Ian Mearns

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Ian Mearns

Official portrait of Ian Mearns crop 4.jpg
Chairman of the Backbench Business Committee
Assumed office
18 June 2015
Preceded byNatascha Engel
Member of Parliament
for Gateshead
Assumed office
6 May 2010
Preceded byConstituency Established
Majority17,350 (41.2%)
Personal details
Born (1957-04-21) 21 April 1957 (age 62)
Newcastle upon Tyne, Tyne and Wear, England, UK
Political partyLabour

James Ian Mearns[1] (born 21 April 1957)[2][3] is a British Labour Party politician who is the Member of Parliament (MP) for Gateshead. He was first elected at the 2010 general election.[4][5]

Early life[edit]

Born in Newcastle upon Tyne to a World War II veteran, Mearns was raised Catholic and educated at St Mary's RC Primary School (Forest Hall) and having not passed the 11 plus exam at St Mary's RC Technical school (Newcastle).[6]

Political origins[edit]

In the 1980s Mearns was a member and Northern Regional Chair of the Labour Party Young Socialists, and a supporter of the Militant Tendency. He ceased being a supporter of the group before becoming a Gateshead Councillor in 1983, serving as a Councillor for the Saltwell ward until 2010. During this period he chaired Gateshead Council's Education Committee and in the Council Cabinet before becoming Deputy Leader of the Council in 2002.

Parliamentary career[edit]

Mearns was elected to Parliament in 2010 with a majority of 12,549, in a Gateshead seat created by boundary changes. Along with fellow new North Eastern MPs Ian Lavery and Grahame Morris, Mearns is perceived to be on the left-wing of the Labour party.[7] He was one of 16 signatories of an open letter to Ed Miliband in January 2015 calling on the party to commit to oppose further austerity, take rail franchises back into public ownership and strengthen collective bargaining arrangements.[8]

In Parliament he has served on the Education Select Committee and the Backbench Business Committee in the 2010–2015 Parliament.[9] He was a member of the bill committee for HS2, which he has criticised for treating residents of the north east and other regions not served by the line as "lesser citizens".[10]

In March 2013, Mearns resigned as PPS to Ivan Lewis to defy the Labour whip and vote against the Jobseekers (Back to Work Schemes) Bill which retroactively changed DWP rules relating to Workfare in the United Kingdom.[11]

On 19 June 2015, he was elected as the Chairman of the Backbench Business Select Committee.[12]

In September 2015, The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority named him among 26 current and former MPs who failed to settle sums of up to £500 last year in overclaimed expenses, forcing them to be written off. In Mearns' case the amount was £10 which he subsequently repaid.[13]


  1. ^ "No. 61230". The London Gazette. 18 May 2015. p. 9118.
  2. ^ "Democracy Live: Your representatives: Ian Mearns". BBC. Retrieved 20 November 2012.
  3. ^ Profile, ukwhoswho.com; accessed 8 May 2015.
  4. ^ Profile, TheyWorkForYou.com; accessed 8 May 2015.
  5. ^ Official results from Gateshead Council, gateshead.gov.uk; accessed 8 May 2015.
  6. ^ "Threat to Royal Regiment of Fusiliers meets united front". The Journal. 10 September 2012.
  7. ^ Jones, Owen (14 March 2014). "Yes, there is still life for the left after Tony Benn and Bob Crow". The Guardian. Retrieved 5 April 2015.
  8. ^ Eaton, George (26 January 2015). "The Labour left demand a change of direction – why their intervention matters". New Statesman. Retrieved 5 April 2015.
  9. ^ "Ian Mearns". Parliament UK. Retrieved 5 April 2015.
  10. ^ Walker-Jou, Jonathan. "High speed rail will leave North East residents 'lesser citizens', warns MP". Retrieved 5 April 2015.
  11. ^ Malik, Shiv; Muir, Hugh (24 March 2013). "Labour 'pressed MPs to abstain on welfare vote'". The Guardian.
  12. ^ "Winning candidates for select committee Chairs announced". UK Parliament. 18 June 2015. Retrieved 19 June 2015.
  13. ^ Rajeev Syal (10 September 2015). "MPs' expenses: Ipsa 'names and shames' those who ignored repayment requests". The Guardian. Retrieved 20 September 2015.

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
New constituency Member of Parliament for Gateshead