Debbie Abrahams is currently the Parliamentary candidate for Oldham East and Saddleworth for the General Election, taking place on 8th June 2017 and the Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions. She was the Member of Parliament for Oldham East and Saddleworth since her by-election victory in January 2011 and increased her majority in the 2015 General Election to 6,002.
She was Chair of the Parliamentary Labour Party’s Health Committee leading an inquiry which reviewed the effectiveness of international health systems in improving quality and equity, which contributed to Labour health policy.
Debbie was also a member of Labour’s Health Policy Commission and one of the elected PLP representatives on the National Policy Forum.
Debbie was a member of the Work & Pensions Select Committee from June 2011-March 2015 , where she led the call for an independent inquiry into the Government’s punitive New Sanctions Regime. She was re-elected as a member of the Work and Pensions Committee in July 2015 until her appointment as Shadow Minister for Disabled People in September 2015. In June 2016 she was appointed Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions.
Debbie is passionate about tackling inequalities and has campaigned extensively for a fairer society, setting up the Oldham Fairness Commission to deliver this in her own constituency.
Debbie is also co-Chair of the APPG on Dementia and the first MP to have trained as a Dementia Friends Champion. In collaboration with her local newspaper, the Oldham Chronicle, her campaign to build a Dementia Friendly Oldham has seen over 2,000 Oldhamers become Dementia Friends.
She is Chair of the APPG on Health in All Policies, working on a cross-departmental approach to health issues and Senior Vice Chair of the APPG on Kashmir.
One of her most high profile campaigns, ‘Be Fair – Pay on Time’, resulted in late payments to small businesses being included in the 2014 Small Business Bill and with her being the first recipient of the Federation of Small Business’ ‘Business Buddy Award’ and the Gold Award winner at the H&V Awards in April 2015.
Debbie’s professional background is in health and she is a Fellow of the Faculty of Public Health. She was Chair of Rochdale Primary Care Trust and Director of a public health research group at the University of Liverpool, advising Health Ministries across the globe as well as agencies such as the World Health Organisation.
Debbie has been married to former Lancashire County Cricket Club captain, John Abrahams, for 29 years and they have 2 grown-up daughters.