Louise Ellman

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Louise Ellman
Louise Ellman Oct 2007.jpg
Chair of the Transport Select Committee
Assumed office
21 May 2008
Preceded by Gwyneth Dunwoody
Member of Parliament
for Liverpool Riverside
Assumed office
1 May 1997
Preceded by Robert Parry
Majority 24,463 (55.3%)
Personal details
Born (1945-11-14) 14 November 1945 (age 70)
Manchester, Lancashire, England
Nationality British
Political party Labour Co-operative
Spouse(s) Geoffrey Ellman
Children 2
Alma mater University of Hull
Religion Judaism

Louise Joyce Ellman[1] (born 14 November 1945) is a British Labour Co-operative politician who has been the Member of Parliament (MP) for Liverpool Riverside since 1997. In Parliament, she is Chair of the Transport Select Committee and a member of the Liaison Committee.

Early life[edit]

Ellman was born in Manchester to a British Jewish family.[2] She was educated at the independent Manchester High School for Girls,[3] before studying at the University of Hull where she received a BA in Sociology and History in 1967, and went on to study Social Administration at the University of York where she was awarded a MPhil in 1972. From 1970, she worked as a lecturer for the Open University in further education, leaving in 1976. She was elected as a councillor on the Lancashire County Council in 1970, becoming the Labour group leader in 1977, and she led the council from 1981 until her election to Parliament. She was Vice Chair of Lancashire Enterprises.

Parliamentary career[edit]

She unsuccessfully contested the Darwen constituency at the 1979 general election where she was defeated by the sitting Conservative MP Charles Fletcher-Cooke by 13,026 votes.

She was elected to Parliament at the 1997 general election for the safe seat of Liverpool Riverside. She held the seat with a majority of 21,799 and has held the seat comfortably at successive general elections. She made her maiden speech on 9 June 1997.[4] She has been a member of the Transport Committee and its predecessor Transport, Local Government and the Regions since she was first elected. Ellman is also the Chair of the Jewish Labour Movement and Vice Chair of Labour Friends of Israel and has been an active spokeswoman in Parliament on issues relating to transport, local government and the Middle East. She has also played an active role in the effort to pressure the Bulgarian government to free Michael Shields, and recently Gillian Gibbons, a teacher jailed in Sudan for blasphemy who has now been pardoned. When elected in 2001, the turnout of the vote in her constituency was the lowest in the country at just 34.1%.

On 21 May 2008, she was selected to become the Chair of the Commons Transport Select Committee, the post having become vacant after the death of Gwyneth Dunwoody MP. She was returned unopposed to that position after the 2015 general election.[5]


Ellman is a member of Labour Friends of Israel. In March 2004 she defended Israeli assassination of Sheikh Yasin, the 66-year-old spiritual leader of Hamas and told Parliament that "Israel’s action in killing Sheikh Yasin was a legitimate response to an extraordinary situation."[6] She voted "very strongly for" the Iraq War, "very strongly against" an investigation into that war, and "very strongly for" renewal of Trident, Britain's nuclear weapons programme. She is a supporter of gay rights and an opponent of foundation hospitals, the un-elected House of Lords, and fox-hunting.[7] In her time in Parliament she has very rarely voted against the Party line.[8]

In April 2010, she voted for the Digital Economy Bill in the "washup" process before the general election.[9]

In January 2011, during a debate on Anti-semitism she asked: "Does the hon. Gentleman share my concern that the anti-Semitism that he describes is rarely opposed by those who declare themselves anti-racist?"[10]

Personal life[edit]

Ellman has been married since 16 July 1967 to Geoffrey Ellman, a pharmacist. She lived in Leeds then moved to Skelmersdale in 1969. They have a son and a daughter.


Sean Ellman[edit]

In March 2010, her son Sean Ellman was exposed in the national newspapers as selling the then legal drug mephedrone, known as meow meow, from a chain of shops across the north of England.[11] (The drug was declared illegal in the European Union in December 2010.) She said: "I disapprove of the trade involving miaow-miaow, legal highs or drugs in general. I am on record speaking out strongly against drugs and will continue to do so."[12] On 16 August 2012 he failed to turn up in court to answer a charge under consumer protection legislation.[13] His lawyer said he was on holiday with his 'respectable family'. Judge Nicholas Sanders said the situation was "utterly unacceptable" and warned that a warrant would be issued if he failed to turn up at the next court hearing on 14 September. On 13 May 2013 Chester Magistrates' Court ruled that there was no case to answer.[14]

2010 Election[edit]

In the 2010 Election campaign leaflets had been distributed in her constituency of Liverpool Riverside targeting Mrs Ellman and Luciana Berger for their membership of Labour Friends of Israel and was headed "Don't vote for Friends of Israel".[15] A leaflet headed "Remember Gaza" and subheaded "Don't vote for Labour Friends of Israel" was written and widely distributed by Liverpool Friends of Palestine and appears on the website LabourNet. An article appeared in the Jewish Chronicle entitled "Racist leaflets against Jewish candidates in Liverpool".[16][17]

Israel: Newsnight 14 February 2011[edit]

On 14 February 2011 she was invited by the BBC evening current affairs programme Newsnight to comment on a televised report shown in the programme, by the children's author Michael Morpurgo. Tensions were raised during the feature between Ellman, Morpurgo and host Jeremy Paxman, exemplified by this quote:

Ellman: "Well, how can they meet and how can they meet without a barrier when Hamas are sending those very children with their explosive belts across to kill Israeli children and Israeli civilians. All of that has to stop, but no one is entirely innocent here."

The BBC adjudication criticised Ellman and said: "It may well be that Mrs Ellman had in mind instances which dated back to 2003 or earlier, but she spoke in the present tense, and in terms which gave the impression that the use of child suicide-bombers by Hamas was a key consideration in the current situation." Mrs Ellman declined to comment.[18]


  1. ^ The London Gazette: no. 59418. p. 8737. 13 May 2010. Retrieved 23 January 2012.
  2. ^ Jessica Elgot. "New Jewish ministers and the Miliband rivalry". The Jewish Chronicle. Retrieved 2015-02-27. 
  3. ^ "Careers of former students". Manchester High School for Girls. Retrieved 2011-07-30. 
  4. ^ Department of the Official Report (Hansard), House of Commons, Westminster (1997-06-09). "House of Commons Hansard Debates for 9 Jun 1997 (pt 23)". Publications.parliament.uk. Retrieved 2015-02-27. 
  5. ^ "Winning candidates for select committee Chairs announced". UK Parliament. 18 June 2015. Retrieved 19 June 2015. 
  6. ^ "House of Commons Tuesday 30 March 2004 Oral Answers to Questions". Commons Hansard. 2004-03-30. 
  7. ^ "Louise Ellman MP, Liverpool, Riverside". TheyWorkForYou. Retrieved 2015-02-27. 
  8. ^ "Voting Record — Louise Ellman MP, Liverpool, Riverside (10186) — The Public Whip". Publicwhip.org.uk. Retrieved 2015-02-27. 
  9. ^ "Voting Record — Louise Ellman MP, Liverpool, Riverside (10186) — The Public Whip". Publicwhip.org.uk. 2007-03-28. Retrieved 2015-02-27. 
  10. ^ "Does the hon. Gentleman share my...: 20 Jan 2011: Westminster Hall debates". TheyWorkForYou. 2011-01-20. Retrieved 2015-02-27. 
  11. ^ "Anti-drugs Labour MP's son sells 'legal high' meow meow from his drug accessory shops". The Daily Mail. 2010-03-26. 
  12. ^ Jenkins, Russell (2010-03-27). "Louise Ellman, Labour MP, 'disapproves' of her son selling mephedrone". London: The Times. Retrieved 2015-02-27. 
  13. ^ "MP's son Sean Ellman fails to attend at court". London: BBC. 16 August 2012. Retrieved 16 August 2012. 
  14. ^ "MP's son Sean Ellman cleared in legal high label case". London: BBC. 13 May 2013. Retrieved 20 May 2013. 
  15. ^ "Racist leaflets against Jewish candidates in Liverpool". Jewish Chronicle. 2010-04-15. 
  16. ^ "Remember Gaza front" (PDF). Labournet.net. Retrieved 2015-02-27. 
  17. ^ "Remember Gaza back" (PDF). Labournet.net. Retrieved 2015-02-27. 
  18. ^ Rosen, Robyn (21 July 2011). "BBC raps Jeremy Paxman on Hamas". The Jewish Community Online. London: The Jewish Chronicle Ltd. Retrieved 23 January 2012. 

External links[edit]

Audio clips[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Robert Parry
Member of Parliament for Liverpool Riverside