Andrew John Gwynne MP (born 4 June 1974) has been the Member of Parliament (MP) for Denton and Reddish since 2005, replacing the retiring Andrew Bennett. He was re-elected in 2015 with a majority of 10,511. He was again re-elected in 2017 with an increased majority of 14,077, representing a 12.7% increase since the 2015 general election (63.5% share of the vote).
He was appointed to the Shadow Cabinet as Shadow Minister without Portfolio by Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn in October 2016 and then became Campaigns and Elections Chair in February 2017 before being appointed as the new Shadow Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government in June following that year's general election. He is a member of the Unite Trade Union, the Co-operative Party and the Christian Socialist Movement.
Early political career
At the age of 21, he became England's youngest councillor, when on 2 May 1996 he was elected on to Tameside Metropolitan Borough Council, representing the Denton West Ward for the Labour Party. He was re-elected in 2000 and 2004, when he topped the poll in an "all out" election resulting from boundary changes in the borough. From 1998 to 2001, he chaired the Denton and Audenshaw District Assembly and during 2003–4 he chaired the Resources and Community Services Scrutiny Panel.
Government and frontbench posts
On 5 May 2005, at the age of 30, Gwynne became the youngest Labour MP in the 2005 Parliament. He was appointed to the House of Commons Procedure Committee in June 2005 and, despite having only been elected six months earlier, on 10 November 2005, Gwynne was promoted to become a Parliamentary Private Secretary (PPS) to Patricia Scotland, as Minister of State for Criminal Justice and Offender Management at the Home Office. Between July 2007 and June 2009, he served as the Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Home Secretary, the Rt Hon Jacqui Smith MP. During this period he was also elected chair of Labour Friends of Israel, and led delegations of British MPs to Israel and the Palestinian territories. In June 2009, he became Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families, Ed Balls.
In October 2010, Gwynne became a Shadow Transport Minister, with responsibility for passenger transport. In the Opposition front bench reshuffle of October 2011, he was appointed to the Shadow Health team by Edward Miliband, and was reappointed in September 2015, following the election of Jeremy Corbyn as party leader.
Gwynne is involved in the campaign for justice for the victims and families of the Tainted Blood Scandal, reaffirming his commitment to the cause on World AIDS Day 2016. He said in 2016: "This scandal saw thousands of people die, and thousands of families destroyed through the negligence of public bodies".
Gwynne took a lead role in organising Labour in the 2015 Oldham West and Royton by-election which was seen as an attempt by the Conservative Party to reinvent themselves as the party of working people, and of reaching out into the parts of the north of England which had not been fertile political territory for them in recent decades Gwynne said he hoped "I can do the memory of Michael Meacher proud by helping to return a Labour MP for the seat". Labour's Jim McMahon comfortably held the seat with a 10,000-plus majority and increased his share of the vote.
Debt Relief (Developing Countries) Act
In 2010, Gwynne introduced the Debt Relief (Developing Countries) Act to restrict the activities of vulture funds. Vulture funds buy the debts of poor countries, usually at a significant discount, and wait until the government has received relief from foreign creditors. As debtor countries have usually long defaulted on the loans, the vultures sue for the full debt – plus costs and interest – in courts around the world. This world-leading legislation prevents vulture funds making exorbitant profits out of debt restructuring of heavily indebted poor countries, limiting how much vulture funds can sue for in UK courts to the amount they would have got if they had taken part in debt relief. The UK government estimates the Act will save £145 million over six years.
News of the bill's success was warmly welcomed by charity and religious groups. "This bill clips the wings of the vultures who prey on vulnerable nations and who drive them deeper into debt and poverty", said Richard Vautrey, vice-president of the Methodist Conference.
In 2016, Gwynne was invited to give a keynote speech on the ways to tackle vulture funds and the damage they cause to developing nations at the 135th Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) in Geneva.
Appointment to Shadow Cabinet
Gwynne was appointed to the Shadow Cabinet in October 2016, working in the opposition Cabinet Office team and becoming the spokesperson for the Shadow Cabinet in media appearances. In November 2016, he took a key role in helping to reform the proposed constituency boundaries as part of Parliamentary Constituencies (Amendment) Bill drawn up by MP Pat Glass, and presented the Disability Equality Training (Taxi and Private Hire Vehicle Drivers) Bill which sought to provide support to disabled users of Taxi services. The latter Bill aimed to ensure that all taxi and minicab drivers understand their duties under the Equality Act 2010 and aimed to improve the experience of getting a taxi for many people living with a disability. The bill received cross party support but due a filibuster by Conservative MP's Sheryll Murray and Tom Pursglove it was not able to be voted on. In response to this, protests were organised at Murray's constituency.
In 2017, Gwynne was appointed to lead Labour's campaign for the Copeland by-election following the resignation of Jamie Reed. Gwynne focussed the campaign on the Conservatives plans to cut services at West Cumberland Hospital, and moving some hospital facilities including maternity servicies 80-miles away to Carlisle. In January 2017, it was announced that the by-election would take place on 23 February to correspond with the by-election in Stoke following the resignation of Tristram Hun].
In February 2017, Gwynne was promoted to Elections and Campaign Chair whilst retaining some of his Cabinet Office duties and spokesperson role. He shares this new post with colleague Ian Lavery.
Following the 2017 general election Gwynne retained his Elections and Campaign Chair role but was promoted to the role of Shadow Communities and Local Government Secretary.