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Ivan Lewis (born 4 March 1967) is a British politician. He has been Member of Parliament (MP) for Bury South since 1997.

Ivan Lewis

Official portrait of Mr Ivan Lewis crop 2.jpg
Shadow Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
In office
7 October 2013 – 13 September 2015
LeaderEd Miliband
Harriet Harman (Acting)
Preceded byVernon Coaker
Succeeded byVernon Coaker
Shadow Secretary of State for International Development
In office
7 October 2011 – 7 October 2013
LeaderEd Miliband
Preceded byHarriet Harman
Succeeded byJim Murphy
Shadow Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport
In office
8 October 2010 – 7 October 2011
LeaderEd Miliband
Preceded byBen Bradshaw
Succeeded byHarriet Harman
Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs
In office
8 June 2009 – 11 May 2010
Prime MinisterGordon Brown
Preceded byBill Rammell
Succeeded byJeremy Browne
Minister of State for International Development
In office
5 October 2008 – 8 June 2009
Prime MinisterGordon Brown
Preceded byGillian Merron
Succeeded byMichael Foster
Minister of State for Care Services
In office
15 May 2006 – 3 October 2008
Prime MinisterTony Blair
Gordon Brown
Preceded byThe Lord Warner
Succeeded byPhil Hope
Member of Parliament
for Bury South
Assumed office
1 May 1997
Preceded byDavid Sumberg
Majority5,965 (11.7%)
Personal details
Born (1967-03-04) 4 March 1967 (age 52)
Prestwich, England, UK
Political partyLabour (Before 2018; suspended 2017-2018)
Independent (2018–present)
Spouse(s)Juliette Fox (1990–2006)

After serving in various ministerial positions under Prime Ministers Tony Blair and Gordon Brown from 2001 to 2010, Lewis was Shadow Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport until October 2011, when he was appointed Shadow Secretary of State for International Development. In the October 2013 Shadow Cabinet reshuffle, he became Shadow Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, but did not retain the post in the reshuffle after Jeremy Corbyn became Labour leader on 13 September 2015. He was suspended from the Labour Party in November 2017 in response to an allegation of sexual harassment.[1] He subsequently resigned from the Labour Party in December 2018, citing his concerns about antisemitism in the party and the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn[2][3] and began sitting as an independent.[4]

Early life and careerEdit

Lewis was born in Prestwich, in the Bury South constituency which he now represents, into a British Jewish family. He was educated at Manchester Jewish Day School in Prestwich (primary school) and at William Hulme Grammar School in Manchester, followed by Stand Sixth Form College and Bury College.[citation needed] Before his election in 1997, he worked in the voluntary sector from 1986 to 1997 for Outreach[5] and learning disabilities support group Contact Community Care Group[6] -which Lewis helped to create at 19 years old – and as Chief Executive of the Manchester Jewish Federation.[7]

Lewis also served as a Councillor on Bury Metropolitan Borough Council, being elected in 1990 at 23 years of age and held the position of Chairman of the Social Services Committee.[8]

Political careerEdit

Lewis was Parliamentary Private Secretary to Secretary of State for Trade and Industry Stephen Byers from July 1999 to June 2001.

In GovernmentEdit

Between June 2001 and June 2002, Lewis was the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Young People and Learning within the Department for Education and Skills and then for Adult Learning and Skills. From June 2002 to May 2005, he became Under-Secretary of State for Skills and Vocational Education in the same department.

As a junior minister Lewis was responsible for the White Paper 21st Century Skills: Realising our Potential, launched in 2003. It proposed increased support for adults seeking to gain technical and craft qualifications where regional skills shortages existed, removing the age limit for Modern Apprentices and making information and communications technology the third essential "skill for life" alongside literacy and numeracy.[9]

Lewis was also involved with a scheme to introduce apprenticeships for 14-year-olds alongside their schooling, commenting that Britain needed to challenge "uniquely snobbish" attitudes toward vocational education[10]

Lewis then served as Economic Secretary to the Treasury from May 2005 to May 2006. He was moved to a junior ministerial position in the Department of Health in the Cabinet reshuffle in May 2006.

On 29 June 2007, in Gordon Brown's first reshuffle as Prime Minister he was re-appointed to the post of Parliamentary Under Secretary of State in the Department of Health, the only junior minister to survive the reshuffle where he held on to the brief for social care and added mental health services.

Minister for Care Services 2006 to 2008Edit

As Minister for Care Services, Lewis led the introduction of Putting People First, the then government's policy (accepted by the incoming coalition government) to personalise the provision of social care services for the elderly and people with disabilities. The policy offered adults eligible for care services the ability choose their own care services from a "personal budget", and shifted some responsibilities from the NHS to councils.[11]

Lewis described his own policy changes as "arguably the biggest redistribution of power from the state to the citizen that we have ever seen", while David Brindle of The Guardian praised him for having done a "huge amount" to raise the profile of social care.[12]

Department for International Development; Foreign and Commonwealth OfficeEdit

On 3 October 2008, Lewis moved to the Department for International Development (DfID). There, he spearheaded a campaign to persuade other Governments and multilateral agencies to prioritise maternal health.[citation needed]

He remained there until June 2009, when he was promoted to Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs. Lewis was responsible for the UK's Middle East policy, the UK's relations with the US and China, counter terrorism and counter proliferation.

In OppositionEdit

In October 2010, Lewis was elected by his fellow Labour MPs to the Shadow Cabinet and appointed Shadow Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport by Labour Leader Ed Miliband.

In September 2011, Lewis was reappointed to the Shadow Cabinet as Shadow Secretary of State for International Development.[13] Lewis belongs to the Labour Friends of Israel lobby group.[14]

In October 2013, Lewis was moved in a Shadow Cabinet reshuffle from the International Development portfolio to the Shadow Northern Ireland one.[15] However, despite his reshuffle, which was seen by many commentators as a demotion,[16] he fulfilled a standing commitment to outline Labour's vision on International Development at The University of Manchester, during Manchester Policy Week.[17] In the September 2015 Labour shadow cabinet reshuffle under the newly elected leader Jeremy Corbyn, Lewis offered to continue in the role of Shadow Secretary of State for Northern Ireland amid the troubling political situation there. His offer was rejected by Corbyn and he subsequently returned to the backbenches.

One Nation LabourEdit

Lewis has been one of the key figures influencing the Labour Party's political thinking and direction during Ed Miliband's leadership. He was one of the co-originators of the notion of ‘One Nation Labour’, which formed the foundation of Miliband's keynote speech at the Labour Party Conference held in Manchester in September 2012.[citation needed]

Lewis had originally floated the concept in a chapter written for The Purple Book, a collection of essays written by mainly senior figures in the Party offering new policy ideas.[18]

Mayoral candidacyEdit

In February 2016, Lewis announced his intentions to seek the Labour candidacy nomination for the post of the directly elected Mayor of Greater Manchester. On 9 August 2016, the Labour Party announced that Andy Burnham would be the mayoral candidate.

Sexual harassment allegation and resignationEdit

On 23 November 2017, the Labour Party announced it was suspending Lewis from the party subject to investigation following allegations of sexual harassment.[19][20] On 20 December 2018, Lewis resigned from the Labour Party. His stated reasons were dissatisfaction with the party's record on antisemitism and with the lack of progress of his disciplinary process.[21][22][23][24]


In March 2008, Lewis warned that the Labour Party was losing touch with ordinary people under the leadership of Gordon Brown in an article written for Progress Online. Lewis stated that he believed that the Government had lost touch with what fairness meant to the mainstream majority.[25]

Lewis wrote:

We cannot afford to be reticent or selective about what fair means in today's Britain. Fairness means everyone paying an appropriate level of tax. It is true there is nothing wrong with being 'stinking rich' providing you pay a significantly higher proportion in tax than your fellow citizen with a modest disposable income. Fairness means a Labour government not remaining silent when any company rips the consumer off or directors of poorly performing organisations in the public or private sector receive extortionate bonuses. Fairness means equal treatment and opportunities for women and ethnic minorities in the workplace, not skilled white men denied career opportunities in the name of equality.

Text messages incidentEdit

In 2008, the Department of Health confirmed that Ivan Lewis had made an apology for his behaviour when in 2007 he began sending increasingly intimate text messages to then aide Suzie Mason, which ultimately led to her registering concern, and successfully seeking an alternative position within the Civil Service before leaving for the private sector.[26] Nick Cohen pointed out in The Observer on 14 September 2008 that the revelations about Lewis's private life followed articles by Lewis which constituted coded attacks on Gordon Brown.[27]

In his book The End of the Party: The Rise and Fall of New Labour, the journalist Andrew Rawnsley suggested that Lewis was a target of "Gordon Brown's Hit Squad". In relation to the Suzie Mason story, Rawnsley wrote: "Yet there were few Labour MPs who doubted that the story was planted by No. 10, which was privy to a confidential Whitehall report about the Civil Servant. The hit on Lewis stunned Ministers who regarded themselves as unshockable". The story was leaked twelve months after the events occurred. Senior civil servants dealing with the Mason issue advised that no action should be taken against Lewis.

Gordon Brown's former communications chief, Damian McBride, confessed in his memoir that he reprimanded Lewis, then junior health minister, in 2008 for commenting on tax policy, only to be passed the message that Lewis would not be intimidated. Angered, McBride then fed to the News of the World a story about Lewis allegedly pestering a young female civil servant in his private office. McBride expressed deep remorse in retrospect, saying he had been "a cruel, vindictive, thoughtless bastard".[28]


In 2009, The Guardian reported[29] that, following his promise to assist British users of the drug "Vioxx" (produced by Merck) with legal fees in their attempt to claim damages, Lewis changed his mind within hours of an "expensive lobbying effort" by Merck. Vioxx has been shown to increase the risk of heart failure in users.

Personal lifeEdit

Lewis married Juliette Fox in Stockport in June 1990. They have two sons, and are now divorced.[citation needed]


  1. ^ "MP Ivan Lewis suspended by Labour". BBC News. 23 November 2017. Retrieved 23 June 2019.
  2. ^ Liphshiz, Cnaan. "Jewish Labour MP Ivan Lewis quits over party's anti-Semitism record". The Times of Israel. Retrieved 9 April 2019.
  3. ^ "Labour MP resigns and lashes out at Jeremy Corbyn over anti-Semitism". London Evening Standard. 20 December 2018. Retrieved 9 April 2019.
  4. ^ "MP Ivan Lewis Quits Labour Party Over Jeremy Corbyn's Handling Of Anti-Semitism Allegations". HuffPost. 20 December 2018. Retrieved 20 December 2018.
  5. ^ "All Categories". Retrieved 15 April 2019.
  6. ^ "Ivan Lewis MP | Open Forum Events". Retrieved 15 April 2019.
  7. ^ "Jewish Labour MP Slams Jeremy Corbyn for anti-Semitic ties". Haaretz. 16 August 2015. Retrieved 13 September 2015.
  8. ^ Mp, Labour (18 October 2002). "Ivan Lewis". BBC News. Archived from the original on 13 January 2014. Retrieved 14 July 2013.
  9. ^ Ngaio Crequer (11 July 2003). "Hearty welcome for skills strategy". TES-Newspaper. Archived from the original on 1 April 2014. Retrieved 15 July 2013.
  10. ^ "Apprenticeships for 14-year olds". BBC. 10 May 2004. Retrieved 1 April 2015.
  11. ^ Mithran Samuel (1 August 2008). "Ivan Lewis challenges adult care sector to deliver". Community Care. Archived from the original on 1 April 2014. Retrieved 14 July 2013.
  12. ^ David Brindle (7 October 2008). "At least it's not the sackThe social care sector will miss Ivan Lewis, says David Brindle". The Guardian. London. Archived from the original on 28 December 2011. Retrieved 14 July 2013.
  13. ^ Saiqa Chaudhari (12 October 2011). "Ivan Lewis becomes shadow international development minister". The Bury Times. Archived from the original on 1 April 2014. Retrieved 14 July 2013.
  14. ^ "LFI Supporters in Parliament". Labour Friends of Israel. 23 March 2018.
  15. ^ "Labour's new Shadow Cabinet in full". 7 October 2013. Archived from the original on 7 October 2013.
  16. ^ Owen Bennett (8 October 2013). "Ed Miliband axes Twigg and Byrne in Shadow Cabinet reshuffle". Daily Express. Archived from the original on 13 December 2013. Retrieved 13 December 2013.
  17. ^ "Labour's International Development Strategy". 13 December 2013. Archived from the original on 16 December 2013. Retrieved 13 December 2013.
  18. ^ Patrick Wintour (9 September 2011). "Labour looks like Party of Urban Elite, Ivan Lewis warns in essay". The Guardian. London. Archived from the original on 10 September 2011. Retrieved 14 July 2013.
  19. ^ "MP Ivan Lewis suspended by Labour". 23 November 2017. Retrieved 9 April 2019.
  20. ^ "Labour suspends Ivan Lewis MP after misconduct allegations". The Independent. 23 November 2017. Retrieved 9 April 2019.
  21. ^ Ivan Lewis quits Labour Party as sex harassment row drags on, 21 December 2018, BBC
  22. ^ Merrick, Rob (20 December 2018). "Ivan Lewis: Ex-Labour minister being investigated over sexual harassment allegations resigns with attack on Jeremy Corbyn". The Independent.
  23. ^ "Suspended MP quits Labour with Corbyn attack". 21 December 2018. Retrieved 9 April 2019.
  24. ^ "Ivan Lewis resigns Labour membership with blast at Jeremy Corbyn – AOL". Retrieved 9 April 2019.
  25. ^ Robert Winnett (31 March 2008). "Gordon Brown out of touch say Minister' 31 March 2008". The Daily Telegraph. London. Archived from the original on 31 July 2011.
  26. ^ Ian Kirby and Sophy Ridge (6 September 2008). "Government Health Minister Ivan Lewis apologises after bombarding civil servant Susie Mason with personal text messages". News of the World. Archived from the original on 22 August 2009. Retrieved 14 July 2013.
  27. ^ Nick Cohen (14 September 2008). "Call off your mafioso aides, Mr Brown". The Observer. London. Archived from the original on 30 June 2009. Retrieved 14 July 2013.
  28. ^ Walker, Peter (20 September 2013). "Damian McBride: the ministers I smeared". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 15 April 2019.
  29. ^ Goldacre, Ben (9 May 2009). "The danger of drugs ... and data". The Guardian. London. Archived from the original on 25 June 2009. Retrieved 24 May 2009.

External linksEdit