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Mike Gapes

Spokesperson for Foreign Affairs and Defence

Mike was first elected as Member of Parliament for Ilford South in April 1992 and has been re-elected at every General Election since.

Before his election to Parliament, Mike worked at Labour Party headquarters for 15 years, including serving from 1988 to 1992 as International Secretary of the party. He was also a Policy Research Officer and the National Student Organiser. Mike has also worked in the NHS, in adult education, and as a Voluntary Service Overseas teacher in Swaziland, Southern Africa.

Mike is a patron of Redbridge Carers Support Service; and a Friend of Valentines Mansion and the Ilford Hospital Chapel.

in Parliament:

He was Parliamentary Private Secretary (a ministerial aide) in the Northern Ireland Office from 1997 to 1999, during the negotiations on the Good Friday Agreement; and a Parliamentary Private Secretary in the Home Office from 2001 to 2002.

Mike served as Chair of the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Select Committee from July 2005 to April 2010, and remains a member of the Committee. He had previously served as a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee from 1992 to 1997, and the Defence Committee from 1999-2001 and 2003 to 2005.

He is a member of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly and is a former Vice-Chair and Treasurer of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU). He is the Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Crossrail. Mike is a season ticket holder at West Ham United.

Connect with Mike

"I must be true to myself and my values"

Mike's statement 18 February 2019

I have always considered myself Labour to my core.

I grew up in a working class family in a Council house in Chigwell, Essex. My dad was a postman and trade union branch secretary. My Mum worked in a newsagent's shop. My parents, my education at Buckhurst Hill County High School, a year as a Voluntary Service Overseas teacher in Swaziland, before I went to Cambridge University, all taught me the importance of fighting racism, poverty and injustice.

I joined the Labour Party more than fifty years ago in 1968. I have been active at all levels since then, from Young Socialist Branch Treasurer, to Chair of the National Organisation of Labour Students. And I worked for fifteen years at Labour Party Head Office including as head of the International Section of the party. And since 1992 I have been the Labour and Co-operative MP for Ilford South.

I am sickened that Labour is now seen as a racist, antisemitic party.

I am furious that the Labour leadership is complicit in facilitating Brexit, which will cause great economic, social and political damage to our country.

Jeremy Corbyn, and those around him, are on the wrong side on so many international issues from Russia, to Syria, to Venezuela.

A Corbyn Labour Government would threaten our national security and international alliances.

Now this is personally very difficult for me. I have got lots of very good friends locally, nationally and internationally through the Labour Party.

But I must be true to myself and my values.

It has been a great privilege and honour to serve my fantastic constituents in Ilford South for 27 years. And I intend to continue to represent them as a member of the new Independent Group.