Melanie Onn

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Melanie Onn

Official portrait of Melanie Onn.jpg
Member of Parliament
for Great Grimsby
Assumed office
7 May 2015
Preceded byAustin Mitchell
Majority2,565 (7.2%)
Personal details
Born (1979-06-19) 19 June 1979 (age 39)
Grimsby, Lincolnshire, England
Political partyLabour
Alma materMiddlesex University

Melanie Onn (born 19 June 1979) is a British Labour Party politician who was elected as the Member of Parliament (MP) for Great Grimsby in May 2015.[1] She previously served as Shadow Deputy Leader of the House of Commons from September 2015 to June 2016 and Shadow Minister for Housing from July 2017 to March 2019. She retained her seat in the 2017 general election with a majority of 2,565.[2]

Early life and career[edit]

Born in Grimsby Onn attended both Healing primary and secondary schools. At the age of 17 Onn was supported by Doorstep, a Grimsby-based charity which provides housing support to young people.[3] Onn was educated at Franklin College, Grimsby, and studied Politics, Philosophy and International Studies at the University of Middlesex.[4][5]

Onn worked for 10 years at the Labour Party's head office, becoming the head of the party's Compliance Unit.[6] In 2009, she stood in the European Parliament elections for the Yorkshire and Humber region, placed fifth on Labour's regional list.[7] From 2010, she was a regional organiser for the public sector trade union UNISON.[8]

Parliamentary career[edit]

Onn was selected as the Labour candidate for Great Grimsby from an all-women shortlist in July 2014, following the announcement that the sitting MP, Austin Mitchell, would retire at the next election.[9] In the 2015 general election, she retained the seat for her party with a majority of 4,540, up from 714 in the previous election.[10]

After having been elected, Onn met with the then Prime Minister David Cameron, to discuss the future of a Grimsby seafood firm, Young's Seafood, which was due to cut hundreds of jobs after losing a major contract to Sainsbury's.[11] Onn successfully negotiated £1.3 million for the site, helping to keep jobs in Grimsby.[citation needed]

Onn is an advocate of the renewable energy industry and has worked to promote the industry in Grimsby, which Tom Bawden in a 2016 article in The Independent newspaper described as the 'renewable energy capital of England'.[12]

On 20 July 2015, she abstained from the vote on the Conservative government's Welfare Reform and Work Bill, which restricted child benefit to the first two children in a family and lowers the benefit cap from £26,000 to £20,000 per household.[13] The bill was voted through by 308 to 124 Members of Parliament, despite 48 Labour MPs disobeying the party line of abstention by voting against the bill.[14]

In September 2015, Onn was appointed Shadow Deputy Leader of the House of Commons, working alongside Shadow Leader Chris Bryant.[15]

Onn campaigned for Britain to remain in the European Union, despite her constituency ultimately voting to leave by one of the largest margins in the country.[16][17] Following the result, she voted in the House of Commons to trigger Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union, the process by which member states may withdraw from the European Union, stating that it would be ‘wrong’ to attempt to block the outcome of the referendum.[18] In September 2017, she voted against the EU Withdrawal Bill, in line with the Labour party whip.[19]

She was among many shadow ministers from Labour's frontbench to resign in summer 2016. In her 27 June letter of resignation as Shadow Deputy Leader of the Commons, she told Jeremy Corbyn that the party would remain divided as long as he stayed in post.[20]

On 7 September 2016, Onn introduced a private members' bill to protect workers' rights in British law after Brexit. The bill was scheduled for its second reading in the House of Commons on 13 January 2017, but was successfully filibustered by Conservative members of Parliament.[21][22]

On 3 July 2017, she returned to the Labour front bench in the position of Shadow Housing Minister.[23]

In March 2018, Onn suggested a change in law in order to classify wolf-whistles and cat-calls as hate crimes. In response to criticism, she defended her campaign and said there was a problem in Grimsby relating to attitudes towards women and relationships.[24][25]

On 27 March 2019, she resigned from the Labour front bench for a second time to vote against a second Brexit referendum.[26]

Onn is a campaigner to change the law to give greater protection to alleged rape victims. Following the R v Evans case, she said that "going through the victim’s sexual history is much more likely to put people off reporting".[27] She is also an Ambassador for the kinship care charity Mentor and is a supporter of the Family Rights Group.[28]


  1. ^ "2015 General Election - Great Grimsby Result". BBC News. Retrieved 8 May 2015.
  2. ^ "Great Grimsby parliamentary constituency - Election 2017". BBC News. Retrieved 31 July 2017.
  3. ^ "Labour's General Election candidate for Grimsby Melanie Onn adjusting to taking centre stage role". Grimsby Telegraph. 20 December 2014. Retrieved 16 May 2017.
  4. ^ "Melanie Onn chosen as Labour's parliamentary candidate for Great Grimsby". Grimsby Telegraph. 28 July 2014. Archived from the original on 18 May 2015. Retrieved 11 May 2015.
  5. ^ "Melanie Onn selected as Great Grimsby Labour candidate". BBC News. 27 July 2014. Retrieved 11 May 2015.
  6. ^
  7. ^ "European elections 2009: Yorkshire & the Humber region". The Telegraph. Retrieved 10 September 2016.
  8. ^ "PPC selected in key marginal seat Great Grimsby | LabourList". Retrieved 10 September 2016.
  9. ^ "Melanie Onn selected as Great Grimsby Labour candidate". BBC News. 27 July 2014. Retrieved 25 July 2016.
  10. ^ "Great Grimsby: Parliamentary Constituency". BBC News. 8 May 2015. Retrieved 25 July 2016.
  11. ^ "Prime Minister to consider Young's support after meeting with Grimsby and Cleethorpes MPs". Grimsby Telegraph. 16 July 2015. Retrieved 16 May 2017.
  12. ^ "Grimsby is being reborn as the renewable energy capital of England". The Independent. 6 February 2016. Retrieved 16 May 2017.
  13. ^ "Welfare bill: These are the 184 Labour MPs who didn't vote against the Tories' cuts". The Independent. Retrieved 22 July 2015.
  14. ^ Welfare cuts backed amid Labour revolt - BBC News. Retrieved 22 July 2015.
  15. ^ Chakelian, Anoosh (18 September 2015). "Jeremy Corbyn's shadow cabinet: the full list of ministers". New Statesman. Retrieved 19 September 2015.
  16. ^ "EU vote: Where the cabinet and other MPs stand". BBC News. 22 June 2016. Retrieved 16 May 2017.
  17. ^ "EU Referendum Results". BBC News. Retrieved 16 May 2017.
  18. ^ "Melanie Onn: It would be 'wrong' to try to block Brexit after referendum". Grimsby Telegraph. 9 December 2016. Retrieved 16 May 2017.
  19. ^ "Grimsby MP Melanie Onn to vote against EU Withdrawal Bill as it could 'cut' workers' rights - Grimsby Live". Grimsby Telegraph. 7 September 2017. Retrieved 27 July 2018.
  20. ^ "Grimsby MP Melanie Onn resigns from Shadow Cabinet post and urges Jeremy Corbyn to step down". Grimsby Telegraph. 27 June 2016. Retrieved 27 June 2016.
  21. ^ "Workers' Rights (Maintenance of EU Standards) - Hansard Online". Retrieved 16 May 2017.
  22. ^ "Broadcasting (Radio Multiplex Services) Bill - Hansard Online". Retrieved 16 May 2017.
  23. ^ "Reshuffle 2: The Maintenance of the Malcontents". New Socialist. 8 July 2017. Retrieved 10 July 2017.
  24. ^ "Melanie Onn MP says misogyny hate crime call could cut Grimsby's 'excessively high rate of domestic violence' - Grimsby Live". Grimsby Telegraph. 7 March 2018. Retrieved 27 July 2018.
  25. ^ Jessica Elgot Political correspondent. "Make catcalling a hate crime, Labour MP to urge parliament | World news". The Guardian. Retrieved 27 July 2018.
  26. ^ "Grimsby MP Melanie Onn resigns from Labour role to vote AGAINST new Brexit referendum". Grimsby Telegraph. 27 March 2019. Retrieved 28 March 2019.
  27. ^ "Law over rape victims could change after Ched Evans case". Retrieved 16 May 2017.
  28. ^ "News & blog". Retrieved 16 May 2017.

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Austin Mitchell
Member of Parliament
for Great Grimsby