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Stephen Twigg

Stephen Twigg
Official portrait of Stephen Twigg crop 2.jpg
Official portrait, 2017
Chair of the International Development Committee
In office
19 May 2015 – 6 November 2019
Preceded byMalcolm Bruce
Succeeded bySarah Champion
Shadow Secretary of State for Education
In office
7 October 2011 – 7 October 2013
LeaderEd Miliband
Preceded byAndy Burnham
Succeeded byTristram Hunt
Minister of State for School Standards
In office
16 December 2004 – 5 May 2005
Prime MinisterTony Blair
Preceded byDavid Miliband
Succeeded byJacqui Smith
Deputy Leader of the House of Commons
In office
11 June 2001 – 29 May 2002
Prime MinisterTony Blair
LeaderRobin Cook
Preceded byPaddy Tipping
Succeeded byBen Bradshaw
Member of Parliament
for Liverpool West Derby
In office
6 May 2010 – 6 November 2019
Preceded byBob Wareing
Succeeded byIan Byrne
Member of Parliament
for Enfield Southgate
In office
1 May 1997 – 11 April 2005
Preceded byMichael Portillo
Succeeded byDavid Burrowes
Islington Borough Councillor
for Sussex Ward
In office
9 July 1992 – 1 May 1997
Preceded byChristopher King
Succeeded byGraham Baker
44th President of the National Union of Students
In office
1990–1992
Preceded byMaeve Sherlock
Succeeded byLorna Fitzsimons
Personal details
Born (1966-12-25) 25 December 1966 (age 55)
Enfield, London, England
Political partyLabour Co-op
Alma materBalliol College, Oxford
WebsiteStephen Twigg MP

Stephen Twigg (born 25 December 1966) is a British Labour Co-op politician who was Member of Parliament for Enfield Southgate from 1997 to 2005, and for Liverpool West Derby from 2010 to 2019.

He came to national prominence in 1997 by winning the seat of Defence Secretary Michael Portillo. Twigg was made the Minister of State for School Standards in 2004, a job he held until he lost his seat in 2005. He returned to parliament in 2010, after he was elected Member of Parliament for Liverpool West Derby when longtime MP Bob Wareing retired.

Following Ed Miliband's election to the Labour leadership, he made Twigg a Shadow Foreign Office Minister. In his October 2011 reshuffle, Miliband promoted Twigg to the post of Shadow Secretary of State for Education. However, on 7 October 2013 he was replaced in the reshuffle.

In August 2020, Stephen Twigg was appointed as the 8th Secretary-General of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association.

Early life

He was born on Christmas Day 1966. Twigg was educated at Grange Park Primary School and Southgate School, a local comprehensive school, and at Balliol College, Oxford, where he studied Philosophy, Politics, and Economics.

He became the youngest and first openly gay president of the National Union of Students in 1990 representing the National Organisation of Labour Students (NOLS). He was re-elected in 1991.

On leaving the NUS, he was elected as a councillor in the London Borough of Islington at a 1992 by-election, representing the Sussex ward until 1997, when he stood down following his election to parliament. During his tenure on the council, he became Chief Whip, and briefly Deputy Leader. Twigg's ward colleagues were both fellow future Labour MPs: Margaret Hodge and Meg Hillier. He also worked for the UK section of Amnesty International and then for the National Council for Voluntary Organisations.

Political career

MP for Enfield Southgate (1997–2005)

In the 1997 election, he was elected to Parliament for Enfield Southgate, the constituency in which he had been born and raised, with a majority of 1,433. There had been a large 17.4% swing to him from his Conservative opponent, Michael Portillo. Portillo, a cabinet minister, had been widely tipped to be the next Tory leader, and the loss of his seat was one of the most unexpected results of the election.

A book about the election by Brian Cathcart was titled Were You Still Up for Portillo? In the Royal Festival Hall in London, the scene of the Labour party celebrations that evening, the result elicited a massive cheer, as Portillo was widely loathed among Labour supporters.[citation needed] Twigg was forced to give up his role as general secretary of the Fabian Society following this unexpected victory in what had been regarded as a safe Conservative seat. It was also unusual to have an openly gay British MP at that time.

In the 2001 election, Twigg held the seat with an increased majority of 5,546 over Conservative John Flack. Following the 2001 election, Twigg was appointed Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the House of Commons, Robin Cook, and in 2002 became a junior minister in the Department for Education and Skills, from where he led the London Challenge initiative. In 2004, in the government changes following the resignation of David Blunkett, he was promoted to Minister of State for school standards.

Whilst an MP he served as chairman of two All Party Parliamentary Groups—on epilepsy and on youth issues. He is a former chairman of Labour Friends of Israel.[citation needed]

In the 2005 election, Twigg lost his seat to the Conservative Party candidate, David Burrowes, by a margin of 1,747 votes (a swing of 8.7%). During his concession speech, Twigg claimed that he would not be the last Labour MP for Enfield Southgate. He was proved correct in 2017, with the election of Bambos Charalambous, the Labour candidate, on 8 June that year.

Non-parliamentary career (2005–2010)

On 12 December 2005, Twigg was arrested in central London for being drunk and incapable in a public place and taken to Marylebone police station. He paid a £50 fixed penalty notice. Twigg commented "I had had a lot to drink and I think it [the police action] was sensible. I have no complaints whatsoever. I take full responsibility for my actions."

Twigg became chairman of Progress, an independent organisation for Labour party members, and director of the Foreign Policy Centre, a think tank which develops long-term multilateral approaches to global problems. Twigg worked at the Aegis Trust between 2005 and 2010, where he worked on their educational and campaigning work against genocide. He is also a patron of the Workers Educational Association.

MP for Liverpool West Derby (2010–2019)

Twigg speaking in 2013

Twigg was selected as the Labour Co-operative candidate for the Liverpool West Derby constituency at the 2010 general election. He was elected with a majority of 18,467, garnering 64.1% of the vote.

In October 2010, he unsuccessfully contested the election for the Shadow Cabinet, coming in 36th out of the 49 candidates and winning 55 votes. He was subsequently appointed to the Labour front bench as a shadow minister in the Foreign Affairs team.

On 7 October 2011, he was appointed to the post of Shadow Secretary of State for Education, following the Shadow Cabinet reshuffle.

In the 2013 Shadow Cabinet reshuffle, Twigg lost his position of Shadow Education Secretary and was demoted to the Shadow Justice Team as Shadow Minister for Constitutional Reform.

On 19 June 2015, he was elected chairman of the International Development Select Committee. He supported Owen Smith in the 2016 Labour leadership election.

Twigg stood down at the 2019 general election and was succeeded by Ian Byrne, who retained the seat for Labour.

Twigg is a patron of the Merseyside Domestic Violence Services, a patron of Kinship Carers Liverpool and a patron of the Merseyside Branch of the Motor Neurone Disease Association.

Post-parliamentary career

In August 2020, Stephen Twigg was appointed as the 8th Secretary-General of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association. The Association represents Parliamentarians and parliamentary staff in around 180 Commonwealth Parliaments and Legislatures.


This page was last updated at 2022-03-08 06:56 UTC. Update now. View original page.

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