Image of the Liverpool Cathedral

Louise Ellman

Oration

Presented by: Claire Dove

Honourable Chancellor, I have pleasure in presenting Louise Ellman for the award of an Honorary Fellowship from Liverpool John Moores University.

Louise has always been a staunch advocate of the North. Born and raised in Manchester, she attended Manchester High School for Girls, and studied Sociology and History at the University of Hull. She completed a Masters of Philosophy in Social Administration at the University of York and, before moving into politics full time, she worked in Further Education and in the Open University. 

Louise’s political career began in 1970 as a councillor at Lancashire County Council, where she was elected to represent Skelmersdale. In 1981 she became Leader of the Council and played an active role in improving Lancashire’s economic prosperity, setting up Lancashire Enterprises - Lancashire County Council’s economic development agency – and the North West Regional Association. Such were her services to the council that shortly after leaving to  join Parliament, she was declared an Honorary Alderman of Lancashire, an honour bestowed by the county to recognise  significant contributions of past councillors.

Louise became MP for Liverpool Riverside at the 1997 General Election, a seat she has held at successive general elections. Since being elected she has been a member of the Transport Committee, and she has chaired the Transport Select Committee since 2008. She is also President of the Jewish Labour Movement, Vice Chair of Labour Friends of Israel, Chair of the All Party British Israel Parliamentary Group and Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on the Baha’i Faith.

As a member of the All Party Committee on human trafficking, Louise played a role in successfully promoting the Modern Slavery Bill, and she has campaigned on issues such as poverty, the bedroom tax, cuts to public services and the NHS. She has also expressed her support for devolution to cities and regeneration of the regions.

A name synonymous with the city, Louise has always been actively involved in the lives of Liverpool’s citizens, both collectively and individually. In particular, she has worked tirelessly to overturn miscarriages of justice. She was instrumental in the efforts to release wrongly imprisoned and since pardoned Liverpool residents, football fan Michael Shields and schoolteacher Gillian Gibbons, and she also played a key role in securing new inquests into the Hillsborough disaster.

Louise continuously campaigns for the city as a whole, and consistently seeks to secure it is recognised nationally. She has been outspoken about Liverpool being essential to the Northern Powerhouse agenda, and has said the city must have the necessary transportation links to ensure it benefits from the planned High Speed 2 rail network. 

Louise also has cultural interests and she is a Board Member of Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts and Vice President of the Royal Court Trust, in addition to being a Board Member of Liverpool YMCA. 

For her sustained, outstanding contribution to politics and the support of the constituents of Liverpool, it is with great pleasure that I present Louise Ellman for admission to our highest honour, as an Honorary Fellow of Liverpool John Moores University.