Steven Woolfe

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Steven Woolfe
Steven Woolfe UKIPNEC.jpg
Woolfe in 2013
Member of the European Parliament
for North West England
In office
1 July 2014 – 1 July 2019
Preceded byRobert Atkins
Succeeded byDavid Bull
UKIP portfolios
Personal details
Born (1967-10-06) 6 October 1967 (age 55)
Moss Side, Manchester, England
Political partyIndependent (since 2016)
Other political
Conservative (2000–2010)
UKIP (2010–2016)
EducationSt. Bede's College, Manchester
Alma materAberystwyth University;
City Law School

Steven Marcus Woolfe (born 6 October 1967) is a British barrister, writer and commentator. He is currently the Director of the Centre for Migration & Economic Prosperity[1] a research think tank studying population and immigration into the UK, Europe and US. He was a Member of the European Parliament (MEP) for North West England from 2014 until 2019. From 2014 he was a UKIP MEP but resigned to become an Independent MEP in October 2016 following his opposition to the party's overly negative policy on immigration. He remained Independent until July 2019. He is not a member of any political party or holds any political office.

Early life and education[edit]

Woolfe was born in Moss Side in Manchester and grew up on a council estate in Burnage. His grandmother Christine, emigrated to Britain from Ireland and married James an Englishman, who were parents of Woolfe's mother. Both his parents were born in Manchester: His father was mixed race born to a British Jewish mother and a Black American father.[2] He abandoned Woolfe and his brother as a small child. He is the eldest of a family of four, His younger half-brother is Nathan Woolfe, a footballer who has played for various clubs as a striker.[3]

He attended St Bernard's Roman Catholic Primary School, a voluntary-aided state-maintained school in Burnage.,[4] As a child of a single parent mother he won a scholarship to St Bede's College, a co-educational independent school in the Manchester suburb of Whalley Range, where he excelled in sport, debating and study.

He read law at Aberystwyth University, won several awards and graduated with a Bachelor of Laws (LLB) degree in 1990.

Legal career[edit]

He pursued further studies at the Inns of Court School of Law in London, before being called to the Bar at The Inner Temple[4][5] He initially undertook pupillage at Francis Taylor Buildings before completing pupillage at 2 Harcourt Buildings (now 5 St Andrews Hill[6]) where he practiced criminal and general common law. He continued at 5 Paper Buildings but did not take tenancy there as he moved into his first role as an Employed Barrister acting as General Counsel for a stockbroking firm Merchant Securities Limited.

He moved to the Union Bank of Switzerland, London office in the legal and compliance department where managed the private banking, derivatives desks and anti money laundering procedures. He then went onto work for several investment banks such as Credit Suisse, Barclays Capital and Standard Bank as well as Aviva.

Before becoming interested in politics he spent several years as general counsel for hedge fund managers such as Boyer Allan Investment Management LLP. He co-founded the Hedge Fund lawyers Association and was its chair for 2010 to 2102. Since 2019 he has also acted as a legal and regulatory consultant to financial institutions.[4]

Political career[edit]

Woolfe was introduced to UKIP by Lord Pearson of Rannoch and made his debut speech at UKIP's 2010 annual conference in Torquay.[7] In 2010 Nigel Farage declared his intention to stand in the UKIP leadership, he appointed Woolfe, who was not a member of UKIP, to his team of senior spokespeople, as Economics spokesman. In 2011, Woolfe was elected to UKIP's National Executive Committee.

Woolfe stood as a UKIP candidate for the City and East for the Greater London Authority[8] in May 2012.

In November 2012, Woolfe won UKIP's nomination to contest the Greater Manchester Police and Crime Commissioner elections. Woolfe's campaign message was one of tough on crime and the support of community policing. He finished fifth, polling 23,256 votes (8.55%).[9]

On 8 May 2014, Woolfe chaired a public meeting in Westminster promoting UKIP's Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) candidates despite Farage's initial opposition. His belief politics is about ideas not race succeeded in galvanising the membership[10]

Woolfe was selected as number 3 on UKIP's regional party list in the 2014 European Parliament election in North West England. He was one of three candidates from the party to be elected as MEP in the region.[11][12]

In 2014 he became Spokesman for migration policy.[13] Woolfe called for a fair and ethical stance towards migration, stressing that migration should be based on merit, not on race, religion, colour or creed.[14] This policy was taken up by Vote Leave and the Conservative Party during and after the Brexit Referendum

From July 2014 until May 2015, Woolfe's was responsible for macro policy and taxation and City of London spokesman. He advocated a simplified and lower tax regime for all, believing that the middle classes have been squeezed with the 40% tax band and has called for the 45% tax band to be abolished and replaced with a higher threshold for 40% band at £45,000. He has also called for those on minimum wage to be taken out of paying tax altogether.[15]

On 4 September 2014, Woolfe was chosen as UKIP's Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Stockport.[16] Woolfe came third at the 2015 general election with 13% of the vote.[17]

UKIP leadership bid[edit]

In July 2016, Woolfe launched his bid to become leader of UKIP following the resignation of Nigel Farage. He gained the support of the leaders of UKIP in Wales, Scotland and London. His running-mate was Welsh UKIP leader Nathan Gill.[18]

Woolfe promised to 'ruthlessly' go after Labour seats in Northern England and the Midlands.[19] Woolfe said UKIP has "won the argument" for managed immigration and promised to drive a new focus on social mobility.[20] Furthermore, Woolfe also said he would build on the 4 million votes UKIP got at the last election.

On 31 July 2016, he was blocked by the party's National Executive Committee.

On 5 October 2016, Woolfe was reported saying considering joining the Conservative Party.[21] He did not do so. After only 2 years as a UKIP MEP he resigned and spent 3 years as an Independent and never joined a political party after that. He said "politics is important but political parties forget about who they represent, the people, I cannot do that they are too important".

Post-political career[edit]

Woolfe became the director of legal affairs of think tank The Centre For Migration & Economic Prosperity in 2019. He is also the editor and head of communications of Libertatio.[22]

Personal life[edit]

Woolfe married Fiona Olivia Thomson in 2011 at the All Saints Church, Houghton, Hampshire.[23] They have a daughter.[24] He is a Catholic.[25]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "The Centre for Migration & Economic Prosperity". The Centre for Migration & Economic Prosperity. 12 February 2023.
  2. ^ "British Future Speech 2016 – Steven Woolfe MEP, UKIP Spokesman on Migration and Financial Affairs". Retrieved 15 July 2016.
  3. ^ Brown, Richard (22 November 2014). "Ukip runner says Stockport's 'fear of Manchester' is like apartheid-era South Africa". Mancunian Matters. Retrieved 18 July 2016.
  4. ^ a b c "GECO – General Election Campaign Outlook – Steven Woolfe MEP". Archived from the original on 29 November 2014. Retrieved 19 November 2014.
  5. ^ "The Inner Temple". The Inner Temple.
  6. ^ "5 St Andrew's Hill". 5SAH.
  7. ^ "Steven Woolfe – UKIP Conference 2010 – Part 1". Steven Woolfe. Retrieved 7 October 2016 – via YouTube.
  8. ^ Martin Hoscik (24 January 2012). "UKIP announces London Assembly candidates". Retrieved 4 July 2016.
  9. ^ "Greater Manchester Police and Crime Commissioner Results 2012". Manchester City Council. Retrieved 31 May 2014.
  10. ^ Bennett, Owen (8 May 2014). "'NEVER call us racist again' Ukip's black and ethnic minority candidates fight back". The Express. Retrieved 13 June 2014.
  11. ^ "Labour and UKIP secure three MEPs, wiping out BNP and Liberal Democrats". Manchester Evening News. 26 May 2014. Retrieved 7 October 2016.
  12. ^ "Vote2014 – North West". BBC. Retrieved 26 May 2014.
  13. ^ "leader Nigel Farage announces two key frontbench spokesmen roles with more to follow". UKIP. Retrieved 4 July 2016.
  14. ^ Bennett, Asa (23 July 2014). "Ukip's New Migration Spokesman Steven Woolfe On Party's 'Ethical Immigration Policy'". Huffington Post. Retrieved 4 July 2016.
  15. ^ "Ukip to fight 2015 election on pledge to raise 40p tax threshold to £45,000". The Telegraph. 14 March 2014. Retrieved 13 June 2014.
  16. ^ Holmes, David (9 September 2014). "Chester: Ukip Euro MP to stand for Parliament". Chester Chronicle. Retrieved 4 July 2016.
  17. ^ "Stockport". BBC News. Retrieved 11 May 2015.
  18. ^ "Nathan Gill to be UKIP leadership running-mate to Steven Woolfe". BBC News. 14 July 2016. Retrieved 7 October 2016.
  19. ^ "Steven Woolfe Announces UKIP Leadership Bid". Huffington Post. 14 July 2016. Retrieved 6 August 2016.
  20. ^ "Steven Woolfe launches Ukip leadership bid". ITV News. 14 July 2016. Retrieved 7 October 2016.
  21. ^ Bennett, Owen (5 October 2016). "Ukip Anger At Steven Woolfe After He Admits Considering Defecting To The Conservatives". Huffington Post. Retrieved 6 October 2016.
  22. ^ "Steven Woolfe". LinkedIn. Retrieved 12 March 2023.
  23. ^ "Steven, Fiona Woolfe, Thomson". Hampshire Chronicle. 28 July 2011.
  24. ^ Holmes, David (18 October 2016). "Chester-based Euro MP quits UKIP leadership race – and his party". Chester Chronicle. Retrieved 18 October 2016.
  25. ^ "Margot Parker: 'The bishops must meet with UKIP'". Catholic Herald. Retrieved 8 October 2014.