John Mann (British politician)

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John Mann
Official portrait of John Mann crop 2.jpg
Member of Parliament
for Bassetlaw
Assumed office
8 June 2001
Preceded by Joe Ashton
Majority 4,852 (9.3%)
Personal details
Born (1960-01-10) 10 January 1960 (age 58)
Leeds, West Riding of Yorkshire, England[1]
Nationality British
Political party Labour
Spouse(s) Joanna White[2]
Children 2 daughters and 1 son
Alma mater University of Manchester

John Mann (born 10 January 1960) is a Labour Party politician in England who has been the Member of Parliament (MP) for Bassetlaw since the 2001 general election,[3] after the previous MP Joe Ashton had retired.

Mann serves on the Treasury Select Committee. He had previously been the Parliamentary Private Secretary (PPS) to Tessa Jowell and Richard Caborn. He is also a prominent campaigner against antisemitism.

Early life and career[edit]

Mann is the son of James and Brenda (née Cleavin) Mann.[4] He attended Waterloo Infants school and Pudsey Waterloo Junior school in Pudsey, Yorkshire, then won a County Council scholarship to Bradford Grammar School.[1] He holds a degree in Economics from the University of Manchester and a Diploma in Training Management. Active in the Labour Party from his youth (Pudsey South Labour Party), he was formerly a councillor in the London Borough of Lambeth.

He was chair of the National Organisation of Labour Students in 1983 and 1984, and as a consequence a member of Labour's National Executive Committee. He subsequently co-authored a Fabian Society tract on the organisation of Labour's youth wing,[5] which formed the basis of the later reorganisation of the youth wing by Tom Sawyer to reduce the influence of Militant tendency.[6]

Before entering Parliament he previously worked for the Amalgamated Engineering and Electrical Union as Head of Research and Education and as the National Training Officer at the TUC National Education Centre in North London (now defunct). Mann was national trade union officer for the 1997 general election.[7] He also ran a company organising international conferences.[1]

Parliamentary career[edit]

Mann was first elected as MP for Bassetlaw at the 2001 general election, and has retained his seat at each elections since then.

Mann served on the Treasury Select Committee twice, 2003–2005, and 2009–2015, during which time he raised issues around debt, financial misselling (with particular reference to Credit Cards) and claims handlers.[citation needed] Some commentators have noted Mann's reputation for asking brusque questions, particularly of senior bank executives[8] and George Osborne.[9]

John Mann was the first Labour MP to call for Gordon Brown to resign after the 2010 general election.[10] Some months earlier, when Brown was Prime Minister, Mann had written an open letter demanding a number of changes to the Labour party structures.

Mann was also vocal in criticising other MPs over the expenses scandal, arguing that MPs could not be trusted to self-regulate.[11] He criticised the shredding of documents related to expenses before 2010, saying "it looks like MPs trying to protect MPs again".[12] He was also responsible for lodging the complaint that resulted in an inquiry into Maria Miller's expense claims.[11]

In 2014, Mann was responsible for compiling a dossier of historic allegations of child abuse, detailing allegations of 12 former ministers that may have been involved. He said he believes some of them were "definitely child abusers".[13]

Mann has been from the outset an opponent of Jeremy Corbyn's leadership.[14] During the leadership campaign he wrote an open letter to Corbyn saying that it would be "inappropriate" for Corbyn to become leader due to allegations that Corbyn had failed to act over allegations of child abuse in his constituency.[15] Just over two months after Corbyn had won the leadership campaign, Mann continued to refuse to back Corbyn in an interview with the BBC, indicating he had no confidence in him. Instead he said that he had confidence in the then shadow foreign secretary Hilary Benn.[16]

European Union[edit]

Mann announced he would vote to leave the EU in the June 2016 referendum, saying he believed Labour voters "fundamentally disagree" with Labour's official stance.[17][18] However, research conducted by YouGov found that 65% of Labour voters had backed remain.[19] His own constituency voted to leave by a margin of 68% to 32%.[20]

Parliamentary work on antisemitism[edit]

Mann has described antisemitism as "the worst of racisms",[21] and he chairs the All-Party Parliamentary Group against Antisemitism.[22] The Group commissioned the "All-Party Parliamentary Inquiry into Antisemitism" in 2005. The cross-party inquiry panel gathered written and oral evidence on antisemitism in Britain and published a report of their findings on 7 September 2006. The panel's recommendations included improved reporting and recording of antisemitic attacks; a crackdown on anti-Jewish activity on university campuses; and improved international co-operation to prevent the spread of racist material online. In May 2009, Mann received the American Jewish Committee's Jan Karski Award in recognition of his commitment to fighting antisemitism in all of its forms.[23]

As chair of the Inter-parliamentary Coalition for Combating Antisemitism, Mann has overseen three landmark conferences – in the UK, Canada and Germany.

Mann wrote in The Jewish Chronicle in early May 2016: "If Labour cannot combat racism then we are nothing – and racism always includes antisemitism. If we cannot do that now, then we have no reason to exist".[24] In June 2017, he criticised Jeremy Corbyn as "a man who claims he's dedicated his entire life to racism" but was "not prepared to make a speech exclusively, explicitly, just on antisemitism".[21]

Clashes with Ken Livingstone[edit]

On 28 April 2016, Mann publicly confronted Ken Livingstone over comments in which Livingstone had claimed that Adolf Hitler "was supporting Zionism before he went mad and ended up killing six million Jews". This interpretation was based on the polemic Zionism in the Age of the Dictators by the American writer Lenni Brenner. The historical accuracy of some of Livingstone's comments was questioned by historians of the Holocaust.[25] Mann publicly accused Livingstone of being a "Nazi apologist" and a "fucking disgrace".[26] Following this incident, Mann was allegedly reprimanded by Labour's chief whip Rosie Winterton, with party spokesperson saying that she had told Mann that it is "completely inappropriate for Labour members of Parliament to be involved in very public rows on the television".[27] Ken Livingstone was suspended from the Labour Party in relation to his earlier comments.[28] On an unrelated issue, six months earlier, Mann had repeatedly called Livingstone a "bigot" in a radio phone-in, following Livingstone's attack on MP Kevan Jones' mental health and that he was "obviously very depressed and disturbed".[29]

Drug policy[edit]

One of Mann's earliest campaigns in his constituency was his inquiry into heroin use in the area. In September 2002, Mann called for more treatment for heroin users in North Nottinghamshire.[30] The inquiry he instigated called for heroin addicts to be given the choice between treatment or prison. At the same time more local GPs were trained to help heroin addicts get their lives back under control.[31] Following the reforms the number of addicts in treatment in Bassetlaw rose from 2 to 400, and acquisitive crime fell by 75%.[32]

Following a local newspaper story in October 2005,[33] Mann raised an Early Day Motion calling for Salvia divinorum to be banned in the UK (EDM796).[33] The motion only received 11 signatures.[34] It was later reported that John Mann had written to the Home Secretary in October 2008, urging her to take action with regard to salvia's legal status. The same report said that the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs had met to discuss salvia, among other substances, in April 2009, and that there would be a follow-up meeting in May.[35]

The Observer newspaper gave the content of Mann's letter to Jacqui Smith. "Sadly the issue has come to light again as our young people are using the internet and sites like YouTube to broadcast their friends taking the drug and witnessing the hallucinogenic effects. Our young people are at risk and a wider cultural attachment to this drug seems to be developing that I am sure you agree - regardless of its legal status - needs nipping in the bud".[36]

Local campaigns[edit]

Mann is an active campaigner in his constituency Bassetlaw and an advocate of using campaigning strategies he refers to as "organising to win" elsewhere.[37] He has organised numerous campaigns in his constituency, examples of which include campaigning to save Bassetlaw Hospital Accident and Emergency Department,[38][39] helping former coal miners fight double charging solicitors to get their compensation back,[40] and fighting Bassetlaw District Council's policy of "topple testing" headstones in local cemeteries.[41] Mann keeps a weekly column in the Worksop Guardian and – along with other local figures – writes occasional pieces for the Retford Times.

Personal life[edit]

He married Joanna White in July 1986 in Leeds. His wife is a Labour councillor and deputy leader of Bassetlaw District Council,[42] and is also employed by John Mann as a part-time office manager, remunerated through his parliamentary expenses.[43][44] The couple have two adult daughters and a son.[45] He supports Leeds United.[46]


  1. ^ a b c Simon Round (12 February 2009). "Interview: John Mann MP". Jewish Chronicle. Retrieved 5 May 2016. 
  2. ^ "House of Commons - The Register of Members' Financial Interests - Part 2: Part 2". 
  3. ^ "John Mann". UK Parliament Website. Archived from the original on 1 December 2012. Retrieved 15 November 2012. 
  4. ^ "Index entry". FreeBMD. ONS. Retrieved 9 October 2016. 
  5. ^ John Mann, Phil Woolas (1986). Labour and the Youth Vote: The Missing Generation. Fabian Society. ISBN 9780716305156. Retrieved 3 May 2016. 
  6. ^ Richard Heffernan, Mike Marqusee (1992). Defeat from the Jaws of Victory. Verso. pp. 173–74. ISBN 9780860915614. Retrieved 3 May 2016. 
  7. ^ "John Mann". BBC News. 21 October 2002. Retrieved 3 May 2016. 
  8. ^ Letts, Quentin (12 January 2011). "Eyes Burned into Bonus Bob with wild contempt". Daily Mail. London. 
  9. ^ "Bungling George Osborne reveals he has no idea how much cash Treasury makes from fuel tax rise". Daily Mirror. London. 30 March 2011. Archived from the original on 11 April 2014. Retrieved 11 April 2014. 
  10. ^ "'Labour loyalist John Mann urges Brown to step down'". BBC News. 8 May 2010. Retrieved 8 May 2010. 
  11. ^ a b "Maria Miller's expenses threats 'pretty shocking', says ex-head of watchdog". The Guardian. London. 5 April 2014. Retrieved 5 April 2015. 
  12. ^ Holehouse, Matthew (2 November 2014). "MPs to escape expenses investigations after paperwork destroyed by Parliament". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 5 April 2015. 
  13. ^ Eleftheriou-Smith, Loulla May (21 December 2014). "Child abuse inquiry: Three MPs and three peers named in paedophile dossier handed to Scotland Yard". The Independent. London. Retrieved 4 April 2015. 
  14. ^ John Mann (12 September 2015). "More positions than the Kama Sutra - and not up to the job". Daily Mail. London. Retrieved 3 May 2016. 
  15. ^ Swinford, Steven (23 July 2015). "Jeremy Corbyn accused of inaction over paedophile scandal". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 2 May 2016. 
  16. ^ "Labour MP John Mann refuses to back Jeremy Corbyn". BBC News. 18 November 2015. Retrieved 12 July 2017.
  17. ^ "EU referendum: Labour MP John Mann to vote for Brexit". BBC News. 10 June 2016. Retrieved 14 June 2016. 
  18. ^ Why I'm Voting Out on June 23rd - John Mann MP official site, 10 June 2016
  19. ^ "How Britain Voted". YouGov. 
  20. ^ Retrieved 31 January 2018.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  21. ^ a b Sugarman, Daniel (30 June 2017). "Jacobson accuses Corbyn of a show of contempt". The Jewish Chronicle. Retrieved 30 May 2018. 
  22. ^ "PCAA Foundation". Retrieved 16 November 2012. 
  23. ^ John Mann (7 May 2009). "British MP, John Mann, accepts Jan Karski Award". American Jewish Committee. Retrieved 5 February 2010.  (speech transcript)
  24. ^ Mann, John (4 May 2016). "If Labour cannot combat racism then we are nothing". The Jewish Chronicle. Retrieved 4 May 2016. 
  25. ^
  26. ^ Withnall, Adam (28 April 2016). "Ken Livingstone accused of being 'Nazi apologist' by Labour MP John Mann". The Independent. Retrieved 28 April 2016. 
  27. ^ Reed, James (28 April 2016). "Livingstone suspended as Bradford MP's anti-Semitism row triggers Labour meltdown". Yorkshire Post. Leeds. Retrieved 2 May 2016. 
  28. ^ Parker, George; Pickard, Jim (28 April 2016). "Corbyn allies fear his enemies will exploit anti-Semitism row". Financial Times. London. Retrieved 28 April 2016. 
  29. ^ Batty, David (21 November 2015). "Labour MP John Mann attacks Ken Livingstone over 'psychiatric help' row". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 29 April 2016. 
  30. ^ BBC 23 September 2003 (News).
  31. ^ Mann, J (2002) Heroin in Bassetlaw
  32. ^ Townsend, Mark (23 July 2006). "Anti-heroin project transforms towns". The Guardian. London. 
  33. ^ a b "Legal, but this is no party drug says net". Worksop Guardian. 14 October 2015. Retrieved 12 July 2017.
  34. ^ Early day motion 796. Parliament UK. Retrieved 12 July 2017.
  35. ^ "Salvia: more powerful than LSD, and legal". The Telegraph. London. 11 December 2010. Retrieved 12 July 2017.
  36. ^ Doward, Jamie; Shah, Oliver (26 April 2009). "There are many drugs that help people get out of their minds yet stay within the law - they're called 'legal highs'". The Observer. London. Retrieved 1 February 2018. 
  37. ^ Sue Hamilton, John Mann (September 2010). Organising to win (PDF). Progress (Report). Retrieved 5 May 2016. 
  38. ^ "'I'll fight it tooth and nail'". Worksop Guardian. 31 January 2003. Retrieved 5 May 2016. 
  39. ^ "'More unrest' at Bassetlaw A&E following controversy". Worksop Guardian. 14 March 2003. Retrieved 5 May 2016. 
  40. ^ "Don't swindle our miners says MP". Worksop Guardian. 16 January 2004. Archived from the original on 11 April 2014. Retrieved 11 April 2014. 
  41. ^ "MP John Mann wins grave topple test campaign". Worksop Guardian. 20 January 2009. Archived from the original on 11 April 2014. Retrieved 11 April 2014. 
  42. ^ Jo White – About Me – Bassetlaw District Council, retrieved 25 June 2016
  43. ^ The Register of Members' Financial Interests: As at 2nd February 2015 – House of Commons, retrieved 25 June 2016
  44. ^ Bassetlaw: John Mann defends staff expenses Worksop Guardian, 18 September 2003
  45. ^ Mann, Heather (22 April 2018). "My family and I have endured so much abuse". The Sunday Times. Retrieved 22 April 2018.  (subscription required)
  46. ^ Select Committee on Treasury – Minutes of Evidence, 2 December 2003 –, retrieved 25 June 2016

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Joe Ashton
Member of Parliament for Bassetlaw