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David Lindon Lammy PC MP FRSA[1] (born 19 July 1972) is a British Labour Party politician, who has been the Member of Parliament (MP) for Tottenham since 2000.

David Lammy

Official portrait of Mr David Lammy crop 2.jpg
Lammy in 2017
Minister of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills
In office
28 June 2007 – 11 May 2010
Prime MinisterGordon Brown
Preceded byBill Rammell
Succeeded byDavid Willetts (Universities and Science)
Minister of State for Culture
In office
5 May 2005 – 28 June 2007
Prime MinisterTony Blair
Preceded byEstelle Morris (Arts)
Succeeded byMargaret Hodge (Culture and Tourism)
Member of Parliament
for Tottenham
Assumed office
22 June 2000
Preceded byBernie Grant
Majority34,584 (70.1%)
Member of the London Assembly
as the 8th Additional Member
In office
4 May 2000 – 4 July 2000
Preceded byConstituency created
Succeeded byJennette Arnold
Personal details
David Lindon Lammy

(1972-07-19) 19 July 1972 (age 46)
Holloway, London, England
Political partyLabour
Nicola Green (m. 2005)
Alma mater Edit this at Wikidata


Early life and educationEdit

Lammy was born on 19 July 1972 in Whittington Hospital, on Highgate Hill, Upper Holloway, North London, to Guyanese parents David and Rosalind Lammy.[2][3][4] He and his four siblings were raised solely by his mother, after his father left the family when Lammy was 12 years old. Lammy speaks publicly about the importance of fathers and the need to support them in seeking to be active in the lives of their children. He chairs the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Fatherhood and has written on the issue.[5][6][7]

Lammy grew up in Tottenham. Having attended a local primary school, at the age of 10 he was awarded an Inner London Education Authority choral scholarship to sing at Peterborough Cathedral and attend The King's School, Peterborough.[8] He studied at the School of Law, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, obtaining an upper-second-class[9] degree. Lammy went on to study at Harvard University when he won a place to study for a Master of Laws degree at Harvard Law School. He was called to the bar of England and Wales in 1994 at Lincoln's Inn and practised as a barrister.[10]

Political careerEdit

In 2000 he was elected for Labour on the London-wide list to the London Assembly. During the London election campaign Lammy was selected as the Labour candidate for Tottenham when Bernie Grant died. He was elected to the seat in a by-election held on 22 June 2000.


In 2002, he became Parliamentary under-Secretary in the Department of Health. In 2003, Lammy was appointed as a Minister in the Department for Constitutional Affairs. As a member of the Government, he voted in favour of authorisation for Britain to invade Iraq in 2003. After the 2005 general election Lammy was appointed Minister for Culture at the Department of Culture, Media and Sport.

In June 2007, Lammy was appointed as a Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State in the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills. In October 2008, he was promoted to Minister of State and was appointed to the Privy Council. In June 2009 until June 2010 when Labour lost the election, he became Minister for Higher Education in the new Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.

Opposition backbencherEdit

Lammy with Tottenham Labour Party members and others before joining the TUC Anti-Cuts March in March 2011

After Labour lost the 2010 general election a Labour Party leadership contest was announced. During the contest Lammy nominated Diane Abbott, saying that he felt it was important to have a diverse field of candidates, but nonetheless declared his support for David Miliband. After the election of Ed Miliband, Lammy pledged his full support but turned down a post in the Shadow Cabinet, asserting a need to speak on a wide range of issues that would arise in his constituency due to the "large cuts in the public services".[11] Deciding instead to become a backbench opposition MP. Lammy opposed the coalition government's comprehensive spending review.

In 2010 there were suggestions that Lammy might stand for election as Mayor of London in 2012. Lammy pledged his support to Ken Livingstone's bid to become the Labour London mayoral candidate, declaring him "London's Mayor in waiting".[12] Lammy became Livingstone's selection campaign chair. In 2014, Lammy announced that he was considering entering the race to become Mayor of London in the 2016 election.[13]

Following the party's defeat in the 2015 general election, Lammy was one of 36 Labour MPs to nominate Jeremy Corbyn as a candidate in the Labour leadership election of 2015.[14]

London mayoral candidateEdit

On 4 September 2014, Lammy announced his intention to seek the Labour nomination for the 2016 mayoral election.[15] In the London Labour Party's selection process, he secured 9.4 per cent of first preference votes and was fourth overall, behind Sadiq Khan, Tessa Jowell, and Diane Abbott.

In March 2016, he was fined £5,000 for instigating 35,629 automatic phone calls urging people to back his mayoral campaign without gaining permission to contact the party members concerned. Lammy apologised "unreservedly" for breach of the Privacy and Electronic Communication Regulations.[16] It was the first time a politician had been fined for authorising nuisance calls.[17]


Lammy has commented on Britain's history of slavery[18][19][20] and on many other subjects.


Lammy has over the years publicly attributed blame for certain crimes to various specific causes and persons. He has also talked about black and ethnic minority peoples, especially younger peoples, relation with crime and how they are treated by the criminal justice system.

Lammy in 2015

On 11 August 2011, in an address to Parliament, Lammy attributed part of the cause for England's riots of a few days earlier to destructive 'cultures' that had emerged under the prevailing policies."[21] He also stated that a ban on smacking children was partly to blame for current youth culture, that had attributed to the riots.[22]

Lammy has blamed the Prime Minister and Home Secretary for failing to take responsibility over fatal stabbings in London.[23] Lammy also blames inequality, high youth unemployment among black males, also local authorities cutting youth services and outreach programmes.[24]

Lammy has stated that the criminal justice system deals with "disproportionate numbers" of young people from black and ethnic minority communities, despite saying that although decisions to charge were "broadly proportionate", he has said that black and ethnic minority people still face and perceive bias.[25] Lammy said that young black people are nine times more likely to be incarcerated than "comparable" white people, and proposed a number of measures including system of "deferred prosecution" for young first time offenders to reduce incarcerations.[26] Lammy has asserted that black and ethnic minority people offend "at the same rates" as comparable white people "when taking age and socioeconomic status into account". They were more likely to be stopped and searched, if charged more likely to be convicted, more likely to be sent to prison and less likely to get support in prison.[27]

Same sex marriageEdit

On 5 February 2013, Lammy gave a speech in the House of Commons on why he would be voting in favour of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill 2013, critically comparing the relegation of British same-sex couples to civil partnerships to the "separate but equal" legal doctrine which justified Jim Crow laws in the 20th-century United States.[28] US television host Lawrence O'Donnell praised Lammy's speech, relating it to Oscar Wilde's testimony on "the love that dare not speak its name" during his 1895 trial for sodomy and gross indecency.[28]

University admissionsEdit

Lammy has criticised the University of Oxford for admitting relatively few black students and students from disadvantaged backgrounds.[29]

Windrush scandalEdit

Lammy believes the Windrush scandal concerns injustice to a generation who are British, have made their homes and worked in Britain and deserve to be treated better.[30]

Grenfell Tower fireEdit

Lammy described the Grenfell Tower fire as "corporate manslaughter" and called for arrests to be made.[31][32] His friend Khadija Saye was one of the victims of the fire.[33][34]

Lammy also commented adversely about what he saw as failure of authorities to come up with figures for how many people had died.[35]

Irresponsible landlordsEdit

Lammy has written about what he believes to be the shortcomings of the housing market."[36]

European Union and BrexitEdit

On 23 June 2018, Lammy appeared at the People's Vote march in London to mark the second anniversary of the referendum to leave the European Union. People's Vote is a campaign group calling for a public vote on the final Brexit deal between the UK and the European Union.[37]

Controversies and criticismEdit

Lammy has prompted controversy and rebuttals for comments he has expressed regarding race, the factual accuracy of some his statements and views he has posted on the social media platform Twitter.

While tweeting from the Commons chamber in 2013, Lammy accused the BBC of making a "silly innuendo about the race" during the announcement of the next Pontiff after the BBC tweeted will smoke be black or white? in reference to smoke above the Sistine Chapel. Lammy criticised the BBC's tweet as "crass and unnecessary.” He subsequently apologised after other twitter users pointed out the role played by black and white smoke in announcing the election of a new Pope.[38][39]

In January 2016, Lammy claimed that one million Indians sacrificed their lives during the Second World War, not for the survival of Britain and to fight Nazism, but instead for the "European Project." The statement was strongly criticised and ridiculed by The Spectator.[40]

Writing in an article for The Spectator journalist Rod Liddle disputed Lammy's claim that he was raised in a family reliant on tax credits that were introduced to the United Kingdom when Lammy was at the age of 31.[41]

In January 2019, Lammy attracted controversy on twitter for describing Rod Liddle having a column in a weekly newspaper as a "national disgrace" and accused Liddle of having “white middle class privilege” for expressing the view that absent fathers played a role in violent crime involving black youths. A number of twitter users responded by accusing Lammy of hypocrisy given that the MP had previously expressed similar opinions in 2012.[42]

In February 2019, Lammy criticised Stacey Dooley for photographs she posted on social media of her trip to Uganda for Comic Relief, and said that "the world does not need any more white saviours", and that she was "perpetuating 'tired and unhelpful stereotypes' about Africa".[43][44] The donations received for the Red Nose Day broadcast in March 2019 fell by £8 million and the money raised that year was the lowest since 2007, which some have blamed on Lammy's remarks. Critics of his view included Jimmy Wales[45] and Conservative Party MP Chris Philp.[46]

Lammy sparked further controversy when he likened opposing the policies of the European Research Group to opposition to the Nazi Party during the Second World War and South African apartheid while speaking at an anti-Brexit rally. When asked by Andrew Marr in April 2019 if he stood by the comments, Lammy responded by claiming the comparisons "didn’t go far enough,"[47] and proceeded to compare Boris Johnson and Jacob Rees Mogg to Nazis, referencing Johnson's alleged contact with Steve Bannon, before adding "I don't care how elected they were, so were the far right in Germany." Conservative Party MP Conor Burns criticised the comments by saying “I used to have regard for David Lammy. But this is bats**t. Comparing ERG to Hitler is quite something. Fully lost it.”[48] Jewish Chronicle editor Stephen Pollard also described Lammy's comparisons as "shockingly inappropriate."[49]

Personal lifeEdit

Lammy married the artist Nicola Green in 2005;[4] the couple have two sons and a daughter.[50][51]

In November 2011, he published a book, Out of the Ashes: Britain After the Riots, about the August 2011 riots.[52]

Lammy is a Christian.[53]


  1. ^ "List of members' Interests, Cabinet Office, March 2009" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 7 April 2010. Retrieved 27 July 2016.
  2. ^ Kentish, Benjamin (23 April 2018). "David Lammy MP reveals racist abuse after speaking out on Windrush scandal: 'Be grateful we have taken you in as a black man'". The Independent. Retrieved 25 April 2018.
  3. ^ "Rt Hon David Lammy MP Member of Parliament for Tottenham". Archived from the original on 21 August 2016  . Retrieved 27 July 2016. Check date values in: |archivedate= (help)
  4. ^ a b "Lammy, Rt Hon. David (Lindon), (born 19 July 1972), PC 2008; MP (Lab) Tottenham, since June 2000". Who's Who. 2007. doi:10.1093/ww/9780199540884.013.23693.
  5. ^ Lammy, David (15 June 2013). "It should always be father's day". The Guardian. Retrieved 27 July 2016.
  6. ^ Lammy, David (14 June 2014). "A dad is for life, not just Father's Day". The Guardian. Retrieved 27 July 2016.
  7. ^ Lammy, David (31 January 2014). "We all need more help to become a better man". London Evening Standard. Retrieved 27 July 2016.
  8. ^ Lammy, David, 'Out of the Ashes'
  9. ^ "Interview: MP David Lammy's trailblazing education in law". 25 October 2007.
  10. ^ "About David - Rt Hon David Lammy MP". Rt Hon David Lammy MP - Member of Parliament for Tottenham. Retrieved 5 July 2018.
  11. ^ Elizabeth Pears (11 October 2010). "Lammy rejects offer from Labour Party leader Ed Miliband". Haringey Independent. Archived from the original on 24 September 2015. Retrieved 27 July 2016.
  12. ^ David Lammy drops out of mayoral race... and backs Ken Livingstone Archived 5 June 2010 at the Wayback Machine
  13. ^ "David Lammy hopes to stand for mayor". 4 September 2014. Retrieved 28 March 2019.
  14. ^ Eaton, George (15 June 2015). "Who nominated who for the 2015 Labour leadership election?". New Statesman. Retrieved 27 July 2016.
  15. ^ "David Lammy to go for Mayor - London Live". 4 September 2014. Archived from the original on 4 September 2014.
  16. ^ "MP David Lammy apologises over nuisance calls". BBC News. 10 March 2016.
  17. ^ Syal, Rajeev (10 March 2016). "David Lammy fined over mayoral bid nuisance calls". The Guardian.
  18. ^ "Culture Minister David Lammy's Keynote Speech to 'Slavery: Unfinished Business' Conference". Archived from the original on 6 May 2008.
  19. ^ "BBC News: Head-to-head: Slavery 'sorrow'". 27 November 2006. Retrieved 2 January 2010.
  20. ^ "London's slave trade". Time Out. 2 May 2006. Retrieved 27 July 2016.
  21. ^ "Tottenham MP David Lammy condemns 'Grand Theft Auto culture'", Ham & High Broadway, 13 August 2011. Archived 1 October 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  22. ^ "Labour MP partly blames anti-smacking law for UK riots". The Guardian. London. 29 January 2012.
  23. ^ Aitkenhead, Decca (6 April 2018). "David Lammy: 'Kids are getting killed. Where is the prime minister? Where is Sadiq Khan?'". The Guardian. Retrieved 5 July 2018.
  24. ^ Ministers failing to act over soaring murder rate, says Lammy The Guardian
  25. ^ BAME offenders: Bias 'needs to be tackled' BBC
  26. ^ Exposed: ‘racial bias’ in British criminal justice system The Guardian
  27. ^ David Lammy's review bursts the myth of a link between race and crime New Statesman
  28. ^ a b Rudolph, Christopher (8 February 2013). "Lawrence O'Donnell's 'Last Word' on Gay Marriage in the U.K." The Advocate. Retrieved 21 June 2017.
  29. ^ Oxford accused of 'social apartheid' as colleges admit no black students The Guardian
  30. ^ Don’t let Rudd’s departure distract from a toxic policy that needs to die The Guardian
  31. ^ Morley, Nicole. "Grenfell Tower fire is 'corporate manslaughter' and arrests should be made, says MP David Lammy". Metro. Associated Newspapers Limited. Retrieved 15 June 2017.
  32. ^ Lammy, David (15 July 2017). "This was a monstrous crime – there must be arrests after Grenfell Tower". The Guardian. Comment is free.
  33. ^ Sommers, Jack (16 June 2017). "David Lammy fights back tears describing Khadija Saye, who died in Grenfell Tower fire". HuffPost. Retrieved 19 June 2017.
  34. ^ Lammy, David (26 December 2017). "Those responsible for the horror of the Grenfell Tower fire must face trial | David Lammy". The Guardian. Retrieved 5 July 2018.
  35. ^ Graham-Harrison, Emma (1 July 2017). "Mistrust and anger deepen as Grenfell death toll is still unknown". The Guardian.
  36. ^ We’re in a new era of slum landlords and tenant squalor The Guardian
  37. ^ "'At least 100,000' march for vote on final Brexit deal". Sky News. 23 June 2018. Retrieved 26 June 2018.
  38. ^
  39. ^ "Labour MP embarrassed after claiming that 'white or black' smoke tweet about the Pope is about race". 13 April 2013.
  40. ^ "The 'in' side's shockingly bad start in the EU referendum campaign". The Spectator. 30 January 2016.
  41. ^ "On Nobel Prize winners and Mastermind losers". The Spectator. 19 January 2019.
  42. ^ @DavidLammy (13 January 2019). "Rod Liddle having a column in one of Britain's foremost weekly newspapers is a national disgrace, as well as the walking, living, breathing personification and definition of white middle class privilege" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  43. ^ "Stacey Dooley hits back at MP Lammy's Comic Relief 'white saviour' criticism". BBC. 28 February 2019.
  44. ^ Badshah, Nadeem (28 February 2019). "'White saviour' row: David Lammy denies snubbing Comic Relief". The Guardian.
  45. ^ Hellen, Nicholas (17 March 2019). "Comic Relief down £8m after David Lammy 'white saviour' row". The Sunday Times.
  46. ^ "David Lammy hits back at Tory MP over Comic Relief criticism". 18 March 2019.
  47. ^ "David Lammy says comparing ERG to Nazis 'not strong enough'". 14 April 2019.
  48. ^ "Labour MP David Lammy compares Tory Party's hard Brexiters to Nazis". 14 April 2019.
  49. ^ "STEPHEN POLLARD: Shame on you, David Lammy". 16 April 2019.
  50. ^ Curtis, Polly (18 November 2008). "High expectations". The Guardian.
  51. ^ "Labour MP And Wife Adopt Baby Girl". The Voice. 17 October 2014.
  52. ^ Cruddas, Jon; Rutherford Jonathan (10 December 2011). "David Lammy's lesson". New Statesman. Retrieved 16 December 2011. David Lammy's book Out of the Ashes: Britain After the Riots [...] is about more than the English riots, it's about the future of Labour in the country.
  53. ^

External linksEdit

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Bernie Grant
Member of Parliament
for Tottenham

Preceded by
Chris Leslie
Baby of the House
Succeeded by
Sarah Teather
Political offices
Preceded by
Estelle Morris
as Minister of State for the Arts
Minister of State for Culture
Succeeded by
Margaret Hodge
as Minister of State for Culture and Tourism
Preceded by
Bill Rammell
Minister of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills
Succeeded by
David Willetts
as Minister of State for Universities and Science