Presidents & Vice Presidents
Baroness Glenys Kinnock
Glenys is the former minister for Europe for the FCO. She founded and is president of One World Action, the Development NGO. She is a board member of the Burma Campaign, Council Member of the Institute for Development Studies, and board member for the European Centre for Development Policy Management.
“Labour’s task in opposition is to continue to promote our agenda of equity and social justice. This is essential because we are dealing with a Tory-led government which doesn’t like talking about rights or about inequality.”
Rachel is the Member of Parliament for Leeds West. Rachel is the Labour Party’s spokeswoman on pensions, and was previously on the Business, Innovation and Skills Select Committee. Rachel spent her professional career as an economist working for the Bank of England, the British Embassy in Washington and at Halifax Bank of Scotland.
Our Vice Presidents.
Alison McGovern MP
Alison McGovern became the Member of Parliament for Wirral South, where she was born and grew up, on 6 May 2010. After the election she was appointed Private Parliamentary Secretary to Rt Hon Gordon Brown MP. Alison is a member of the Select Committee on International Development.
Debbie Abrahams MP
Debbie Abrahams has been the Member of Parliament for Oldham East and Saddleworth since her by-election victory in January 2011.
Since being elected to Parliament, Debbie has spoken and campaigned on a wide variety of issues, including health, business, Kashmir, welfare, employment, education, inequality and international development. She is a member of the Work and Pensions Select Committee and is PPS to Shadow Health Secretary, Andy Burnham.
Debbie read biochemistry and physiology at Salford University before taking a master’s degree in health and education at the University of Liverpool and pursuing a career in public health, first as head of Healthy Cities in Knowsley. In 2006 she returned to Liverpool University as director of the Heath Impact Assessment Consortium. She was Chair of Rochdale PCT and a member of the board of Bury and Rochdale Health Authority. She has also been a school governor and Chair of NorthWest Action on Smoking and Health.
Gail Cartmail is Unite the Union Assistant General Secretary: Finance, Construction, Energy, Public Services and Community, Youth and Not for Profit; her roles within Unite have included Head of Health, National Officer Equality and Diversity and Regional Officer.
Gail represents Unite on the TUC General Council and Executive Committee and is a member of the TUC’s Union Learn Board, TUC spokeswoman for International Development and member of the Labour Party’s National Policy Forum.
Gail is a Commissioner for the UK Commission for Employment and Skills and a member of the Central Arbitration Committee.
Previous employment included Principal Officer, local government, specialising in economic development. Prior to this Gail worked in the Graphics sector.
Equality, justice and fairness are values that Gail strives to embed in all her areas of work and engagement.
Hilary Benn MP
Hilary is the Labour Member of Parliament for Leeds Central. Hilary served as International Development Secretary from 2003-2007.
He has also served as a Minister in the Home Office, as Secretary of State at the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, as the Shadow Leader of the House of Commons, the Shadow Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government and the Shadow Foreign Secretary.
He is currently Chair of the Exiting the European Union Select Committee..
Ivan Lewis MP
Ivan Lewis is the Shadow Secretary of State for Northern Ireland and MP for Bury South.
Ivan was previously Shadow Secretary of State for International Development, developing Labour’s vision for the Post-2015 development goals and launching a campaign to include an Early Childhood Development goal as part of that new framework.
During Ivan’s period as a DfID Minister for Africa between 2008 and 2009 he worked to secure global support for an intensive focus on maternal health and led work within DfID on how the UK could work more effectively with other donors and multilateral organisations to make a sustainable difference in fragile states.
Gareth Thomas MP
Born and educated in Harrow, Gareth Thomas is the Labour and Co-operative Member of Parliament for Harrow West and was first elected at the 1997 General Election. In 2003 he was promoted to Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for International Development. There he stayed under Gordon Brown as junior minister for trade policy, dividing his time between DfID and the new Department of Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform. He was promoted to Minister of State with the same dual brief in October 2008, then re-appointed Minister of State in the Department for International Development on 8th June 2009. Whilst at DfID, he championed efforts to combat discrimination against those suffering from HIV/AIDS, and was responsible for a huge increase in the department’s work to tackle the disease, scaling up aid to £1.5billion. He also led a big drive to increase trade-related investment and donor support for infrastructure projects, such as the road, rail and port network in Eastern Africa.
In May 2010 he was re-elected as Member of Parliament for Harrow West with an increased majority, and was appointed the Shadow Minister for Higher Education and Science in October 2010. He has served as the Shadow Minister for Civil Society since October 2011, and was appointed Deputy Shadow Minister for London in January 2013. He has been chairman of the Co-operative Party since 2000, is a member of the Fabian Society, and has written on social responsibility and a low-carbon economy.
Lord Jack McConnell
Jack McConnell served as the First Minister of Scotland from 2001 and 2007 and has the distinction of being the youngest person to attain the post.
He was introduced to membership of the House of Lords on 28 June 2010, as Lord McConnell of Glenscorrodale.
He served as Minister for Education, Europe and External Affairs from 2000 to 2001 and he was Minister for Finance from 1999 to 2000. He was the MSP for Motherwell and Wishaw from 1999 to 2011.
He was the Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s Special Representative for Peacebuilding from 2008 to 2010. In his capacity as Special Representative, Mr McConnell supported the UK efforts to improve the capacity of international institutions to prevent and resolve conflict.
As First Minister, he refreshed and launched Scotland’s International Image. He established Scotland’s International Development policy; and signed a co-operation agreement with Malawi.
John Battle is the former Member of Parliament for Leeds West. John has been a staunch advocate of international development, serving on the House of Commons International Development Select Committee for 10 years. He also served as a Foreign Office Minister and as the Prime Minister’s envoy to all the faith communities. Upon his retirement as an MP in May 2010 he was succeeded by our Honorary Co-President Rachel Reeves. He continues to play an active role in civic life in Leeds as a community organiser.
Linda McAvan MEP
Linda has been MEP for Yorkshire and the Humber since 1998. In July 2014 Linda was elected Chair of the European Parliament’s Committee on Development. She had previously served as a substitute member of this committee for ten years and has been active on a range of issues, including Fair Trade, women’s rights and girls education in developing countries and climate justice. She is a member of the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly and previously served as its Vice-President for two and a half years.
Her other previous roles in the European Parliament have included Vice-President of the Socialists & Democrats Group with responsibility for climate change and environment issues, coordinator on the Environment and Public Health committee and rapporteur on key legislative proposals including the tobacco products directive and pharmaceutical legislation.
Lord Paul Boateng
Paul Boateng, a former British high commissioner to South Africa, MP, cabinet minister and civil rights lawyer, is a member of the House of Lords and a trustee of the Planet Earth Institute.
Paul was the MP for Brent South between 1987 and 2005. He had the honour of becoming the UK’s first black MP with ministerial responsibilities when he was appointed Chief Secretary to the Treasury in 2002.
Richard Howitt MEP
First elected to represent Essex South, Richard has represented the whole of the East of England since 1999 and is now senior serving Member of the European Parliament for the region.
Richard is the Labour Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs in the European Parliament, the Socialist & Democrat Group Human Rights Spokesperson, the European Parliament Rapporteur on Corporate Social Responsibility, and the President of the All-Party Disability Rights Group of MEPs.
Seb Dance MEP
Seb is a newly-elected MEP for London. He serves on the Environment Committee of the EP, legislating on key aspects of environmental and climate change policy. He also sits on the Development Committee, overseeing the EU’s development spending – the largest aid donor in the world.
Before being elected to the EP Seb worked at ActionAid on a range of campaigns including the Tax Justice campaign. Before this he worked in govt as a Special Adviser in the Northern Ireland Office, at a time when the final parts of devolution were being delivered by a Labour Government.
Stephen Doughty MP
Stephen lives in Splott, and was born and brought up in Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan.
As a senior policy adviser on poverty, development, trade and humanitarian affairs to Rt Hon Douglas Alexander MP as Secretary of State for International Development in the last Labour Government – Stephen played his part in responding to international disasters like the Haiti earthquake, pushing to help make healthcare and education free for some of the world’s poorest people, and tackling global challenges like climate change.
Stephen Timms MP
The Rt Hon Stephen Timms is currently the Member of Parliament for East Ham and the Shadow Minister for Employment. He is also the Labour Party’s Faith Envoy.
Stephen entered Parliament in 1994 as Labour’s MP for Newham North East through a by-election on 9th June 1994, and was re-elected to the new constituency of East Ham in May 1997.
Stephen was formerly Financial Secretary to the Treasury after being appointed to the position in October 2008. He had strategic oversight of taxation as a whole, Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs, and European and international tax issues. As treasury minister he led negotiations to get a deal on tax evasion and avoidance at the London G20 talks.