John Woodcock (politician)

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OSCE John Woodcock election observers Minsk.jpg
Woodcock in 2015

John Zak Woodcock[1] (born 14 October 1978)[2] is a British Labour Co-operative politician who has been the Member of Parliament (MP) for Barrow and Furness since 2010.

Early life and career[edit]

Woodcock was born in Sheffield, attended the University of Edinburgh and worked as an aide to John Hutton from 2005 to 2008 and later as Special Adviser to Prime Minister Gordon Brown.[3][4]

Parliamentary career[edit]

Woodcock was elected to the House of Commons as Member of Parliament for Barrow and Furness in the 2010 general election with a majority of 5,208.[5] He succeeded John Hutton, Labour MP for the constituency since 1992.

On 10 October 2010, only five months after being elected to Parliament, he was named a Shadow Minister for Transport. He stepped down from this post in January 2013. From July 2011 to January 2013 Woodcock was Chair of Labour Friends of Israel.[6]

He was also a member of the Public Bill Committee for the Defence Reform Act 2014[7]

Until 2015, Woodcock was the chair of Progress, a ginger group within the Labour Party, promoting Blairite policies within the party.[8]

In March 2015, Woodcock was reported to the UK Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards to determine whether his office had breached parliamentary rules. The investigation concerned his office's use of public funds for postage-paid envelopes and whether this contravened a rule which prohibits public funds being used to support the return of a person to public office. The postage-paid envelopes had been used in relation to a local Save Our Hospital campaign, an issue the local Conservative candidate claimed was prominent on Woodcock's 2015 General Election campaign leaflets.[9] During the Commission's investigation Woodcock admitted that he should not have used public funds for such a purpose and the Commissioner upheld the complaint, finding that Woodcock contravened parliamentary rules. Woodcock returned the £1881.22, which his office had spent on the envelopes, to the House of Commons.[10]

In December 2013, Woodcock publicly announced he was suffering from depression and is now having treatment for the condition.[11]

Since Jeremy Corbyn was elected leader of the Labour Party in a landslide, Woodcock has been a strong critic, claiming Labour was "fucked".[12] In March 2016, Woodcock penned an article critical of Corbyn, which resulted in backlash against him.[13][14][15] Shortly after the announcement of the 2017 general election, Woodcock said he "will not countenance" voting to place Corbyn into Downing Street because of the Labour leader's opposition to the "Trident renewal programme" and would seek his constituency party's re-nomination.[16][17]

Personal life[edit]

Woodcock was married to Mandy Telford, former President of the National Union of Students.[18] They have two daughters. The couple separated in late 2014, and Telford returned to live in Scotland with the children.[19] They divorced in 2015.[18]


  1. ^ "No. 59418". The London Gazette. 13 May 2010. p. 8740. 
  2. ^ "John Woodcock MP". BBC Democracy Live. BBC. Retrieved 25 July 2010. 
  3. ^ "Meet Labour's man set to replace John Hutton". North-West Evening Mail. 19 June 2009. Retrieved 8 May 2010. 
  4. ^ Jess Freeman (9 July 2010). "NUS presidents: where are they now?". Total Politics. Retrieved 13 July 2010. 
  5. ^ "Barrow & Furness". BBC News. Retrieved 8 May 2010. 
  6. ^ Dysch, Marcus (5 July 2011). "Labour Friends of Israel name new chair". The Jewish Chronicle. Retrieved 21 October 2011. 
  7. ^ "House of Commons Public Bill Committee on the Defence Reform Bill 2013–14". Retrieved 17 September 2013. 
  8. ^ "Alison McGovern elected chair of Progress". Progress Online. Retrieved 30 November 2015. 
  9. ^ "Barrow MP reported to watchdog over envelopes for raffle". North-West Evening Mail 5 March 2015. Retrieved 20 March 2015. 
  10. ^ "Complaint about Mr John Woodcock MP" (PDF). Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards. Retrieved 30 November 2015. 
  11. ^ I am depressed and I have decided to get help The Independent, 5 December 2013. Retrieved 1 January 2014.
  12. ^ "Wrecker Woodcock refuses to apologise for FBU slur". Morning Star. Retrieved on 1 July 2016.
  13. ^ Woodcock, John (24 March 2016). "Labour MP urges colleagues to rally against Jeremy Corbyn". The Mirror. Retrieved on 1 July 2016.
  14. ^, (26 March 2016). "John Woodcock told to accept 'democratic decision' to elect Jeremy Corbyn". Politics Home. Retrieved on 1 July 2016.
  15. ^, (26 March 2016). "Jeremy Corbyn urged to act over Momentum mental health jibe". Politics Home. Retrieved on 1 July 2016.
  16. ^ Schofield, Kevin (18 April 2017). "Labour MP John Woodcock: I can't vote for Jeremy Corbyn to be Prime Minister". Politics Home. Retrieved 19 April 2017. 
  17. ^ Mason, Rowena; Elgot, Jessica (18 April 2017). "Corbyn's decision to back election causes serious concerns among his MPs". The Guardian. Retrieved 19 April 2017. 
  18. ^ a b Prince, Rosa (7 August 2015). "Liz Kendall hits out at unfounded sex smears". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 4 May 2017. 
  19. ^ "Anna Smith". The Westmorland Gazette. 27 November 2014. Retrieved 4 May 2017. 

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
John Hutton
Member of Parliament for Barrow and Furness