John Mann (British politician)

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John Mann
John Mann.jpg
Member of Parliament
for Bassetlaw
Assumed office
8 June 2001
Preceded by Joe Ashton
Majority 8,215 (16.6%)
Personal details
Born (1960-01-10) 10 January 1960 (age 56)
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 retirement of previous MP Joe Ashton.

John Mann serves on the Treasury Select Committee. Previously he had been Parliamentary Private Secretary (PPS) to Tessa Jowell and Richard Caborn.

Early life[edit]

Mann is the son of James (Jim) and Brenda Mann. He attended Waterloo Infants school and Pudsey Waterloo Junior school in Pudsey, Yorkshire, then won a scholarship at the independent Bradford Grammar School.[1] Mann has a degree in Economics from the University of Manchester and a Diploma in Training Management.

He married Joanna White in July 1986 in Leeds. His wife is a Labour councillor and Deputy Leader of Bassetlaw District Council,[4] and is also employed by John Mann as a full-time Office Manager, renumerated through his parliamentary expenses.[5][6] They have two daughters and a son in their early 20s. He supports Leeds United.[7]

Political life[edit]

Active in the Labour Party from his youth (Pudsey South Labour Party), his activities have taken him from residence in London (he was a councillor in the London Borough of Lambeth), to Lewes in East Sussex, Baldock in Hertfordshire and Worksop in Bassetlaw.

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,[8] which formed the basis of the later reorganisation of the youth wing by Tom Sawyer to reduce the influence of Militant tendency.[9]

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 closed). Mann has also been a party employee and a trade union liaison officer.[10] He also ran a company organising conferences.[1] Mann is a member of Unite and GMB, YHA, the British Mountaineering Council, IPD and the Co-operative Party.

Parliamentary career[edit]

Mann was first elected as MP for Bassetlaw in 2001, and subsequently retained his seat at the general elections in 2005, 2010 and 2015.

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[11] and George Osborne.[12]

John Mann was the first Labour MP to call for Gordon Brown to resign after the 2010 General Election.[13] 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.[14] He criticised the shredding of documents related to expenses before 2010, saying "it looks like MPs trying to protect MPs again".[15] He was also responsible for lodging the complaint that resulted in an inquiry into Maria Miller's expense claims.[14]

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".[16] All enquiries were subsequently dropped.[17]

Mann was from the outset an opponent of Jeremy Corbyn's leadership.[18] 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.[19] In November 2015, Mann avoided saying whether he had confidence in Corbyn's leadership.[20]

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.[21][22]

Positions on antisemitism[edit]

John Mann chairs the All-Party Parliamentary Group against Antisemitism.[23] The Group commissioned the All-Party Parliamentary Inquiry into Antisemitism in 2005. The inquiry panel, chaired by former Europe Minister Denis MacShane, 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 John Mann received the American Jewish Committee's Jan Karski Award in recognition of his commitment to fighting antisemitism in all of its forms.[24]

Mann, together with Denis McShane, appeared as an expert witness in the 2013 employment tribunal brought by academic Ronnie Fraser against the University and College Union. In rejecting the complaint, the tribunal chair, Judge Antony Snelson, found that Mann and McShane had given "glib evidence, appearing supremely confident of the rightness of their positions." The judge further said of Mann "And when it came to anti-Semitism in the context of debate about the Middle East, he announced, 'It's clear to me where the line is...' but unfortunately eschewed the opportunity to locate it for us... Both parliamentarians clearly enjoyed making speeches. Neither seemed at ease with the idea of being required to answer a question not to his liking.'"[25][26][27]

Clashes with Ken Livingstone[edit]

On 28 April 2016, Mann publicly confronted Ken Livingstone over comments in which Livingstone had claimed that Hitler "was supporting Zionism before he went mad and ended up killing six million Jews". Mann publicly accused Livingstone of being a "Nazi apologist" and a "fucking disgrace".[28] Following this incident, Mann was 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".[29] Ken Livingstone was suspended from the Labour party in relation to his earlier comments.[30] On an unrelated issue, six months earlier, Mann had repeatedly called Livingstone a "bigot" in a radio phone-in, following a controversy over Livingstone remarking that MP Kevan Jones was "obviously very depressed and disturbed".[31]

Following his outburst at Livingstone, an online petition accusing Mann of "appallingly unprofessional and toxic behaviour" and calling for him to be subject to a "disciplinary procedure" gathered over 19,000 signatures in four days.[32] John Mann wrote in The Jewish Chronicle in early May: "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".[33]

Drug policy[edit]

One of Mann's earliest campaigns in his constituency was his inquiry against heroin use in the area. In September 2002, Mann called for more treatment for heroin users in North Nottinghamshire.[34] 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.[35] Following the reforms the number of addicts in treatment in Bassetlaw rose from 2 to 400, and acquisitive crime fell by 75%.[36]

Mann has continued to advocate similar policies, for instance in his Fabian Society pamphlet The Real Deal: Drugs Policy that Works.[37]

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.[38] He has organised numerous campaigns in his constituency, examples of which include campaigning to save Bassetlaw Hospital Accident and Emergency Department,[39][40] helping former coal miners fight double charging solicitors to get their compensation back,[41] and fighting Bassetlaw District Council's policy of "topple testing" headstones in local cemeteries.[42] Mann keeps a weekly column in the Worksop Guardian and – along with other local figures – writes occasional pieces for the Retford Times.


  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. Retrieved 15 November 2012. 
  4. ^ Jo White - About Me - Bassetlaw District Council, retrieved 25 June 2016
  5. ^ The Register of Members' Financial Interests: As at 2nd February 2015 - House of Commons, retrieved 25 June 2016
  6. ^ Bassetlaw: John Mann defends staff expenses Worksop Guardian, 18 September 2003
  7. ^ Select Committee on Treasury - Minutes of Evidence, 2 December 2003 -, retrieved 25 June 2016
  8. ^ John Mann, Phil Woolas (1986). Labour and the Youth Vote: The Missing Generation. Fabian Society. ISBN 9780716305156. Retrieved 3 May 2016. 
  9. ^ Richard Heffernan, Mike Marqusee (1992). Defeat from the Jaws of Victory. Verso. pp. 173–174. ISBN 9780860915614. Retrieved 3 May 2016. 
  10. ^ "John Mann". BBC News. 21 October 2002. Retrieved 3 May 2016. 
  11. ^ Letts, Quentin (12 January 2011). "Eyes Burned into Bonus Bob with wild contempt". Daily Mail (London). 
  12. ^ "Bungling George Osborne reveals he has no idea how much cash Treasury makes from fuel tax rise". Daily Mirror (London: Trinity Mirror). 30 March 2011. ISSN 9975-9950. OCLC 223228477. Archived from the original on 11 April 2014. Retrieved 11 April 2014. 
  13. ^ "'Labour loyalist John Mann urges Brown to step down'". BBC News. 8 May 2010. Retrieved 8 May 2010. 
  14. ^ a b "Maria Miller's expenses threats 'pretty shocking', says ex-head of watchdog". Guardian. 5 April 2014. Retrieved 5 April 2015. 
  15. ^ Holehouse, Matthew (2 November 2014). "MPs to escape expenses investigations after paperwork destroyed by Parliament". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 5 April 2015. 
  16. ^ ELEFTHERIOU-SMITH, Loulla May (21 December 2014). "Child abuse inquiry: Three MPs and three peers named in paedophile dossier handed to Scotland Yard". Independent. Retrieved 4 April 2015. 
  17. ^ "Scotland Yard Announces End of Investigation Into Claims of VIP Westminster Paedophile Ring". Retrieved 17 May 2016. 
  18. ^ John Mann (12 September 2015). "More positions than the Kama Sutra - and not up to the job". Daily Mail. Retrieved 3 May 2016. 
  19. ^ Swinford, Steven (23 July 2015). "Jeremy Corbyn accused of inaction over paedophile scandal". Telegraph. Retrieved 2 May 2016. 
  20. ^ "Labour MP John Mann refuses to back Jeremy Corbyn". BBC News. 18 November 2015. Retrieved 3 May 2016. 
  21. ^ "EU referendum: Labour MP John Mann to vote for Brexit". BBC News. 10 June 2016. Retrieved 14 June 2016. 
  22. ^ Why I'm Voting Out on June 23rd - John Mann MP official site, 10 June 2016
  23. ^ "PCAA Foundation". Retrieved November 2012. 
  24. ^ John Mann (7 May 2009). "British MP, John Mann, accepts Jan Karski Award". American Jewish Committee. Retrieved 5 February 2010.  (speech transcript)
  25. ^ Elgot, Jessica (28 March 2013). "UCU 'Not Anti-Semitic' Tribunal Rules After Case By Academic Friends Of Israel Campaigner Ronnie Fraser". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 11 May 2016. 
  26. ^ Rocker, Simon (4 April 2013). "Anti-Israel union case was ‘act of epic folly’". Jewish Chronicle. Retrieved 11 May 2016. 
  27. ^ Bar Hillel, Mira (7 October 2013). "The Daily Mail's feature on Ralph Miliband was many things; but Anti-Semitic it was not". Daily Mail. Retrieved 11 May 2016. 
  28. ^ Withnall, Adam (28 April 2016). "Ken Livingstone accused of being 'Nazi apologist' by Labour MP John Mann". The Independent. Retrieved 28 April 2016. 
  29. ^ Reed, James (28 April 2016). "Livingstone suspended as Bradford MP’s anti-Semitism row triggers Labour meltdown". The Yorkshire Post. Retrieved 2 May 2016. 
  30. ^ Parker, George; Pickard, Jim (28 April 2016). "Corbyn allies fear his enemies will exploit anti-Semitism row". Financial Times (London). Retrieved 28 April 2016. 
  31. ^ Batty, David (21 November 2015). "Labour MP John Mann attacks Ken Livingstone over 'psychiatric help' row". Independent. Retrieved 29 April 2016. 
  32. ^ Elgot, Jessica; Rawlinson, Kevin; Quinn, Ben; Morris, Steven (29 April 2016). "Labour antisemitism crisis: Livingstone vows to fight suspension – as it happened". The Guardian. Retrieved 30 April 2016. 
  33. ^ Mann, John (4 May 2016). "If Labour cannot combat racism then we are nothing". The Jewish Chronicle. Retrieved 4 May 2016. 
  34. ^ BBC 23 September 2003 (News).
  35. ^ Mann, J (2002) Heroin in Bassetlaw
  36. ^ Townsend, Mark (23 July 2006). "Anti-heroin project transforms towns". The Guardian (London). 
  37. ^ Mann, John (23 July 2006). Tom Hampson, ed. The Real Deal: Drugs Policy That Works (Fabian Policy Report). Fabian Society. ISBN 978-0-7163-3060-8. Retrieved 11 April 2014. 
  38. ^ Sue Hamilton, John Mann (September 2010). Organising to win (PDF) (Report). Progress. Retrieved 5 May 2016. 
  39. ^ "'I'll fight it tooth and nail'". Worksop Guardian. 31 January 2003. Retrieved 5 May 2016. 
  40. ^ "'More unrest' at Bassetlaw A&E following controversy". Worksop Guardian. 14 March 2003. Retrieved 5 May 2016. 
  41. ^ "Don't swindle our miners says MP". 16 January 2004. Archived from the original on 11 April 2014. Retrieved 11 April 2014. 
  42. ^ "MP John Mann wins grave topple test campaign". 20 January 2009. Archived from the original on 11 April 2014. Retrieved 11 April 2014. 

External links[edit]

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