Steve Reed (politician)

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Steve Reed
Official portrait of Mr Steve Reed crop 2.jpg
Official portrait, 2017
Shadow Secretary of State for Justice
Shadow Lord Chancellor
Assumed office
29 November 2021
LeaderKeir Starmer
Preceded byDavid Lammy
Shadow Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government
In office
6 April 2020 – 29 November 2021
LeaderKeir Starmer
Preceded byAndrew Gwynne
Succeeded byLisa Nandy[a]
Shadow Minister for Children and Families
In office
24 June 2019 – 6 April 2020
LeaderJeremy Corbyn
Preceded byEmma Lewell-Buck
Succeeded byTulip Siddiq
Shadow Minister for Civil Society
In office
3 October 2016 – 24 June 2019
LeaderJeremy Corbyn
Preceded byIan Lavery
Anna Turley
Succeeded byVicky Foxcroft
Shadow Minister for Local Government
In office
8 May 2015 – 27 June 2016
LeaderHarriet Harman (acting)
Jeremy Corbyn
Preceded byAndy Sawford
Succeeded byJim McMahon
Shadow Minister for Home Affairs
In office
7 October 2013 – 8 May 2015
LeaderEd Miliband
Preceded byGloria de Piero
Succeeded byLyn Brown
Member of Parliament
for Croydon North
Assumed office
29 November 2012
Preceded byMalcolm Wicks
Majority24,673 (44.4%)
Leader of Lambeth London Borough Council
In office
4 May 2006 – 29 November 2012
DeputyJackie Meldrum
Preceded byPeter Truesdale
Succeeded byLib Peck
Personal details
Steven Mark Ward Reed

(1963-11-12) 12 November 1963 (age 58)
St Albans, Hertfordshire, England
Political partyLabour and Co-operative
Alma materUniversity of Sheffield
WebsiteOfficial website

Steven Mark Ward Reed OBE (born 12 November 1963) is a British politician who has been Shadow Secretary of State for Justice since November 2021. A member of the Labour and Co-operative party, he has been Member of Parliament (MP) for Croydon North since 2012.

Reed was Shadow Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government from 2020 to 2021. Prior to his election to Parliament, he was leader of Lambeth London Borough Council from 2006 to 2012.[1][2]

Early life and career[edit]

Reed was born and raised in St Albans, Hertfordshire. His family worked at Odhams printing factory in Watford until it closed down in 1983.[3][4] Around this time, he joined the Labour Party. He went on to study English at Sheffield University.[4] He worked in the educational publishing industry from 1990 to 2008.[4]

Local government career[edit]

Reed first stood for the Lambeth London Borough Council in the 1998 election and won the Town Hall ward (now Brixton Hill). In 2002 Labour lost control of Lambeth council to a Conservative/Liberal Democrat coalition and Reed was elected leader of the opposition.

After Labour won back control of Lambeth Council in 2006, Reed was appointed the council's leader. During his tenure, Lambeth was twice rated as London's worst-run borough, with a one-star rating in the Audit Commission's annual inspection in 2006, before being given the same title again in 2012, when Reed left the job for a parliamentary seat.[5][6] At the 2010 election, Labour gained seats from the Liberal Democrats and Conservatives, making it the first time that Labour had been re-elected to lead in Lambeth for twenty years.

Reed held a number of significant positions in local government. He was:

  • Deputy Leader of Local Government Labour, an association representing Labour councillors nationally;[7]
  • Deputy Chairman of the Local Government Association;[8]
  • London Councils board member for Children's Services and Employment;[9]
  • Chairman of Central London Forward, a lobbying group representing five inner-London boroughs;[10]
  • A board member representing London's boroughs on the London Enterprise Partnership;[11]
  • Co-Chair of the Vauxhall-Nine Elms-Battersea regeneration board;[12]
  • Chairman of the London Young People's Education and Skills Board[13]
  • Served as a member of the London Board of the Homes and Communities Agency between 2009 and 2011[14]

In May 2010, Reed launched a consultation on plans to turn Lambeth into the country's first co-operative council[15][16] intending to deliver better services more cost-effectively by giving more control to communities and service users, reported in The Guardian newspaper as a possible new model for Labour in local government.[17] The final report of Lambeth Council's Cooperative Council Commission[18] laid out the plans for achieving this objective and Lambeth Council put a transformation plan into effect.

Reed was reported to the Standards Board by a Conservative councillor after he disclosed that she was barred from voting on financial matters because of her refusal to pay council tax on one of her properties for several years.[19] This information was legally disclosable and no sanction was imposed.[20]

Reed was named one of the three most influential council leaders in the country by the Local Government Chronicle in 2011[21] and was the highest-ranked Labour politician in the 2010 Pink List compiled by The Independent on Sunday.[22]

Reed was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2013 Birthday Honours for services to local government.[23]

Parliamentary career[edit]

Reed's first attempt to enter Parliament was in Lambeth, contesting the Labour nomination for the Streatham constituency in 2008, on the retirement of Keith Hill. In March of that year, Reed was beaten to the nomination by Chuka Umunna. On 3 November 2012, Reed defeated former Croydon Council leader Val Shawcross by three votes[24] to become the Labour candidate for Croydon North.[25] The by-election followed the death of the former MP for Croydon North Malcolm Wicks and was won by Reed on 29 November 2012.[26]

In October 2013 Reed was appointed a Shadow Home Office Minister by the Labour leader Ed Miliband.[27]

In the 2015 general election, Reed was re-elected with 33,513 votes (a 62.5% share, up 6.6% from the previous General Election in 2010) and a majority of 21,364 (39.9%) with a 62.3% turnout.[28]

On 27 June 2016, Reed resigned as Shadow Minister for Local Government as part of the mass resignation of the Labour Shadow Cabinet against Jeremy Corbyn's leadership of the Labour party.[29][30] He supported Owen Smith in the 2016 Labour leadership election.[31]

In June 2018 Reed attempted to get a bill through Parliament to make hospitals reveal details about how and when they use physical force against patients and provide hospital staff with training about unconscious bias against minority groups such as young black men with mental health problems. Reed referred to the death of his constituent, Olaseni Lewis, aged 23 during use of restraint at Bethlem hospital.[32] A filibuster by Philip Davies prevented the bill succeeding.[33] Reed's bill was passed on 6 July 2018; it requires that police attending mental hospitals to apply restraints must wear body cameras.[34]

In April 2020, Keir Starmer appointed him shadow Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government. He does not hold responsibilities for Housing in England; Thangam Debbonaire is Shadow Secretary of State for Housing. It is proposed that if Labour form the next government, they will create a separate government department for housing.

In July 2020 Reed published a tweet labelling the businessman Richard Desmond a 'puppet-master', said to be an antisemitic trope. He apologised and deleted the tweet after he found out Desmond was Jewish. Jewish Conservative MP Andrew Percy said "Alluding to Jews as puppet-masters is an age old antisemitic trope and for a Shadow Cabinet member to use this trope is totally unacceptable".[35][36] Reed subsequently spoke of his longstanding commitment to Labour Friends of Israel.[37]

In the November 2021 shadow cabinet reshuffle, he was appointed Shadow Secretary of State for Justice and Shadow Lord Chancellor.[38]

Personal life[edit]

Reed is openly gay.[39] He lives in Croydon.


  1. ^ As Shadow Secretary for Levelling Up, Housing, and Communities.


  1. ^ "Committee details - Councillor Steve Reed". Archived from the original on 16 May 2010. Retrieved 20 June 2010.
  2. ^ "Steve Reed selected as Labour's candidate in Croydon North". LabourList. 3 November 2012. Retrieved 10 June 2017.
  3. ^ "Reed Steven MW". FreeBMD. ONS. Retrieved 26 February 2018.
  4. ^ a b c Gareth Davies (26 November 2012). "Steve Reed: A favourite in Croydon North but not in Lambeth?". Croydon Advertiser. Local World. Archived from the original on 21 July 2013. Retrieved 10 June 2017 – via This is Croydon Today.
  5. ^ Ross Lydall (22 February 2007). "Lambeth is London's worst-run borough". Evening Standard. ESI Media.
  6. ^ Lydall, Ross. "Lambeth is London's worst run borough". Evening Standard.
  7. ^ "Labour Group Officers". Archived from the original on 12 October 2010. Retrieved 14 January 2020.
  8. ^ "Cllr Steve Reed - Deputy Chair, LGA". Local Government Association. Archived from the original on 28 September 2011.
  9. ^ "Cllr Steve Reed - Executive member for children's services and skills and employment (Labour)". Archived from the original on 5 February 2011. Retrieved 2 June 2011.
  10. ^ "Central London Forward". Central London Forward (CLF).[failed verification]
  11. ^ "Mayor of London".
  12. ^ "Vauxhall Nine Elms Battersea Opportunity Area Planning Framework". 1 November 2009. Archived from the original on 26 June 2011. Retrieved 2 June 2011.[failed verification]
  13. ^ "14-19 Young People's Education and Skills - About us". London Councils. Archived from the original on 10 March 2012. Retrieved 2 June 2011.
  14. ^ "The HCA London Board". Homes and Communities Agency. 2 August 2010. Archived from the original on 29 September 2010. Retrieved 20 June 2010.
  15. ^ "Lambeth Council plans to be a cooperative". BBC News. 18 February 2010. Retrieved 28 May 2010.
  16. ^ O'Hara, Mary (30 July 2008). "Council moves to tackle violent crime". The Guardian. Retrieved 28 May 2010.
  17. ^ Stratton, Allegra (17 February 2010). "Labour to rebrand Lambeth as 'John Lewis' council". The Guardian. Retrieved 28 May 2010. (registration required)
  18. ^ "Lambeth: The cooperative council". Lambeth Council. Archived from the original on 24 December 2011. Retrieved 2 June 2011.
  19. ^ "Lambeth Council leader Steve Reed to face misconduct hearing". Streatham Guardian. 8 September 2010. Archived from the original on 31 January 2016. Retrieved 4 November 2012.
  20. ^ "Decision - Complaint 02/09-10: Councillor Steve Reed". Lambeth Council. 10 March 2011. Retrieved 10 June 2017.
  21. ^ "'LGC 50' 2011". Local Government Chronicle. EMap Publishing. (registration required)
  22. ^ "The IoS Pink List 2010". The Independent. 1 August 2010.
  23. ^ "No. 60534". The London Gazette (Supplement). 15 June 2013. p. 12.
  24. ^ Kaye Wiggins (3 November 2012). "Steve Reed wins Labour selection for Croydon North". Brixton Blog. Brixton Media. Retrieved 10 June 2017.
  25. ^ "Steve Reed selected as Labour candidate for Croydon North by-election". Croydon Advertiser. 3 November 2012. Archived from the original on 14 January 2013.
  26. ^ "Croydon North by-election: Labour's Steve Reed secures win". BBC News. 30 November 2012. Retrieved 14 January 2020.
  27. ^ "Confirmed: Labour's new frontbench team in full". LabourList. 8 October 2013. Retrieved 12 June 2017.
  28. ^ "Croydon North parliamentary constituency – Election 2015". BBC News. 8 May 2015. Retrieved 11 May 2015.
  29. ^ Steve Reed [@SteveReedMP] (27 June 2016). "I have resigned as Shadow Minister for Local Government. Here is my letter of resignation" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  30. ^ "Labour shadow cabinet and ministers resignations - the letters in full". The Telegraph. 27 June 2016. Retrieved 25 July 2016.
  31. ^ Smith, Mikey; Bloom, Dan (20 July 2016). "Which MPs are nominating Owen Smith in the Labour leadership contest?". Mirror Online. Retrieved 10 November 2018.
  32. ^ Steve Reed (21 July 2017). "Steve launches Seni's Law to protect mental health patients". Steve Reed MP.
  33. ^ "Conservative MP blocks new law to control use of force in mental health units by speaking for almost three hours". i News. 15 July 2018.
  34. ^ Dan Sabbagh (6 July 2018). "MPs pass mental health restraint bill after filibuster fears". The Guardian. (registration required)
  35. ^ Harpin, Lee (5 July 2020). "Labour shadow minister Reed deletes Desmond Tory 'puppet master' tweet". Retrieved 29 May 2021.
  36. ^ "Labour MP apologises over 'anti-Semitic' tweet".
  37. ^ Harpin, Lee (25 November 2020). "I understand why people might not forgive me for sitting on Corbyn's front bench - but judge me on my record, says Labour's Reed". Jewish Chronicle. Retrieved 25 November 2020.
  38. ^ Rodgers, Sienna. "Big reshuffle sees Cooper, Streeting, Lammy, Reynolds, Phillipson promoted". LabourList. Retrieved 30 November 2021.
  39. ^ "London: Gay council boss elected as Labour MP for Croydon North". 30 November 2012.

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by Member of Parliament
for Croydon North