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Marvin Rees

Marvin Johnathan Rees (born April 1972) is a British Labour Party politician. Since May 2016, he has served as Mayor of Bristol. In doing so, he became the first directly-elected mixed-raced mayor in Europe.[1]

Marvin Rees
Marvin Rees, 2016 Labour Party Conference 2.jpg
Rees at the 2016 Labour Party conference in Liverpool
2nd Mayor of Bristol
Assumed office
7 May 2016
DeputyCraig Cheney
Asher Craig
Preceded byGeorge Ferguson
Personal details
Marvin Johnathan Rees

April 1972 (age 46)
Political partyLabour
Spouse(s)Kiersten Rees
ParentsJanet Rees


Early life and educationEdit

Marvin Rees was brought up in Bristol, partly in Lawrence Weston and Easton, by his British mother and Jamaican father.[2][3] He obtained a Master's degree in Political Theory and Government at the University of Wales in Swansea, and also a Master's in Global Economic Development at Eastern University (United States) in 2000.[2] Later he completed the World Fellows Program at Yale University.[4] During a fellowship he assisted Tony Campolo, an advisor to President Bill Clinton.[2]

Community involvementEdit

Rees is the Founder and Programme Lead at The Bristol Leadership Programme, a two-week programme that will help a dozen people annually from impoverished backgrounds to attain what they aspire to.[5][6] He was also a member of the Bristol Legacy Commission which dispersed its funds and ceased operating in April 2012.[7][8] and a former Director of the Bristol Partnership whose goals are to make Bristol's prosperity sustainable, reduce health and wealth inequality, build stronger and safer communities, and raise the aspirations and achievements of young people and families.[9]


Rees has worked in diverse areas throughout his career. He was a freelance journalist and radio presenter at BBC Radio Bristol and Ujima Radio.[10] He was the Communications and Events Manager at Black Development Agency (now Phoenix Social Enterprise), an agency devoted to empowering individuals and communities through opportunities to work abroad.[11]

Marvin Rees was employed in the city of Bristol as the Programme Manager for race equality in mental health issues at NHS Bristol.[12] His experiences in the United States included work as an outreach assistant at the Sojourners Community and as a Youth Co-ordinator at Tearfund.[13]

Political careerEdit

In 2012, selected by an individual ballot of Labour Party members in the city, Rees defeated four other candidates including the Leader and Deputy Leader of the Labour group in Bristol and a former Member of Parliament.[4] He received 25,906 votes, coming second, after George Ferguson. Rees found it difficult readjusting to normal life following his election loss.[1]

On 5 May 2016, Rees was elected Mayor of Bristol. He received 56,729 voted in the first round and 12,021 transfer votes in the second round, meaning that he received 68,750 votes overall.[14][15] He became the first directly-elected black Mayor in Europe,[1] two days before Sadiq Khan was elected Mayor of London.

Rees' term of office started with a £60 million budget deficit to 2020, and in August 2016 Rees instigated a voluntary severance programme aimed at reducing 1,000 from the council's 6,970 employees.[16]

Rees' time in the mayoral office is most likely to be defined by his decision in September 2018 not to build the long awaited arena by Temple Meads Station, in the centre of Bristol, despite the vast majority of the council backing the plans.[17] At the time, Marvin dismissed those in support of the plan as "noise".[18] The episode brought discussion about the ability of a city mayor to make autonomous decisions in the face of strong opposition, and concerns were raised at how businesses are able to influence those with decision making and planning powers in cities. [19]

In September 2017, Rees was placed at Number 78 in "The 100 Most Influential People on the Left" by commentator Iain Dale.[20]

Personal lifeEdit

Marvin Rees, who describes himself as the mixed-race son of a Jamaican father and white single mother,[21] is married with three children and lives in Easton in Bristol.[22][23]


  1. ^ a b c Ashcroft, Esme (2018-02-12). "The details of Bristol Mayor Marvin Rees' private life we found out from his new biopic". Bristol Post. Retrieved 2018-07-13.
  2. ^ a b c "OBV Profile: Marvin Rees". Operation Black Vote. 2007. Retrieved 23 October 2016.
  3. ^ Morris, Steven (12 February 2016). "Marvin Rees: the Bristolian bearing the weight of Labour hopes". The Guardian.
  4. ^ a b "Profiles of Labour’s candidates for the Bristol mayoralty: Marvin Rees", Labour Uncut, 18 May 2012.
  5. ^ "Who is Marvin Rees", Bristol Culture, 19 June 2012.
  6. ^ "Youth Mayor could Engage Young People", Bristol Post, 29 May 2012.
  7. ^ "Mayoral Commissions result in joint action to improve lives in Bristol". Bristol City Council. Retrieved 14 September 2017.
  8. ^ Bristol Legacy Commission.
  9. ^ "About us", Bristol Partnership.
  10. ^ Bristol Mayor news. Marvin Rees.
  11. ^ Phoenix Social Enterprise "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 17 July 2012. Retrieved 30 August 2012.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  12. ^ NHS Bristol - Mental Health and Wellbeing.
  13. ^ Marvin Rees Biography, BBC News, 2 March 2005.
  14. ^ Emanuel, Louis (7 May 2016). "Marvin Rees elected as new mayor of Bristol". Bristol 24/7. Retrieved 7 May 2016.
  15. ^ "Labour's Marvin Rees has been elected as Bristol city's mayor", BBC News, Bristol, 7 May 2016.
  16. ^ "Bristol mayor Marvin Rees to cut 1,000 council jobs". BBC News. 22 August 2016. Retrieved 17 November 2016.
  17. ^
  18. ^
  19. ^
  20. ^ Dale, Iain (25 September 2017). "The 100 Most Influential People On The Left: Iain Dale's 2017 List". LBC. Retrieved 8 November 2017.
  21. ^ Steven Morris, "Bristol chooses Labour's Marvin Rees as new mayor over George Ferguson", The Guardian, 7 May 2016.
  22. ^ "Who is mayor Marvin?". Bristol24/7. 5 May 2016.
  23. ^ Ian Onions, "Labour's Marvin Rees wins election to become Bristol's next mayor", Bristol Post, 7 May 2016.