Frank Ernest Field, DL (born 16 July 1942) has been the Member of Parliament for Birkenhead since 1979. From 1997 to 1998, he served as the Minister of Welfare Reform.
Field has campaigned against poverty and low pay throughout his career. In June 2015 Field was elected Chair of the Work and Pensions Select Committee, and following the 2017 general election, he was re-elected unopposed.
Field unsuccessfully contested the constituency of South Buckinghamshire at the 1966 general election, where he was defeated by the sitting Conservative MP Ronald Bell. He was selected to contest the safe Labour seat of Birkenhead at the 1979 general election on the retirement of the sitting MP Edmund Dell. Field held the seat with a majority of 5,909 and has remained the constituency's MP since then.
In Parliament, Field was made a member of the Opposition frontbench by the then Labour leader Michael Foot as a spokesman on education in 1980, but was dropped a year later. Following the appointment of Neil Kinnock as the Labour leader in 1983, Field was appointed as a spokesman on health and social security for a year. He was appointed the chairman of the social services select committee in 1987, becoming the chairman of the new social security select committee in 1990, a position he held until the 1997 election.
Minister for Welfare Reform
Following the 1997 election, with Labour now in government, Field was named Minister for Welfare Reform, working in the Department of Social Security.
Field resigned his ministerial position in 1998 rather than accept a move away from the Department of Social Security offered by Blair in a reshuffle.
Return to the backbenches
After holding ministerial office, he became a member of the ecclesiastical and the public accounts parliamentary select committees.
In May 2009 Field announced his candidacy for the Speaker of the House of Commons but later withdrew his candidacy citing lack of support from within his own party. John Bercow was eventually elected as the new speaker.
In the 2010 general election Field retained his Birkenhead seat with an increased majority. In June 2010 he was appointed by David Cameron's coalition government to head an independent review into poverty, which proposed adopting a new measure centred around life-chance indicators and increasing funding for early years education. In an interview in September 2012, Field considered the government to have ignored his report, saying "nothing had been done about it" and that it was "very disappointing".
In October 2013, along with Laura Sandys, Field established the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Hunger and Food Poverty, which he went on to chair. He also chaired a parliamentary inquiry into hunger commissioned by the APPG which reported in December 2014. Field became the chair of trustees of Feeding Britain, a charitable organisation set up in October 2015 to implement the recommendations made by the APPG.
Following the 2015 general election, it was announced in June 2015 that he had been elected to the chairmanship of the Work and Pensions Select Committee. He was re-elected unopposed to the role following the 2017 general election.
Field nominated Jeremy Corbyn as a candidate in the Labour leadership election of 2015, stating that while he did not think Corbyn could win a general election, he hoped his candidacy would force the party to confront its 'deficit denial'.
In December 2017, during a debate on Universal Credit, Field described the impact that Universal Credit changes had had on his constituents. His observations moved Work and Pensions Select Committee member Heidi Allen to tears. Field spoke of how he had talked a man out of suicide and how one claimant felt “lucky” his family was invited to eat food leftover from a funeral