democrat MP Greg Mulholland voted for the Academies Act 2010.[12] In December 2015, Sobel co-founded the activist group Open Labour.[13]

In the 2017 general election, he was elected as MP for Leeds North West, beating the Liberal Democrat incumbent Greg Mulholland.[14][15] In October 2017, Sobel was elected as one of the officers of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on rare, genetic and undiagnosed conditions.[16] In 2019, he formed an All-Party Parliamentary Group aiming to reduce carbon emissions to net zero as early as possible.[17] In July 2019, Sobel became Parliamentary Private Secretary to the shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry.[17] He spoke at an Extinction Rebellion protest in October 2019.[18]

Sobel was re-elected in the 2019 general election. In March 2020, he called for an emergency universal basic income as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic[19] In April 2020, he became shadow minister for arts, heritage and tourism[20]

Personal life[edit]

Sobel is married with two children,[4] and lives in Weetwood, North Leeds. He is Jewish.[21]

In February 2020, Sobel self-quarantined after learning that a confirmed COVID-19 pandemic case had also been in attendance at a conference eight days earlier which he and Lilian Greenwood, another Labour MP, had attended.[22]


  1. ^ "No. 61961". The London Gazette. 19 June 2017. p. 11779.
  2. ^ "Alex Sobel MP". MyParliament. Retrieved 15 September 2017.
  3. ^ a b "Sobel, Alexander David, (born April 1975), MP (Lab Co-op) Leeds North West, since 2017 | WHO'S WHO & WHO WAS WHO". doi:10.1093/ww/9780199540884.013.U289494. Retrieved 14 December 2019.
  4. ^ a b Cohen, Justin (16 July 2017). "New Jewish MP 'proud' to represent city his immigrant parents made home". Jewish News. Retrieved 18 July 2017.
  5. ^ a b c "About Alex". Alex Sobel. Archived from the original on 11 June 2017. Retrieved 20 June 2017.
  6. ^ "Beaconsfield: Alex Sobel (Labour)". Bucks Free Press. 25 April 2005. Retrieved 7 July 2020.
  7. ^ a b c "MP Alex Sobel discusses abuse and being in Labour despite antisemitism crisis". Retrieved 14 December 2019.
  8. ^ "Labour and Green Party election candidates announced for Leeds North West". Ilkley Gazette. Retrieved 14 December 2019.
  9. ^ "Leeds City Council Election Results 1973-2012" (PDF).
  10. ^ "Sobel, Alexander David". Who's Who. 2018 (February 2018 online ed.). A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc. Retrieved 14 February 2018. (subscription or UK public library membership required)
  11. ^ "Real time #ElectionLeaflet monitoring". Retrieved 13 June 2017.
  12. ^ "Labour party forced to send out apologies". Ilkley Gazette. Retrieved 14 December 2019.
  13. ^ Letters (9 December 2015). "Time to unite Labour's democratic left | Letters". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 14 December 2019.
  14. ^ Bryson, Julia (9 June 2017). "Young vote against Lib Dems in Yorkshire". Retrieved 14 December 2019.
  15. ^ "Leeds North West". Election 2017. BBC News. Retrieved 9 June 2017.
  16. ^ "The Westminster All Party Parliamentary Group on Rare, Genetic and Undiagnosed Conditions". Genetic Alliance UK. Retrieved 26 October 2017.
  17. ^ a b "Shadow Foreign Office role for MP". Ilkley Gazette. Retrieved 14 December 2019.
  18. ^ "'My personal wellbeing is less important than the planet' - MP Alex Sobel speaks at Extinction Rebellion demonstrations". Retrieved 14 December 2019.
  19. ^ "Coronavirus means we should bring in a universal basic income | Alex Sobel MP". The Independent. 20 March 2020. Retrieved 15 April 2020.
  20. ^ "Shadow Cabinet post for Otley's MP". Bradford Telegraph and Argus. Retrieved 15 April 2020.
  21. ^ Cohen, Justin. "Alex Sobel becomes UK's newest Jewish MP". Retrieved 14 December 2019.
  22. ^ "Coronavirus: Two MPs axe engagements after attending same conference as COVID-19 patient". Sky News. Retrieved 14 February 2020.

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Greg Mulholland
Member of Parliament for Leeds North West