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Emma Louise Lewell-Buck (born 8 November 1978) is a British Labour Party politician who has been the Member of Parliament for South Shields since winning a by-election in 2013.[2] She is South Shields' first female MP.[1][3]

Emma Lewell-Buck

Official portrait of Mrs Emma Lewell-Buck crop 2.jpg
Member of Parliament
for South Shields
Assumed office
2 May 2013
Preceded byDavid Miliband
Majority14,508 (35.6%)
Personal details
Born (1978-11-08) 8 November 1978 (age 40)[1]
South Shields, England
Political partyLabour
Alma materNorthumbria University
Durham University


Early lifeEdit

From a family of shipyard workers, Lewell-Buck was born in South Shields. She is a direct descendant of William Wouldhave, the inventor of the lifeboat.[4] Lewell-Buck studied politics and media studies at Northumbria University,[1] before gaining a master's degree in social work from Durham University.

As a social worker, she specialised in child protection, and later represented the Primrose ward in Jarrow as a South Tyneside councillor from 2004[1] to 2013.[5]

Parliamentary careerEdit

Lewell-Buck won the safe Labour seat of South Shields with a reduced majority at a 2013 by-election following David Miliband's decision to leave the House of Commons.[6]

In June 2013, she became a member of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee replacing Thomas Docherty.[7] In October 2013 she was appointed Private Parliamentary Secretary to Ivan Lewis, Labour's shadow Northern Ireland Secretary.

In 2014, she claimed that some people were "having to bury their relatives in their back gardens" as she proposed a Funeral Services Bill intended to require funeral providers to offer a low-cost option[8]

In July 2015, she was elected as a member of the Work and Pensions Select Committee.[9]

In January 2016, Lewell-Buck became shadow minister for devolution and local government in Jeremy Corbyn's shadow cabinet reshuffle.[10] On 29 June 2016, Lewell-Buck announced her resignation from the post, commenting that she was "heartbroken at the state of the [Labour] Party".[11] This was a reference to a string of shadow cabinet resignations during the summer leadership crisis. She supported Owen Smith in the failed attempt to replace Jeremy Corbyn in the 2016 Labour Party (UK) leadership election.[12] In October 2016, she was re-appointed to Jeremy Corbyn's front bench team as Shadow Education Minister responsible for children and families' policy.[13] She resigned from this position in March 2019 after voting against the Labour whip in a vote on a second Brexit referendum. [14]

Political positionsEdit

Lewell-Buck joined the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) chaired by Frank Field and the Bishop of Truro. The group launched an inquiry into the root causes behind hunger, food poverty and the rise in demand of food banks across the UK, and published its final report in the House of Commons on 8 December 2014. After the report Lewell-Buck said in Parliament "Food poverty is a clear consequence of the Government's ideological assault on the social safety net and the people who rely on it. One hungry person is a complete disgrace, but thousands of hungry people are a national disaster."[15]

In November 2017 Lewell-Buck introduced a Private Members' Bill (under the Ten Minute Rule), the Food Insecurity Bill, "to require the Government to monitor and report on food insecurity and to make provision for official statistics on food insecurity."[16] The bill was passed for second reading to be heard 2 February 2018.[17]

During Lewell-Buck's election campaign of 2013, she said helping to bring jobs to the unemployed of South Shields was a priority. In November 2013 she organised a jobs fair in her constituency, which was repeated in November 2014 after she pledged to make it into an annual event.[18]

Lewell-Buck is concerned about the large number of children in care; there were 75,420 children in care in England in March 2018, a rise of 4% from the year before. Lewell-Buck said the rise was due to government cuts to support services like Sure Start, which could help children stay with their families. Lewell-Buck said, “The government is missing valuable opportunities to keep children in the care of their families. Not only does that add pressure to budgets already decimated by austerity, it also leaves children and their families with deep and enduring emotional scars.”[19]


Lewell-Buck courted controversy in 2015 when she employed her husband Simon as a researcher, despite knowing that he was suspended from his previous role as a carer and had been removed from a nursing course due to allegations of elder abuse.[20] This prompted several senior Labour Party members to write to party leader Jeremy Corbyn to request her suspension. Mr. Buck, himself a Labour member, was subsequently suspended from the party.[20][21] A subsequent report by the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman into the affair called on South Tyneside Council to apologise, and to pay Simon Buck £400 in compensation "to recognise the impact of avoidable delay, distress, uncertainty and time and trouble caused by the faults identified in this report".[22]


  1. ^ a b c d Swan, Kim (21 April 2013). "Emma Lewell-Buck planning to make South Shields history". The Journal. Archived from the original on 31 May 2013. Retrieved 3 May 2013.
  2. ^ Eaton, George (3 May 2013). "Labour holds South Shields as UKIP takes second". New Statesman. Archived from the original on 5 December 2014.
  3. ^ Wintour, Patrick (3 May 2013). "South Shields byelection: Labour holds off Ukip surge". The Guardian. London. Archived from the original on 30 October 2013. Retrieved 3 May 2013.
  4. ^ "Emma Lewell-Buck to fight South Shields seat for Labour". BBC News. 11 April 2013. Archived from the original on 14 April 2013. Retrieved 3 May 2013.
  5. ^ Party rivals to fight for Primrose seat at, accessed 17 January 2019
  6. ^ Pidd, Helen (3 May 2013). "South Shields' Emma Lewell-Buck vows to be 'different sort of MP". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 10 April 2015. Retrieved 4 April 2015.
  7. ^ "Environment, Food and Rural Affairs – Committees". They work for you. 10 June 2013. Archived from the original on 10 April 2015. Retrieved 14 June 2013.
  8. ^ "Funeral cost rise triggers MP's 'garden burials' warning". BBC News. 9 December 2014. Archived from the original on 4 April 2015. Retrieved 4 April 2015.
  9. ^ "Work and Pensions Committee – membership". UK Parliament. Archived from the original on 24 September 2015. Retrieved 26 September 2015.
  10. ^ "Labour reshuffle: Shadow ministers quit in protest". BBC News. 6 January 2016. Archived from the original on 6 January 2016. Retrieved 25 July 2016.
  11. ^ Mann, Sebastian (29 June 2016). "Labour's Shadow Education secretary Pat Glass quits after two days". Evening Standard. London. Archived from the original on 29 June 2016. Retrieved 25 July 2016.
  12. ^ "Full list of MPs and MEPs backing challenger Owen Smith". LabourList. 21 July 2016. Retrieved 15 July 2019.
  13. ^ "Meet Labour's new education team". 10 October 2016. Archived from the original on 17 October 2016.
  14. ^ Wearmouth, Rachel (14 March 2019). "3 Shadow Ministers Resign Over Vote To Block Second Brexit Referendum". HuffPost. Retrieved 14 March 2019.
  15. ^ Emma Lewell-Buck, MP for South Shields (Labour) (29 November 2017). "Food Banks". Parliamentary Debates (Hansard). United Kingdom: House of Commons. col. 1500–1500. Archived from the original on 25 February 2015.
  16. ^ Emma Lewell-Buck, MP for South Shields (Labour) (29 November 2017). "Food Insecurity". Parliamentary Debates (Hansard). 632. United Kingdom: House of Commons. col. 363–365. Archived from the original on 14 December 2017.
  17. ^ "Food Insecurity Bill 2017–19". UK Parliament. Archived from the original on 14 December 2017.
  18. ^ "South Shields MP hails job fair success". Shields Gazette. 17 November 2014. Archived from the original on 19 April 2015. Retrieved 4 April 2015.
  19. ^ Labour blames cuts as number of children in care rises again The Guardian
  20. ^ a b Brown, David (30 March 2018). "Shadow minister Emma Lewell-Buck gave job to husband who abused elderly". The Times. Retrieved 1 July 2017. Emma Lewell-Buck employed Simon Buck as a researcher when he was suspended from his job as a carer and lost his place on a nursing course following the allegations of abuse.
  21. ^ "Husband of South Shields MP suspended by Labour Party pending investigation &#124". Shields Gazette. 19 April 2018. Retrieved 1 July 2019.
  22. ^ Jonathan Walker (24 March 2018). "Labour MP claims her husband has been targeted as council calls him 'perpetrator of elder abuse'". Evening Chronicle. Retrieved 1 July 2019.

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