Lucy Powell

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Lucy Powell

Official portrait of Lucy Powell.jpg
Shadow Secretary of State for Education
In office
13 September 2015 – 26 June 2016
LeaderJeremy Corbyn
ShadowingNicky Morgan
Preceded byTristram Hunt
Succeeded byPat Glass
Shadow Minister for the Cabinet Office
In office
5 November 2014 – 13 September 2015
LeaderEd Miliband
Harriet Harman (Acting)
ShadowingFrancis Maude
Matthew Hancock
Preceded byMichael Dugher
Succeeded byTom Watson
Member of Parliament
for Manchester Central
Assumed office
15 November 2012
Preceded byTony Lloyd
Majority31,445 (63.2%)
Personal details
Lucy Maria Powell

(1974-10-10) 10 October 1974 (age 44)
Manchester, England
Political partyLabour and Co-operative
Spouse(s)James Williamson
Children2 children
Alma materSomerville College, Oxford
King's College London
WebsiteOfficial 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.[citation needed]

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) initially in a public affairs role and later to establish and manage the Manchester Innovation Fund project.[citation needed]

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 served as Miliband's acting and later deputy chief of staff from September 2010 to April 2012.[citation needed] 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.[citation needed]

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] 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 2014, 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 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 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]

In September 2018, Powell introduced legislation in the House of Commons against radicalisation within secret online groups.[26]

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.[27]

She supports Manchester City football club.[28]


  1. ^ "The Next Generation: Parliamentary Candidates to Watch" (PDF). Insight Public Affairs. 2009. Retrieved 22 November 2012.[permanent dead link]
  2. ^ Administrator, men (28 April 2010). "Lucy Powell (Lab)". Archived from the original on 30 September 2015.
  3. ^ "About Lucy". Archived from the original on 9 June 2017. Retrieved 23 May 2017.
  4. ^ "PPC Profile: Lucy Powell - LabourList". 7 July 2009. Archived from the original on 10 March 2014.
  5. ^ "EU referendum question revealed". Daily Mail. London, UK. 26 January 2005. Archived from the original on 19 April 2013.
  6. ^ Patrick Wintour, chief political correspondent (24 September 2004). "Kinnock joins Europe campaign". London, UK: The Guardian. Archived from the original on 28 August 2013. Retrieved 16 November 2012.
  7. ^ "About Lucy Powell". Archived from the original on 25 October 2012. Retrieved 16 November 2012.
  8. ^ "Labour's Lucy Powell elected MP for Manchester Central". 12 Bovember 2012. Archived from the original on 16 November 2012. Retrieved 16 November 2012. Check date values in: |date= (help)
  9. ^ "Lucy Powell wins Manchester Central by-election for Labour – but with lowest turnout since WWII". Archived from the original on 19 November 2012. Retrieved 16 November 2012.
  10. ^ Arif Ansari. "Labour's Lucy Powell wins Manchester Central election". Archived from the original on 16 November 2012. Retrieved 16 November 2012.
  11. ^ Florence Horsbrugh was a Manchester member from 1950-59, and Eveline Hill from 1950-64 The Big Interview Archived 20 November 2012 at the Wayback Machine,; accessed 13 May 2018.
  12. ^ "Manchester Central MP Lucy Powell celebrates birth of her second child". Manchester Evening News. 27 May 2013. Archived from the original on 1 January 2014. Retrieved 31 December 2013.
  13. ^ a b Adam Withnall (15 December 2013). "Sun apologises after branding pregnant MP Lucy Powell 'lazy'". London, UK: The Independent. Archived from the original on 16 December 2013. Retrieved 31 December 2012.
  14. ^ Fung, Katherine (18 December 2013). "The Sun Apologizes For Calling Woman On Maternity Leave 'Lazy'". Huffington Post. Archived from the original on 23 December 2013. Retrieved 31 December 2012.
  15. ^ "Lucy Powell: Mancunian streetfighter taking on key role in Labour campaign". Guardian. 14 November 2014. Archived from the original on 29 November 2014. Retrieved 13 May 2018.
  16. ^ "Election 2015 Results: Conservatives win 12 seat majority". BBC News. Archived from the original on 10 May 2015. Retrieved 7 June 2015.
  17. ^ Wintour, Patrick. "The undoing of Ed Miliband: and how Labour lost the election". The Guardian. GMG. Archived from the original on 6 June 2015. Retrieved 7 June 2015.
  18. ^ "Lucy Powell denies doubts over Labour's election pledges". BBC News. Archived from the original on 7 May 2015. Retrieved 7 June 2015.
  19. ^ "Lucy Powell: the campaign genius behind the 'Milibrand' interview". The Spectator. The Spectator Magazine. Archived from the original on 3 June 2015. Retrieved 7 June 2015.
  20. ^ Gold, Tanya (31 May 2015). "It's all about the Brand". The Sunday Times. London. Archived from the original on 6 August 2015. 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. Archived from the original on 20 July 2015. Retrieved 7 June 2015.
  22. ^ The Independent, 26 September 2015.
  23. ^ Thomas, Joe (26 June 2016). "Jeremy Corbyn leadership crisis LIVE". Archived from the original on 26 June 2016.
  24. ^ Syal, Rajeev; Perraudin, Frances; Slawson, Nicola (27 June 2016). "Shadow cabinet resignations: who has gone and who is staying". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 22 July 2016. Retrieved 14 September 2016.
  25. ^ Dale, Iain (25 September 2017). "The 100 Most Influential People On The Left: Iain Dale's 2017 List". LBC. Archived from the original on 25 September 2017. Retrieved 31 October 2017.
  26. ^ "British Lawmaker Wants to Ban Your Private Facebook Groups Because She Worries You're Using Hate Speech".
  27. ^ "Interview: 'Hackgate hero' Tom Watson & Labour's Lucy Powell on the Manchester Central by-election campaign trail". Mancunian Matters. 7 July 2012. Archived from the original on 13 November 2012. Retrieved 16 November 2012.
  28. ^ Powell, Lucy (7 February 2008). "About Lucy Powell | Politics |". London: Guardian. Archived from the original on 6 October 2014. Retrieved 16 November 2012.

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