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Dame Louise Joyce Ellman DBE (née Rosenberg; born 14 November 1945) is a British politician and former Member of Parliament (MP) for Liverpool Riverside, previously leading Lancashire County Council. She was a member of the Labour Party until her resignation in October 2019.[2]

Dame Louise Ellman

Official portrait of Mrs Louise Ellman crop 2.jpg
Chair of the Transport Select Committee
In office
21 May 2008 – 12 July 2017
Preceded byGwyneth Dunwoody
Succeeded byLilian Greenwood
Member of Parliament
for Liverpool Riverside
In office
1 May 1997 – 6 November 2019
Preceded byRobert Parry
Succeeded byTBD
Personal details
Born (1945-11-14) 14 November 1945 (age 74)
Manchester, Lancashire, England
Political partyCo-operative Party (2019)[1]
Independent (2019 MP)
Other political
Labour Co-operative (until 2019)
Spouse(s)Geoffrey Ellman
EducationManchester High School for Girls
Alma materUniversity of Hull
University of York

Ellman was elected as a councillor on the Lancashire County Council in 1970, becoming the Labour group leader in 1977 and leader of the council from 1981 until her election to House of Commons in 1997. She was Vice-Chair of Lancashire Enterprises.

She was elected to Parliament at the 1997 general election for Liverpool Riverside. Since 2008, she has been Chair of the Transport Select Committee. She is also Chair of the All-Party Britain-Israel Parliamentary Group and Labour Friends of Israel, and is Honorary President of the Jewish Labour Movement.

Ellman resigned from the Labour Party in October 2019, expressing concern over antisemitism in the Labour Party and a potential Jeremy Corbyn-led government.[3]

She was appointed a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) in the 2018 Queen's Birthday Honours List,[4] and is a Vice President of the Jewish Leadership Council.[5]

Early life and careerEdit

Louise Joyce Rosenberg was born in Manchester to an observant Jewish family. Her father had a Lithuanian background.[6][7] She was educated at the independent Manchester High School for Girls,[8] before studying at the University of Hull where she received a BA in Sociology and History in 1967, and then studied Social Administration at the University of York where she was awarded a MPhil in 1972.

As a teenager, she was involved in the Labour Zionist movement, Habonim and, following university, spent a year in Israel at an Ulpan studying Hebrew, where she met her husband.[9]

From 1970 to 1976, she was a lecturer for the Open University.

She was elected as a councillor on the Lancashire County Council in 1970, becoming the Labour group leader in 1977 and council leader from 1981 until her election to Parliament. She was Vice-Chair of Lancashire Enterprises.[10]

She unsuccessfully contested the Darwen constituency at the 1979 general election, being defeated by the sitting Conservative MP Charles Fletcher-Cooke by 13,026 votes.

Parliamentary careerEdit

She was elected to Parliament at the 1997 general election for the safe seat of Liverpool Riverside. She held the seat with a majority of 21,799 and has held the seat comfortably at successive general elections. When she was re-elected in 2001, the turnout was the lowest in the country at 34.1%.

Positions and votingEdit

She has been a member of the Transport Committee and its predecessor, Transport, Local Government and the Regions, since she was first elected. On 21 May 2008, she was selected to become the Chair of the Commons Transport Select Committee after the death of Gwyneth Dunwoody MP, being returned unopposed after the 2015 general election.[11]

She voted "very strongly for" the Iraq War, "very strongly against" an investigation into that war, and "very strongly for" renewal of Trident, Britain's nuclear weapons programme. She has very rarely voted against the Party line.[12]

In the 2015 Labour Party leadership election, she nominated Liz Kendall.[13]

She supported Owen Smith in the failed attempt to replace Jeremy Corbyn in the 2016 leadership election.[14]


Ellman was Chair of the Jewish Labour Movement from 2006 to 2016, after which she became its Honorary President.[15] She was also Vice Chair of Labour Friends of Israel and succeeded Joan Ryan as Chair in August 2019.[16][17] She has said that she intends to remain a member of LFI following her resignation from the Labour Party.[18] She is the chair of the All-Party Britain-Israel Parliamentary Group.[19]

The Times of Israel called her "tough-as-nails" and "an unabashed friend of Israel".[20] According to one biographer in the Jewish Chronicle, "Ellman can always be called on to defend Israel on the green benches" (i.e. in Parliament).[21] The Jewish Telegraph said "Doughty Labour MP Louise Ellman is never scared to openly proclaim her Jewish identity and fight for Israel and against Islamic extremism at every Parliamentary opportunity."[22] In September 2019, Ellman said she "shared the fears" of other Jews living in the UK about the prospect of a Labour government led by Jeremy Corbyn and understood why they "would seriously consider leaving the country".[23] In October 2019, she said "I'm not absolutely convinced he will bring great danger to the Jewish community but I'm very concerned it is possible he could."[24]

Constituency partyEdit

In 2016, Ellman alleged that a small number of new members in local Labour meetings had made antisemitic remarks to her, arising from dissatisfaction with her support for Israel and criticism of Corbyn.[25] She also alleged that the local Momentum group was acting as a "party within a party" and asked for her constituency party to be suspended and investigated. A leading local Momentum member rejected the allegations.[26]


In early October 2019, a motion of no confidence in Ellman, scheduled to take place on Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the Jewish calendar, was submitted for discussion at a branch of her constituency Labour Party.[27] The timing of the motion was criticised by Ellman herself, who called it "particularly insidious"; and by Marie van der Zyl, President of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, who said it meant that Ellman would have "no opportunity even to respond".[28] A Labour Party spokesperson said that no confidence motions "had no formal standing", with another source intimating that the motion was unlikely to be taken to a vote.[28] Two further motions of no confidence were later submitted for debate at other branches of the Liverpool Riverside CLP.[29] The North-West Labour Party office later advised local branches that none of the motions should be discussed, citing the potential prejudicial effect that such discussion may have on the upcoming trigger ballot.[30]

On 16 October 2019, Ellman resigned from the Labour Party, citing her worries about antisemitism in the party and opposition to the prospect of a government led by Jeremy Corbyn.[31] Labour responded that "Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party are fully committed to the support, defence and celebration of the Jewish community and continue to take robust action to root out antisemitism in the party and wider society."[32]

Her CLP later said: "The Labour Party recognises the hard work and commitment Louise has shown to her constituents over the past 22 years. Unfortunately she made it very clear at the last CLP meeting that she could not support a Jeremy Corbyn led government. This inevitably meant that Louise would be triggered and was very unlikely to win any reselection process."[33][34] The CLP, in a further statement, explained the desire of many local members for a reselection contest as due to longstanding political differences over Ellman's support for the Iraq War, her lack of support for Corbyn's policies and criticisms of the leadership, and her recent expression of concern over a future Labour government. The CLP condemned antisemitism directed at Ellman or otherwise but characterised her as misrepresenting the local party and said that many of their Jewish members did not recognise or accept her views.[35]

Personal life and recognitionEdit

Ellman has been married since 16 July 1967 to Geoffrey Ellman, a pharmacist. She lived in Leeds, then moved to Skelmersdale in 1969. The couple have a son, Sean,[36] and a daughter, Yvonne, and five grandchildren.[37]

She was made a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) in the 2018 Queen's Birthday Honours for parliamentary and political services.[4][38]

In 2019, the Jerusalem Post ranked her as the 23rd most influential Jew worldwide, calling her 'Labour's lady who opposes Corbyn' and noting that 'She has been a strong advocate for Israel in the House of Commons'.[39] She is the sole Briton in the 50-strong list.[40]

She is a Vice President of the Jewish Leadership Council.[5]


  1. ^ Hadfield, Miles. "Labour/Co-op MP Louise Ellman quits Labour over anti-semitism row". Co-op News. Retrieved 21 October 2019.
  2. ^ "MP Louise Ellman quits Labour Party". 16 October 2019 – via
  3. ^ "Louise Ellman quits Labour party with fierce attack on Corbyn". The Guardian. 16 October 2019. Retrieved 18 October 2019.
  4. ^ a b
  5. ^ a b "Dame Louise ellman MP". Jewish Leadership Council. Retrieved 17 July 2019.
  6. ^ Jessica Elgot. "New Jewish ministers and the Miliband rivalry". The Jewish Chronicle. Retrieved 27 February 2015.
  7. ^ Harpin, Lee (8 August 2018). "Dame Louise Ellman: Once I realised I was labelled 'that Jewish MP', I thought... I'm going to carry on". The Jewish Chronicle. Retrieved 3 October 2019.
  8. ^ "Careers of former students". Manchester High School for Girls. Archived from the original on 2 October 2011. Retrieved 30 July 2011.
  9. ^ Harpin, Lee (9 August 2018). "Dame Louise Ellman: Once I realised I was labelled 'that Jewish MP', I thought... I'm going to carry on". Jewish Chronicle. Retrieved 28 July 2019.
  10. ^ "Louise Ellman". Retrieved 17 October 2019.
  11. ^ "Winning candidates for select committee Chairs announced". UK Parliament. 18 June 2015. Retrieved 19 June 2015.
  12. ^ "Voting Record — Louise Ellman MP, Liverpool, Riverside (10186) — The Public Whip". Retrieved 27 February 2015.
  13. ^ "Labour's leadership contest – The Labour Party". Archived from the original on 3 July 2015. Retrieved 9 July 2015.
  14. ^ "Full list of MPs and MEPs backing challenger Owen Smith". LabourList. 21 July 2016. Retrieved 15 July 2019.
  15. ^ Dysch, Marcus (7 April 2016). "The loyalists standing their ground against Labour's tide of hate". Jewish Chronicle. Retrieved 25 August 2019.
  16. ^ "Metropolitan police confirm to LFI vice-chair Hezbollah flags can be flown on Al-Quds day due to government policy". Jewish Friends of Israel. Retrieved 13 August 2018.
  17. ^ Harpin, Lee (7 August 2019). "Dame Louise Ellman becomes new Labour Friends of Israel chair". Jewish Chronicle. Retrieved 7 August 2019.
  18. ^ Frot, Mathilde (17 October 2019). "EXCLUSIVE – Dame Louise Ellman: 'I'm in a traumatic situation'". Jewish News. Retrieved 18 October 2019.
  19. ^ "Officers". ALL-PARTY BRITAIN-ISRAEL PARLIAMENTARY GROUP. Retrieved 16 September 2019.
  20. ^ Philpot, Robert (12 May 2017). "This tough-as-nails UK politician won't be cowed by anti-Semitism in her own party". Times of Israel. Retrieved 29 July 2019.
  21. ^ "JC Power 100 2014". Jewish Chronicle. 28 August 2014. Retrieved 28 July 2019.
  22. ^ Doreen Wachmann (2011). "The Tories find new Israel hero in Robert". Jewish Telegraph. Retrieved 18 November 2015.
  23. ^ Harpin, Lee (25 September 2019). "Labour MP 'understands' why Jews 'would seriously consider' leaving Britain if Corbyn became PM". The Jewish Chronicle. Retrieved 3 October 2019.
  24. ^ Harpin, Lee (17 October 2019). "Dame Louise Ellman says her speaking out for Israel gave Labour antisemites 'focus' for their hostility". The Jewish Chronicle. Retrieved 20 October 2019.
  25. ^ MacAskill, Ewan (13 September 2016). "Louise Ellman MP: 'A small number are intent on creating dissent'". The Guardian. Retrieved 30 October 2016.
  26. ^ Houghton, Alastair (22 September 2016). "Why Liverpool MP Louise Ellman wants her constituency party to be suspended". Liverpool Echo. Retrieved 17 October 2019.
  27. ^ "Jewish MP who criticized Corbyn faces Labour no confidence motion on Yom Kippur". The Times of Israel. 3 October 2019. Retrieved 17 October 2019.
  28. ^ a b "Dame Louise Ellman: Labour group's Yom Kippur action condemned". BBC News. 3 October 2019. Retrieved 17 October 2019.
  29. ^ Harpin, Lee (7 October 2019). "'Bullying' of Louise Ellman condemned as the Labour MP faces fresh attempts to oust her". The Jewish Chronicle. Retrieved 17 October 2019.
  30. ^ Proctor, Kate; Wolfe-Robinson, Maya (7 October 2019). "Concern raised over deselection of female Labour MPs". The Guardian. Retrieved 17 October 2019.
  31. ^ Political Correspondent, Henry Zeffman (16 October 2019). "MP Louise Ellman quits Labour and says Corbyn is a danger to Britain" – via
  32. ^ Rodgers, Sienna (16 October 2019). "Louise Ellman quits the Labour Party". LabourList. Retrieved 17 October 2019.
  33. ^ Thorp, Liam (17 October 2019). "Louise Ellman's local Labour branch responds to her resignation after 55 years in party". Liverpool Echo. Retrieved 17 October 2019.
  34. ^ SW (16 October 2019). "BREAKING: ELLMAN QUITS LABOUR RATHER THAN FACE TRIGGER". Skwawkbox. Retrieved 17 October 2019.
  35. ^ "Liverpool Riverside CLP Executive statement". Hannah Miller. 17 October 2019. Retrieved 18 October 2019.
  36. ^ "MP's son Sean Ellman cleared in legal high label case". BBC News. 13 May 2013. Retrieved 3 October 2013.
  37. ^ Megan, Titley (14 February 2018). "Today's suffragettes: 'I was very determined to make a difference'". Lancashire Post. Retrieved 18 October 2019.
  38. ^ "No. 59418". The London Gazette. 13 May 2010. p. 8737.
  39. ^ Sharon, Jeremy (28 September 2019). "LABOUR'S LADY WHO OPPOSES CORBYN: MP DAME LOUISE ELLMAN".
  40. ^ "THE JERUSALEM POST'S 50 MOST INFLUENTIAL JEWS OF 2019". Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 16 October 2019.

External linksEdit

Audio clipsEdit

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Robert Parry
Member of Parliament for Liverpool Riverside
Succeeded by
To be elected