Gavin Shuker

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Gavin Shuker
Official portrait of Mr Gavin Shuker crop 2.jpg
Official portrait, 2017
Convener of Change UK[1]
In office
25 February 2019 – 4 June 2019
LeaderHeidi Allen (Acting)
Preceded byOffice established
Succeeded byOffice abolished
Member of Parliament
for Luton South
In office
6 May 2010 – 6 November 2019
Preceded byMargaret Moran
Succeeded byRachel Hopkins
Personal details
Born (1981-10-10) 10 October 1981 (age 40)
Luton, England
Political partyParliamentary affiliation:
The Independents (2019)
Party membership:
Independent (2019–present)
Other political
Change UK (Feb–Jun 2019)
Labour and Co-operative (Until Feb 2019)
SpouseLucie Shuker (Divorced 2016)
Children1 daughter
EducationGirton College, Cambridge
WebsiteOfficial website

Gavin Shuker (born 10 October 1981)[2] is a British former politician who served as the Member of Parliament (MP) for Luton South from 2010 to 2019. Shuker was a Labour Party MP before defecting to form Change UK. He then left Change UK to become an Independent politician and was defeated at the 2019 election, coming third with 9.3% of the vote.

Shuker successfully defended the seat as the Labour candidate in 2010, after his predecessor Margaret Moran stood down following controversy over her expenses.[3] Shuker was appointed as a Shadow International Development Minister by Ed Miliband in 2013.[4] He left the Opposition Frontbench in September 2015, with the election of Jeremy Corbyn as Party Leader, cited "political differences" with him.[5] In 2018, he lost a motion of no confidence by his constituency party. Shuker resigned from Labour on 18 February 2019 with six other MPs, and they formed Change UK.[6] In June 2019, he left Change UK to sit as an independent MP.[7] He stood as an independent in the 2019 United Kingdom general election but lost his seat.[8]

Education and early life[edit]

A Lutonian, Shuker was educated at two state schools: Icknield Primary and Icknield High School. He was head boy at the latter. He then attended Luton Sixth Form College before going on acquire a degree in Social and Political Sciences[9] at Girton College, Cambridge.

Shuker became leader and pastor of the City Life Church in Luton[10][11] until he stood for parliament.[9]

Political career[edit]

In May 2010 he was elected in Luton South, with a majority of 2,329 votes (5.5%) over the Conservative candidate Nigel Huddleston, and with the journalist and broadcaster Esther Rantzen a distant fourth.[12] In October 2010, he was appointed PPS to the Shadow Secretary of State for Justice, Sadiq Khan, and was also appointed to the transport select committee. In March 2011 he was promoted again to become Shadow Minister at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs with responsibility for water and waste.[13][14]

He was a member of the Christians on the Left[11][15] and a Vice-Chair of Christians in Parliament.[16]

Contrary to a newspaper piece[17] written about Shuker, he was not opposed to the introduction of same-sex marriage. He wrote he had "misgivings about how legally robust safeguards [which were put in place to prevent religious groups from being forced to carry out ceremonies] were in legislation", but he did not block the legislation and indeed voted for its implementation in later divisions.[18]

In the October 2013 reshuffle, he was shifted to the Shadow International Development team as a Shadow Minister of State.[4] His brief covered policy on Asia, Latin America and the Middle East, in addition to responsibility for policy on climate change, inequality, violence against women and girls and the post-2015 SDG agenda. As part of his Shadow Ministerial role, Shuker visited Palestine, Pakistan, El Salvador and the United Nations at Geneva and New York.[19]

Alongside his frontbench activities, Shuker has served as Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Prostitution and the Global Sex Trade, Vice-Chair of the Polar Regions All-Party Parliamentary Group, Vice-Chair of the Christians in Parliament APPG and Vice-Chair of the Thameslink Route APPG. He was a member of other APPGs, including the group on Kashmir, East-West Rail and Human Trafficking and Modern Day Slavery.[20]

In March 2014 under Shuker's chairmanship, the APPG on Prostitution and the Global Sex Trade published a new report on the legal state of prostitution in England and Wales. The result of a year-long consultation it was the first major cross-party report on the issue since the mid-1990s. The report called for a wholesale review of the existing legal settlement on prostitution, advocating consideration of a move towards the so-called 'Nordic model'.[21] In the foreword to the APPG's report, Shuker wrote: "In short, we recommend a shift in the burden of criminality from those who are the most marginalised and vulnerable – to those that create the demand in the first place."[22]

In March 2012, Shuker was one of three MPs who signed a letter sent to the Advertising Standards Authority asking it to reverse its decision to stop the Christian group "Healing on the Streets of Bath" from making explicit claims that prayer can heal. The letter called for the ASA to provide indisputable scientific evidence that such healing did not work.[23]

Shuker has been a critic of right-wing nationalist groups such as Britain First, the English Defence League (EDL) and Liberty GB, condemning what he calls their repeated "targeting" of Luton.[24][25] He has drawn attention to the high costs of policing demonstrations by the EDL,[26] and has spoken at rallies opposing the EDL's presence in Luton.[27][better source needed]

Following the May 2015 general election, Shuker announced his intention to support Liz Kendall's campaign to be Labour leader.[28][29]

Shuker speaking at a summit on freedom of religion held at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office in London on October 19, 2016.

On 6 September 2018, a meeting of the Luton South Constituency Labour Party passed a vote of no confidence in Shuker.[30] Luton South CLP passed their motion with 33 votes in favour of the motion with five abstentions and only three voting to support the MP.[31] After the vote, Shuker stated on Twitter: "At a local Labour Party meeting last night a motion of no confidence in me was passed. It's not part of any formal procedure, so it changes nothing about my role as Labour MP for Luton South".[32]

The Independent Group and The Independents[edit]

On 18 February 2019, Shuker and six other MPs – Chuka Umunna, Chris Leslie, Angela Smith, Mike Gapes, Luciana Berger, and Ann Coffey – quit Labour in protest at Jeremy Corbyn's leadership to form the Independent Group of MPs.[33] The Independent Group cited disagreements over the handling of Brexit and supposed mishandling of what the Labour Right claimed was a large increase in anti-Semitism within the Labour Party as key reasons for leaving.[34]

In June 2019, he left Change UK (The Independent Group) to sit as an independent MP.[7] In July 2019, Shuker was a founding member of a grouping of MPs called The Independents.[35] He stood as an independent candidate in the 2019 United Kingdom general election, but lost his seat, polling 9.3% of the vote and coming third.[8]

Political interests[edit]

His political interests include child poverty, student funding, transport policy, international development and debt reduction.[2]

Later career[edit]

In 2020 he became a Director and Chief Executive Officer of Cardeo Ltd,[36] a UK based Financial Technology startup company.[37] In June 2021 the company announced it had closed a £2.1m funding round to take its robo-advisor credit card app to market.

Personal life[edit]

He was married to Lucie, whom he met at the University of Cambridge[9] but announced in 2016 that they had divorced.[38] They have a daughter, born 16 June 2013.[39][40]


  1. ^ The Independent Group (March–April 2019)
  2. ^ a b "Democracy Live: Gavin Suker MP". BBC News. Archived from the original on 29 November 2014. Retrieved 22 June 2010.
  3. ^ "Luton South". BBC News. 7 May 2010.
  4. ^ a b "Confirmed: Labour's new frontbench team in full - LabourList". 8 October 2013.
  5. ^ Adam Parris-Long (18 September 2015). "Gavin Shuker steps back from Labour frontbench due to political differences with Jeremy Corbyn". Luton Today. Retrieved 12 September 2016.
  6. ^ "Seven MPs leave Labour Party in protest at Jeremy Corbyn's leadership". BBC News. 18 February 2019.
  7. ^ a b "Change UK loses six of its 11 MPs". BBC News. 4 June 2019. Retrieved 4 June 2019.
  8. ^ a b "Luton South parliamentary constituency - Election 2019". Retrieved 23 December 2019.
  9. ^ a b c "About Gavin Shuker". Labour Party. Archived from the original on 14 May 2010.
  10. ^ "City Life Church Luton". City Life Church. Archived from the original on 10 May 2010.
  11. ^ a b Paul Richards (8 July 2011). "God's Politicians". Progress Online. Archived from the original on 28 September 2016. Retrieved 12 September 2016.
  12. ^ Pidd, Helen (7 May 2010). "UK election results 2010: Esther Rantzen fails to win Luton South". The Guardian. London.
  13. ^ "BBC Democracy Live:Gavin Shuker MP". BBC News. Archived from the original on 29 November 2014. Retrieved 2 December 2012.
  14. ^ "BBC - Politics Points East: Promotion for Shuker".
  15. ^ They came expecting fireworks from Christians on the Left.
  16. ^ "Gavin Shuker MP - Members' Stories - Christians in Parliament".
  17. ^ "Labour's U-turn on equal marriage: why is equality for minority groups". The Independent. 16 May 2013.
  18. ^ Shuker, Gavin (17 February 2019). "There's an odd Owen Jones tweet doing the rounds tonight. Let me try to unpick it. It's absolutely absurd to state, as he does, that I'm a bigot. I've never voted against same-sex marriage. This is pretty thin gruel". @gavinshuker. Retrieved 18 December 2019.
  19. ^ "Email updates". Archived from the original on 28 March 2015. Retrieved 21 May 2015.
  20. ^[bare URL PDF]
  21. ^ "Latest Bedford News news - Beds On Sunday".[permanent dead link]
  22. ^ 'Shifting the burden' from the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Prostitution and the Global Sex Trade
  23. ^ "Tim Farron: 'Prayer Can Heal' Letter Was A Mistake". Huffington Post UK. 29 March 2012. Retrieved 30 March 2012.
  24. ^ "Luton MP Gavin Shuker tells EDL 'stop targeting town'". BBC News. 5 February 2015.
  25. ^ "Far-right group Britain First announce Luton march after staging mosque 'invasions'".
  26. ^ "PM 'negligent' over multiculturalism speech". 9 February 2011.
  27. ^ "DemotiX - Global Magazine 2021". DemotiX.
  28. ^ "Gavin Shuker on Twitter".
  29. ^ "Supporters bullish about Kendall's chances as Toby Perkins named campaign chair - LabourList". 21 May 2015.
  30. ^ "Jeremy Corbyn: Gavin Shuker vote 'not start of deselection'". BBC News. 21 September 2018. Retrieved 28 September 2018.
  31. ^ Carr, Stewart (7 September 2018). "'Rumours abound' after Luton South CLP passes no confidence motion in MP Gavin Shuker". Luton Today. Retrieved 28 September 2018.
  32. ^ "". Twitter.
  33. ^ "Seven MPs leave Labour in Corbyn protest". 18 February 2019. Retrieved 19 February 2019.
  34. ^ Maidment, Jack (19 February 2019). "What is 'The Independent Group' and who are Luciana Berger, Chuka Umunna and the other Labour MPs who have resigned?". The Telegraph. ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 19 February 2019.
  35. ^ McCarthy, Sebastian (10 July 2019). "Take two: Ex-Change UK MPs forge new alliance called the Independents". City A.M.
  36. ^ "CARDEO LTD - Officers (free information from Companies House)". Retrieved 16 December 2020.
  37. ^ "Cardeo - Easy credit card management app". Cardeo. Retrieved 16 December 2020.
  38. ^ MP, Gavin Shuker (20 March 2017). "Some sad news". Gavin Shuker MP. Retrieved 20 March 2017.
  39. ^ "Business of the House: 4 Jul 2013: House of Commons debates". TheyWorkForYou.
  40. ^ "MP's baby is born on Father's Day". Luton Today. 18 June 2013. Retrieved 29 October 2019.

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by Member of Parliament for Luton South
Succeeded by