Liz Kendall

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Liz Kendall
Liz Kendall, Bristol 2015, cropped.JPG
Shadow Minister for Care and Older People
In office
7 October 2011 – 12 September 2015
Leader Ed Miliband
Harriet Harman (Acting)
Preceded by Position established
Succeeded by Barbara Keeley (Older People, Social Care and Carers)
Member of Parliament
for Leicester West
Assumed office
6 May 2010
Preceded by Patricia Hewitt
Majority 7,203 (20.9%)
Personal details
Born Elizabeth Louise Kendall
(1971-06-11) 11 June 1971 (age 45)
Abbots Langley, United Kingdom
Political party Labour
Alma mater Queens' College, Cambridge
Website Official website

Elizabeth Louise Kendall (born 11 June 1971)[1] is a British Labour Party politician who has been the Member of Parliament (MP) for Leicester West since 2010. In 2011 she was appointed Shadow Minister for Care and Older People and invited to attend meetings of the Shadow Cabinet.[2]

On 10 May 2015, Kendall announced she would stand to be Leader of the Labour Party in the leadership election initiated following the resignation of Ed Miliband.[3] On 12 September, the results were announced with Kendall in fourth and last place.[4]

Early life and career[edit]

Kendall was born and brought up in the village of Abbots Langley in Hertfordshire, near Watford. Her father left school at 16 and worked his way up to become a senior Bank of England official, and her mother was a primary school teacher. Her father was also a local Liberal councillor and her parents involved her in local campaigns as a child. Both of her parents are now active supporters of the Labour Party.

She attended Watford Grammar School for Girls, where she was Head Girl and a contemporary of Geri Halliwell and the Conservative cabinet minister Priti Patel. After leaving school, she read History at Queens' College, Cambridge, where she captained the ladies' football team, and graduated from Cambridge University with a first in 1993.[5]

Kendall joined the Labour Party in 1992 and, after leaving university, worked for the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR)[5] where she became an associate director for health, social care and children’s early years. In 1996, she became a political adviser to Harriet Harman, and her special adviser in the Department for Social Security after the 1997 election.[5]

In 1998, when Harman was sacked from the government, Kendall resigned and was awarded a fellowship by the King's Fund, a health charity. She also wrote a series of research papers for the IPPR and was appointed as the Director of the Maternity Alliance, a charity for pregnant women.[5] She was unsuccessful in an attempt to be selected as Labour's prospective parliamentary candidate for Chesterfield at the 2001 general election.[6]

In 2001, she returned to government to work for Patricia Hewitt, at the Department for Trade and Industry, and then followed her to the Department for Health where she was involved in bringing in the smoking ban in 2006.[5] After Hewitt left government, Kendall became the Director of the Ambulance Services Network, where she remained until 2010.[7][8]

Parliamentary career[edit]

In 2010 Kendall was elected as MP for Leicester West with a majority of 4,017 despite a 7.6% swing away from Labour.[9] She made her maiden speech in a debate on tackling poverty in the UK on 10 June 2010.[10] She was briefly a member of the Education Select Committee between July 2010 and October 2010. She supported David Miliband for the leadership of the Labour Party in 2010.

In Ed Miliband's first reshuffle in October 2010, she joined the Opposition frontbench as Shadow Junior Health Minister where she served under John Healey. In 2011, she contributed along with other Labour MPs and former Labour ministers to The Purple Book, in which she wrote a chapter on the early years and health and social care where she proposed a 'Teach Early Years First' scheme. Later that year, she was appointed to the new role of Shadow Minister for Care and Older People and became an attending member of the shadow cabinet.[2][9]

Labour Party leadership candidacy[edit]

Speaking at a 2015 leadership election meeting in Bristol

On 10 May 2015, Kendall announced that she was standing as a successor to Ed Miliband for the Labour Party's leadership following its defeat in the general election a few days earlier.[11][12] Kendall was regarded by many in the media as the Blairite candidate,[11][12][13] though Kendall stated she would like to be known as the "modernising candidate".[14] In mid-June, Kendall secured the 35 nominations needed for a place in the leadership ballot. Her leadership bid was supported by Shadow Cabinet colleagues Ivan Lewis, Chuka Umunna, Tristram Hunt, Emma Reynolds and Gloria de Piero. Older Labour politicians supporting her included Alan Milburn, Alistair Darling, John Hutton and John Reid.[15][16][17][18][19][20][21][22]

On 19 May 2015, Chesterfield MP Toby Perkins was appointed as her leadership election campaign manager. Her campaign director was Morgan McSweeney, head of the LGA Labour Group. Her director of strategic communications was Mark Ferguson, former editor of LabourList.[23] Other members of her campaign team included Hopi Sen, Margaret McDonagh and Tony Blair's former press spokesman Matthew Doyle.[24] She also had the support of the Blue Labour Group within the Labour Party including figures such as Maurice Glasman and Rowenna Davis.

In June 2015, Kendall's leadership bid received praise from The Sun, who said that she is the "only prayer they [the Labour Party] have". The Sun also praised her for saying "the country comes first" in response to Andy Burnham who said "the Labour Party always comes first" in the Newsnight Labour leadership hustings.[25] Commentators from across the political spectrum said that Kendall is the leadership candidate that the Conservatives "fear the most".[26][27][28] Conservative politicians including George Osborne, Ruth Davidson, Anna Soubry and Philip Davies admitted publicly that Kendall was the leadership candidate that they feared the most.[29][30][31][32]

Kendall finished 4th in the election winning 4.5% (18,857) of the vote.[33]

Resignation from the Shadow cabinet[edit]

Kendall resigned from the Shadow cabinet following the election of Jeremy Corbyn as Labour leader and returned to the backbenches with other Labour shadow ministers.[34]


Economic and fiscal policy[edit]

Kendall has argued that Labour should be "genuinely as passionate about wealth creation as we are about wealth redistribution" and that her party should not just understand business but be "the champion of people who take a risk, create something and make a success of it". Kendall has also said that there is "nothing progressive about racking up debts for the next generation" and it is wrong to spend more on debt interest repayments than on education. Kendall has given support to George Osborne's plan to enshrine in law an overall budget surplus during "normal times" but has called for more detail on the proposals. Kendall has also said that the last Labour government was wrong to run a deficit before the financial crash but that it did not cause the crash.

Kendall has also committed herself to the living wage and said the Low Pay Commission's remit should be extended to encourage more firms to pay it[35] and has said she'd end the exploitation of care workers by preventing firms from ducking the cost of uniform and travel time from their wages. She has also come out in support of worker representation on company boards as part of her plans for economic reform. After the Budget, Kendall commissioned her supporter, the former minister Margaret Hodge, to undertake a review into the £100bn tax reliefs that firms are entitled to.[35]

Defence and foreign policy[edit]

Kendall is a strong pro-European and has spoken in favour of reforming the European Union. She supports an early in/out referendum on Britain's membership of the EU.[14] Kendall has also said that she wants the Labour Party to play a leading role in a cross-party Yes to Europe campaign. Kendall also backed the NATO target to spend at least 2% of GDP on defence.[14] She is in favour of renewing Britain's Trident nuclear submarines.[36] Kendall supports a two-state solution but she abstained on a motion recognising the State of Palestine instead favouring the continuation of the Israeli–Palestinian peace process.[37]


Kendall has spoken about education as a way of tackling inequality. She has spoken in support of expanding the academies programme and keeping the free schools initiative saying that focus should be on the quality of education rather than structures and that investment in the early years should be a priority over cutting university tuition fees.[35][38] Kendall also said that more effort was needed in the education system to raise aspiration for the 'white working class young'.[39] Kendall has also said that as Prime Minister, she would order a review of National Lottery Funding in order to free up funds for early years services.[40]


Kendall on a People's march for the NHS

Kendall has advocated increased patient choice in the NHS,[41] arguing "there will remain a role for the private and voluntary sectors where they can add extra capacity to the NHS or challenges to the system" and with healthcare providers "what matters is what works".[11][12]


Kendall supported the £23,000 benefit cap.[42]


Kendall has given some support to David Cameron's proposal that the right of EU migrants to claim tax credits and benefits should be withdrawn, or delayed for a number of years.[43] She has spoken in favour of the current points-based immigration system and backed tough rules on abuse of the immigration system but has pledged not to try and "out-UKIP UKIP" and spoke of the benefits of immigration in her own constituency.[44]


Kendall has spoken in favour of "radical devolution" to England in order to deal with the West Lothian Question and appointed Tristram Hunt to look at what powers ought to be devolved to England. In July, Kendall came out in favour of English Votes for English Laws. Her leadership rivals favour the formation of a constitutional convention to consider the issue.[45] [46] Kendall has also said that Labour must oppose the 'tyranny of the bureaucratic state' but must also share power at every level so that powers are devolved to communities and individuals too.[47]

Trade unions[edit]

Kendall has come out in support of Labour's links with the trade union movement but has said that both the trade unions and the Labour Party have to change. Kendall has said that if she becomes Prime Minister, she would reverse any changes to trade union and employment rights made by the previous Conservative government.[48] Kendall has also criticised Len McCluskey for threatening to withdraw funding from the Labour Party were his choice of candidate not to be elected.[48][49]

Social issues[edit]

Kendall is a strong supporter of LGBT rights and voted for gay marriage in 2013. Kendall has said that under her leadership, the Labour Party would work with other centre-left parties to end the criminalisation of homosexuality across the world and spoken in favour of Michael Cashman becoming the UK's special envoy on LGBTI issues.[50]

Personal life[edit]

Kendall was previously in a relationship with actor and comedian Greg Davies. They separated a few months before the 2015 general election.[51][52]


  1. ^ "The NHS Confederation Group Company Limited". Dellam Corporate Information. 15 March 2010. Archived from the original on 2 April 2014. Retrieved 21 November 2012. 
  2. ^ a b "Ed Miliband promotes fresh faces to Labour top team". BBC News. Retrieved 2015-06-04. 
  3. ^ "Liz Kendall confirms Labour leadership bid". BBC News. Retrieved 2015-06-04. 
  4. ^ Wintour, Patrick; Mason, Rowena. "Voting closes in Labour leadership election". the Guardian. Retrieved 2015-09-10. 
  5. ^ a b c d e Rosa Prince (27 May 2015). "Liz Kendall: full story of the outsider who became the Labour leadership candidate with the 'mo'". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 17 June 2015. 
  6. ^ Stephen Pollard (16 April 2001). "Hating Tony Blair. With a general election imminent, publishers are eagerly issuing condemnations of new Labour...". New Statesman. Archived from the original on 6 June 2011. 
  7. ^ Biography page Liz Kendall's website
  8. ^ "Comment is Free contributor page". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 1 December 2007. 
  9. ^ a b "Liz Kendall". Parliament UK. Retrieved 26 March 2015. 
  10. ^ "Tackling Poverty in the UK". TheyWorkForYou. 10 June 2010. Archived from the original on 23 October 2012. Retrieved 23 June 2010. 
  11. ^ a b c Merrick, Jane (25 January 2015). "Labour party leadership: Blairite Liz Kendall emerges as a fresh rival to Ed Miliband". Independent. Retrieved 26 March 2015. 
  12. ^ a b c Watt, Holly (1 February 2015). "Blairite MP Liz Kendall emerges as favourite in Labour leadership stakes". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 26 March 2015. 
  13. ^ Tim Shipman (10 May 2015). "Blairite Liz in race to be Labour leader". Sunday Times. Retrieved 17 May 2015. 
  14. ^ a b c Mason, Rowena (21 May 2015). "Liz Kendall: Labour must ditch 'fantasy' that Britain has moved to the left". The Guardian. Retrieved 21 May 2015. 
  15. ^ Lewis, Ivan (25 May 2015). "Why I'm backing Liz Kendall for Labour leader". The New Statesman. Retrieved 25 July 2015. 
  16. ^ Umunna, Chuka (26 May 2015). "Why we are endorsing Liz Kendall for the Labour leadership". The New Statesman. Retrieved 25 July 2015. 
  17. ^ Hope, Christopher (20 May 2015). "Tristram Hunt endorses Liz Kendall for Labour leader". The Telegraph. Retrieved 25 July 2015. 
  18. ^ Jones, Callum (21 July 2015). "Liz Kendall turns photographer . . . and focuses on red tape". The Times. Retrieved 25 July 2015. 
  19. ^ "Milburn Backs Kendall For Labour Leadership". Sky News. 24 June 2015. Retrieved 25 July 2015. 
  20. ^ Darling, Alastair (19 July 2015). "Why I'm backing Liz Kendall for Labour leader". The Guardian. Retrieved 25 July 2015. 
  21. ^ Blanchard, Jack (8 June 2015). "Labour leader hopeful Liz Kendall gets tough on stripping EU migrants of tax credits". The Mirror. Retrieved 25 July 2015. 
  22. ^ Reid, John (5 July 2015). "If Labour wants to win in 2020, it must choose Liz Kendall as leader". The Guardian. Retrieved 25 July 2015. 
  23. ^ Patrick Wintour. "In the running: profiles of the four Labour leadership candidates". the Guardian. 
  24. ^ "Chesterfield MP Toby Perkins campaigns for Kendall for Labour leadership". 
  25. ^ "The Sun Backs Liz Kendall For Labour Leadership After Nuneaton Hustings... Sort Of". The Huffington Post UK. 
  26. ^ "Forget Jeremy Corbyn, I'm backing Liz Kendall for Labour leader – Spectator Blogs". Spectator Blogs. 
  27. ^ "Liz Kendall claims she will be the Labour leader the Tories fear". The news Hub. 
  28. ^ "Diane Abbott's car-crash Sunday Politics interview shows the depth of Labour's denial – Spectator Blogs". Spectator Blogs. 
  29. ^ Dan Bloom (9 September 2015). "George Osborne claims Labour leadership race has ruined 'a generation's work'". mirror. 
  30. ^ "George Osborne: read the full Q&A". 
  31. ^ "Davidson: Corbyn is neo-Marxist in Breton cap talking 1970s politics". Herald Scotland. 
  32. ^
  33. ^ Liz Kendall says she lost the Labour leadership election because she was the 'eat your greens' candidate
  34. ^ Ladywood MP Shabana Mahmood resigns Shadow Cabinet after election of Jeremy Corbyn
  35. ^ a b c "What is Liz Kendall's programme for government?". BBC. 12 August 2015. Retrieved 2 March 2016. 
  36. ^ Ben Riley-Smith (5 June 2015). "Every major Labour leadership candidate backs Trident renewal". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 18 June 2015. 
  37. ^ "Labour should not have voted to recognise Palestine, says leadership candidate Liz Kendall". The Independent. 
  38. ^ Andrew Sparrow (21 May 2015). "Liz Kendall says Labour should champion wealth creation – Politics live". Guardian newspapers. Retrieved 20 June 2015. 
  39. ^ Rowena Mason. "Liz Kendall 'will back white working-class young'". the Guardian. 
  40. ^ "Liz Kendall to order National Lottery funding review if she becomes new Labour leader". The Independent. 
  41. ^ John Rentoul (13 February 2013). "Labour Finds its Voice on NHS Reform". The Independent. Archived from the original on 1 April 2014. 
  42. ^ Graeme Demianyk (2 July 2015). "Labour Leadership Candidate Liz Kendall Says Back Benefits Reform Or Face 'Decades' Out Of Power". Huffington Post. Retrieved 2 March 2016. 
  43. ^ Christopher Hope (7 June 2015). "Blairite Labour leadership contender Liz Kendall backs taking benefits away from EU migrants". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 17 June 2015. 
  44. ^ "Liz Kendall says she wants an Australian-style points-based immigration system". The Independent. 
  45. ^ "Liz Kendall urges Labour to embrace 'English votes for English laws'". The Independent. 
  46. ^ "Liz Kendall: England needs radical devolution". 
  47. ^ Liz Kendall. "People power should be front and centre in Labour's new political vision". the Guardian. 
  48. ^ a b "A letter from a trade unionist to Britain's trade unionists". 
  49. ^ "Kendall attacks Red Len as she sets out Blairite stall for Labour leadership". Sun Nation. 
  50. ^ "Liz Kendall: We have a duty to push LGBTI equality worldwide". Gay Star News. 
  51. ^ Emine Saner (20 May 2015). "Greg Davies Interview". The Guardian. Retrieved 21 May 2015. 
  52. ^ Donald MacIntyre (22 May 2015). "Liz Kendall: Is Labour's smart, articulate rising star the heir to Tony Blair?". The Independent. Retrieved 26 May 2015. 

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Patricia Hewitt
Member of Parliament
for Leicester West

Political offices
New office Shadow Minister for Care and Older People
Succeeded by
Barbara Keeley
as Shadow Minister for Older People, Social Care and Carers