54 Facts About John McDonnell


John Martin McDonnell was born on 8 September 1951 and is a British politician who served as Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer from 2015 to 2020.


John McDonnell is parliamentary convenor of the Trade Union Co-ordinating Group of eight left-wing trade unions representing over half a million workers.


John McDonnell attempted to stand for the position of Labour Party leader following Tony Blair's resignation in 2007, but failed to get enough nominations.


John McDonnell was a candidate for the party leadership again in 2010 following Gordon Brown's resignation after Labour's electoral defeat, but withdrew in favour of Diane Abbott, feeling that he would be unable to secure enough nominations.


Alongside Jeremy Corbyn, John McDonnell has been seen as a key figure on the left-wing of the party.


John McDonnell was born in Liverpool to a family with an Irish Catholic background.


John McDonnell's father, Bob, was a docker who served as a sergeant in the Sherwood Foresters during World War II, whilst his mother Elsie worked as a cleaner.


John McDonnell moved with his family to his mother's hometown, Great Yarmouth in Norfolk, when he was very young as his father was unable to find work at the docks; his father became a bus driver and was a branch secretary of the Transport and General Workers' Union and his mother worked for British Home Stores.


John McDonnell received a Local Authority grant to attend St Joseph's College, Ipswich, a Roman Catholic boarding fee-paying independent school for boys.


From 1985 to 1987, John McDonnell was head of the policy unit at Camden Borough Council, then chief executive of the Association of London Authorities from 1987 to 1995, and the Association of London Government from 1995 until 1997.


In 1981, John McDonnell was elected to the Greater London Council as the member for Hayes and Harlington.


John McDonnell became the GLC's chair of finance and deputy leader to Ken Livingstone, who described him as having an "absolute grasp for detail and every year he produced a balanced budget, no borrowing".


When Terry Dicks then stood down, John McDonnell became the MP for Hayes and Harlington at the 1997 general election, with 62 per cent of the vote and a majority of over 14,000.


John McDonnell made his maiden speech in the House of Commons on 6 June 1997, where he notably launched a scathing attack against his predecessor, against parliamentary tradition.


John McDonnell has been involved in several local community campaigns, including one opposing the expansion of Heathrow Airport and its impact on local communities.


John McDonnell opposed New Labour policies of the Iraq War, foundation hospitals, student top-up fees, trust schools and anti-terror laws.


John McDonnell voted against the 2003 Iraq War, stating in 2007:.


In October 2006, John McDonnell was one of 12 Labour MPs to back Plaid Cymru and the Scottish National Party's call for a parliamentary inquiry into the war in Iraq.


In September 2015, John McDonnell apologised on the BBC television programme Question Time for any offence caused by his remarks on the IRA.


John McDonnell is a leading member of several all-party groups within Parliament, including groups representing individual trade unions, such as the Public and Commercial Services Union, the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers, the Fire Brigades Union, the National Union of Journalists and justice unions such as NAPO.


John McDonnell is a leading member of groups on a wide range of issues such as Britain's Irish community, the Punjabi community, endometriosis, and Kenya.


John McDonnell is a member of the Labour Land Campaign, which advocates introducing a land value tax.


In 2006, John McDonnell said that "Marx, Lenin and Trotsky" were his "most significant" intellectual influences.


John McDonnell has consistently opposed the privatisation of public services and chaired the Public Services not Private Profit Campaign launched in 2006 and supported by sixteen trade unions linking up with students, pensioners, health campaigners and the World Development Movement.


John McDonnell is "not supportive of PFI schemes", declaring that he has "opposed every PFI scheme that was proposed".


In 2006, during the parliamentary debate on the Budget Resolutions, John McDonnell warned against public-private finance initiatives, calling for an inquiry:.


In 2002, John McDonnell worked with William Campbell-Taylor and Maurice Glasman, who challenged a parliamentary bill concerned with the City of London Corporation in relation to alleged tax avoidance:.


Apart from a couple of brave, independent-minded Labour MPs, notably John McDonnell, nobody supported Glasman and Campbell-Taylor to challenge the bill.


In February 2013, John McDonnell was among those who supported the People's Assembly Against Austerity in a letter published by The Guardian newspaper.


In 2015, John McDonnell's name appeared on a letter calling for the armed police and MI5 to be disbanded.


John McDonnell claimed that he had not signed the letter, which was produced by the Socialist Campaign for a Labour Victory, but he was photographed holding a copy of the letter, although he later said that he did not know that the demand was on the letter.


On 14 July 2006, John McDonnell announced his intention to stand for leadership of the Labour Party when Tony Blair announced the date of his resignation.


John McDonnell called for "a challenge to the present political consensus", and, "a real Labour government based upon the policies that our supporters expect from us".


John McDonnell said he would like to see a return to the Labour Party's more traditional areas.


John McDonnell's campaign concentrated on grassroots efforts, which earned him an endorsement from the Trades Union Congress.


Gordon Brown received 313 nominations, while John McDonnell failed to collect the 45 nominations required to proceed to the Electoral College.


On 18 May 2010, news broke that John McDonnell wanted to stand in the Labour Party leadership election, to be held following the resignation of Gordon Brown, and would announce it the following day at the Public and Commercial Services Union conference in Brighton.


John McDonnell noted that it would be "difficult" to get the 33 nominations needed from the Parliamentary Labour Party required to stand in the election.


John McDonnell was one of the thirty-six Labour MPs to nominate Jeremy Corbyn as a candidate in the Labour leadership election of 2015.


John McDonnell managed Corbyn's leadership campaign, and he was appointed Shadow Chancellor in September 2015.


John McDonnell repeated the word "embarrassing" five times in his Commons response to the U-turn, adding that "a bit of humility amongst politicians never goes amiss".


John McDonnell has explored ideas surrounding "alternative models of ownership", publishing a report on the subject in June 2017 and hosting a discussion conference in London in February 2018.


John McDonnell said that Grenfell "symbolised for many everything that's gone wrong in this country since austerity was imposed upon us" and used it to highlight pay cuts across the public sector, arguing that Conservatives praise the emergency services "every time there's a tragedy" while cutting jobs and wages.


In 2017, John McDonnell said: "I will be the first socialist Labour Chancellor".


John McDonnell said Venezuela's economic problems were because it was no longer a socialist country.


In September 2018, John McDonnell said he would only back a second referendum on the European Union if the option to remain is not present.


John McDonnell agreed with shadow international trade secretary Barry Gardiner, when he suggested a second referendum could lead to social unrest.


John McDonnell expressed his own view that the next party leader should be female, and that the party should employ positive discrimination to aid that prospect if Jeremy Corbyn were to lose the next general election.


In February 2020, John McDonnell met with Julian Assange at HM Prison Belmarsh.


John McDonnell is running a campaign to pass a motion supporting proportional representation at the 2022 Labour Party conference after it failed in 2021 due to a lack of trade union support.


On 24 February 2022, following the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine, John McDonnell was one of 11 Labour MPs threatened with losing the party whip after they signed a statement by the Stop the War Coalition which questioned the legitimacy of NATO and accused the military alliance of "eastward expansion".


John McDonnell subsequently joined calls for increased arms supplies to Ukraine and criticized those on the left who opposed it.


John McDonnell has two daughters from his first marriage, which ended in 1985, and a son from his second marriage to Cynthia Pinto in 1995.


In 2013, John McDonnell suffered a heart attack and was forced to take time off work.