Stephen Twigg

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Stephen Twigg
Stephen Twigg MP.jpg
Chair of the International Development Select Committee
Assumed office
19 June 2015
Preceded by Sir Malcolm Bruce
Shadow Secretary of State for Education
In office
7 October 2011 – 7 October 2013
Leader Ed Miliband
Preceded by Andy Burnham
Succeeded by Tristram Hunt
Minister of State for Schools
In office
16 December 2004 – 5 May 2005
Prime Minister Tony Blair
Preceded by David Miliband
Succeeded by Jacqui Smith
Deputy Leader of the House of Commons
In office
11 June 2001 – 29 May 2002
Prime Minister Tony Blair
Leader Robin Cook
Preceded by Paddy Tipping
Succeeded by Ben Bradshaw
Member of Parliament
for Liverpool West Derby
Assumed office
6 May 2010
Preceded by Bob Wareing
Majority 27,367 (66.7%)
Member of Parliament
for Enfield Southgate
In office
1 May 1997 – 5 May 2005
Preceded by Michael Portillo
Succeeded by David Burrowes
Islington Borough Councillor
for Sussex Ward
In office
9 July 1992 – 1 May 1997
Preceded by Christopher King
Succeeded by Graham Baker
44th President of the National Union of Students
In office
Preceded by Maeve Sherlock
Succeeded by Lorna Fitzsimons
Personal details
Born (1966-12-25) 25 December 1966 (age 50)
Enfield, London, England
Political party Labour Co-operative
Alma mater Balliol College, Oxford
Website Stephen Twigg MP

Stephen Twigg (born 25 December 1966) is a British Labour and Co-operative Party politician who has been Member of Parliament (MP) for Liverpool West Derby since 2010. He previously served as the Member of Parliament for Enfield Southgate from 1997 to 2005.

He came to national prominence in 1997 by winning the seat of Defence Secretary Michael Portillo. Twigg was made the Minister of State for School Standards in 2004, a job he held until he lost his seat in 2005.[1] He returned to parliament in 2010, after he was elected Member of Parliament for Liverpool West Derby.

Following Ed Miliband's election to the Labour leadership, he made Twigg a Shadow Foreign Office Minister. In his October 2011 reshuffle, Miliband promoted Twigg to the post of Shadow Secretary of State for Education.[2][3] However, on 7 October 2013 he was replaced in the reshuffle.[4]

Early life[edit]

Twigg was educated at Grange Park Primary School and Southgate School, a local comprehensive school, and at Balliol College, Oxford, where he studied Philosophy, Politics, and Economics.

He became the youngest and first openly gay president of the National Union of Students in 1990[5] representing the National Organisation of Labour Students (NOLS). He was re-elected in 1991.

On leaving the NUS he became a councillor in the London Borough of Islington, and was also Chief Whip, and briefly Deputy Leader. He worked for the UK section of Amnesty International and then for the National Council for Voluntary Organisations.

MP for Enfield Southgate: 1997-2005[edit]

In the 1997 election he was elected to Parliament for Enfield Southgate, the constituency in which he had been born and raised, with a majority of 1,433. There had been a large 17.4% swing to him from his Conservative opponent, Michael Portillo. Portillo, a cabinet minister, had been widely tipped to be the next Tory leader,[6] and the loss of his seat was one of the most unexpected results of the election.

A book about the election by Brian Cathcart was titled Were You Still Up for Portillo? In the Royal Festival Hall in London, the scene of the Labour party celebrations that evening, the result elicited a massive cheer, as Portillo was widely loathed among Labour supporters. Twigg was forced to give up his role as general secretary of the Fabian Society following this unexpected victory in what had been regarded as a safe Conservative seat. It was also unusual to have an openly gay British MP at that time.

In the 2001 election Twigg held the seat with an increased majority of 5,546 over Conservative John Flack. Following the 2001 election, Twigg was appointed Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the House of Commons, Robin Cook,[7] and in 2002 became a junior minister in the Department for Education and Skills, from where he led the London Challenge initiative.[8] In 2004, in the government changes following the resignation of David Blunkett, he was promoted to Minister of State for school standards.

Whilst an MP he served as chairman of two All Party Parliamentary Groups—on epilepsy and on youth issues. He is a former chairman of Labour Friends of Israel.

In the 2005 election, Twigg lost his seat to the Conservative Party candidate, David Burrowes, by a margin of 1,747 votes (a swing of 8.7%).[9] During his concession speech, Twigg claimed that he would not be the last Labour MP for Enfield Southgate. He was proved correct in 2017, with the election of Bambos Charalambous, the Labour candidate, on 8 June.

Non-parliamentary career: 2005-2010[edit]

On 12 December 2005, Twigg was arrested in central London for being drunk and incapable in a public place and taken to Marylebone police station. He paid a £50 fixed penalty notice. Twigg commented "I had had a lot to drink and I think it [the police action] was sensible. I have no complaints whatsoever. I take full responsibility for my actions."[10]

Twigg became chairman of Progress, an independent organisation for Labour party members, and director of the Foreign Policy Centre, a think tank which develops long-term multilateral approaches to global problems. Twigg is the campaigns director of the Aegis Trust, in their educational and campaigning work against genocide. He is also a patron of the Workers Educational Association. He is a trustee of the Liverpool-based domestic violence charity Chrysalis.

MP for Liverpool West Derby: 2010-present[edit]

Twigg speaking in 2013

Twigg was selected as the Labour Co-operative candidate for the Liverpool West Derby constituency at the 2010 general election.[11] He was elected with a majority of 18,467, garnering 64.1% of the vote.[12]

In October 2010 he unsuccessfully contested the election for the Shadow Cabinet, coming in 36th out of the 49 candidates and winning 55 votes.[13] He was subsequently appointed to the Labour front bench as a shadow minister in the Foreign Affairs team.[14]

On 7 October 2011 he was appointed to the post of Shadow Secretary of State for Education, following the Shadow Cabinet reshuffle.[3]

In the 2013 Shadow Cabinet Reshuffle, Twigg lost his position of Shadow Education Secretary[15] and was demoted to the Shadow Justice Team as Shadow Minister for Constitutional Reform.[16]

On 19 June 2015, he was announced as having been elected to the chairmanship of the International Development Select Committee.[17]


  1. ^ "Stephen Twigg appointed Minister for School Standards". Department for Children, Schools and Families. Department for Children, Schools and Families. Retrieved 9 November 2007. 
  2. ^ "The Shadow Cabinet - The Labour Party". The Labour Party Web Site. Archived from the original on 23 May 2010. Retrieved 7 October 2011. 
  3. ^ a b "The new shadow cabinet - The full list". London: Guardian News and Media Limited. 7 October 2011. Archived from the original on 8 October 2011. Retrieved 7 October 2011. 
  4. ^ "Liverpool MP Stephen Twigg sacked from Shadow Cabinet". 7 October 2013. Archived from the original on 7 October 2013. 
  5. ^ Polly Curtis (16 December 2004). "Twigg puts down new roots". London: The Guardian. Archived from the original on 19 October 2012. Retrieved 27 July 2007. 
  6. ^ "Freedom of speech". Inside Housing. Retrieved 13 March 2012. 
  7. ^ "Stephen Twigg MP, Liverpool, West Derby - TheyWorkForYou". TheyWorkForYou. 
  8. ^ Twigg, Stephen. "No School Left Behind - speech by Stephen Twigg". Labour. The Labour Party. Retrieved 5 July 2015. 
  9. ^ "Minister Twigg beaten by Tories". BBC News. 6 May 2005. Archived from the original on 18 February 2006. Retrieved 27 July 2007. 
  10. ^ "Ex-minister fined for being drunk". BBC News. 14 December 2005. Archived from the original on 23 March 2006. Retrieved 27 July 2007. 
  11. ^ "Whatever happened to the man who beat Portillo?". The Independent. 4 May 2010. Archived from the original on 5 May 2010. 
  12. ^ "Deselected Wareing to quit Labour". BBC News. 17 September 2007. Archived from the original on 19 October 2012. Retrieved 24 September 2007. 
  13. ^ "Shadow Cabinet Eloection Results". Political Scrapbook. 
  14. ^ "Next Left". 10 October 2010. Archived from the original on 17 October 2010. 
  15. ^ "Byrne And Twigg Lose Out In Labour Reshuffle". Sky News. Archived from the original on 29 March 2014. 
  16. ^ "About Stephen". 
  17. ^ "Winning candidates for select committee Chairs announced". UK Parliament. 18 June 2015. Retrieved 19 June 2015. 

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Bob Wareing
Member of Parliament for Liverpool West Derby
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Michael Portillo
Member of Parliament for Enfield Southgate
Succeeded by
David Burrowes
Political offices
Preceded by
Andy Burnham
Shadow Secretary of State for Education
2011 – 2013
Succeeded by
Tristram Hunt
Preceded by
David Miliband
Minister of State for Schools
Succeeded by
Jacqui Smith
Preceded by
Maeve Sherlock
President of the
National Union of Students

Succeeded by
Lorna Fitzsimons
Party political offices
Preceded by
Simon Crine
General Secretary of the Fabian Society
1996 – 1997
Succeeded by
Michael Jacobs
Preceded by
Paul Richards
Chair of the Fabian Society
2003 – 2004
Succeeded by
Eric Joyce