Gemma Tumelty

Gemma Tumelty
52nd President of the National Union of Students
In office
March 2006 – 30 June 2008
Preceded byKat Fletcher
Succeeded byWes Streeting
Personal details
Born (1980-10-20) 20 October 1980 (age 39)
Weston-Super-Mare, Somerset, England
Political partyLabour
ResidenceBristol and London
Alma materLiverpool John Moores University

Gemma Tumelty (born 20 October 1980), is a British Labour Party and Trades Union activist, who was President of the National Union of Students (NUS) from 2006 to 2008. She was the NUS National Secretary from 2005 to 2006, and a member of its National Executive Committee for two years before that.

Early life

Tumelty was born in Weston-Super-Mare, and grew up in Burnham on Sea. Raised in a single parent family, she was educated in Cheddar.[1] The family moved to Hertfordshire during her later teens, but returned to Somerset once Gemma and her older sister went to university.[citation needed] Tumelty graduated in psychology from Liverpool John Moores University in 2005.[2]

NUS President

Gemma Tumelty leading the NUS National Demo October 2006

Tumelty was previously Women's Officer and then Vice President Welfare in Liverpool Students' Union.[3] She was elected as National Secretary of the NUS in April 2005 at the NUS Conference in Blackpool.

Tumelty was first elected NUS President in March 2006, being the first NUS president from a post 1992 university.[3] Although she was a member of the Labour Party she was not a candidate of its student wing, Labour Students, and ran for President with the description independent.[4] She is part of the Organised Independents faction. There were six other candidates, including a member of the Education Not for Sale campaign, candidates from Conservative Future and Liberal Democrat Youth and Students, and two more independents/labour party independents.

In 2006, Tumelty led the NUS in signing an accord with the Trades Union Congress (TUC). Motivated by the increasing number of students who are taking-up employment to fund their education, the agreement will see the NUS and TUC working together to encourage students to join a trade union.[5]

Tumelty was re-elected on 28 March 2007 and served a full term until July 2008 when she was succeeded by Labour Students's Wes Streeting. Her opponents in 2007 were Sofie Buckland, a member of Education Not for Sale and an officer on the NUS National Executive, and Rob Owen, a member of RESPECT and General Secretary of the University of Manchester Students' Union.

She wrote a weekly blog for the Education section of The Guardian. In 2006 she became the first NUS president to address the TUC Conference.


Upon leaving NUS, Tumelty joined Million+, a university think tank representing former polytechnic universities as Press and Public Affairs Manager. She also served as a co-opted member of the management committee of Compass - a centre left pressure group.

Gemma Tumelty started work in the International Department of the TUC in 2009 and then worked in the Campaigns and Communications Department, organising domestic, mostly public sector, anti-cuts campaigns and TUC annual congress.

In 2011 Tumelty became a trustee of Kick 4 Life, a charity which uses the power of football and sport to transform the lives of some of the most disadvantaged boys and girls in the world.[6]

In 2012 Tumelty was shortlisted to become the Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for the Bristol West constituency, but lost to Thangam Debbonaire despite high-profile backing from senior politicians such as Jon Cruddas and Emily Thornberry.[7]

In July 2013 Tumelty left her position as Campaigns and Events Officer at the TUC to join the Office of the Leader of the Opposition as the Stakeholder Relations Manager. She left this position in May 2014 to return to Bristol.[8][9]


  1. ^ "About Gemma Tumelty". Gemma Tumelty. Archived from the original on 6 July 2012.
  2. ^ "Guide to NPC Annual Conference" (PDF). National Postgraduate Conference. 2006. Retrieved 20 August 2013.
  3. ^ a b Alexandra Smith (12 April 2006). "They might have won the battle ..." The Guardian. Retrieved 6 July 2012.
  4. ^ Gemma Tumelty (24 March 2006). "Gemma Tumelty, independent". The Guardian. Retrieved 6 July 2012.
  5. ^ Alexandra Smith (1 September 2006). "Report finds more students working to fund studies". The Guardian. Retrieved 6 July 2012.
  6. ^ Charity Commission. Kick4Life, registered charity no. 1112133.
  7. ^ "Supporters". Gemma Tumelty. Archived from the original on 18 June 2012. Retrieved 7 July 2012.
  8. ^ Sam Coates (21 June 2014). "Bullying row engulfs Miliband's office". The Times. London. Retrieved 20 September 2014.
  9. ^ Emma Glanfield (21 June 2014). "Now Miliband aide blamed for leader's Hillsborough gaffe is accused of bullying junior Labour staffer". Daily Mail. Retrieved 20 September 2014.

External links

Video clips

Political offices
Preceded by
Kat Fletcher
President of the
National Union of Students

Succeeded by
Wes Streeting

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