Joan Ryan

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Person.png Joan Ryan   Powerbase Twitter WebsiteRdf-icon.png
(Chair of Independent Friends of Israel)
Joan Ryan.jpg
Born Joan Marie Ryan
8 September 1955
Warrington, Lancs
Nationality British
Alma mater City of Liverpool College
Children 2
Spouse Martin Hegarty

Employment.png Member of Parliament for Enfield North

In office
7 May 2015 - Present

Employment.png Prime Minister's Special Envoy to Cyprus

In office
29 June 2007 - 14 September 2008

Joan Marie Ryan, a British politician, is the Member of Parliament (MP) for Enfield North, having first held the seat between 1997 and 2010, when she lost to Tory Nick de Bois, but regained the seat in 2015.[1]

In December 2014, Joan Ryan paid a sponsored visit to Israel and, following her re-election as an MP at the May 2015 General Election, was appointed Chair of Labour Friends of Israel.

On 19 February 2019, Joan Ryan resigned from the Labour Party and joined seven ex-Labour MPs in The Independent Group, thereby becoming Chair of Independent Friends of Israel.[2][3]


In August 2015 Joan Ryan, who nominated Liz Kendall in the Labour leadership contest, said the party must be “steadfast” in its support for Israel. She told the Jewish Chronicle:

“We hope that Labour party members and supporters will consider when they vote which candidate is best placed to ensure that the next Labour government can play a constructive and engaged role in the crucial search for a two-state solution. We recognise the deep concerns which exist about positions taken, and statements made, by Jeremy Corbyn in the past and recognise the serious questions which arise from these. LFI will continue to work with progressives in both Israel and Palestine who share our commitment to peace and co-existence. At the same time, we remain adamantly opposed to boycotts and sanctions, which delegitimise Israel, do nothing to further these goals and have no place in the Labour party.”

Joan Ryan urged supporters not to vote for Jeremy Corbyn but instead "back a figure who could play a key role in the Middle East peace process."[4]

Poison-pen letter

Poison-pen letter to Jeremy Corbyn

On 10 April 2018, Joan Ryan addressed the following letter to Jeremy Corbyn:

Dear Jeremy,
As you will be aware, the leader of the Israeli Labor party, Avi Gabbay, announced today that he is suspending relations with you due to your failure to deal with antisemitism in the Labour party and your hostility to the state of Israel.
I fully understand why Mr Gabbay has taken this course of action and I am ashamed that one of our sister parties has no option but to take this unprecedented step.
As you know in 2016, the leader of the Opposition, Isaac Herzog, invited you to visit Israel and offered to take you to Yad Vashem. I remain perplexed as to why you were happy to sit down with Hamas and Hezbollah but could not find the time to meet with those who are working to advance the cause of peace, reconciliation and a two-state solution.
I would now urge you to consider why it is that Israeli Labor feels it cannot have a relationship with you. Leadership is about taking responsibility and it is yours to urgently heal this breach and take action to reassure our comrades in Israel.
Yours sincerely,
Rt Hon Joan Ryan MP
Chair, Labour Friends of Israel

Parliamentary career

Joan Ryan served as a local Labour Councillor for eight years. She was Chair of Policy and Finance and deputy leader of Barnet Council before being elected as Member of Parliament for Enfield North in the 1997 general election. In the 2005 election she retained her seat with a slightly reduced majority.

Ryan was parliamentary private secretary to Andrew Smith, and a senior whip. From 5 May 2006 to 29 June 2007, Ryan was Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for nationality, citizenship and immigration at the Home Office, succeeding Andy Burnham.

On 29 June 2007, it was announced that the Prime Minister had appointed Ryan as Special Representative to Cyprus and as a Privy Counsellor.

Joan Ryan called for a leadership election to replace Gordon Brown as Labour Party leader. For this she was fired as Vice Chair of the Labour Party and Prime Minister's envoy to Cyprus on 14 September 2008.[5]

Ryan was defeated by Conservative candidate Nick de Bois by 1,692 votes in the 2010 general election.[6] She stood again in 2015 - the fourth time Ryan and de Bois had contested the seat - and regained her seat in parliament with a majority of 1,086 votes.

Hey biggest spender

In October 2007, the Evening Standard reported that Joan Ryan was the biggest spending MP in Parliament's expenses scandal, having claimed £173,691 for the 2006/2007 tax year.[7] She was the second highest claimant in the 2005/2006 tax year.

The MP was embroiled in the 2009 parliamentary expenses scandal. According to the Guido Fawkes website:

"Joan Ryan, who held the seat until she was booted out in disgrace in 2010, claimed tens of thousands of pounds in mortgage interest payments on her Enfield second home between 2004 and 2008 under her Additional Cost Allowance. She also famously claimed £4,500 doing up the property, including redecorating the living room. The semi-detached Enfield house was bought in 1999 for £249,000. Properties on the same road now typically go for over £750,000, some half-a-million more. That’s not all. In 2008, Ryan then flipped her first and second home, designating a flat in Kennington as her new second home. Expenses records show that Ryan went on to claim for second home mortgage interest payments well into 2009. The palatial apartment at Imperial Court was bought for £192,000 in 2004. It is now estimated to be worth over £400,000."[8][9]

In February 2010, based on an audit report looking into the United Kingdom parliamentary expenses scandal, Ryan was asked to repay £5,121 mortgage interest.[10]

Saving Ryan's blushes

In 2012, it was reported that "persistent" attempts to edit Ryan's Wikipedia entry had occurred.[11] At least 10 attempts were made from computers inside the Houses of Parliament to remove information about Ryan’s expenses claims and a further 20 efforts to delete the information, some from her constituency of Enfield North, were also been recorded in Wikipedia’s logs.[12] The efforts were successful and all mention of expenses claims were removed and instead replaced with a paragraph about edits toWikipedia.[13]

During the 2015 general election, The Daily Telegraph highlighted a number of MPs, including Ryan, whose entries were changed by computers inside Parliament; an act which it said "appears to be a deliberate attempt to hide embarrassing information from the electorate."[14] In Ryan's case, the entire expenses section was deleted, including information on repairs and decorations on her home paid for out of her MP's expenses; the edits were made while Ryan was not an MP, and she denied involvement.[15]

Personal life

Joan Ryan lives in Enfield with her husband, Martin Hegarty, and children.[16] She has three grandchildren.[17]

Although Joan Ryan lives in the London Borough of Enfield, her house is situated some 150 metres outside the constituency boundary of Enfield North.[18][19]

While out of parliament

After losing her seat in 2010, Joan Ryan was appointed Chief Executive of the Global Tamil Forum, and later became deputy director of the successful "NOtoAV" campaign.[20]


In March 2013, Joan Ryan announced she was preparing to seek re-selection by Labour to contest the Enfield North constituency for the 2015 General Election. Her potential candidacy was met with displeasure from some local activists,[21] who questioned if Ryan's high-profile problems with expenses claims[22] might cause electoral problems.

While Labour were undergoing their selection process in the neighbouring constituency of Enfield Southgate, Ryan was accused of trying to influence the result.[23]

In June 2013, Ryan was re-selected as the Labour prospective parliamentary candidate for the Enfield North constituency. Her selection was not met with wide approval from within the local party - including the Chairman Viki Pite, who said that she was "disappointed with the selection" as she felt a "fresh start" was needed.[24] After Ryan's reselection several constituents wrote to her local paper, the Enfield Advertiser, suggesting that voters had not yet forgotten the revelations about her expenses in 2009.[25] However, on 7 May 2015 she was re-elected to the House of Commons.

Maiden Speech 2015

On the occasion of her first speech in the Commons after re-election in 2015, Joan Ryan omitted the traditional tribute to the former incumbent of her constituency, Nick de Bois. She was censured for this by Enfield Southgate MP David Burrowes, who used the opportunity to make the tribute himself.[26]


  1. MP, Labour (17 October 2002). "Joan Ryan". BBC News.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. "After 4 decades, I have made the terribly difficult decision to resign from the Labour Party"
  3. "Ryan’s departure means half quitter group had been no-confidenced by members"
  4. "Don't vote for Jeremy Corbyn, urges new Labour Friends of Israel chair Joan Ryan"
  5. "Labour MP Joan Ryan sacked after open revolt against Gordon Brown", Daily Telegraph
  6. BBC. "General election 2010 results – Enfield North". BBC News. Retrieved 7 May 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. Cecil, Nicholas; Waugh, Paul; Murphy, Joe (26 October 2007). "Revealed: London MPs claiming £9m expenses". The Evening Standard. Retrieved 30 October 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. "Labour candidate up half a million after expenses scandal, shamed ex-MP creams off huge taxpayer-subsidised windfall"
  9. Leach, Ben; Jamieson, Alastair (17 May 2009). "Joan Ryan: expenses switch after £4,500 spend". The Telegraph. Retrieved 2 May 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. Crerar, Pippa (4 February 2010). "London MPs will lose second homes cash in expenses payback". Evening Standard. Retrieved 2 May 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. Pegg, David; Wright, Oliver (9 March 2012). "Who are the Commons moles changing Wikipedia entries?". The Independent. London.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. Pegg, David (9 March 2012). "Thousands of changes made to Wikipedia from within House of Commons". The Bureau of Investigative Journalism.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  13. Fawkes, Guido (30 October 2014). "Labour Expenses Piggy's Wikipedia Edited From Parliament". Retrieved 30 October 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  14. "Expenses and sex scandal deleted from MPs' Wikipedia pages by computers inside Parliament". 26 May 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  15. Riley-Smith, Ben (26 May 2015). "Expenses and sex scandal deleted from MPs' Wikipedia pages by computers inside Parliament". The Telegraph.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  16. "Man acquitted of harassing Enfield North MP Joan Ryan on grounds of insanity". Enfield Independent. Newsquest Media Group. 10 March 2010. Retrieved 20 June 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  17. "Election 2010: Joan Ryan, Labour Candidate for Enfield North". Enfield Independent. Newsquest Media. Retrieved 26 January 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  18. "Parliamentary General Election Enfield North Constituency Statement as to Persons Nominated and Notice of Poll" (PDF). Enfield Council. Leak, Rob. 20 April 2010. Retrieved 26 May 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  19. "UK Parliament Constituency Boundaries: Enfield North". Saturday Walkers Club. Retrieved 26 May 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  20. Wilson, Peter (16 April 2011). "Referendum puts Nick Clegg in the crosshairs". The Australian.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  21. Fawkes, Guido (8 March 2013). "Labour Expenses Piggy Tries To Run Again". Guido Fawkes Blog.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  22. Leach, Ben (17 May 2009). "Joan Ryan: expenses switch after £4,500 spend". The Telegraph.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  23. Couvee, Koos (5 June 2013). "Former MP Joan Ryan accused of trying to influence elections at Labour AGM". The Enfield Advertiser.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  24. Couvee, Koos (24 June 2013). "Joan Ryan wins Labour Backing". The Enfield Advertiser.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  25. Mason, Rowena (24 June 2013). "Labour reselect Joan Ryan, former MP criticised over expenses". The Daily Telegraph.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  26. Transcript from Hansard 4 June 2015, accessed 8 June 2015.

External links

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