Rachel Reeves

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Rachel Reeves
Official portrait of Rachel Reeves crop 2.jpg
Chair of the Business, Innovation and Skills Select Committee
Assumed office
12 July 2017
Preceded by Iain Wright
Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions
In office
7 October 2013 – 8 June 2015
Leader Ed Miliband
Harriet Harman (Acting)
Preceded by Liam Byrne
Succeeded by Stephen Timms (Acting)
Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury
In office
7 October 2011 – 7 October 2013
Leader Ed Miliband
Preceded by Angela Eagle
Succeeded by Chris Leslie
Member of Parliament
for Leeds West
Assumed office
6 May 2010
Preceded by John Battle
Majority 15,965 (37.8%)
Personal details
Born (1979-02-13) 13 February 1979 (age 38)
Lewisham, London, England
Political party Labour
Spouse(s) Nicholas Joicey
Relations Ellie Reeves (sister)
Alma mater New College, Oxford
London School of Economics
Website Official website

Rachel Jane Reeves (born 13 February 1979) is a British economist and Labour Party politician. She has served as the Member of Parliament for Leeds West since 2010.

Reeves was Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions from 2013, but following Jeremy Corbyn's election as leader in 2015, she did not return to the Shadow Cabinet after her maternity leave.

On 12 July 2017, Reeves was elected chair of the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee.[1]

Early life and career[edit]

The daughter of Graham and Sally Reeves of Lewisham, South East London,[2][3] Reeves was educated at Cator Park School for Girls in Bromley.[4] At school, she was the UK Under-14 girls chess champion.[5][6]

After sitting A-Levels in Politics, Economics, Mathematics and Further Mathematics, she read Philosophy, Politics and Economics at New College, Oxford (MA), followed by graduating as MSc in Economics from the London School of Economics.[7]

Reeves cites the influence of her father on her and her sister Ellie, in leaning towards socially democratic policies. She recalls how when she was eight years old, her father, Graham, pointed out the then-Labour leader Neil Kinnock on the television and "told us that was who we voted for". Reeves says she and her sister have "both known we were Labour since then".[8] She joined the Labour Party at the age of sixteen.[9]

She worked as an economist at the Bank of England and British Embassy in Washington, D.C. between 2000-06.[10]

Reeves stood as the Labour Party parliamentary candidate in the Conservative safe seat of Bromley and Chislehurst at the 2005 general election, finishing second.[11] She also contested the 2006 by-election in the same constituency, following the death of sitting Conservative MP Eric Forth, and finished in fourth place. Labour support fell from 10,241 votes to 1,925, in what was described as a "humiliation" for Labour.[12][13] The result was the worst performance for a governing party since 1991.[14][15]

Reeves moved to Leeds in 2006 to work for HBOS.[16] She was once interviewed for a job at Goldman Sachs, but turned it down although the job could have made her "a lot richer".[6] She later sought nomination for the Leeds West seat at the 2010 general election,[17] seeking to replace John Battle, who had chosen to retire.[18] She was selected to contest the seat from an all-women shortlist of Labour Party prospective parliamentary candidates.[2]

Echoing similar titles of publications by Roy Jenkins in 1959 and Tony Wright in 1997, Reeves wrote the new edition of Why Vote Labour? in the run-up to the 2010 general election, as part of a series giving the case for each of the main political parties.[19]

Parliamentary career[edit]

Reeves speaking in 2012

Reeves was elected with a majority of 7,016 on 6 May 2010—a 5,794 reduction in the majority enjoyed by Battle—[20]and became only the second woman to represent a Leeds constituency. In early 2017, she completed and published a biography of Alice Bacon,[7][21] who was the first such woman (having represented Leeds North East and then Leeds South East between 1945 and 1970).[22]

In her maiden speech, delivered on 8 June 2010,[23] Reeves praised the work of her predecessor John Battle, and pledged to fight for jobs, growth and prosperity for Leeds West.[23] She also pledged to follow in Battle's footsteps and fight for justice for the victims of the Armley asbestos disaster and their families. In a series of questions in Parliament, she enquired whether the government would honour promises by the previous government to compensate victims of asbestos diagnosed with pleural plaques, and bring legislation into force making it easier to pursue claims against insurers.[24]

Following the 2010 election, she supported Ed Miliband for the Labour leadership, because she felt he was the candidate most willing to listen to what the voters were saying about where the party went wrong.[25] After becoming an MP, Reeves was appointed to the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills Select Committee[26] then as Shadow Pensions Minister in October 2010.[27] In her role as Shadow Pensions Minister, she campaigned against the Government's proposed acceleration of equalising state pensions ages for men and women.[28] She was promoted to the post of Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury in October 2011.[29][30] She caused controversy in early 2015 by stating "We [Labour] don’t want to be seen, and we're not, the party to represent those who are out of work".[31]

Reeves has been named by The Guardian newspaper as being one of several MPs who employ unpaid interns, a practice that some maintain may breach the National Minimum Wage Act 1998.[32] The Independent has named Reeves as a member of a group of new Labour MPs known as the "Nando's Five":[33] the others being Luciana Berger, Jonathan Reynolds, Emma Reynolds and Chuka Umunna.

In September 2016, she described her constituency as being "like a tinderbox" that could explode if immigration was not curbed.[34]

Policy stances[edit]

Reeves has written a study about the financial crisis of 2007–2010 for the Fabian Review, Institute of Public Policy Research,[35] Socialist Environment and Resources Association,[36] and the European Journal of Political Economy.[37] Following her election as MP, Reeves wrote about the direction of UK government fiscal policy in Renewal. In an article entitled "The Politics of Deficit Reduction",[38] Reeves offers her critique of the current financial situation and efforts to bring down the budget deficit.

She is a proponent of quantitative easing[39] to alleviate the late-2000s recession, having studied the effects of the policy on Japan in the early 2000s.[40]

Reeves supports the High Speed 2 rail project,[41] and raised the issue in the House of Commons,[42] as well as campaigning for the proposed Kirkstall Forge railway station.[43] She is also involved in the campaign to save the historic Bramley Baths[44][45] and the campaign to save the children's heart unit at Leeds General Infirmary.[46]

A supporter of Israel, Reeves belongs to, and has held office in, Labour Friends of Israel.[47] She contributed a chapter to a book about Israeli politics and society,[48] and she is a keen supporter of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Foundation.[49]

Reeves regularly contributes articles to publications such as the website LabourList,[50] Progress[51] and The Guardian's Comment is Free.[52]

Parliamentary credit card[edit]

Reeves' Parliamentary credit card was stopped at the start of 2015, owing to a debt of £4,033.63 which she subsequently repaid.[53]

Personal life[edit]

Reeves is married to Nicholas Joicey,[54] a civil servant and Gordon Brown's former private secretary and speech writer.[55] The couple have homes in Bramley and London.[56][57]

Reeves' younger sister, Ellie, is the Labour MP for Lewisham West and Penge and is married to John Cryer, Labour MP for Leyton and Wanstead.[58][59] Reeves announced her first pregnancy on 20 September 2012, giving birth to a daughter.[60][61] Her younger children were born in 2013 and 2015.[57]

Reeves says she spends her spare time swimming, reading and walking.[7][17] Reeves is a Patron of Bramley Elderly Action and a Trustee of Leeds Healthy Living Network.[7] She was previously on the board of BARCA – Leeds and a governor of Swallow Hill Community College, and Kirkstall Valley Primary School.[7]


  1. ^ "Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee". parliament.uk. UK Parliament. 12 July 2017. Archived from the original on 16 August 2017. Retrieved 12 July 2017. 
  2. ^ a b Thorpe, John (23 August 2007). "The legal eagle who left sisters scuppered". Yorkshire Evening Post. Retrieved 9 June 2011. 
  3. ^ "Who's Who". ukwhoswho.com. Retrieved 20 November 2011. 
  4. ^ "Latest News". Cator Park School for Girls. Archived from the original on 29 April 2010. Retrieved 5 October 2010. 
  5. ^ See:
  6. ^ a b Admin (24 November 2011). "Interview with Rachel Reeves". Investors Fresh News. Archived from the original on 26 April 2012. Retrieved 3 December 2011. 
  7. ^ a b c d e Reeves, Rachel. "About Rachel". rachelreeves.net. Rachel Reeves. Archived from the original on 27 November 2009. Retrieved 30 July 2010. 
  8. ^ "PPC Profile: Rachel Reeves". labourlist.org. LabourList. Archived from the original on 7 February 2011. Retrieved 8 August 2011. 
  9. ^ Staff writer (2 June 2010). "Leeds West MP: Rachel Reeves interview". Yorkshire Evening Post. Retrieved 30 July 2010. 
  10. ^ Stratton, Allegra (19 March 2009). "Waiting in the Wings". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 10 September 2009. 
  11. ^ "Voting begins in Bromley and Chislehurst by-election". This is Local London. 29 June 2006. Archived from the original on 3 October 2012. Retrieved 9 June 2011. 
  12. ^ Staff writer (30 June 2006). "Labour and Tories suffer at polls". BBC News. Retrieved 9 June 2011. 
  13. ^ Assinder, Nick (30 June 2006). "Blair to count cost of poor night". BBC News. Retrieved 5 August 2011. 
  14. ^ Chapman, James (30 June 2006). "'Out of steam' Blair refuses to name departure date". Daily Mail. London. Retrieved 17 August 2011. 
  15. ^ Freedland, Jonathan (30 June 2006). "Way off base". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 17 August 2011. 
  16. ^ Staff writer (15 September 2007). "Battle lines drawn in Leeds West". Yorkshire Evening Post. p. 7. Retrieved 10 September 2009. 
  17. ^ a b "Women at war". Yorkshire Evening Post. 
  18. ^ Stoddard, Katy (7 April 2010). "General Election 2010: Safe and marginal seats". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 9 June 2011. 
  19. ^ Reeves, Rachel (2010). Why Vote Labour?. London: Biteback Publishing. ISBN 9781849540193. 
  20. ^ Staff writer (7 May 2010). "Election 2010". BBC News. Retrieved 24 June 2011. 
  21. ^ Hookham, Mark (2 June 2010). "Leeds West MP: Rachel Reeves interview". Yorkshire Evening Post. Retrieved 30 July 2010. 
  22. ^ Staff writer (6 May 2010). "Election reaction: Rachel is Leeds West's first lady". Yorkshire Evening Post. Retrieved 29 July 2011. 
  23. ^ a b "Economic Affairs and Work and Pensions". TheyWorkForYou. 8 June 2010. Retrieved 29 July 2011. 
  24. ^ Jackson, Leigh (8 June 2010). "MP takes up asbestos battle". Insurance Post. Retrieved 29 July 2011. 
  25. ^ Sparrow, Andrew (February 2012). "Rachel Reeves, rising star". Ethos. Archived from the original on 18 February 2012. Retrieved 20 February 2012. 
  26. ^ Staff writer (24 June 2010). "New MPs elected to select committees". PoliticsHome. Archived from the original on 28 June 2010. Retrieved 30 July 2010. 
  27. ^ Selby, Thomas (14 October 2010). "Rachel Reeves takes Shadow pensions role". Money Marketing. Retrieved 24 November 2010. 
  28. ^ Reeves, Rachel (8 June 2011). "Don't turn back the clock for women". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 29 July 2011. 
  29. ^ Selby, Thomas (7 October 2011). "Miliband promotes Rachel Reeves to Shadow cabinet". Money Marketing. Retrieved 7 October 2011. 
  30. ^ Staff writer (7 October 2011). "Ed Miliband promotes fresh faces to Labour top team". Retrieved 7 October 2011. 
  31. ^ O'Connor, Roisin (17 March 2015). "Rachel Reeves says Labour does not want to represent people out of work". The Independent. London. Retrieved 12 September 2015. 
  32. ^ Malik, Shiv (27 November 2011). "MPs may be breaking law in offering work to unpaid interns". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 3 December 2011. 
  33. ^ Walker, Tim (12 November 2011). "'Don't compare me to Obama': Is Chuka Umunna Britain's first black PM?". The Independent. London. Retrieved 4 December 2011. 
  34. ^ "Jeremy Corbyn rules out pledge to cut immigration". The Guardian. 28 September 2016. Retrieved 28 September 2016. 
  35. ^ Reeves, Rachel; Dolphin, Tony; Clifton, Jonathan (15 July 2009). Building a Better Balanced UK Economy. Institute for Public Policy Research. Retrieved 10 September 2009. 
  36. ^ Reeves, Rachel; Pakes, Andrew. The Road to Copenhagen (PDF). Socialist Environment and Resources Association (SERA). Retrieved 30 December 2009. 
  37. ^ Reeves, Rachel; Sawicki, Michael (March 2007). "Do financial markets react to Bank of England communication?". European Journal of Political Economy, special issue: Central bank transparency and central bank communication. Elsevier. 23 (1): 207–227. doi:10.1016/j.ejpoleco.2006.09.018.  Pdf.
  38. ^ Reeves, Rachel (2010). "The politics of deficit reduction". Renewal. Lawrence and Wishart. 18 (3–4). 
  39. ^ Reeves, Rachel (5 March 2009). "Labour must challenge the Tories on quantitative easing". LabourList. Retrieved 3 December 2011. 
  40. ^ Staff writer (9 October 2011). "Rachel Reeves: can she save the Labour Party?". The Independent. London. Retrieved 3 December 2011. 
  41. ^ Reed, Jonathan (30 March 2011). "Transport Minister reacts to today’s demand from 90 regional leaders for high-speed rail link". Yorkshire Evening Post. Retrieved 29 July 2011. 
  42. ^ Staff writer (29 October 2010). "Minister 'shrugs off' Leeds MP's transport questions". Yorkshire Evening Post. Retrieved 29 July 2011. 
  43. ^ Staff writer (30 June 2011). "Leeds: MP calls for end to railway station ‘limbo’". Yorkshire Evening Post. Retrieved 29 July 2011. 
  44. ^ Staff writer (25 July 2008). "Bramley baths, Leeds". victoriansociety.org.uk. Victorian Society. Retrieved 26 February 2015. 
  45. ^ Staff writer (21 July 2011). "Leeds West MP makes a splash for Bramley Baths". Yorkshire Evening Post. Retrieved 29 July 2011. 
  46. ^ "Oral Answers to Questions — Health". theyworkforyou.com. TheyWorkForYou. 12 July 2011. Retrieved 29 July 2011. 
  47. ^ Wright, Oliver (10 October 2010). "Anger grows within Labour over forced Palestinian vote". The Independent. Retrieved 11 October 2014. 
  48. ^ Richards, Paul (18 November 2011). "Like Ed, we should all be friends of Israel". Progress. Retrieved 3 December 2011. 
  49. ^ Reeves, Rachel (6 August 2011). "Preserving Auschwitz-Birkenau". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 3 December 2011. 
  50. ^ "Rachel Reeves". LabourList. Retrieved 29 July 2011. 
  51. ^ "Articles by Rachel Reeves". Progress. 
  52. ^ Reeves, Rachel (26 October 2009). "Contributor: Rachel Reeves". The Guardian. London: Guardian Media Group. Retrieved 29 July 2011. 
  53. ^ Staff writer (1 July 2015). "Watchdog admits Duncan Smith's credit card blocked in error". BBC News. Retrieved 1 July 2015. 
  54. ^ See the following:
  55. ^ "Who's new in the new Who's Who?". Grimsby Telegraph. Retrieved 21 November 2011. [dead link]
  56. ^ Staff writer. "Rachel Reeves". Daily Telegraph. London. Archived from the original on 27 August 2010. Retrieved 20 November 2011. 
  57. ^ a b Mikhailova, Anna (29 May 2016). "Fame & Fortune: I said no to a Goldman Sachs job". The Times. Retrieved 15 September 2016. (Subscription required (help)). 
  58. ^ Staff writer (9 August 2016). "Clean sweep for Corbyn supporters in Labour NEC election". BBC News. Retrieved 26 April 2017. 
  59. ^ Greatex, Jonny (26 August 2012). "MP Tom Watson finds new love after break up of marriage". Birmingham Mail. Retrieved 27 August 2014. 
  60. ^ Bowyer, Laura (20 September 2012). "Baby joy for Leeds West Labour MP Rachel Reeves". Yorkshire Evening Post. Retrieved 21 September 2012. 
  61. ^ Riddell, Mary (21 February 2015). "I'll end the bedroom tax then have a new baby, says Rachel Reeves". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 12 September 2015. 

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
John Battle
Member of Parliament
for Leeds West

Political offices
Preceded by
Angela Eagle
Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury
Succeeded by
Chris Leslie
Preceded by
Liam Byrne
Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions
Succeeded by
Stephen Timms