Lucy Powell

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Lucy Powell
Shadow Secretary of State for Education
In office
13 September 2015 – 26 June 2016
Leader Jeremy Corbyn
Shadowing Nicky Morgan
Preceded by Tristram Hunt
Succeeded by Pat Glass
Shadow Minister for the Cabinet Office
In office
5 November 2014 – 13 September 2015
Leader Ed Miliband
Harriet Harman (Acting)
Shadowing Francis Maude
Matthew Hancock
Preceded by Michael Dugher
Succeeded by Tom Watson
Member of Parliament
for Manchester Central
Assumed office
15 November 2012
Preceded by Tony Lloyd
Majority 31,445 (63.2%)
Personal details
Born Lucy Maria Powell
(1974-10-10) 10 October 1974 (age 43)
Manchester, England
Political party Labour Co-operative
Children 2 children
Alma mater Somerville College, Oxford
King's College London
Website Official website

Lucy Maria Powell (born 10 October 1974)[1] is a British Labour and Co-operative politician who has served as the Member of Parliament (MP) Manchester Central since winning the seat at a by-election in November 2012.

In September 2015 she was appointed Shadow Secretary of State for Education in Jeremy Corbyn's shadow cabinet, but formed part of the mass resignation in June 2016.

Early life[edit]

Powell was born in Moss Side. She attended Beaver Road Primary School and Parrs Wood High School in the suburb of Didsbury, and then studied for A-levels at Xaverian College.[2] She read Chemistry at Somerville College, Oxford and King's College London, gaining a Bachelor of Science (BSc).[3]

Powell joined the Labour Party at the age of fifteen.

Political career[edit]

Powell began her career working as a parliamentary assistant for Beverley Hughes MP after having worked at the Labour Party Headquarters in Millbank Tower during the 1997 general election campaign.[4]

She joined the pro-Euro and pro-EU Treaty pressure group Britain in Europe (BiE) originally in a public relations role and later as head of regional campaigning.[5] She later replaced Simon Buckby as Campaign Director of BiE and in this capacity she worked with Chris Patten, Neil Kinnock, Nick Clegg and Danny Alexander.[6]

After Britain in Europe was wound down in June 2005 because of the referendum "No" votes in France and the Netherlands, she worked for the non-departmental public body or quango NESTA (the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts) inititally in a public affairs role and later to establish and manage the Manchester Innovation Fund project.

She was selected as Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Manchester Withington in April 2007 to contest the seat against the incumbent Liberal Democrat Member of Parliament, John Leech for the 2010 general election. In her leaflets Powell promised to stick up for Withington residents and stay in the area. She failed to defeat Leech at the 2010 general election.

From May 2010 to September 2010 Powell managed Ed Miliband's successful campaign for the Labour Party leadership.[7] She then served as Ed Miliband's acting and later deputy chief of staff from September 2010 to April 2012.

She was selected by the local Constituency Labour Party (CLP) in April 2012 for the 15 November 2012 Manchester Central by-election. She was chosen (with 400 party members eligible to vote) from a shortlist of four candidates which also included local councillors Mike Amesbury and Rosa Battle and the London councillor Patrick Vernon. The by-election was triggered by Tony Lloyd who stepped down as its MP to contest the England and Wales Police and Crime Commissioner elections, 2012 for Greater Manchester Police area.

Member of Parliament (2012–present)[edit]

Powell was elected at the Manchester Central by-election held in November 2012. She won the election with a majority of 9,936 votes[8] and is Manchester's first female Labour member of parliament.[9] The voter turnout of 18.2% at the by-election is believed to be the lowest in a by-election since the Second World War.[10] Powell also became the only woman elected from Manchester since 1964.[11]

A month after her election, Powell announced she was pregnant with her second child. On 27 May 2013 she gave birth to a boy, Tom James Williamson.[12] In December, The Sun published a news story featuring a list of the "Top 10 Laziest MPs" based on voting records, without acknowledging that Powell had been on maternity leave.[13] The article also failed to note that Powell had been paired.[13] The Sun removed the article from its website and printed an apology to Powell.[14]

In November 2014, she was appointed shadow Cabinet Office minister and vice-chair of the 2015 General Election campaign by Ed Miliband.[15] In the 2015 general election campaign, Labour suffered a net loss of 26 seats including 40 in Scotland.[16] She wrote a letter of protest to the BBC about their coverage of the election, saying: "Your bulletins and output have become disproportionately focused on the SNP and Tory claims that Labour would enter into a deal which would damage the rest of the UK … We strongly object not only to the scale of your coverage but also the apparent abandonment of any basic news values, with so much reporting now becoming extremely repetitive".[17]

She was heavily criticised for apparently suggesting that Labour's election pledges were liable to be broken. Talking about the so-called EdStone, she commented: "I don't think anyone is suggesting that the fact that he's carved them into stone means that he is absolutely not going to break them or anything like that." She said that she had been quoted out of context.[18] She was also responsible for Ed Miliband's interview with Russell Brand.[19] As a result of these actions coupled to the result, Tanya Gold writing for The Sunday Times described her as "discredited".[20] In response to the result Powell stated, "I bear my share of responsibility in this".[21]

Powell was appointed as Shadow Education Secretary on 13 September 2015 by Jeremy Corbyn, succeeding Tristram Hunt. As Shadow Education Secretary, she argued for bringing free schools and academies under Local Education Authority control.[22] She resigned from the Shadow Cabinet on 26 June 2016, along with dozens of shadow cabinet colleagues unhappy with Corbyn's leadership.[23][24] In September 2017, the political commentator Iain Dale placed Powell at Number 81 in 'The 100 Most Influential People on the Left'.[25]

Political views[edit]

In a July 2012 interview, she stated: "I've always said it's never been economically right for Britain to be part of the Euro, but I've always argued that Britain should be at the centre of Europe rather than on its fringes".[26]

Although 60.36% of her Manchester constituents voted to Remain in the EU,[27] on 1 February 2017 Lucy Powell voted in favour of Theresa May triggering Article 50 and beginning the formal Brexit procedure.[28]

Personal life[edit]

She is married to James Williamson, an emergency medicine doctor, and has three children – a step-son, daughter and a son who was born on 27 May 2013.[26]

She supports Manchester City football club.[29]


  1. ^ "The Next Generation: Parliamentary Candidates to Watch" (PDF). Insight Public Affairs. 2009. Retrieved 22 November 2012. 
  2. ^ Administrator, men (28 April 2010). "Lucy Powell (Lab)". 
  3. ^ "About Lucy". Retrieved 23 May 2017. 
  4. ^ "PPC Profile: Lucy Powell - LabourList". 7 July 2009. 
  5. ^ "EU referendum question revealed". Daily Mail. London. 2005-01-26. 
  6. ^ Patrick Wintour, chief political correspondent (2004-09-24). "Kinnock joins Europe campaign | Politics". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 2012-11-16. 
  7. ^ "About Lucy | Lucy Powell for Manchester Central". Retrieved 2012-11-16. 
  8. ^ "Labour's Lucy Powell elected MP for Manchester Central | Granada – ITV News". 2012-11-12. Retrieved 2012-11-16. 
  9. ^ "Lucy Powell wins Manchester Central by-election for Labour – but with lowest turnout since WWII | Manchester Evening News". Retrieved 2012-11-16. 
  10. ^ Arif Ansari (1970-01-01). "BBC News – Labour's Lucy Powell wins Manchester Central election". Retrieved 2012-11-16. 
  11. ^ Florence Horsbrugh was a Manchester member from 1950 to 1959, and Eveline Hill from 1950 to 1964 The Big Interview at
  12. ^ "Manchester Central MP Lucy Powell celebrates birth of her second child". Manchester Evening News. 2013-05-27. Retrieved 2013-12-31. 
  13. ^ a b Adam Withnall (2013-12-15). "Sun apologises after branding pregnant MP Lucy Powell 'lazy'". London: The Independent. Retrieved 2012-12-31. 
  14. ^ Fung, Katherine (2013-12-18). "The Sun Apologizes For Calling Woman On Maternity Leave 'Lazy'". Huffington Post. Retrieved 2013-12-31. 
  15. ^ "Lucy Powell: Mancunian streetfighter taking on key role in Labour campaign". Guardian. 14 November 2014. Retrieved 14 November 2014. 
  16. ^ "Election 2015 Results: Conservatives win 12 seat majority". BBC News. Retrieved 7 June 2015. 
  17. ^ Wintour, Patrick. "The undoing of Ed Miliband: and how Labour lost the election". The Guardian. GMG. Retrieved 7 June 2015. 
  18. ^ "Lucy Powell denies doubts over Labour's election pledges". BBC News. Retrieved 7 June 2015. 
  19. ^ "Lucy Powell: the campaign genius behind the 'Milibrand' interview". The Spectator. The Spectator Magazine. Retrieved 7 June 2015. 
  20. ^ Gold, Tanya (31 May 2015). "It's all about the Brand". The Sunday Times. London. Retrieved 7 June 2015.  (subscription required)
  21. ^ Fitzgerald, Todd. "Lucy Powell: I'll share the blame for Labour's poor election result". Manchester Evening News. MEN Media. Retrieved 7 June 2015. 
  22. ^ The Independent 26/9/2015
  23. ^ Thomas, Joe (26 June 2016). "Jeremy Corbyn leadership crisis LIVE". 
  24. ^ Syal, Rajeev; Perraudin, Frances; Slawson, Nicola (27 June 2016). "Shadow cabinet resignations: who has gone and who is staying". The Guardian. Retrieved 14 September 2016. 
  25. ^ Dale, Iain (25 September 2017). "The 100 Most Influential People On The Left: Iain Dale's 2017 List". LBC. Retrieved 2017-10-31. 
  26. ^ a b "Interview: 'Hackgate hero' Tom Watson & Labour's Lucy Powell on the Manchester Central by-election campaign trail". Mancunian Matters. 2012-07-07. Retrieved 2012-11-16. 
  27. ^ "Referendum: 'EU referendum: Manchester votes to remain". 2016-06-24. Retrieved 2017-02-01. 
  28. ^ "Article50: 'Article 50 Brexit vote: Full list of MPs who backed Theresa May starting official EU negotiations - and those who voted against". 2017-02-01. Retrieved 2017-02-01. 
  29. ^ Powell, Lucy (2008-02-07). "About Lucy Powell | Politics |". London: Guardian. Retrieved 2012-11-16. 

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Tony Lloyd
Member of Parliament
for Manchester Central

Political offices
Preceded by
Michael Dugher
Shadow Minister for the Cabinet Office
Succeeded by
Tom Watson
Preceded by
Tristram Hunt
Shadow Secretary of State for Education
Succeeded by
Pat Glass