Rebecca Roseanne Long-Bailey (née Long; born 22 September 1979), is a British Labour Party politician and former solicitor serving as Member of Parliament (MP) for Salford and Eccles since the 2015 general election. She has served as Shadow Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy in Jeremy Corbyn's Shadow Cabinet since 2017.
Born in Old Trafford, Greater Manchester, Long-Bailey studied Politics and Sociology at Manchester Metropolitan University. She was Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury, deputising for Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell from 2016 to 2017. She is a candidate for Leader of the Labour Party in the 2020 leadership election.
Early life and career
Rebecca Roseanne Long was born on 22 September 1979 in Old Trafford, Greater Manchester, to Irish parents. Her father, Jimmy Long, was a Salford docker and a trade union representative at Shell, Barton Docks. She attended Chester Catholic High School.
She began her working life serving customers in a pawn shop, something she says "taught [her] more about the struggles of life than any degree or qualification ever could". She also worked in various call centres, a furniture factory, and in postal delivery before eventually studying to become a solicitor.
She studied Politics and Sociology at Manchester Metropolitan University, then completed "various part-time law conversion and solicitors' courses." She has worked for the law firm Pinsent Masons and in 2003, she began working in landlord and tenant law for the law firm Halliwells; she was admitted as a solicitor on 1 November 2007 and moved that year to work for Hill Dickinson, specialising in commercial law, commercial property, NHS contracts and NHS estates. On selection as a Labour Party candidate in 2014 she wrote that she had "been working as a solicitor with the NHS in Manchester for 10 years". The Sunday Times said that she was incorrect as she was only a solicitor since 2007, though she was a trainee solicitor and paralegal from 2003 to 2007.
Long-Bailey joined the Labour Party in 2010. A spokesperson reported that she was moved to attend a Labour Party meeting after seeing "dramatic plans to dismantle" the NHS in her solicitor work.
When Hazel Blears stood down as the Member of Parliament (MP) for Salford and Eccles at the 2015 general election, the Labour Party decided to have a woman-only shortlist to choose its candidate for this safe seat. Long-Bailey received the backing of Unite the Union, Mayor of Salford Ian Stewart and former Salford City Council leader John Merry. She was elected with a vote share of 49.4% and a majority of 20%.
Long-Bailey was one of 36 Labour MPs to nominate Jeremy Corbyn as a candidate in the 2015 Labour leadership election. On 18 September 2015, after Corbyn was elected as leader, she was appointed as a Shadow Minister for the Treasury as part of his first frontbench team. She was also appointed to Labour's National Executive Committee by Corbyn as one of three representatives of the front bench, replacing Hilary Benn.
Long-Bailey was appointed as the Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury on 27 June 2016 after resignations from the Shadow Cabinet. On Clive Lewis's resignation from the Shadow Cabinet over Corbyn's whipping of the Article 50 vote, Long-Bailey was appointed as the Shadow Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy on 9 February 2017. She was re-elected in the 2017 general election with an increased vote share of 65.5% and an increased majority of 40.2%.
In 2019, Long-Bailey contributed to the writing of Labour's manifesto for the 2019 general election. She said that "I don't just agree with the policies, I've spent the last four years writing them". Long-Bailey was re-elected in the 2019 election with a vote share of 56.8%, a reduction of 8.7 percentage points on the 2017 election result. On 6 January 2020 she announced she was standing to be leader of the Labour Party. Her flatmate Angela Rayner is running for deputy leader, the pair having made an agreement to run on an unofficial joint ticket. She has received 33 nominations from Labour MPs and MEPs, comprising 15% of members of the two groups, which is above the 10% needed to pass the first stage of the process.
Long-Bailey supports the right to abortion and voted for the repeal of a ban on abortion in Northern Ireland. She does not support a difference in abortion laws on the grounds of disability, quoting the Disability Rights Commission: "the context in which parents choose whether to have a child should be one in which disability and non-disability are valued equally".
Long-Bailey said that she was unhappy with Labour's response to antisemitism within the party during Corbyn's leadership, commenting that "I don’t think we were dealing with complaints quickly enough". She said that if she was Labour leader then she would follow recommendations of the Board of Deputies of British Jews and the Equality and Human Rights Commission.
Long-Bailey has spoken in favour of a "Green New Deal", pledging in a speech to "fight for investment in the low-carbon industries of today and tomorrow to secure a liveable planet for future generations".
Long-Bailey supports abolishing the House of Lords, believing that checks and balances are necessary but should not be done by "a set of completely unelected people". She suggested that it should be replaced by a senate elected by proportional representation, which would analyse legislation with respect to "our wealth, our wellbeing, and our environmental sustainability".
Long-Bailey has said that she would be "prepared to use" the UK's nuclear deterrent as Prime Minister, adding that "any leader needs to ensure that they assess the situation" and "address the consequences of their actions".
Long-Bailey voted in favour of same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland.
On the issue of a second Scottish independence referendum, Long-Bailey has said that she would campaign against independence, but that she "wouldn't want to inhibit the democracy of people" in Scotland.
Long-Bailey has said she would support workers in all strike actions and industrial disputes, "no questions asked".
Long-Bailey is married to Stephen Bailey. She is a Roman Catholic.