Thelma Walker

Thelma Walker
Official portrait of Thelma Walker crop 2.jpg
Walker in 2017
Member of Parliament
for Colne Valley
In office
8 June 2017 β€“ 6 November 2019
Preceded by Jason McCartney
Succeeded by Jason McCartney
Personal details
Born (1957-04-07) 7 April 1957 (age 64)
Political party Independent
Other political
Labour (1971–2020)
Spouse(s) Rob Walker
Children 2
Education Marple Hall Grammar School
Alma mater Manchester Polytechnic

Thelma Doris Walker[1] (born 7 April 1957) is a British politician, formerly Labour Party Member of Parliament (MP) for Colne Valley from 2017 to 2019. Prior to her political career, she worked as a teacher for 34 years and later as an independent consultant.

In November 2020 Walker resigned from the Labour Party, is currently an independent candidate at the 2021 Hartlepool by-election.

Early life and teaching career

Walker was born on 7 April 1957, and attended Marple Hall Grammar School in Manchester, England. She graduated in 1978 with a bachelor's degree in Education from Manchester Polytechnic (now Manchester Metropolitan University), and then worked as a teacher in Stockport for 12 years before moving to Kirklees, West Yorkshire. Walker was the headteacher of Overthorpe C of E School and Flockton C of E First School. After 34 years as a teacher, she became an independent consultant in 2012.[2][3][4]

Political career

Walker was elected as the MP for Colne Valley in the 2017 general election with a majority of 915 (1.5%) votes.[5] The seat had previously been held by Conservative Party politician Jason McCartney since 2010.[6] Walker made her maiden speech on 27 June 2017.[7] She sat on the Education Select Committee from September 2017 to November 2019, and was a member of the Welsh Affairs Select Committee between January and February 2018.[8]

Walker served as the Parliamentary Private Secretary to Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer John McDonnell.[9]

She was a signatory of the 'MPs Not Border Guards' pledge, which vowed to not report constituents to the Home Office for immigration enforcement.[10] Walker was a supporter of the Labour Against Private Schools campaign, which aims to commit Labour to abolishing independent schools in the United Kingdom.[11][12]

Walker supported the United Kingdom (UK) remaining within the European Union (EU) in the 2016 UK EU membership referendum. In the indicative votes on 27 March 2019, she voted for a referendum on a Brexit withdrawal agreement, and for a customs union with the EU.[13]

Walker lost her seat in the 2019 general election to Jason McCartney of the Conservatives, whom she had previously unseated as the MP in 2017.[14]

On 18 November 2020, almost a year after losing her seat, she resigned her membership of the Labour Party on the evening after Keir Starmer declined to return the whip to Jeremy Corbyn. She later explained that she left because she felt Starmer was being spiteful towards Corbyn, even prior to his suspension, and because she had concerns about the party's positions on the Covert Human Intelligence Sources Bill and on schools being open during the COVID-19 pandemic.[9]

In March 2021, Walker declared her support for the Northern Independence Party, which campaigns for the north of England to become an independent country,[15] and on 28 March was announced as the party's candidate for the 2021 Hartlepool by-election.[16][17] As the NIP failed to register with the Electoral Commission before nominations closed, Walker will be listed on ballot as an independent.[18]

Personal life

She is married to Rob Walker, who was a Labour councillor for Colne Valley ward of Kirklees Council until his resignation from the Labour Party in November 2020 along with two other Labour councillors. This resulted in Labour losing their majority on the Council. They have two children.[19] She is a trustee of Slaithwaite Civic Hall.[2]

In February 2021, Walker and her friend Tom Widdicombe began hosting a weekly podcast titled Thelma and Tom Look Left. Guests on the podcast have included Labour MPs such as Rebecca Long-Bailey, Richard Burgon and Clive Lewis.[20]


  1. ^ "No. 61961". The London Gazette. 19 June 2017. p. 11779.
  2. ^ a b Carr, Tim; Dale, Iain; Waller, Robert (7 September 2017). The Politicos Guide to the New House of Commons 2017. Biteback Publishing. pp. 411–412. ISBN 978-1-78590-278-9.
  3. ^ "Inspection Report". Ofsted. 30 September 2003. p. 1. Retrieved 4 November 2019.
  4. ^ Javin, Val (30 November 2007). "London treat for young musicians". Examiner Live. Retrieved 4 November 2019.
  5. ^ "Colne Valley". 27 June 2017. Retrieved 4 November 2019.
  6. ^ "Colne Valley". UK Polling Report. Retrieved 4 November 2019.
  7. ^ "Education and Local Services". Hansard. 27 June 2017. Retrieved 4 November 2019.
  8. ^ "Thelma Walker MP". Retrieved 4 November 2019.
  9. ^ a b Walker, Thelma [@Thelma_DWalker] (18 November 2020). "Tonight I attended my branch meeting and resigned my membership of the Labour Party .It was a privilege to serve as Labour MP for #ColneValley, to be PPS to @johnmcdonnellMP and to work with @jeremycorbyn as Labour leader. I will continue to work for the many not the few" (Tweet). Retrieved 18 November 2020 – via Twitter.
  10. ^ "MPs not border guards – pledge signatories". Global Justice. Retrieved 10 October 2019.
  11. ^ Adams, Richard (9 July 2019). "Abolish Eton: Labour groups aim to strip elite schools of privileges". The Guardian. Retrieved 10 October 2019.
  12. ^ Donaldson, Kitty (20 September 2019). "Corbyn's Troops Target Eton in Brexit Britain's Class War". Bloomberg. Retrieved 4 November 2019.
  13. ^ "How MPs voted on May's withdrawal deal defeat". Financial Times. 29 March 2019. Archived from the original on 2 September 2019.
  14. ^ Lavigueur, Nick (13 December 2019). "Jason McCartney takes back Colne Valley from Thelma Walker". Examiner Live. Retrieved 14 December 2019.
  15. ^ Walker, Thelma [@Thelma_DWalker] (23 March 2021). "Independence for the North of England? Great interview from @novaramedia I'm supporting @FreeNorthNow" (Tweet). Retrieved 24 March 2021 – via Twitter.
  16. ^ Northern Independence Party [@FreeNorthNow] (28 March 2021). "The candidate we will endorse for Hartlepool By-Election is Thelma Walker with 69.7% of the vote" (Tweet). Retrieved 28 March 2021 – via Twitter.
  17. ^ "Ex-MP to stand for Northern Independence party in by-election". BBC News. 29 March 2021. Retrieved 29 March 2021.
  18. ^
  19. ^ Glover, Chloe (9 August 2016). "Meet new Colne Valley councillor Rob Walker". Examiner Live. Retrieved 4 November 2019.
  20. ^ "Thelma and Tom Look Left". Google Podcasts. Retrieved 22 March 2021.

External links

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Jason McCartney
Member of Parliament
for Colne Valley

Succeeded by
Jason McCartney

Other Languages