Luke Pollard

Luke Pollard (born 10 April 1980) is a British Labour and Co-operative politician who has served as the Member of Parliament (MP) for Plymouth Sutton and Devonport since 2017. He was appointed as Shadow Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs in January 2020.

Luke Pollard

Official portrait, 2020
Shadow Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Assumed office
7 January 2020
LeaderJeremy Corbyn
Keir Starmer
Preceded bySue Hayman
Shadow Minister for Flooding & Coastal Communities
In office
30 July 2018  7 January 2020
LeaderJeremy Corbyn
Preceded byHolly Lynch
Succeeded byRuth Jones
Member of Parliament
for Plymouth Sutton & Devonport
Assumed office
8 June 2017
Preceded byOliver Colvile
Majority4,757 (9.0%)
Personal details
Born (1980-04-10) 10 April 1980 (age 41)
Plymouth, England
Political partyLabour and Co-operative
Alma materUniversity of Exeter

Early life and career

Pollard was born in Plymouth at Freedom Fields Hospital on 10 April 1980.[1] He grew up in Devon. His father was a submariner in the Royal Navy based at HMNB Devonport and his mother worked at the College of St Mark and St John.[2]

Pollard was educated at Tavistock College and Christleton High School before studying politics at the University of Exeter, graduating with first-class honours in 2001.[3] He specialised in the politics of the European Union and international terrorism.[1] He was elected as the campaigns officer for the students' union in 2000 and then as president of the students' union (called the Guild of Students at Exeter) in 2001.[4]

He worked as an advisor to the Labour politicians David Jamieson and George Foulkes before becoming account director at public relations and marketing firm Edelman.[3] After that he was the head of public affairs for the Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) from 2009 to 2013,[5] a role which included lobbying on aspects of the Consumer Rights Directive 2011 related to the travel industry,[6] then head of European development for ABTA until 2014.[7] He was a director at Field Consulting from 2015 until his election in 2017.[8] Before his election, Pollard was an organiser for the campaign to erect a memorial for Plymouth politician and former Labour leader Michael Foot in one of the city's parks.[1]

Political career

Pollard unsuccessfully contested the South West Devon constituency in 2010 and the Plymouth Sutton and Devonport constituency in 2015, before winning the latter seat in 2017 from the Conservative incumbent Oliver Colvile on a swing of 7.2%.[9][10][11] Pollard is the first Plymouth MP to have been born in the city since the Plymouth-born Michael Foot represented Plymouth Devonport from 1945 to 1955.[2] In his maiden parliamentary speech, Pollard called for more frigates to be built for the Royal Navy.[12] He campaigned to stop the sale of HMS Ocean to Brazil and for the retention of HMS Albion and HMS Bulwark both based in his Plymouth constituency. He also called for a new base for the Royal Marines after any move from their historic home at Stonehouse Barracks in Plymouth. Pollard sat on the Transport Select Committee until his appointment as a shadow minister.[13] He made a proposal to extend the M5 motorway to Plymouth. He presented his first private member's bill in June 2019, seeking funds to recycle the thirteen retired nuclear submarines which are stored in his Plymouth constituency.[14][15] The Nuclear Submarine Recycling (Reporting) Bill passed its first reading but did not proceed further.[16]

In July 2017, he was appointed as Parliamentary Private Secretary to Labour's shadow environment secretary, Sue Hayman. Hayman cited reasons for appointing him including his advocacy for Plymouth's fishing interests and his advocacy for Plymouth University academic Martin Attrill's proposal for Plymouth Sound to become the UK's first national marine park.[17] Pollard convinced his party to adopt the establishment of national marine parks as policy.[18] He was appointed as the Shadow Minister for Flooding and Coastal Communities on 30 July 2018, a part of the shadow environment team led by Hayman.[19]

Pollard led a campaign to prevent the early release of serial abuser Vanessa George who abused babies and toddlers at the Little Ted's nursery in Plymouth.[20][2] He supported proposed changes to the law to "require the Parole Board to take into account any failure by a prisoner serving a sentence for unlawful killing or for taking or making an indecent image of a child to disclose information about the victim", as had been the case for George.[21]

In November 2017, Pollard supported a campaign to erect a statue to mark the centenary of the election of his predecessor Nancy Astor, as the first woman to take her seat in the House of Commons.[22][23]

Pollard was re-elected in 2019, with the Conservative candidate coming second and the former Conservative MP and Brexit Party MEP Ann Widdecombe a distant third.[24][25] He was promoted to shadow environment secretary after Hayman lost her seat in 2019.[26][27] As shadow environment secretary, he argued for amendments to the 2020 Fisheries Bill to require fish from the UK's quota to land in UK ports and to give more quota access to smaller-scale fishers.[28] In the 2020 Labour Party leadership election and deputy leadership election, he nominated Keir Starmer and Rosena Allin-Khan and endorsed Starmer and Angela Rayner.[29][28] He was described by the i newspaper as a "rising star" who could be re-appointed as shadow environment secretary or made shadow transport secretary if Starmer became leader of the Labour Party.[30] Pollard remained in his post as shadow environment secretary's in Keir Starmer's Shadow Cabinet.[31]

Personal life

Pollard lives in Peverell, Plymouth with his partner.[2] Pollard is Plymouth's first openly gay Member of Parliament. He supports Plymouth Argyle Football Club and Plymouth Raiders Basketball Team.[1] He is a keen wild swimmer.[32] He is a member of the Unite and GMB trade unions.[33]

During the 2019 general election, Pollard's constituency office was vandalised on two occasions with red graffiti, depicting homophobic slurs.[34] They were later removed. In doing so he invited the perpetrators to engage in dialogue with him, to speak about why they did it.[35] He later received online homophobic abuse on Valentine's Day 2021, after posting a picture of himself and his boyfriend.[36]


  • Pollard, Luke (September 2018). "Sweating the Assets: A New Home with a New Ethos". In Frith, James (ed.). New Brooms: Ideas for reforming Westminster from Labour's 2017 intake (PDF). London: Fabian Society. pp. 41–46. ISBN 978-0-7163-0647-4.[37]


  1. O'Leary, Miles (12 December 2019). "Meet Labour's candidate for Plymouth, Sutton and Devonport". plymouthherald. Retrieved 27 February 2020.
  2. Smith, Colleen (21 July 2019). "Labour MP Luke Pollard on why he's proud to be a Janner". plymouthherald. Retrieved 27 February 2020.
  3. "Pollard, Luke". Who's Who. 2018 (February 2018 online ed.). A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc. Retrieved 14 February 2018. (subscription or UK public library membership required)
  4. "Luke Pollard : Candidates : Voter-Info". Voter-Info.
  5. "'Travel doesn't punch its weight': Interview with ABTA's Luke Pollard". Travel Weekly. 4 February 2010. Retrieved 7 April 2020.
  6. "ABTA Gains Two Victories for Travel Trade in Brussels". ABTA. 3 June 2011. Retrieved 7 April 2020.
  7. Farey-Jones, Daniel (28 August 2013). "ABTA head of public affairs Luke Pollard takes Brussels role". PR Week. Retrieved 7 April 2020.
  9. "Luke Pollard MP". UK Parliament.
  10. "Plymouth Sutton & Devonport". Election 2017. BBC News. Retrieved 9 June 2017.
  11. "Field 'thrilled' as Pollard enters the Commons – Public Affairs News".
  12. "Brexit and Foreign Affairs - House of Commons Hansard". 26 June 2017.
  13. O'Leary, Miles (14 June 2017). "A Plymouth MP is going to help shape the UK's transport policy". plymouthherald. Retrieved 15 September 2017.
  14. O'Leary, Miles (8 February 2018). "Why Plymouth may have to wait decades for a motorway".
  15. "MPs call for funding to recycle nuclear submarines". ITV News. Retrieved 30 August 2018.
  16. "Nuclear Submarine Recycling (Reporting) Bill 2017-19 — UK Parliament".
  17. Plymouth Sound National Marine Park - Creating The UK's First National Marine Park (PDF) (Report). Plymouth City Council. January 2019. Retrieved 27 February 2020.
  18. Rossiter, Keith (9 August 2018). "Plymouth MP Luke Pollard has a new job".
  19. "Karin Smyth and Luke Pollard get new Labour frontbench roles - LabourList". 30 July 2018.
  20. Eve, Carl (23 June 2019). "Plymouth MP says Vanessa George should not be released until she names all of her victims". plymouthherald. Retrieved 11 September 2019.
  21. Eve, Carl (11 February 2020). "Plymouth MP backs new law after Vanessa George's release". Plymouth Herald. Retrieved 27 February 2020.
  22. "We need more statues of women – starting with Nancy Astor". Politics Home.
  23. O'Leary, Miles (15 November 2017). "Campaign for Plymouth statue honouring 'the first lady of politics'". Plymouth Herald. Retrieved 11 September 2019.
  24. "Ann Widdecombe beaten in general election by gay remain MP". Metro. 13 December 2019. Retrieved 13 December 2019.
  25. O'Leary, Miles (13 December 2019). "Plymouth Sutton and Devonport results in full as Labour hold on". plymouthherald. Retrieved 13 December 2019.
  26. Rossiter, Keith (7 January 2020). "Plymouth MP Luke Pollard promoted to Shadow Environment Secretary". Plymouth Herald. Retrieved 27 February 2020.
  27. "PM renews push to get his Brexit deal through Parliament - live". Evening Standard. 7 January 2020. Retrieved 7 January 2020.
  28. (7 February 2020). "Luke Pollard MP: "Simply attaching the word Brexit means that the government can get away with things"". Retrieved 27 February 2020.
  29. Rossiter, Keith (14 January 2020). "Plymouth MP backing Keir Starmer to be next Labour leader". plymouthherald. Retrieved 27 February 2020.
  30. "The MPs who could end up in the Shadow Cabinet after the Labour leadership vote". 20 February 2020. Retrieved 27 February 2020.
  31. "Starmer unveils full shadow cabinet line-up". BBC News. 9 April 2020. Retrieved 24 May 2020.
  32. Smith, Colleen (21 July 2019). "Labour MP Luke Pollard on why he's proud to be a Janner". plymouthherald. Retrieved 11 September 2019.
  33. "Luke Pollard". Co-operative Party.
  34. Eve, Carl (27 February 2020). "Police release CCTV footage after graffiti sprayed on MP's office". plymouthherald. Retrieved 27 February 2020.
  35. "'Anti-gay' graffiti daubed on MP's office". BBC News. 27 October 2019. Retrieved 27 February 2020.
  36. "MP receives vile homophobic abuse after sharing Valentine's Day snap with boyfriend". 15 February 2021.
  37. "New Brooms: Ideas for reforming Westminster from Labour's 2017 intake". Fabian Society.