Political Careers of NUS Presidents, 1969-present

Given the news that Wes Streeting has been selected as a parliamentary candidate for Labour in Ilford North, it’s time to update my list of political platforms NUS presidents stood on and the posts they have gone on to hold. Candidates prior to 1969 did not appear to stand as part of a formal organised grouping and none I can find had any further political career.

Name Years Party/Platform at time of election Subsequent political activity
Jack Straw 1969-71 Radical Student Alliance Labour MP, Shadow Cabinet member, former Labour Foreign and Home Secretary.
Digby Jacks 1971-73 Broad Left/Communist Party of Great Britain Former Labour councillor in the London Borough of Hounslow.
John Randall 1973-75 Independent No connection to the Conservative MP of the same name, appears to have had an entirely non-political career since.
Charles Clarke 1975-77 Broad Left/Labour Students Former Labour MP and Home Secretary.
Sue Slipman 1977-78 Broad Left/Communist Party of Great Britain Joined the SDP and stood for parliament, but did not join the Liberal Democrats post-merger.
Trevor Phillips 1978-80 Broad Left/Non-aligned Former Labour member of the London Assembly. Blair’s preferred Labour candidate for London Mayor in 1999.
David Aaronovitch 1980-82 Broad Left/Communist Party of Great Britain Non-political career, became a journalist.
Neil Stewart 1982-84 Labour Non-political career, as far as can be established.
Phil Woolas 1984-86 Labour Former Labour MP and Immigration Minister.
Vicky Philips 1986-88 Labour Non-political career, became a lawyer.
Maeve Sherlock 1988-90 Labour Labour member of House of Lords. Special advisor to then-chancellor Gordon Brown.
Stephen Twigg 1990-92 Labour Labour MP, former Minister of State.
Lorna Fitzsimons 1992-94 Labour Former Labour MP
Jim Murphy 1994-96 Labour Labour MP, former Cabinet Minister, current Shadow Cabinet member
Douglas Trainer 1996-98 Labour Special adviser for the Labour Scottish Executive 2006-07
Andrew Pakes 1998-00 Labour Former Labour Councillor and special advisor to Labour Deputy Mayor of London, Labour parliamentary candidate in 2010
Owain James 2000-02 Independent Former Labour party employee
Mandy Telford 2002-04 Labour Former Special Adviser to Labour MP Tessa Jowell, married to Labour MP John Woodcock.
Kat Fletcher 2004-06 Campaign for Free Education/Independent Labour candidate in 2013 by-election for Islington Council.
Gemma Tumelty 2006-08 Independent Labour Party employee, stood for selection as Labour parliamentary candidate.
Wes Streeting 2008-10 Labour Labour Prospective parliamentary candidate in Ilford North.
Aaron Porter 2010-11 Independent Labour party member and contributed to the book “What Next for Labour? Ideas for a new generation”.
Liam Burns 2011-13 Independent Labour party member.
Toni Pearce Current Independent Joined Labour only after being elected.


  1. I had always assumed that Neil Stewart was the same one who formed Neil Stewart Associates who run public policy conferences and research. It was formed in 1994 and I assumed he tapped into all his party contacts to run it.

    1. It’s possible, but the staff information page from Neil Stewart Associates doesn’t mention it, and you’d think “NUS President” was a pretty key piece of biographical information.

      If it’s the same person, then he had a brief party career – the NSA page states he worked for Neil Kinnock when he was leader of the opposition.

      1. Note that the CV on the website starts in 1984, also the year that Neil Stewart stopped being NUS President.

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