Ian Lavery (born 6 January 1963) has been the Member of Parliament (MP) for Wansbeck since the 2010 general election. Born and raised in Ashington, Lavery began work in the construction industry after leaving school before becoming a mining apprentice. Noted for being the sole apprentice to refuse to work during the miners' strike of 1984-1985, he gradually rose up the ranks of the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) and was chosen to succeed Arthur Scargill as NUM President in 2002.
Once elected to parliament in 2010, Lavery quickly established himself as a leading voice on the Left of the Labour Party. He served for a time as Parliamentary Private Secretary (PPS) to Deputy Leader Harriet Harman before resigning in protest of the party's position to raise the pension age. Lavery supported the candidacy of Jeremy Corbyn in both the 2015 and 2016 leadership elections, and was appointed by Corbyn to replace Tom Watson as Party Chair.
Miners' strike 1984–85 and Presidency of the NUM
During the 1984–85 miners' strike Lavery was the only apprentice in the North East area who refused to go to work.
In 1986, Lavery was elected onto the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) committee at Ellington Colliery as Compensation Secretary. Later, he was voted on to the Northumberland Executive Committee, and then on to the North East Area Executive Committee. He has said that because of his union activity, he was barred by management from completing his HND qualification:
Lavery became more active in the Labour Party and Trade Union movement. He rose through the ranks to become the first cabinet Chairman of the Wansbeck District Council. Following this appointment, Lavery would then be appointed General Secretary of the Northumberland area through the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM). In 1992, Lavery stood for the National Executive Committee of the NUM. In the subsequent ballot, he was elected in the first round having gained more than 50% of the vote. When Arthur Scargill stepped down as NUM President in August 2002, Lavery was elected through the normal balloting procedures, although he stood unopposed. He was perceived by many in the NUM as "the natural successor to Arthur Scargill".
Member of Parliament
In February 2010 Lavery became the prospective parliamentary candidate for the Labour Party for Wansbeck and was duly elected Member of Parliament (MP) on 6 May 2010 with a reduced majority of 7,031.
On 8 May 2015, Lavery was re-elected as the Member of Parliament for Wansbeck with 19,276 votes. Despite his party suffering nationally, Lavery's majority increased to 10,881 (28.2%) from 7,031 in 2010. Chris Galley of the Conservative Party came a distant second with 8,336 votes.
Lavery has spoken in the commons on matters such as local regeneration, employment, energy, climate change, poverty, internationalism and sport. Lavery also chairs the trade union group.
Lavery attempted to bring forward a Ten Minute Rule bill on the Government's introduction of the Bedroom Tax. The Bill passed its first reading with a vote of 226 to 1, with Conservative Party whips reportedly instructing their MPs not to vote. The bill failed to pass in its second reading, with a vote of 253 in favour, and 304 against.
From 2010–11 Lavery was part of the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee, and since 2010 has been a member of the Regulatory Reform Committee. Lavery was also a member of Draft Deregulation Bill Committee during 2013, and a member of the Energy and Climate Change Committee since 2010.
In 2011 during Prime Minister's Question Time Lavery asked Cameron whether he intended to sack health policy advisor Mark Britnell. Britnell, then head of health at KPMG and previously an advisor to Labour on private healthcare had predicted a ‘big opportunity’ for private companies with the NHS being eventually relegated to the role of an insurance provider. Cameron affected surprise claiming to have only recently heard of Britnell.
He was appointed as Parliamentary Private Secretary (PPS) to Labour’s deputy leader Harriet Harman, but was forced to resign in 2012 after going against the party whip to increase the pension age.
He was one of 16 signatories of an open letter to Edward Miliband in January 2015 calling on the party to commit to oppose further austerity, take rail franchises back into public ownership and strengthen collective bargaining arrangements.
Lavery has urged people to donate to food banks especially during school holidays when children from poor families are not receiving free school meals.
In September 2015, Lavery became shadow minister for trade unions and civil society after Jeremy Corbyn became leader of the Labour Party..