Olivia Blake

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Olivia Blake

Official portrait of Olivia Blake MP crop 2.jpg
Blake in 2019
Shadow Minister for Nature, Water and Flooding
Assumed office
14 May 2021
LeaderKeir Starmer
Preceded byStephanie Peacock
Member of Parliament
for Sheffield Hallam
Assumed office
12 December 2019
Preceded byJared O'Mara
Majority712 (1.2%)
Deputy Leader of Sheffield City Council
In office
5 April 2017 – 23 August 2019
LeaderJulie Dore
Preceded byLeigh Bramall
Succeeded byTerry Fox
Sheffield City Councillor
for Walkley Ward
In office
22 May 2014 – 2 March 2020
Preceded byNikki Sharpe
Succeeded byVacant
Personal details
Born
Olivia Frances Blake

(1990-03-10) 10 March 1990 (age 31)
Northallerton, England
Political partyLabour
Spouse(s)Lewis Dagnall
ParentsJudith Blake, Baroness Blake of Leeds (mother)
ResidenceWalkley, Sheffield
Alma materUniversity of Sheffield
WebsiteOfficial website

Olivia Frances Blake (born 10 March 1990)[1] is a British Labour politician. She was elected as the Member of Parliament (MP) for Sheffield Hallam at the 2019 general election.

Early life[edit]

Blake grew up in Otley, a market town north of Leeds, West Yorkshire. She was educated at Prince Henry's Grammar School, the local comprehensive school. She studied Biomedical Science at the University of Sheffield.[2]

Political career[edit]

Offices within the Labour Party (2013–present)[edit]

In 2013, Blake stood in the election for the Youth Representative on Labour's National Executive Committee and came second.[3] She campaigned to introduce 'one member one vote' elections for internal positions and was supported by the Labour Party's left-wing.[4]

In 2018, Blake was elected to Labour's National Policy Forum with the endorsement of the left-wing groups Momentum and the Centre-Left Grassroots Alliance.[5]

Sheffield City Councillor (2014–2020)[edit]

Blake unsuccessfully stood in the 2 May 2013 by-election for the Fulwood ward of Sheffield City Council before being elected as a local councillor to the Walkley ward of Sheffield City Council in 2014, 2015 and 2016.

Blake was elected Deputy Leader of the Council in April 2017. Blake said she was elected as Deputy Leader "on a ticket of reform", and worked to in-source council contracts and tackle privatisation.[6] As Deputy Leader, the Council brought its Revenues and Benefits services in-house from outsourcing giant Capita; Blake said that "bringing these services back in-house" would give the Council "greater control and allow [it] to adapt and respond as the city’s priorities develop locally".[7] Before she left her position Blake initiated the process to bring "digital services and cleaning contracts" in-house.[6] She also supported a campaign to initiate a pilot scheme of universal basic income in Sheffield.

Blake later resigned as Deputy Leader to support a grassroots movement to change the democratic structure of the council, remaining as a councillor.[8][9][10] She later resigned from the Council following her election as an MP.[11] In an article she wrote for Tribune magazine, Blake said this was to show support for "a new way of doing politics in our city". She indicated that she intends to "contribute a socialist voice to the referendum debate", to open up a "wider discussion on how to rejuvenate our democracy in Sheffield."[6]

Member of Parliament (2019–present)[edit]

Blake was selected as the prospective Labour Party candidate in Sheffield Hallam in December 2018.[12] She was elected as the Member of Parliament at the December 2019 general election.[13]

She nominated Rebecca Long-Bailey in the 2020 Labour Party leadership election and Angela Rayner in the 2020 Labour Party deputy leadership election.[14] In February 2020, Blake was elected as the Treasurer of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME).[15] Blake was elected to Parliament's Public Accounts Committee in March 2020.[16]

Blake was appointed to the frontbench as Parliamentary Private Secretary to Andy McDonald, Shadow Secretary of State for Transport, in January 2020. Following the election of Keir Starmer, she was appointed in April as PPS jointly to Jo Stevens, Shadow Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, and Ian Murray, Shadow Secretary of State for Scotland.[17]

Blake is Vice-Chair of the Bakers, Food and Allied Workers' Union Parliamentary Group.[18]

After Wetherspoons' owner Tim Martin was inaccurately reported to have told his 43,000 employees that they would not be furloughed during the COVID-19 pandemic, and should go work at Tesco,[19] as Vice-Chair of the BFAWU Parliamentary Group, Blake coordinated a cross-party letter of 95 MPs to calling on Martin to "put people and not profits first" and continue to pay Wetherspoons workers.[20][21]

Blake was forced to resign from her position as PPS to Jo Stevens and Ian Murray in September 2020 when she, alongside 18 other Labour MPs, including two other junior office holders, Beth Winter and Nadia Whittome, defied the Labour whip and voted against the Overseas Operations Bill.[22]

On 14 May 2021, Blake was appointed as the Shadow Minister for Nature, Water and Flooding.[23]

Policies and views[edit]

Blake is a member of the Socialist Campaign Group, the left-wing, democratic socialist grouping of Labour Party Members of Parliament in the House of Commons of the United Kingdom.[24]

A Vice article described Blake as "keen to make clear [her] support for trans rights and the entire LGBTQ+ community".[25]

Blake supported Britain remaining in the European Union, saying in November 2019 that she would campaign to remain in a potential second referendum on the issue.[25]

In her maiden speech to Parliament, Blake said that the Sheffield Hallam constituency had a "very long history of social justice", as Robin Hood mythology points to a Yorkshire origin in Loxley. She said that Robin of Loxley means she was "not the first person in Sheffield Hallam to stand on a platform of redistributing wealth."[26]

Blake is a supporter of a "Green New Deal" for the UK,[10] and passionate about the issue of climate change.[25] Blake has expressed support for improved transport links for Sheffield to address the climate crisis.[27] In 2020, she wrote to the transport secretary asking him to consider the reopening of the Millhouses and Ecclesall station, suggesting it would reduce congestion in the area.[28] Alongside Louise Haigh, Blake has launched a campaign to reopen railway stations along the Sheaf Valley line, seeking to reopen Millhouses and Heeley stations, and increase capability at Dore & Totley.[29]

Personal life[edit]

Blake's mother Judith Blake, Baroness Blake of Leeds is a Labour politician who has led Leeds City Council since 2015.[30][31] She is married to Lewis Dagnall, a Sheffield City Councillor.[9]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Brunskill, Ian (19 March 2020). The Times guide to the House of Commons 2019 : the definitive record of Britain's historic 2019 General Election. p. 327. ISBN 978-0-00-839258-1. OCLC 1129682574.
  2. ^ "Official website". Olivia Blake. Olivia Blake. Archived from the original on 13 December 2019. Retrieved 13 December 2019.
  3. ^ "Young Labour Election Results 2013". Young Labour Councillors. 9 March 2013. Retrieved 26 May 2020.
  4. ^ "Young Labour: who are the left candidates?". Left Futures. 23 January 2013. Retrieved 26 May 2020.
  5. ^ "National Policy Forum 2018". Momentum. 6 March 2018. Retrieved 26 May 2020.
  6. ^ a b c Blake, Olivia. "The Fight for Democracy in Sheffield". tribunemag.co.uk. Retrieved 5 June 2020.
  7. ^ "Council to bring revenues and benefits back in-house". Sheffieldnewsroom.co.uk. Sheffield City Council.
  8. ^ "Sheffield City Council's deputy leader quits over referendum calls". British Broadcasting Corporation. 23 August 2019. Archived from the original on 9 October 2019. Retrieved 15 December 2019.
  9. ^ a b "Deputy Leader of Sheffield Council RESIGNS". Sheffield Telegraph. 23 August 2019. Archived from the original on 8 November 2019. Retrieved 15 December 2019.
  10. ^ a b Gregory, Sam (10 December 2019). "Election 2019: Battle lines drawn in Sheffield Hallam". Red Pepper. Archived from the original on 13 December 2019. Retrieved 13 December 2019.
  11. ^ "Sheffield Hallam MP Olivia Blake steps down from other role as city councillor". Sheffield Star. 2 March 2020. Retrieved 11 March 2020.
  12. ^ "Sheffield Council's deputy leader chosen as parliamentary candidate". Sheffield Star. 15 December 2018. Retrieved 26 May 2020.
  13. ^ "Sheffield Hallam Parliamentary constituency". BBC News. BBC. Archived from the original on 17 April 2019. Retrieved 5 December 2019.
  14. ^ "Rolling list: MP/MEP nominations for Labour leadership candidates". Labour List. Retrieved 7 February 2020.
  15. ^ Shepard, Dr Charles (19 February 2020). "Statement: What's next for the All-Party Parliamentary Group on ME?". meassociation.org.uk. ME Association. Retrieved 5 June 2020.
  16. ^ "New appointments this week in UK politics, the civil service and public affairs". PoliticsHome. 9 March 2020. Retrieved 26 May 2020.
  17. ^ "Full list: Labour's new parliamentary private secretaries". LabourList. 14 May 2020. Retrieved 26 May 2020.
  18. ^ Lake, Emma. "MPs call on JD Wetherspoon boss to 'pay staff and serve your country in time of crisis'". Retrieved 5 June 2020.
  19. ^ Drury, Colin (24 March 2020). "Coronavirus: Millionaire Wetherspoon's boss tells staff to consider working for Tesco". The Independent. Retrieved 5 June 2020.
  20. ^ Lake, Emma (25 March 2020). "MPs call on JD Wetherspoon boss to 'pay staff and serve your country in time of crisis'". The Caterer. Retrieved 5 June 2020.
  21. ^ "JD Wetherspoons Corrects Media Reports On Staff Pay And Reopenings". MorningStar. 7 May 2020. Retrieved 24 August 2020.
  22. ^ Sabbagh, Dan; Stewart, Heather (23 September 2020). "Three Labour MPs lose roles after voting against overseas operations bill". The Guardian. Retrieved 25 September 2020.
  23. ^ Rodgers, Sienna (14 May 2021). "Reshuffle: Keir Starmer's new Labour frontbench in full". LabourList. Retrieved 15 May 2021.
  24. ^ "Socialist Campaign Group Twitter". Twitter. Retrieved 5 June 2020.
  25. ^ a b c Segalov, Michael (13 November 2019). "'I'm Terrified I'll Win' – Inside the Most Dramatic MP Race in Britain". Vice. Archived from the original on 13 December 2019. Retrieved 13 December 2019.
  26. ^ "'Jared O'Mara had his faults, but he highlighted crucial issues,' says new MP for Sheffield Hallam Olivia Blake". Yorkshire Post. 15 January 2020. Retrieved 5 June 2020.
  27. ^ Blake, Olivia. "Olivia and Louise launch Sheaf Valley railway restoration bid". oliviablake.org.uk. Retrieved 5 June 2020.
  28. ^ "Long-lost Sheffield railway station should be reopened, says MP". www.thestar.co.uk. Retrieved 8 May 2020.
  29. ^ Williams, Molly (27 May 2020). "Sheffield MPs launch bid to restore Sheaf Valley railway stations to former glory". Sheffield Star. Retrieved 5 June 2020.
  30. ^ "Leeds City Council Elects Judith Blake as First Female Leader". BBC News. 11 May 2015. Archived from the original on 8 December 2016. Retrieved 6 July 2017.
  31. ^ Burn, Chris (9 May 2018). "'Fresh start' hope after Sheffield tree-felling council boss quits post". The Yorkshire Post. Archived from the original on 13 December 2019. Retrieved 13 December 2019.

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Jared O'Mara
Member of Parliament
for Sheffield Hallam

2019–present
Incumbent