Liz Kendall

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Person.png Liz Kendall   Powerbase Sourcewatch Twitter WebsiteRdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
(Member of Parliament for Leicester West)
Liz Kendall.jpg
BornElizabeth Louise Kendall
11 June 1971
Abbots Langley, United Kingdom
Alma materQueens' College, Cambridge
Member ofLabour Friends of Israel
Blairite Labour party leadership contender

Employment.png Shadow Minister for Care and Older People

In office
7 October 2011 - 12 September 2015

Employment.png Member of Parliament for Leicester West

In office
6 May 2010 - Present

Elizabeth Louise "Liz" Kendall [1] is a British Labour Party politician who has been the Member of Parliament (MP) for Leicester West since 2010. She was appointed Shadow Minister for Care and Older People in 2011 and invited to attend meetings of Ed Miliband's Shadow Cabinet.[2]

On 10 May 2015, Liz Kendall announced she would stand in the Labour party leadership election, initiated following the resignation of Ed Miliband.[3] The three other leadership contenders are Andy Burnham, Yvette Cooper and Jeremy Corbyn.

On 19 July 2015, Liz Kendall explained to BBC Sunday Politics viewers why they should vote for her to be the Labour party leader.[4]

On 12 August 2015, Liz Kendall invited her supporters to a picnic and Q & A session in Dulwich Park, South London.[5]

Early life and career

Liz Kendall was born and brought up in the village of Abbots Langley in Hertfordshire near Watford. Her father left school at 16 and worked his way up to become a senior Bank of England official, and her mother was a primary school teacher. Her father was also a local Liberal Councillor and her parents got her involved in local campaigns as a child but both her parents are now active supporters of the Labour Party. She attended Watford Grammar School for Girls where she was Head Girl and a contemporary of Conservative cabinet minister Priti Patel and Geri Halliwell. She then read History at Queens' College, Cambridge, where she captained the ladies' football team, and graduated with First Class Honours in 1993.[6]

Kendall joined the Labour Party in 1992, and on leaving university went to work for the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) where she became an associate director for health, social care and children’s early years. In 1996, she worked as a political adviser for Harriet Harman, and became her special adviser in the Department for Social Security after the 1997 election. In 1998, when Harman was sacked from the Government, Kendall left the Government and was awarded a fellowship of the King's Fund, a health charity, and wrote a series of research papers for the IPPR and also became the Director of the Maternity Alliance, the charity for expectant mothers. She was unsuccessful in an attempt to be selected as the Labour parliamentary candidate in Tony Benn's seat Chesterfield for the 2001 general election.[7]

In 2001, she returned to Government to work for Patricia Hewitt, at the Department for Trade and Industry, and then followed her to the Department for Health where she was involved in bringing in the smoking ban in 2006. After Hewitt left government, Kendall became the Director of the Ambulance Services Network, where she remained until 2010 before she became an MP.[8][9]

Parliamentary career

In 2010 Liz Kendall was elected as MP for Leicester West with a majority of 4,017 despite a 7.6% swing away from Labour.[10] She made her maiden speech in a debate on tackling poverty in the UK on 10 June 2010.[11] She was briefly a member of the Education Select Committee between July 2010 and October 2010. She supported David Miliband for the leadership of the Labour Party in 2010.

In Ed Miliband's first reshuffle in October 2010, she joined the Opposition frontbench as Shadow Junior Health Minister where she served under John Healey. In 2011, she contributed along with other Labour MPs and former Labour ministers to The Purple Book, in which she wrote a chapter on the early years and health and social care where she proposed a 'Teach Early Years First' scheme. Later that year, she was appointed to the new role of Shadow Minister for Care and Older People and became an attending member of the shadow cabinet. In the 2015 general election she increased her majority, achieving a 4.8% swing from Conservative to Labour against a national swing of 0.3% in the same direction.

On 10 May 2015, Kendall was the first candidate to announce her intention to succeed Ed Miliband for the leadership of the Labour Party following the party's defeat in the general election a few days earlier.[12][13] In June 2015, she secured the 35 nominations needed to be guaranteed a place on the leadership ballot.

Labour Party leadership

On 10 May 2015, Kendall announced that she was standing as a successor to Ed Miliband for the leadership of the Labour Party following the party's defeat in the general election of that year. Kendall is regarded as the Blairite candidate[14] although she prefers to be called a 'modernising candidate'.[15] Her leadership bid is said to be supported by shadow cabinet colleagues Ivan Lewis, Chuka Umunna, Tristram Hunt, Emma Reynolds and Jon Cruddas. Senior Labour figures supporting her include Alan Milburn, John Hutton, John Reid and Ann Taylor.

On 19 May 2015, Chesterfield MP Toby Perkins was appointed as her leadership election campaign manager. Other members of her campaign team include Hopi Sen, Margaret McDonagh and Tony Blair's former press spokesman Matthew Doyle.[16]

In June 2015, Kendall's leadership bid received praise from The Sun, who said that she is the "only prayer they [the Labour Party] have". The Sun also praised her for saying 'the country comes first' in response to Andy Burnham who said 'the Labour Party always comes first' in the Newsnight Labour leadership hustings.[17] Commentators from across the political spectrum have said that Kendall is the leadership candidate that the Conservative Party "fear the most".[18][19][20]


Economic and fiscal policy

Liz Kendall has argued that Labour should be 'genuinely as passionate about wealth creation as we are about wealth redistribution' and that her party should not just 'understand' business but be 'the champion of people who take a risk, create something and make a success of it'. Kendall has also said that there is 'nothing progressive about racking up debts for the next generation' and it is wrong to spend more on debt interest repayments than on education. Kendall has given support to George Osborne's plan to enshrine in law an overall budget surplus during 'normal times' but has called for more detail on the proposals. Kendall has also said that the last Labour government was wrong to run a deficit before the financial crash but that it did not cause the crash.

Kendall has also committed herself to the living wage and said the Low Pay Commission's remit should be extended to encourage more firms to pay it and has said she'd end the exploitation of care workers by preventing firms from ducking the cost of uniform and travel time from their wages. She has also come out in support of worker representation on company boards as part of her plans for economic reform. After the Budget, Kendall commissioned her supporter Margaret Hodge to do a review into the £100 billion tax reliefs that firms are entitled to and said that although some tax reliefs are needed for foreign investment, she would scrap unnecessary reliefs in order to end the public sector pay freeze.

Defence and foreign policy

Liz Kendall is a strong pro-European and has spoken in favour of reforming the European Union. She supports an early in/out referendum on Britain's membership of the EU. Kendall has also said that she wants the Labour Party to play a leading role in a cross-party Yes to Europe campaign. Kendall also backed the NATO target to spend at least 2% of GDP on defence. She is in favour of renewing Britain's Trident submarine based continuous at-sea nuclear deterrent.[21]


Liz Kendall has spoken about education as a way of tackling inequality. She has spoken in support of expanding the academies programme and keeping the free schools initiative saying that focus should be on the quality of education rather than structures and that investment in the early years should be a priority over cutting university tuition fees.[22] Kendall also said that more effort was needed in the education system to raise aspiration for the 'white working class young' (the social group that underperforms the most in the education system).[23] Kendall has also said that as Prime Minister, she would order a review of National Lottery Funding in order to free up funds for early years services.[24]


Liz Kendall has advocated increased patient choice in the NHS,[25] arguing "there will remain a role for the private and voluntary sectors where they can add extra capacity to the NHS or challenges to the system" and with healthcare providers "what matters is what works". She also has spoken in support of integration of health and social care budgets into a single system and increased use of personal budgets so that patients have more control over their own health.


Liz Kendall was the first leadership candidate to support the £23,000 benefit cap although she has raised concerns about the effects in some urban areas but has also said that the welfare system has failed too many people including people who can work but are not in work and those who can't work. She also gave some support to the idea of a more contributory system for welfare.


Liz Kendall has said that the Labour Party should defend immigration and that the way to solve immigration in many communities is to "bring people together" in order to increase integration and community cohesion. However, Kendall has given some support to David Cameron's proposal that the right of EU migrants to claim tax credits and benefits should be withdrawn, or delayed for a number of years.[26] She has spoken in favour of the current points-based immigration system and backed tough rules on abuse of the immigration system but has pledged not to try and 'out-UKIP UKIP' and spoke of the benefits of immigration in her own constituency.[27] She also criticised the much derided 'controls on immigration' mugs, saying that she wanted to "smash them to the ground".


Liz Kendall has spoken in favour of 'radical devolution' to England in order to deal with the 'West Lothian Question' and appointed Tristram Hunt with to look at what powers ought to be devolved to England. In July, Kendall came out in favour of 'English Votes for English Laws' (EVEL), unlike her three rivals for the leadership, a position that is popular with the public.[28] [29] Kendall has also said that Labour must oppose the 'tyranny of the bureaucratic state' but must also share power at every level so that powers are devolved to communities and individuals too.[30]

Trade unions

Liz Kendall has come out in support of Labour's links with the trade union movement but has said that both the trade unions and the Labour Party have to change. Kendall has said that if she becomes Prime Minister, she would reverse the Conservatives' changes to trade union and employment rights.[31] Kendall has also criticised Len McCluskey for threatening to withdraw funding from the Labour Party if his choice of candidate is not elected.[32]

Social issues

Liz Kendall is a strong supporter of LGBT rights and voted for gay marriage in 2013. Kendall has said that under her leadership, the Labour Party would work with other centre-left parties to end the criminalisation of homosexuality across the world and spoken in favour of Michael Cashman becoming the UK's special envoy on LGBT issues.[33] According to commentators, this has become a contentious issue in the leadership election as her main rival, Andy Burnham, has "questions to answer on his record."[34][35]

Kendall is also pro-choice and opposed an amendment tabled by Fiona Bruce on sex-selective abortions because the amendment would have put the phrase 'the unborn child' into abortion law.

Personal life

Liz Kendall was previously in a relationship with actor and comedian Greg Davies. They separated a few months before the 2015 general election.[36][37]


  4. "Liz Kendall: Vote for me because..."
  5. "I Went to a Labour Party Picnic in South London to Try to Find Liz Kendall Supporters"
  8. "Biography page" Liz Kendall's website
  16. "Toby Perkins campaigns for Kendall"
  17. "Newsnight Labour leadership hustings"
  24. "Liz Kendall to order national lottery funding review"
  27. "Liz Kendall on immigration"
  28. "EVEL"
  29. "Radical Devolution"
  30. "People power devolution"
  31. "Trade union rights"
  32. "Kendall attacks Red Len"
  33. "Kendall on gay rights"
  34. "Andy Burnham has questions to answer"
  35. "Andy Burnham supports gay marriage"

External links

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