Rowenna Davis
Born (1985-02-28) 28 February 1985 (age 36)
Lewisham,[1] London
Alma materBalliol College, Oxford
OccupationTeacher and journalist
Notable work
Tangled Up in Blue
Political partyLabour and Co-operative[2]

Rowenna Davis (born 28 February 1985) is a teacher and political journalist. She has previously been a Labour councillor for the London Borough of Southwark and contested the parliamentary seat of Southampton Itchen in the 2015 general election. She is currently a teacher at Harris Invictus Academy Croydon. She has written numerous articles for publications such as the New Statesman, The Guardian, and The Economist. In 2011, Davis authored Tangled Up in Blue, an examination of the rise of the Blue Labour movement.

Early life and education

Davis was born in Lewisham[1] and spent her early years in Portsmouth and Catford before her family moved to North London, where she attended the comprehensive Hampstead School. At the age of fourteen, she organised a protest against the quality of the school meals provided by Serco. Home-cooked, healthy food was offered in a rival, all-you-can-eat tuck shop and the students boycotted the official canteen, forcing them to change their menu within two weeks.[3][4] In 2003 she and two schoolfriends organised 'Hands Up For Peace' in response to the war in Iraq. This led to thousands of other students making a hand-print bearing their name and a message of peace. These were then printed out, attached to sticks and planted in Parliament Square to make a protest with the intention of influencing Prime Minister Tony Blair.[5][6][7][8]

After leaving school, she read Politics, Philosophy and Economics at Balliol College, Oxford. In 2005, while still an undergraduate, she won the Oxford Leadership Prize which is a contest requiring an essay on a contemporary issue of political leadership. Her winning essay, "Invisible Leaders", was presented in a novel audio format and won her the prize of £4,000.[9] Her leadership models were those that "create space and opportunity for action".[10] She subsequently undertook a postgraduate MA degree in journalism from City University London.[11][12]


Since graduating from Oxford University, Davis has worked as an intern at Bloomberg News and as a freelance journalist, writing for publications such as The Guardian,[13] The Independent,[14] the New Statesman, the Mail on Sunday, The Economist, The Times, the Times Higher Education and the Financial Times.[15] Davis has appeared as a political commentator for a variety of current affairs television and radio programmes such as Daily Politics, The Politics Show, Newsnight, Sunday Politics and Sky News.[16]

In September 2011, she published the book Tangled Up in Blue,[17] which is an account of the development of Blue Labour, a movement within the Labour Party founded by Lord Glasman.[18][19]

Political career

In 2010, Davis stood as the Labour candidate for the Cathedrals ward of Southwark, but lost to a Liberal Democrat candidate.[20] She entered a Microsoft contest of ideas for the 18–25 age group and won £10,000 of sponsorship for her plan to engage unemployed, young people in local government, encouraging them to become councillors.[21][22] In May 2011, she was herself elected to Southwark Council as councillor in the Lane ward of Peckham which she won with a swing from the Lib Dems of 12%.[23] As a councillor, she campaigned against the proliferation of betting shops in the borough.[24]

She is an active member and supporter of several charitable, political and trade union organisations including Blackfriars Settlement,[25] Crisis over Christmas, Headliners, Make Justice Work, National Union of Journalists and Unite.[13] Davis also supports Envision, and was one of the first Envision Graduates; Davis explained how this experience had influenced her work for the community.[26]

On 13 July 2013, Davis was selected as the Labour Parliamentary Candidate for Southampton Itchen, in the 2015 general election,[27] to succeed John Denham. Although Davis was criticised for her lack of connections to Southampton, Denham endorsed his successor, saying "I know that Rowenna Davis has the drive and vision to represent Southampton superbly in the years ahead..."[28] In February 2015, Iain Dale predicted that she would increase the Labour majority,[29] but an unpredicted swing to the Conservatives confounded this prediction and she lost to Royston Smith by 2,316 votes (5.2%). In 2019, Davis put herself forward for selection as Labour's candidate for Croydon and Sutton in the 2020 London Assembly election but was not selected.[30]

After politics

In June 2015, Davis announced via Twitter that she was training to become a teacher and subsequently began working at Oasis Academy Mayfield in Southampton.[31] She is now an English teacher at Harris Invictus Academy Croydon.[32]

Email hacking

Davis' email account was hacked in 2011 and the hacker tried to extort £500 from her for its return. The hacker also impersonated her in fraudulent emails to her five thousand contacts, friends and relatives, trying to persuade them to send money to a Western Union account. The email account was provided by Google who Davis felt were unhelpful initially. After several days, she regained control of the account, following the intervention of a contact who worked at Google.[33][34][35]


  1. ^ a b Rowenna Davis (21 January 2013). "Lewisham". New Statesman. I was born in Lewisham hospital
  2. ^ Karin Christiansen, Rowenna Davis – Labour & Co-operative Parliamentary Candidate for Southampton Itchen, The Co-operative Party
  3. ^ Joe Jervis (23 April 2015). "Fifteen for 2015". Young Fabians.
  4. ^ Shahera Safrin (22 April 2015). "Labour's Rowenna Davis". Wessex Scene. Archived from the original on 3 February 2016.
  5. ^ Mark Ellis; Stephen Moyes; Helen Cook (21 March 2003). "Gulf War 2: ... Thousands protest in the streets". Daily Mirror.
  6. ^ E Such; O Walker (2005), "Anti-War Children", Childhood, 12 (3): 301–326, doi:10.1177/0907568205054924, S2CID 143703828
  7. ^ Liz Ford (20 March 2003). "Students raise their hands in protest". The Guardian.
  8. ^ Libby Brooks (26 April 2003). "Kid power". The Guardian.
  9. ^ "The Oxford Leadership Prize". Saïd Business School. 2005. Archived from the original on 10 February 2012. Retrieved 26 January 2012.
  10. ^ Michael MacCoby (2013). The Leaders We Need. Harvard Business Press. p. 94. ISBN 978-1422163603.
  11. ^ Greenslade, Roy (4 March 2011). "Men still dominate national newspaper journalism". The Guardian.
  12. ^ BA Journalism[permanent dead link], History & Context of Journalism, 26 February 2014
  13. ^ a b "Register of interests - Councillor Rowenna Davis". Southwark Council. 12 July 2011. Archived from the original on 2 February 2013.
  14. ^ Rowenna Davis (7 January 2010). "Running a prison may not sound glamorous but it's never dull". The Independent.
  15. ^ Rowenna Davis (7 December 2007). "Swapping women's rights for ladies' nights". Times Higher Education.
  16. ^ "Rowenna Davis". Battle of Ideas. Institute of Ideas. Archived from the original on 23 April 2013.
  17. ^ Davis, Rowenna (2011). Tangled up in Blue: Blue Labour and the struggle for Labour's Soul. London: Ruskin. ISBN 9781780720685.
  18. ^ Abigail O'Reilly (23 October 2011). "Tangled Up in Blue, By Rowenna Davis". The Independent.
  19. ^ George Eaton (14 November 2011). "Tangled Up in Blue By Rowenna Davis". New Statesman.
  20. ^ "Election Results for Cathedrals Ward". Southwark Council. 6 May 2010. Archived from the original on 10 May 2010.
  21. ^ Richard Tyler (29 June 2010). "Microsoft backing for young people to enter local politics". The Telegraph. Archived from the original on 2 July 2010.
  22. ^ "Young people: Local Government", Life Academy, Hugo & Cat for Microsoft, archived from the original on 8 July 2010
  23. ^ "Lane Ward by-election result – Labour's Rowenna Davis elected". Harriet Harman. 5 May 2011.
  24. ^ "Petition to restrict Southwark bookmakers". BBC News. 14 February 2012.
  25. ^ "Trustees, Partner and Funder". Blackfriars Settlement. 2011.[dead link]
  26. ^ "My London, My Legacy". Environmental Vision. 7 July 2011. Archived from the original on 1 August 2012.
  27. ^ Jamieson, Sophie (29 April 2015). "Female MPs: Parliament's future front bench stars". The Telegraph. Telegraph Media Group. Retrieved 25 May 2015.
  28. ^ "Denham endorses Davis as Labour election candidate". Bitterne Park's local website - 7 January 2015.
  29. ^ Iain Dale (2015), "Southampton Itchen", Seat by Seat: The Political Anorak's Guide to Potential Gains and Losses in the 2015 General Election, ISBN 978-1849548823, Prediction: Increased Labour majority
  30. ^ Walter Cronxite (28 June 2019). "'Blue Labour royalty' steps forward for Assembly selection". Inside Croydon.
  31. ^ Rowenna Davis (24 July 2015). "Just passed my literacy and numeracy tests to become a teacher! (And renewed empathy for exam anxiety amongst students...)". @RowennaDavis – via Twitter.
  32. ^ Walter Cronxite (8 February 2019). "Skipper named in Labour's five-woman shortlist for Norbury". Inside Croydon. Retrieved 12 February 2020.
  33. ^ Tony Dyhouse (25 October 2011). "Email hacking victim Rowenna Davis tells her story". BBC News.
  34. ^ Mark Prigg (18 October 2011). "Hacked off with Google security". This is London. Archived from the original on 26 January 2012. Retrieved 28 January 2012.
  35. ^ Rowenna Davis (16 October 2011). "How an email hacker ruined my life and then tried to sell it back to me". The Observer. Guardian News and Media – via The Guardian.