Biography of Lucy Powell

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British Labour Co-op politician

Lucy Powell

Official portrait of Lucy Powell MP crop 2.jpg
Powell in 2019
Shadow Minister for Business and Consumers
Assumed office
9 April 2020
LeaderKeir Starmer
Preceded byBill Esterson
Shadow Secretary of State for Education
In office
13 September 2015 – 26 June 2016
LeaderJeremy Corbyn
Preceded byTristram Hunt
Succeeded byPat Glass
Shadow Minister for the Cabinet Office
In office
5 November 2014 – 13 September 2015
LeaderEd Miliband
Harriet Harman
Preceded byMichael Dugher
Succeeded byTom Watson
Member of Parliament
for Manchester Central
Assumed office
15 November 2012
Preceded byTony Lloyd
Majority29,089 (55.6%)
Personal details
Lucy Maria Powell

(1974-10-10) 10 October 1974 (age 46)
Manchester, England
Political partyLabour and Co-operative
Spouse(s)James Williamson
Children2 children
Alma materSomerville College, Oxford
King's College London
WebsiteOfficial website

Lucy Maria Powell (born 10 October 1974) is a British Labour and Co-operative politician who has served as the Member of Parliament (MP) for Manchester Central since winning the seat at a by-election in November 2012. Since April 2020 she has also served as Shadow Minister for Business and Consumers.

Prior to her election, she worked in campaigning and PR roles for Britain in Europe, NESTA and the Labour Party.

She was a shadow Cabinet Office minister and vice-chair for the 2015 general election campaign.

She was appointed Shadow Secretary of State for Education in September 2015, but resigned in June 2016.

Early life

Powell was born in Moss Side. She attended Beaver Road Primary School and Parrs Wood High School in the suburb of Didsbury, and then studied for A-levels at Xaverian College. She studied Chemistry at Somerville College, Oxford, and King's College London.

Powell joined the Labour Party at the age of fifteen.[citation needed]

Political career

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Powell began her career working as a parliamentary assistant for Beverley Hughes MP after having worked at the Labour Party Headquarters in Millbank Tower during the 1997 general election campaign.

She joined the pro-Euro and pro-EU Treaty pressure group Britain in Europe (BiE), originally in a public relations role and later as head of regional campaigning.[citation needed] She later replaced Simon Buckby as Campaign Director of BiE and in this capacity she worked with Chris Patten, Neil Kinnock, Nick Clegg and Danny Alexander.

After Britain in Europe was wound down in June 2005 because of the referendum "No" votes in France and the Netherlands, she worked for the non-departmental public body or quango NESTA (the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts), initially in a public affairs role and later to establish and manage the Manchester Innovation Fund project.[citation needed]

She was selected as Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Manchester Withington in April 2007. She failed to defeat the incumbent Liberal Democrat, John Leech at the 2010 general election.

From May 2010 to September 2010 Powell managed Ed Miliband's successful campaign for the Labour Party leadership. She then served as Miliband's acting and later deputy chief of staff from September 2010 to April 2012.[citation needed]

She was selected by the local Constituency Labour Party (CLP) in April 2012 for the 15 November 2012 Manchester Central by-election defeating local councillors Mike Amesbury and Rosa Battle and the London councillor Patrick Vernon. The by-election was triggered by Tony Lloyd who stepped down as its MP to contest the 2012 England and Wales Police and Crime Commissioner elections for Greater Manchester Police area.[citation needed]

Member of Parliament (2012–present)

Powell was elected at the Manchester Central by-election held in November 2012. She won the election with a majority of 9,936 votes. Voter turnout of 18.2% at the by-election is believed to be the lowest in a by-election since the Second World War. Powell became Manchester's first female Labour member of parliament and the first woman elected from Manchester since 1964.

In November 2014, she was appointed shadow Cabinet Office minister and vice-chair of the 2015 general election campaign by Ed Miliband. In the campaign, Labour suffered a net loss of 26 seats, including a net loss of 40 seats in Scotland. She was heavily criticised for apparently suggesting that Labour's election pledges were liable to be broken: in talking about the so-called EdStone, she commented: "I don't think anyone is suggesting that the fact that he's carved them into stone means that he is absolutely not going to break them or anything like that." She said that she had been quoted out of context. She was responsible for Ed Miliband's interview with Russell Brand, described as a PR blunder. As a result of these actions coupled to the result, Tanya Gold writing for The Sunday Times described her as "discredited". In response to the result, Powell stated, "I bear my share of responsibility in this".

In the 2015 Labour Party leadership election, she nominated Andy Burnham.

Powell was appointed as Shadow Education Secretary on 13 September 2015 by Jeremy Corbyn, succeeding Tristram Hunt. As Shadow Education Secretary, she argued for bringing free schools and academies under Local Education Authority control. She resigned from the Shadow Cabinet on 26 June 2016, along with dozens of shadow cabinet colleagues unhappy with Corbyn's leadership. She supported Owen Smith in the 2016 Labour Party (UK) leadership election. However, she later stated that, "We were wrong about Jeremy Corbyn" in an interview after the 2017 general election.

In September 2017, the political commentator Iain Dale placed Powell at Number 81 in The 100 Most Influential People on the Left.

In September 2018, Powell introduced legislation in the House of Commons to ban secret, private, invite-only groups on Facebook and hold moderators legally responsible for hate speech or defamation on forums. She is a member of Labour Friends of Israel.

On 9 April 2020, Powell was appointed as Shadow Minister for Business and Consumers by new party leader Keir Starmer.

Personal life

She is married to James Williamson, an emergency medicine doctor, and has three children – a step-son, daughter and a son who was born on 27 May 2013.

She supports Manchester City football club.

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Poem of the day

Carl Sandburg Poem
 by Carl Sandburg

TWO Swede families live downstairs and an Irish policeman upstairs, and an old soldier, Uncle Joe.
Two Swede boys go upstairs and see Joe. His wife is dead, his only son is dead, and his two daughters in Missouri and Texas don't want him around.
The boys and Uncle Joe crack walnuts with a hammer on the bottom of a flatiron while the January wind howls and the zero air weaves laces on the window glass.
Joe tells the Swede boys all about Chickamauga and Chattanooga, how the Union soldiers crept in rain somewhere a dark night and ran forward and killed many Rebels, took flags, held a hill, and won a victory told about in the histories in school.
Joe takes a piece of carpenter's chalk, draws lines on the floor and piles stove wood to show where six regiments were slaughtered climbing a slope.
'Here they went' and 'Here they went,' says Joe, and the January wind howls and the zero air weaves laces on the window glass.
The two Swede boys go downstairs with a big blur of guns, men, and hills in their heads. They eat herring and potatoes and tell the family war is a wonder and soldiers are a wonder.
One breaks out with a cry at supper: I wish we had a war now and I could be a soldier.

Read complete poem

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