Debbie Abrahams: The Labour MP embroiled in a row with the party

Debbie Abrahams: The Labour MP embroiled in a row with the party

Debbie Abrahams has been an MP since 2011

Monday, March 12, 2018

Debbie Abrahams is no longer the shadow work and pensions secretary, but it seems no one's quite sure how it happened.

Yesterday (March 11) Labour claimed Abrahams had stepped down from her position as the shadow work and pensions secretary because an investigation was taking place into an "employment issue." However she has claimed she never agreed to “stand aside.”  

It is not clear what the allegations against Abrahams actually are, although it has been suggested that they centre on bullying - despite the fact that Abrahams herself has claimed to be a victim of a "bullying culture of the worst kind."

Abrahams has denied the allegations "in the strongest possible terms" but has also said "I have had no details about the complaint, who it is from, the process or timescales."

The former health industry worker, who has a biochemisty and physiology degree, first stood for election in 2010 and then emerged victorious in the Oldham East and Saddleworth by-election a year later. Upon winning the election, she said she wanted to fight against cuts to public spending, tuition fee increases and cutting the education maintenance allowance.

In the same year she joined the work and pensions committee, and in June 2016 she took the shadow work and pensions brief.

Abrahams previously served on the board of Bury and Rochdale Health Authority, before becoming the chair of the Rochdale Primary Care Trust. She left the NHS in 2006 to work as a public health expert at Liverpool University - which often provides insight to the World Health Organisation.

The 57-year-old is also married to John Abrahams, who coaches the England under-19s cricket team and is a former Lancashire cricket captain. The couple have two adult daughters.

As with most MPs this isn't the first time she's faced controversy. Two years ago she was criticised for speaking out against the opening of new selection schools, having put both of her daughters through private education. Both attended the Bury Grammar School for Girls which can cost more than £10,000 per year.

Last year she also claimed Labour would remove the cap on welfare benefits for households, however during an interview she could not answer questions about how much this would cost, despite claiming it wouldn't be “astronomical." This added to a whole host of Labour policies which had been suggested but seemingly not costed, even though the party claimed it had worked this out.