Luke Pollard was elected as the Labour and Co-operative Member of Parliament for Plymouth Sutton and Devonport in June 2017, and re-elected in 2019. Luke was born and lives in Plymouth and is the first MP to be born in Plymouth since Michael Foot represented the city in 1945.
After winning the seat from the Conservatives, he became a member of the Transport Select Committee. Luke has served many roles on Labour’s Shadow Environment Team, as PPS to former Shadow Environment Secretary Sue Hayman, and as the Shadow Minister for Fishing, Water, Coastal Communities. He was promoted to Shadow Environment Secretary himself in January 2020.
Luke is an energetic fighter for Plymouth and the far south west to get its fair share of funding from Westminster. Luke spoke over 200 times in the House of Commons in his first two years and runs a number of campaigns from transport to defence, environment to refugees.
“Plymouth is my home. It was where I was born and where I live. I come from a family with strong links to the city – my father served in the Royal Navy as a submariner based in Devonport, and my mum taught at Marjon. I’ve lived in Peverell for ten years before moving to Stoke recently.
Before I was elected, I worked on major construction projects and I’m proud to have a business background. I’ve previously worked for ITV, South West Water, Sainsbury’s and ABTA, the holiday trade body. After graduating from the University of Exeter in 2001 I spent a year as the President of the Guild (Exeter’s Students Union).
I’m my own man. I think Plymouth has been let down by people putting their party ahead of Plymouth. I want to be fiercely independent in Parliament, putting Plymouth above party each and every time.”
Luke was born in Freedom Fields hospital in Plymouth in 1980. His father was a submariner in the Royal Navy based in Devonport and his mum was a teacher in a nearby school before teaching at Marjon. Luke attended Tavistock College and Christleton High School in Chester before returning to Devon to study Politics at the University of Exeter. While at University Luke was convinced he did not want a career in politics and lived life to the full. He worked in the bar and nightclub of Exeter’s Guild of Students (Students’ Union), before being elected as the Campaigns Officer and then President of the Students’ Union in 2001.
He graduated with a First-class degree in Politics specialising in the politics of the European Union and international terrorism.
Before being elected
Luke has been an active campaigner in Plymouth for many years prior to his election. Luke was an early adopter of social media and you can watch some of his old videos on the Plymouth Labour YouTube page here . His favourite video remains this one here about the campaign against the Conservatives’ Pasty Tax. Luke was the Campaign Co-ordinator for Plymouth Sutton and Devonport for many years helping to run campaigns for Labour in the city. He was also an organiser of the Michael Foot Memorial Appeal that successfully fundraised for a memorial to Michael Foot in Freedom Fields Park (see below).
Luke’s work before being elected
Luke started his career in children’s television working for Carlton Television helping to make children’s television shows for ITV from their studios in Plympton. He went on to work for David Jamieson, who was the Labour MP for Plymouth Devonport, and Scottish MP George Foulkes (now Lord Foulkes) in the House of Commons. Luke worked on the successful 2005 General Election campaign in Labour’s Headquarters in London before beginning a role with Edelman, the global communications firm. In this role Luke helped advise companies large and small including South West Water, Sainsbury’s, BAE Systems, Thomas Cook and the BBC.
In 2009 Luke took up a role with ABTA, the holiday trade body and worked in London and Brussels until leaving the role in 2014 to become a full-time candidate for Plymouth Sutton and Devonport in the run up to the 2015 General Election. Despite cutting the Conservative majority in half, Luke narrowly missed out by 523 votes. After the election Luke began a role as a Director for Field Consulting, a specialist firm advising companies on controversial building projects. Luke worked on skyscraper, football stadia and housing development projects as well as advising firms in the rail and transport sectors. Luke left this role after being elected as an MP in 2017.
Luke believes that MPs should only have one job and that they should not employ their family members on the public purse. All his permanent roles are advertised openly. Not all of Plymouth’s local MPs take the same approach, but this is something Luke feels strongly about.
Luke’s work in Parliament
Luke is a regular speaker in the Commons. In his first two years as an MP he spoke six times more about Plymouth than Johnny Mercer and Gary Streeter, Plymouth’s Conservative MPs, combined. He has started a number of campaigns from proposing a way to recycle the old nuclear submarines in Devonport, to arguing for a new city centre health hub and proposing a statue for the 100th anniversary of the election of Nancy Astor in 1919.
As well as speaking in debates Luke has been a member of seven different bill committees scrutinising legislation line by line. They have included the Armed Forces Flexible Working Bill, Wild Animals in Circuses Bill, Homes fit for human habitation Bill and the Fisheries Bill. Luke has also sat on dozens of Statutory Legislation Committees that review the proposed law changes via delegated legislation. https://www.parliament.uk/site-information/glossary/delegated-or-secondary-legislation/
Luke is a proud member of the GMB and Unite trade unions and is an active member of the Co-operative Society, SERA – Labour’s environment campaign, the Fabians Society and is a member of Plymouth Energy Community and the Argyle Fans Trust. Luke lives in Stoke having just moved from Peverell, where he lived near to the Hyde Park pub for the past decade. Luke is Plymouth’s first ever openly gay Member of Parliament. He lives with his boyfriend, Sydney, who is a contemporary dancer.
In his spare time he enjoys sport, Netflix and a spot of gardening. He’s a keen Argyle fan and enjoys watching Plymouth Raiders at Pavilions. He has recently taken up wild swimming thanks to encouragement from the UN Ocean’s Patron, fellow Plymothian Lewis Pugh, and swims regularly in Plymouth Sound. Luke is a defender in hockey and football when he gets a chance to play. Luke tweets a lot and is a big fan of cake.
Luke’s Wikipedia profile – for crowd-sourced background on Luke’s activities https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luke_Pollard
Luke’s TheyWorkForYou profile – for stats and links to everytime Luke has spoken in Parliament https://www.theyworkforyou.com/mp/25690/luke_pollard/plymouth%2C_sutton_and_devonport
Luke’s profile on the Parliament website https://www.parliament.uk/biographies/commons/luke-pollard/4682/biography