Alison McGovern

Alison McGovern (born 30 December 1980) is a British Labour politician who has been the Member of Parliament for Wirral South since 2010.

Alison McGovern

McGovern in 2019
Shadow Minister for Sport
Assumed office
9 April 2020
LeaderKeir Starmer
Preceded byCatherine West
Chair of the Advisory Committee on Works of Art
In office
17 July 2016  9 April 2020
Preceded byCaroline Nokes
Succeeded byHywel Williams
Shadow Financial Secretary to the Treasury
In office
8 May 2015  18 September 2015
LeaderHarriet Harman (Acting)
Preceded byShabana Mahmood
Succeeded byRob Marris
Member of Parliament
for Wirral South
Assumed office
6 May 2010
Preceded byBen Chapman
Majority6,105 (14.0%)
Southwark Borough Councillor
for Brunswick Park ward
In office
4 May 2006  6 May 2010
Preceded byLilian Naish
Succeeded byJohn Friary
Personal details
Born (1980-12-30) 30 December 1980 (age 40)
Clatterbridge, Merseyside, England
Political partyLabour
Ashwin Kumar
(m. 2008)
Alma materUniversity College London
WebsiteOfficial website

Early life

The granddaughter of songwriter and activist Peter McGovern,[1] she was born in Clatterbridge, Merseyside,[1] the daughter of a British Railways telecoms engineer father and a mother who was a nurse.

She was educated at Brookhurst Primary School, and then Wirral Grammar School for Girls, where she was the Head Girl from 1998 to 1999. She then studied Philosophy at University College London.[2]

On graduation, she worked as a researcher at the House of Commons, before handling communications for development projects at Network Rail,[2] then working for the Art Fund and Creativity, Culture and Education.[3]

Political life

McGovern was first elected as a councillor for Brunswick Park in the London Borough of Southwark in 2006, later becoming the Deputy Leader of the borough council's 29-member group of Labour councillors.[citation needed]

Parliamentary career

McGovern was selected as the Labour Party candidate for Wirral South in December 2009, following Ben Chapman's decision to stand down at the next election for family reasons following adverse publicity in The Daily Telegraph over the expenses scandal, and subsequently won the seat in the 2010 general election, defeating the Conservative candidate, Jeff Clarke, by 531 votes.

McGovern after a Radio 4's Any Questions? programme in 2016

McGovern made her maiden speech in the House of Commons on 3 June 2010 in a debate on European Affairs.[4] She became former Prime Minister Gordon Brown's parliamentary private secretary in July 2010.[5] On 14 September 2010, she held her first adjournment debate regarding employment prospects for young people in Wirral. In November 2010. she was selected by the PLP to become a member of the International Development Select Committee.[6]

In December 2010, she introduced a private member's bill before Parliament that would amend the Public Libraries and Museums Act 1964 to broaden the scope of the general duty of library authorities so as to include a duty to provide related cultural facilities alongside the library service. In March 2011, she visited India as part of an International Development Select Committee delegation.[7]

In the 2013 Labour reshuffle, she was added to the Shadow International Development team.[8] In 2014, she was moved to the shadow Children and Families portfolio.[9]

In May 2015, McGovern was appointed as shadow city minister in Labour's treasury team,[10] but did not stay on the opposition frontbench after Jeremy Corbyn was elected Labour leader in September 2015.[11] In October 2015, McGovern was appointed as Chair of Progress, a political organisation associated with the development of New Labour.[2]

In January 2016, McGovern resigned from Labour's policy review on child poverty and combating inequality, as a protest against Progress being described by shadow Chancellor John McDonnell as having "a hard right agenda". She commented that she had been "backed into a corner". A Labour Party spokesperson stated "She is resigning from something that doesn't exist", as the initiative had not been confirmed or launched yet.[12]

She supported Owen Smith in the failed attempt to replace Jeremy Corbyn in the 2016 Labour Party (UK) leadership election.[13]

In September 2016 McGovern was elected co-chair of the all-party parliamentary group Friends of Syria.[14]

Personal life

In 2008 McGovern married economist Ashwin Kumar, formerly a senior civil servant in the Department for Work and Pensions and Passenger Director at Passenger Focus.[1][15] The couple have a daughter, born in 2011.[16]


  1. Murphy, Liam (7 May 2013). "Wirral South MP Alison McGovern to have a baby". Liverpool Echo. Retrieved 17 September 2016.
  2. Gimson, Sally (30 October 2015). "No one can sit on their laurels". Progress Online. Archived from the original on 22 December 2015. Retrieved 30 October 2015.
  3. "Alison McGovern". Retrieved 17 September 2016.
  4. Alison McGovern, MP for Wirral South (3 June 2010). "European Affairs". Parliamentary Debates (Hansard). United Kingdom: House of Commons. col. 635–638.
  5. Collins, Ray (27 July 2010). "Gordon Brown announces PPS". Archived from the original on 29 July 2010. Retrieved 27 July 2010.
  6. "Weekly Information Bulletin: Session 2010–12: Select Committees". Parliamentary Debates (Hansard). United Kingdom: House of Commons. 6 November 2010.
  7. "Annex: Committee's Visit Programme in India". The Future of DFID's Programme in India: Eighth Report of Session 2010–12, Volume I. House of Commons Library for the International Development Committee. 7 June 2011. Pdf.
  8. Staff writer (8 October 2013). "Confirmed: Labour's new frontbench team in full". LabourList. Retrieved 8 October 2013.
  9. Ferguson, Mark (5 November 2014). "Powell joins Shadow Cabinet – and gets major campaign role – as Miliband shuffles front bench". LabourList. Retrieved 5 November 2014.
  10. Liam Murphy (20 May 2015). "Promotion for Wirral South MP Alison McGovern". Liverpool Echo. Retrieved 30 October 2015.
  11. Waugh, Paul (14 September 2015). "Jeremy Corbyn Signals Shift in Labour Policy on Wiping The UK Deficit, Party Source Claims". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 30 October 2015.
  12. Price, Ellie (10 January 2016). "Labour MP quits party review group over leadership disagreement". BBC News. Retrieved 17 September 2016.
  13. "Full list of MPs and MEPs backing challenger Owen Smith". LabourList. 21 July 2016. Retrieved 15 July 2019.
  14. Alison McGovern (20 September 2016). "How do I sleep, thinking about Syria? Not well. We can and must do more". The Guardian. Retrieved 22 September 2016.
  15. "Our team: Ashwin Kumar". Tooley Street Research. Archived from the original on 13 October 2014. Retrieved 10 January 2016.
  16. Staff writer (10 December 2011). "Baby girl for Wirral MP". Liverpool Echo. Archived from the original on 8 October 2016. Retrieved 10 January 2016.