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Politician & Activist

Lisa Nandy

Lisa Eva Nandy is a British politician who has served as the Shadow Foreign Secretary since 2020, and as the Member of Parliament for Wigan since 2010.

She was Parliamentary Private Secretary to Tessa Jowell from 2010 to 2012 and Shadow Charities Minister from 2012 to 2015.

She served as Shadow Energy Secretary from 2015, until she resigned in 2016 to co-chair Owen Smith’s leadership challenge to Jeremy Corbyn.

Nandy stood as a candidate in the 2020 Labour Party leadership election coming in third place with 16.3% of the vote, behind Keir Starmer and Rebecca Long-Bailey. Starmer subsequently appointed Nandy as Shadow Foreign Secretary on 5 April 2020.

  • Full name: Lisa Eva Nandy
  • Profession: British politician
  • Born: 9 August 1979 (age 40 years), Manchester
  • Nationality: British
  • Partner: Andy Collis
  • Party: Labour Party
  • Education: Birkbeck, University of London, University of London, Newcastle University, Holy Cross College & University Centre
  • Parents: Dipak Nandy, Luise Nandy
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About Lisa Nandy

Lisa Eva Nandy was born on 9 August 1979 in Manchester, England. She is the daughter of Louise (née Byers) and Dipak Nandy, an academic and Marxist from India.

Her maternal grandfather Frank Byers was a Liberal MP who held many offices in the Liberal Party, later being created a life peer. Nandy grew up in both Manchester and Bury, where her family subsequently settled.

She was educated at Parrs Wood High School, a mixed comprehensive school in East Didsbury in Manchester, followed by Holy Cross College in Bury.

She studied politics at Newcastle University, graduating in 2001, and obtained a master’s degree in public policy from Birkbeck, University of London.

She worked as a researcher and caseworker for the Walthamstow Labour MP Neil Gerrard. After that, Nandy worked as a researcher at the homelessness charity Centrepoint from 2003 to 2005, and then as senior policy adviser at The Children’s Society from 2005 until her election in 2010, where she specialised in issues facing young refugees, also acting as adviser to the Children’s Commissioner for England and to the Independent Asylum Commission.

She served as a Labour councillor for the Hammersmith Broadway ward on Hammersmith and Fulham London Borough Council from 2006 to 2010. As a councillor, she served as shadow cabinet member for housing.

Career

Nandy was selected as the Labour parliamentary candidate for Wigan constituency in February 2010 from an all-women shortlist.

Elected to parliament on 7 May 2010, she became the constituency’s first female MP and one of the first Asian female MPs.

She was appointed to the Education Select Committee in July 2010 and was appointed Parliamentary Private Secretary to Tessa Jowell, the Shadow Olympics Minister, in October 2010.

In 2012, she was made shadow children’s minister. In October 2013, she was appointed shadow charities minister.

Following Labour’s general election defeat in May 2015 and Ed Miliband’s subsequent resignation as party leader, there was some speculation in the media that Nandy would stand in the leadership election.

Nandy declined and endorsed Andy Burnham. In August 2015, Owen Jones said that he encouraged Nandy to run for the leadership, but the recent birth of her son prevented it.

Nandy was also mentioned in the Guardian and the Telegraph as someone from the left wing of the party who could replace Jeremy Corbyn as leader before the 2017 general election, and after the 2019 general election in the 2020 Labour Party leadership election.

In September 2015, it was announced that Nandy had been appointed to serve as Shadow Energy Secretary in the Shadow Cabinet.

Along with many colleagues, she resigned from her post in June 2016. In the wake of the these resignations, Nandy was approached by Labour MPs who wanted her to stand against Jeremy Corbyn in a leadership election.

MPs felt that Nandy and eventual candidate Owen Smith were soft Left politicians who could win the leadership. Nandy declined to stand and instead served as co-chair of Smith’s campaign team.

After the election resulted in Corbyn’s re-election, Nandy announced that she did not intend to return to the frontbench without the re-introduction of Shadow Cabinet elections, which had been abolished by Ed Miliband in 2011 (the last election being held in 2010).

She also spoke of the abuse she had received for not supporting Corbyn, which she described as leaving her “genuinely frightened”. She compared her treatment to that which she had received at the hands of the far-right when she first campaigned to become MP for Wigan in 2010.

In 2018, Nandy set up the Centre for Towns, with data analytics expert Ian Warren. The Centre for Towns bills itself as an “independent non-partisan organisation dedicated to providing research and analysis of our towns”.

At the end of 2018 Nandy became the chair of Labour Friends of Palestine and the Middle East.

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In January 2020, Nandy wrote a letter to the Wigan Post outlining her intention to stand to succeed Jeremy Corbyn as leader of the Labour Party in the 2020 leadership election, saying that she wanted to “bring Labour home” to its traditional strongholds.

On 16 January 2020, during the Labour leadership election, Nandy was criticised for claiming that the UK should “look to Catalonia” for lessons on how to defeat Scottish nationalism.

During the 2017 Catalan independence referendum, Spanish police used violence against voters, ballot boxes were seized by the authorities and Catalan political leaders were jailed for holding the referendum.

On 21 January 2020, Lisa Nandy was endorsed by the GMB union, which praised her “ambition, optimism, and decisive leadership”.

In February, she won the endorsement of the Jewish Labour Movement, receiving the backing of 51% of JLM members.

Nandy came third in the contest, receiving 79,597 votes (16.2% of the vote share).

On 5 April 2020, Nandy was appointed Shadow Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs in the new Shadow Cabinet led by Keir Starmer.