Wes Streeting
Official portrait of Wes Streeting MP crop 2.jpg
Official portrait, 2019
Shadow Secretary of State for Health and Social Care
Assumed office
29 November 2021
LeaderKeir Starmer
Preceded byJonathan Ashworth
Shadow Secretary of State for Child Poverty
In office
9 May 2021 – 29 November 2021
LeaderKeir Starmer
Preceded byOffice established
Succeeded byOffice abolished
Shadow Minister for Schools
In office
16 October 2020 – 9 May 2021
LeaderKeir Starmer
Preceded byMargaret Greenwood
Succeeded byPeter Kyle
Shadow Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury
In office
9 April 2020 – 16 October 2020
LeaderKeir Starmer
Preceded byLyn Brown
Succeeded byAbena Oppong-Asare
Member of Parliament
for Ilford North
Assumed office
7 May 2015
Preceded byLee Scott
Majority5,198 (10.4%)
53rd President of the National Union of Students
In office
1 July 2008 – 10 June 2010
Preceded byGemma Tumelty
Succeeded byAaron Porter
Personal details
Born
Wesley Paul William Streeting

(1983-01-21) 21 January 1983 (age 39)
Stepney, Tower Hamlets, London, England
Political partyLabour
Residence(s)Redbridge, London, England
Alma materSelwyn College, Cambridge
WebsiteOfficial website Edit this at Wikidata

Wesley Paul William Streeting (/ˈstritɪŋ/; born 21 January 1983) is a British Labour Party politician who has been serving as the Shadow Secretary of State for Health and Social Care since 2021, and the Member of Parliament (MP) for Ilford North since 2015.

He previously served as Shadow Secretary of State for Child Poverty from May to November 2021, as Shadow Minister for Schools from 2020 to 2021, and as Shadow Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury from April to October 2020.[1] He was previously the President of the National Union of Students (NUS), as well as Deputy Leader of Redbridge London Borough Council and its Cabinet Member for Health.

Early life, family and education

Streeting was born in Stepney, London on 21 January 1983. Streeting’s parents were teenagers when he was born. [2] He has five brothers, a sister and a stepsister.[2][3] His maternal grandfather was an armed robber who spent time in prison, and his grandmother became embroiled in his crimes and ended up in Holloway jail, where she met Keeler. “They stayed in touch, they became friends”, according to Streeting. His grandmother was released from prison to give birth to his mother at Whittington Hospital.[2] Streeting’s two grandfathers, both named Bill, were key figures in his youth. His maternal grandfather was also familiar with the infamous East End Krays.[2] He was “really well read and well informed” and engaged his grandson in lively discussions about religion and politics. Streeting’s paternal grandfather served in the Second World War in the Royal Navy and later in the merchant navy before becoming a civil engineer. “He was the grandad I was closest to. He was a traditional working-class Tory”.[2]

He grew up in poverty living in a council flat.[4][5] He recalls Conservative politicians in the 1990s “denigrating single-parent families like mine, which I took quite personally”.[2] He attended Westminster City School, a comprehensive state school in Victoria, London. He went on to study history at Selwyn College, University of Cambridge. Streeting came out as gay in his second year of university.[2] Streeting served as Selwyn College's Junior Common Room (JCR) President, in which capacity he was a member of Cambridge University Students' Union (CUSU) Council. He was subsequently elected CUSU President for the 2004–05 academic year, a sabbatical officer role. As CUSU President, he campaigned against the proposed closure of Cambridge's architecture department.[6]

Early career

National Union of Students

Streeting was elected as President of the National Union of Students (NUS) in April 2008 as a candidate from Labour Students, with the support of the Union of Jewish Students.[7] He had been a member of the NUS National Executive Committee since 2005, having previously held the post of Vice-President (Education) from 2006 to 2008. In April 2009, he was elected to a second term as President of the NUS. He also served as a member of the National Committee of Labour Students for four years during this time. In March 2009, Pink News listed him as the 33rd-most powerful LGBT politician in the UK.[8]

As President of the NUS, Streeting was a strong proponent of his predecessor Gemma Tumelty's proposed reforms to the NUS governance structures, which had been denounced and narrowly defeated by many left-wing groups in NUS as an attack on NUS democracy.[9] His election was reported by The Guardian as "a move that will lend weight to the fight to modernise the union".[10]

On 26 February 2009, The Independent reported Streeting's controversial support for tuition fees with the headline "Wes Streeting: 'Moving to the right on Tuition Fees Makes Sense'". The article explains that the surprising move for the Student Union leader "puts [the NUS] to the right of the Liberal Democrats who have recently reaffirmed their commitment to free higher education for all".[11]

He was a leading figure in efforts to change the NUS's position on higher education funding in advance of the government's 2009/10 independent review of higher education funding in England.[12]

As NUS President, Streeting was a non-executive director of the NUS's trading arm, NUS Services Ltd, and of Endsleigh Insurance. He was also a non-executive director of the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS), as well as the Higher Education academy, having served on their board as Vice President (Education) when he was also a non-executive director of the Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education (OIAHE). Shortly after his election as NUS President, Streeting was appointed as a member of the government's Youth Citizenship Commission, chaired by Professor Jonathan Tonge of Liverpool University, which published its report in June 2009.[13]

Professional career

Streeting worked for the Labour Party-related organisation Progress for a year.[14] After completing his term as President of the NUS, Streeting served as Chief Executive of the Helena Kennedy Foundation, an educational charity that promotes access to higher education for students from further education colleges.[15]

He went on to serve as Head of Education at Stonewall, a lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights charity, where he led their Education for All campaign to tackle homophobia in schools.[16]

He was subsequently a public sector consultant with PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), which he gave up on election as a councillor, because Redbridge Council was a "current audit client" of the firm; this forced him to choose between keeping his job or forcing a second by-election.[17] In 2010, shortly after leaving PwC, Streeting was appointed as Head of Policy and Strategic Communications for Oona King's unsuccessful bid to win the Labour Party's nomination to be its candidate in the 2012 London Mayoral election.[18]

Local government

In a July 2010 by-election, Streeting was elected as a Labour councillor for the Chadwell ward on Redbridge London Borough Council. He held the seat for Labour by 220 votes, winning with 31.5% of the vote (a fall of 1.4% for Labour in the ward) on a 25.5% turnout (a fall of 34.5% in turnout).[19][20] The by-election had been triggered by a previous elected candidate subsequently being found to be ineligible to serve on the council.[21]

Streeting was elected as Deputy Leader of the Labour Group in October 2011.[22] In 2014, he contested the Aldborough ward on Redbridge Council, winning 2,100 votes and defeating Conservative opponent Ruth Clark.

At a public meeting of the Redbridge Citizens' Assembly on 6 May 2014, Cllr Streeting on behalf of his group promised that, if elected, he would not reduce the level of Council Tax Support provided to low-income working-age residents. Once elected, the Labour council cut the level of support, so as to treble from April 2016 the amount of Council Tax paid by supported residents; the council made a further reduction from April 2017, and made a third reduction from April 2018.[23][24][25][26]

In May 2014, Labour took control of Redbridge Council for the first time and Streeting was appointed Deputy Leader of the Council.[27][28] He resigned the latter in May 2015, shortly after being elected Member of Parliament for Ilford North.[29] Whilst he remained a backbench councillor following his election to Parliament he chose not to claim his councillor allowance.[30] Streeting did not stand for re-election after being elected to Parliament, and ceased to be a councillor on Monday 7 May 2018.

Parliamentary career

In the 2015 general election, Streeting was elected as the Member of Parliament for Ilford North. Representing the Labour Party, he overturned a Conservative majority of 5,404, winning by 589 votes.[31]

After being elected to Parliament, Streeting was elected Honorary President of the British Youth Council.[32] He is also a Vice President of the Local Government Association and a Patron of LGBT Labour.

Parliamentary backbencher (2015–2020)

Following his election, Streeting was described as a "long-time critic" of Jeremy Corbyn, who was leader of the Labour Party from 2015 to 2020. He accused Corbyn of a "flat-footed and lackadaisical attitude" to tackling antisemitism which is "simply unacceptable".[33] He stated prior to the 2017 general election that he was "not going to pretend to have had a damascene conversion" with regard to Corbyn's suitability to be prime minister.[34] His views provoked a response from Corbyn's supporters such as Ken Livingstone and the trade union leader Len McCluskey. Livingstone described him as "consciously undermining Jeremy and damaging the Labour party" while McCluskey said his reason for raising issues had been "about attacking Jeremy Corbyn".[35][36] Streeting was among the 70 per cent of Labour MPs who nominated Owen Smith in the 2016 party leadership election.[37]

In 2016 Streeting criticised the Labour Party for refusing a £30,000 donation from McDonald's. According to Labour, the refusal was due to the company's poor record on worker's rights and hostile stance towards trade unions.[38][39]

Streeting campaigned in favour of the United Kingdom remaining in the European Union in the run-up to the 2016 EU membership referendum.[40] His constituency subsequently voted by a small-margin in favour of leaving the European Union.[41] Afterwards, Streeting campaigned for a People's Vote, a campaign group calling for a public vote on the final Brexit deal between the UK and the European Union.[42]

Ilford North has among the largest Jewish and Muslim communities in the UK. Streeting is a vice-chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Antisemitism, a co-chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on British Jews and a supporter of Labour Friends of Israel.[43][44][45] He is also a co-chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on British Muslims and a supporter of Labour Friends of Palestine and Middle East.[46] In September 2018, he held the last in a series of London-wide consultations to create the Working Definition of Islamophobia.[47] In July 2018, Streeting called for “targeted economic sanctions” against Israeli settlements in the West Bank in response to the Israeli government “grossly infringing on the human rights of Palestinians”.[48]

In July 2019, Streeting was reported in the media as using abusive language towards a non-Jewish antisemitism campaigner.[49][50]

Shortly before the 2019 general election, Streeting told a Labour First meeting that the party faced electoral oblivion in any snap poll due to the leadership's poor handling of Brexit and allegations of antisemitism.[51]

Following Labour's defeat in the general election, Streeting nominated Jess Phillips and Rosena Allin-Khan in the 2020 Labour Party leadership and deputy leadership elections,[52][53] and endorsed Ian Murray for the deputy leadership.[54]

Opposition frontbencher

Until the 2019 general election, Streeting was a member of the Treasury Select Committee.[55]

After the election of Keir Starmer as Leader of the Labour Party, Streeting was appointed Shadow Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury.

On 16 October 2020, Streeting became Shadow Minister for Schools in succession to Margaret Greenwood, who had resigned the previous day following her opposition to the Covert Human Intelligence Sources (Criminal Conduct) Bill. Abena Oppong-Asare replaced Streeting as Shadow Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury.

In the May 2021 British shadow cabinet reshuffle, Streeting was appointed to the Shadow Cabinet as Shadow Secretary of State for Child Poverty.[56] He was promoted to the post of Shadow Secretary of State for Health and Social Care in the November 2021 British shadow cabinet reshuffle.[57]

Personal life

Streeting lives in Redbridge, London. He is in a relationship with Joseph Dancey, a communications and public affairs adviser.[58]

Streeting has strongly criticised those campaigning against LGBT+ education in schools.[59][60]

In May 2021, Streeting revealed he had been diagnosed with kidney cancer[61] and would be stepping back from frontline politics while he received treatment for it.[62] On 27 July 2021, Streeting announced that he had been declared cancer-free, following an operation to remove one of his kidneys.[63]

References

  1. ^ "Wes Streeting MP – Latest news and updates on the Labour MP for Ilford North – Mirror Online". mirror. Retrieved 5 August 2020.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g George Parker and Jim Pickard (19 May 2022). "Is Wes Streeting the saviour Labour desperately needs". The Financial Times. Retrieved 15 June 2022.
  3. ^ Rachel Sylvester (18 September 2021). "Labour's Wes Streeting on childhood poverty and battling homophobia". The Times. Retrieved 18 June 2022.
  4. ^ "Is Wes Streeting the next Labour leader?". New Statesman. 25 January 2022.
  5. ^ Streeting, Wes. "Wes Streeting: This country needs good quality social housing, now". LabourList. Retrieved 5 August 2020.
  6. ^ Layfield, Luke (29 October 2004). "Architecture under threat at Cambridge". The Guardian. Retrieved 10 April 2020.
  7. ^ "UJS at NUS Conference 2009". Union of Jewish Students. 7 June 2009. Archived from the original on 19 July 2011. Retrieved 5 March 2011.
  8. ^ "The 50 most powerful gay, lesbian and bisexual people in British politics". Pink News. Retrieved 6 March 2009.
  9. ^ "www.nusdemocracy.org.uk".
  10. ^ Lipsett, Anthea (2 April 2008). "New NUS president voted in | Students". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 2 May 2010.
  11. ^ "NUS president Wes Streeting: 'Moving to the right on tuition fees". The Independent. 26 February 2009. Retrieved 1 December 2021.
  12. ^ "NUS drops free education doctrine | Students". London: EducationGuardian.co.uk. 2 April 2008. Retrieved 2 May 2010.
  13. ^ "Home – Youth Citizenship Commission". Ycc.uk.net. Retrieved 2 May 2010.
  14. ^ Wes Streeting. "About Wes". Wes Streeting's blog. Archived from the original on 28 December 2011.
  15. ^ "Wes Streeting, CEO, Helena Kennedy Foundation". FE Week. 2 October 2011. Retrieved 5 August 2020.
  16. ^ "Former Stonewall campaigner Wes Streeting elected as MP". PinkNews – Gay news, reviews and comment from the world's most read lesbian, gay, bisexual, and trans news service. 8 May 2015. Retrieved 5 August 2020.
  17. ^ "The Week in Higher Education". Times Higher Education. 10 August 2010. Retrieved 2 September 2010.
  18. ^ Jess Freeman (12 August 2010). "What's stopping Oona King?". Total Politics. Retrieved 1 September 2011.
  19. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 25 February 2012. Retrieved 9 July 2010.((cite web)): CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  20. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 11 May 2010. Retrieved 9 July 2010.((cite web)): CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  21. ^ "Redbridge: Ineligible councillor resigns". East London and West Essex Guardian Series. 25 May 2010. Archived from the original on 9 May 2011.
  22. ^ "Councillor Wes Streeting". Redbridge London Borough Council. Retrieved 10 May 2012.
  23. ^ Blackburn, Ralph (25 November 2015). "Redbridge parties clash over council tax relief cuts". Ilford Recorder. Retrieved 10 December 2016.
  24. ^ Blackburn, Ralph (12 September 2015). "Council tax support could be cut for Redbridge residents". Ilford Recorder. Retrieved 10 December 2016.
  25. ^ Keay, Lara (25 January 2016). "12,000 poor workers to be hit by cuts to council tax reduction scheme". Wanstead & Woodford Guardian. Retrieved 10 December 2016.
  26. ^ "Local Council Tax Reduction Scheme 2017/18" (PDF). Redbridge Council. Retrieved 10 December 2016.
  27. ^ "Redbridge i – Local Election result, 2014". Redbridge Council.
  28. ^ Hill, Dave (23 May 2014). "Local elections: Labour wins control of Redbridge council for first time". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 20 April 2017.
  29. ^ Patient, Douglas (20 May 2015). "New deputy leader of Redbridge council announced". East London and West Essex Guardian Series. Retrieved 20 May 2015.
  30. ^ "Wes Streeting MP on Twitter". Retrieved 20 May 2015.
  31. ^ "2015 General Election Results". Redbridge Council. Archived from the original on 22 May 2015. Retrieved 20 May 2015.
  32. ^ "British Youth Council Honorary Presidents". British Youth Council. Retrieved 14 April 2016.
  33. ^ Helm, Toby (28 May 2016). "Jeremy Corbyn 'failed to reply' to Israeli Labour on fears of antisemitism". The Observer. Guardian News and Media. Retrieved 20 April 2017.
  34. ^ Casalicchio, Emilio (23 April 2017). "Labour MP Wes Streeting: Jeremy Corbyn would not make a good prime minister". PoliticsHome. Retrieved 24 October 2019.
  35. ^ Syal, Rajeev; Stewart, Heather (2 May 2016). "Corbyn ally Len McCluskey attacks 'treacherous' Labour MPs". The Guardian. Retrieved 5 October 2016.
  36. ^ Mason, Rowena (22 March 2017). "Ken Livingstone calls for Labour to suspend 'disloyal' MPs". The Guardian. Retrieved 20 April 2017.
  37. ^ "Owen Smith nominated by 70% of Labour MPs". ITV. 20 July 2016. Retrieved 24 October 2019.
  38. ^ "Labour's McDonald's ban is virtue signalling of the worst kind". 18 April 2016.
  39. ^ "What an Argument About McDonald's Tells Us About the State of the Labour Party".
  40. ^ Streeting, Wes (1 February 2017). "Chuka Umunna and Wes Streeting: Why we Labour Remainers voted to trigger Article 50". Inews. Retrieved 24 October 2019.
  41. ^ Streeting, Wes (22 January 2019). "Wes Streeting MP: I would rather risk losing my job than stay silent on Brexit and risk my constituents losing theirs". Politics Home. Retrieved 24 October 2019.
  42. ^ Streeting, Wes (13 July 2018). "Streeting – No deal Brexit would be very worst possible outcome". People's Vote. Open Britain. Retrieved 4 September 2018.
  43. ^ Streeting, Wes; Siddiq, Tulip (24 April 2017). "We've heard your anxieties loud and clear". The Jewish Chronicle. Retrieved 24 April 2017.
  44. ^ "APPG on British Jews". Board of Deputies of British Jews. Retrieved 2 September 2019.
  45. ^ "LFI Supporters in Parliament". Labour Friends of Israel. 23 March 2018.
  46. ^ "Parliamentary Supporters". Labour Friends of Palestine and the Middle East (LFPME). Retrieved 19 September 2018.
  47. ^ Walawalkar, Aaron. "All-Party Parliamentary Group consultation in Hainault on legal definition of Islamophobia draws in around 80 people". Ilford Recorder. Retrieved 20 September 2018.
  48. ^ Weich, Ben (5 July 2018). "'Friend of Israel' MP calls for economic sanctions against West Bank settlements". The Jewish Chronicle. Retrieved 24 October 2019.
  49. ^ "Labour moderate explodes in row over MP hopeful's apology for antisemitism". Jewish Chronicle. 28 July 2019. Retrieved 28 July 2019.
  50. ^ "These non-Jews are fighting Labour anti-Semitism from the inside". Haaretz. Retrieved 5 August 2020.
  51. ^ Wearmouth, Rachel (17 July 2019). "Jeremy Corbyn-Led Labour Party 'Destined To Lose General Election', MPs Claim". Huffpost. Retrieved 28 July 2019.
  52. ^ "Rolling list: MP/MEP nominations for Labour leadership candidates". LabourList. Retrieved 25 February 2022.
  53. ^ "Rolling list: MP/MEP nominations for Labour deputy leadership candidates". LabourList. Retrieved 25 February 2022.
  54. ^ Streeting, Wes [@wesstreeting] (24 February 2020). "I'm voting for @IanMurrayMP # 1 for Deputy Leader. He's faced up to the scale of the challenge and told us what we need to hear, not just what we want to hear. He's a proven fighter and a winner. Every answer he's given has been rooted in our values. murrayfordeputy.co.uk" (Tweet). Retrieved 25 February 2022 – via Twitter.
  55. ^ Partington, Richard (5 December 2018). "Brexit betrayal would damage society, Philip Hammond tells MPs". The Guardian. Retrieved 24 October 2019.
  56. ^ Rodgers, Sienna (14 May 2021). "Reshuffle: Keir Starmer's new Labour frontbench in full". LabourList. Retrieved 25 February 2022.
  57. ^ Rodgers, Sienna (29 November 2021). "Big reshuffle sees Cooper, Streeting, Lammy, Reynolds, Phillipson promoted". LabourList. Retrieved 25 February 2022.
  58. ^ "Streeting, Wes (Ilford North)". The Register of Members' Financial Interests. House of Commons. 23 November 2016. Retrieved 14 May 2021.
  59. ^ West, Amy (8 June 2019). "Labour MP criticises colleague for supporting anti-LGBT education protesters: 'There must be no place for hatred'". Pink News. Retrieved 24 October 2019.
  60. ^ "Gay MP Wes Streeting: 'Parents cannot pick and choose which parts of the Equality Act should apply'". GAY TIMES. 13 June 2019. Retrieved 5 August 2020.
  61. ^ "Labour MP Wes Streeting diagnosed with kidney cancer". BBC News. 14 May 2021.
  62. ^ "Labour MP Wes Streeting diagnosed with kidney cancer". The Guardian. 14 May 2021. Retrieved 9 June 2021.
  63. ^ "Labour MP Wes Streeting 'over the moon' to be cancer free after successful operation". PinkNews. 27 July 2021. Retrieved 28 July 2021.
Non-profit organization positions Preceded byGemma Tumelty President of the National Union of Students 2008–2010 Succeeded byAaron Porter Parliament of the United Kingdom Preceded byLee Scott Member of Parliamentfor Ilford North 2015–present Incumbent