Rachel Reeves

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Rachel Reeves
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 10,727 (27.9%)
Personal details
Born (1979-02-13) 13 February 1979 (age 37)
Lewisham, London, England
Political party Labour
Spouse(s) Nicholas Joicey
Alma mater New College, Oxford
London School of Economics
Website Official website

Rachel Jane Reeves (born 13 February 1979) is a British Labour Party politician and an economist. 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 did not return to the shadow cabinet after her maternity leave following Jeremy Corbyn's victory in the 2015 Labour Leadership Election.


The daughter of Graham and Sally Reeves of Lewisham, South East London,[1][2] she was educated at Cator Park School for Girls in Bromley.[3] At school, Reeves was the UK Under-14 girls chess champion.[4][5][6]

After A-Levels in Politics, Economics, Mathematics and Further Mathematics, Reeves 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 in leaning towards social 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 age 16.[9]


Reeves worked as an economist at the Bank of England and British Embassy in Washington, D.C. between 2000 and 2006.[10]

She stood as the Labour Party parliamentary candidate in the Conservative safe seat Bromley and Chislehurst in the 2005 general election, finishing second.[11] She again contested the 2006 by-election for the same seat following the death of sitting MP Eric Forth and finished fourth. Labour support reduced 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. She said the job could have made her "a lot richer".[5] She later sought nomination for the Leeds West seat at the 2010 General Election.[17] to replace John Battle, who had chosen to retire.[18] She was selected by the Labour Party to contest the seat from an all-women shortlist of Labour Party prospective parliamentary candidates.[1]

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 election, as part of a series giving the case for each of the main political parties.[19]

Member of Parliament[edit]

Reeves speaking in 2012

Reeves was elected with a majority of 7,016 on 6 May 2010, a 5,794 reduction in majority compared to her predecessor,[20] becoming only the second woman to represent a Leeds constituency. Reeves is currently writing the biography of Alice Bacon,[7][21] who was the first female MP to represent the City of Leeds (from 1945 to 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] Reeves 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, Reeves 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]

After 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] Since 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] 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".[30]

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.[31] The Independent newspaper has named Reeves as a member of a group of new Labour MPs known as the "Nando's Five":[32] 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.[33]

Policy stances[edit]

Reeves has written a study about the Financial Crisis of 2007–2010 for the Fabian Review, Institute of Public Policy Research,[34] Socialist Environment and Resources Association,[35] and the European Journal of Political Economy.[36] 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",[37] Reeves offers her critique of the current financial situation and efforts to bring down the budget deficit.

Reeves is a proponent of Quantitative Easing[38] to alleviate the late-2000s recession, having studied the effects of the policy on Japan in the early 2000s.[39]

Reeves supports the High Speed Rail project,[40] and raised the issue in Parliament,[41] as well as campaigning for the proposed Kirkstall Forge railway station.[42] She is also involved in the campaign to save the historic Bramley Baths[43][44] and the campaign to save the children's heart unit at Leeds General Infirmary.[45]

She is a supporter of Israel, writing a chapter for a book about Israeli politics and society,[46] and she is a keen supporter of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Foundation.[47] Reeves has been an officer for pro-Israel lobby group Labour Friends of Israel.[48]

Reeves regularly contributes articles to publications such as the website LabourList,[49] Progress[50] and The Guardian's Comment is Free.[51]

Government credit card[edit]

Reeves' government credit card was stopped at the start of 2015 due to a debt of £4,033.63 which she subsequently repaid.[52]

Personal life[edit]

Reeves is married to Nicholas Joicey,[53][54][55] a civil servant and former private secretary and speech writer to Gordon Brown.[56] She and her husband have homes in Bramley and London.[57][58]

Reeves' younger sister, Ellie, is a member of Labour's National Executive Committee and Joint Policy Committee, and is married to John Cryer, Labour MP for Leyton and Wanstead.[59] Reeves announced her first pregnancy on 20 September 2012, giving birth to a daughter.[60][61] Her children were born in 2013 and 2015.[58]

Reeves says she spends her free 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]

A Fellow of the Fabian Society, Reeves also belongs to Labour Friends of Israel.[48]


  1. ^ a b "The legal eagle who left sisters scuppered". Yorkshire Evening Post. 
  2. ^ "Who's Who". ukwhoswho.com. 
  3. ^ "Latest News". Cator Park School. 
  4. ^ Kidd, Patrick (21 August 2013). "Stuart Wheeler chickens out of chess challenge and the Duchess of Northumberland's Poison Garden". The Times. London. Retrieved 2 January 2013.  (subscription required)
  5. ^ a b "Interview with Rachel Reeves". Investors Fresh News. 
  6. ^ Friedel, Frederic (28 February 2012). "A history of cheating in chess (4)". 
  7. ^ a b c d e About Rachel
  8. ^ PPC Profile: Rachel Reeves | LabourList.org 2.0.2 | LabourList.org
  9. ^ "Leeds West MP: Rachel Reeves interview". Yorkshire Evening Post. 
  10. ^ Stratton, Allegra (2009-03-19). "Waiting in the Wings". London: Guardian. Retrieved 22 May 2010. 
  11. ^ Voting begins in Bromley and Chislehurst by-election (From This Is Local London)
  12. ^ "Labour and Tories suffer at polls". BBC News. 30 June 2006. 
  13. ^ Assinder, Nick (30 June 2006). "Blair to count cost of poor night". BBC News. 
  14. ^ "'Out of steam' Blair refuses to name departure date". Daily Mail. London. 30 June 2006. 
  15. ^ Freedland, Jonathan (30 June 2006). "Way off base". The Guardian. London. 
  16. ^ "Battle Lines Drawn". Yorkshire Evening Post: 7. 2007-09-15. 
  17. ^ a b "Women at war". Yorkshire Evening Post. 
  18. ^ Stoddard, Katy (7 April 2010). "General Election 2010: Safe seats". The Guardian. London. 
  19. ^ Rachel Reeves (2010). Why Vote Labour?. Biteback Publishing. ISBN 978-1849540193. 
  20. ^ "Election 2010". BBC. 
  21. ^ "Rachel Reeves Interview". Yorkshire Evening Post. 
  22. ^ "Election reaction: Rachel is Leeds West's first lady". Yorkshire Evening Post. 
  23. ^ a b "Economic Affairs and Work and Pensions". They Work For You. 
  24. ^ "MP takes up asbestos battle". Post Online. 
  25. ^ Sparrow, Andrew (February 2012). "Rachel Reeves, rising star". Ethos. Retrieved 25 April 2013. 
  26. ^ "Breaking politics and political news for Westminster and the UK - PoliticsHome.com". epolitix.com. 
  27. ^ "Rachel Reeves takes Shadow pensions role". moneymarketing.co.uk. 
  28. ^ Reeves, Rachel (8 June 2011). "Don't turn back the clock for women". London: The Guardian. 
  29. ^ "Miliband promotes Rachel Reeves to Shadow cabinet". moneymarketing.co.uk. 
  30. ^ O'Connor, Roisin (17 March 2015). "Rachel Reeves says Labour does not want to represent people out of work". London: The Independent. 
  31. ^ Malik, Shiv (27 November 2011). "MPs may be breaking law in offering work to unpaid interns". London: The Guardian. 
  32. ^ Walker, Tim (12 November 2011). "'Don't compare me to Obama': Is Chuka Umunna Britain's first black PM?". London: The Independent. 
  33. ^ "Jeremy Corbyn rules out pledge to cut immigration". The Guardian. 28 September 2016. Retrieved 28 September 2016. 
  34. ^ "Building a Better Balanced UK Economy". IPPR. 
  35. ^ "The Road to Copenhagen" (PDF). SERA. 
  36. ^ 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.
  37. ^ Reeves, Rachel (2010). "The politics of deficit reduction". Renewal. Lawrence and Wishart. 18 (3–4). 
  38. ^ Reeves, Rachel. "Labour must challenge the Tories on Quantitative Easing". LabourList. 
  39. ^ Staff writer (9 October 2011). "Rachel Reeves: can she save the Labour Party?". The Independent. London. 
  40. ^ Reed, Jonathan (30 March 2011). "Transport Minister reacts to today's demand from 90 regional leaders for high-speed rail link". Yorkshire Evening Post. 
  41. ^ Staff writer (29 October 2010). "Minister 'shrugs off' Leeds MP's transport questions". Yorkshire Evening Post. 
  42. ^ "Leeds: MP calls for end to railway station 'limbo'". Yorkshire Evening Post. 30 June 2011. 
  43. ^ Staff writer. "Bramley baths, Leeds". victoriansociety.org.uk. Victorian Society. 
  44. ^ "Leeds West MP makes a splash for Bramley Baths". Yorkshire Evening Post. 21 July 2011. 
  45. ^ "Oral Answers to Questions — Health". theyworkforyou.com. They Work For You. 
  46. ^ "Like Ed, we should all be friends of Israel". Progress Online. 
  47. ^ Reeves, Rachel (6 August 2011). "Preserving Auschwitz-Birkenau". The Jerusalem Post. 
  48. ^ a b Wright, Oliver (10 October 2010). "Anger grows within Labour over forced Palestinian vote". The Independent. 
  49. ^ "Rachel Reeves". LabourList. 
  50. ^ "Progress Online". Progress Online. 
  51. ^ Reeves, Rachel (26 October 2009). "Contributor: Rachel Reeves". The Guardian. London: Guardian Media Group. 
  52. ^ "Watchdog admits Duncan Smith's credit card blocked in error". BBC News. 
  53. ^ The Euro is going to continue to struggle for a long time, warns Claire Perry
  54. ^ "Who's Who". ukwhoswho.com. 
  55. ^ The UK's role in the World Bank and IMF (Bretton Woods Project)
  56. ^ "Who's new in the new Who's Who?". Grimsby Telegraph. 
  57. ^ "Rachel Reeves". London: The Telegraph. 
  58. ^ a b Mikhailova, Anna (29 May 2016). "Fame & Fortune: I said no to a Goldman Sachs job". The Times. Retrieved 15 September 2016. 
  59. ^ Jonny Greatrex "MP Tom Watson finds new love after break up of marriage", Birmingham Mail, 26 August 2012
  60. ^ Laura Bowyer (20 September 2012). "Baby joy for Leeds West Labour MP Rachel Reeves". Yorkshire Evening Post. Retrieved 21 September 2012. 
  61. ^ "I'll end the bedroom tax then have a new baby, says Rachel Reeves". The Telegraph. 21 February 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