Alison McGovern, member of parliament for Wirral South, has been elected chair of Progress by the Progress strategy board. She becomes the first woman to chair the organisation.
About her election, she said:
John Woodcock has been a great chair, especially leading Progress’ huge efforts campaigning for Labour’s candidates through the general election. I am determined to make sure Progress plays a positive and constructive role in the debate about Labour’s future, and to provide a route into politics for those who have too often been left out.
John Woodcock, the outgoing chair of Progress said:
Many congratulations to the new chair of Progress, Alison McGovern. Ally is one of Labour’s very best: she cares deeply for the people and causes she represents, has a razor-sharp mind and always gives her all. She will do a brilliant job and I am delighted she has stepped up at such an important time for our party.
It has been a privilege to serve as chair of the hardest working, bravest and most tolerant part of the party we love. Our party can never hope to win back the chance to change the country unless Progress remains a respected part of the diverse Labour family.
The announcement comes as Progress kicks off a 20-city listening tour called ‘The future of Labour’s centre-left’ looking to engage moderate and modernising activists in the Labour party. The first eight events are due to take place in Gravesend, Leeds, Brighton and Hove, Wrexham, Plymouth, Manchester, Aberdeen and Birmingham.
Alison has been member of parliament for Wirral South since May 2010. She was re-elected to parliament in the general election of May 2015, increasing her majority by over 4,000 votes to 4,599. She was appointed as vice-chair of Progress during the last parliament. Before entering parliament she was deputy leader of Southwark Labour group of councillors. She also worked for Network Rail, The Art Fund and Creativity Culture & Education.
In parliament, she has acted as parliamentary private secretary to Gordon Brown, has been a member of the opposition whips’ office and served as a shadow minister for international development before becoming Labour’s shadow minister for children and families in 2014. In May 2015 she joined the shadow Treasury team as shadow economic secretary to the Treasury (shadow City minister) and held this position until September 2015. She has also served on the international development select committee.