Politics

‘An accident’ – Wes Streeting

forty-two quotes by and about
Wes Streeting
born 1983
President of the National Union for Students, 2008–10

Labour MP for Ilford North, 2015–
shadow secretary for health and social care, 2021–


‘I was born in Stepney, in Tower Hamlets, and I think it is fair to say that I was an accident. My father was 17 when I was born and my mother was 18, and their relationship did not last.’ – Wes Streeting, 2020 [i]

‘I have a different perspective on public services to most middle-class professionals on the left. My memory is of my mum being treated like dirt on the bottom of a shoe by people in the DSS office.’ – Wes Streeting, 2022 [ii]

‘Even among the working-class kids, it felt like we were the poor working class.’ – Wes Streeting, 2021 [iii]

‘My nan was this working-class East End woman and Christine Keeler was high society, but they got on like a house on fire.’ – Wes Streeting, 2021 [iv]

‘I had a UK garage phase in the sixth form, but at heart I’m an indie boy. Britpop was the greatest for me, growing up.’ – Wes Streeting, 2022 [v]

‘Mr Streeting, 32, was raised by a single mother, benefited from free school meals, and made it to Cambridge University – something only one in 1,000 children on free school meals manages.’ – Evening Standard, 2015 [vi]


‘Wes Streeting graduated from Cambridge University with a degree in history in 2004. This year he has been taking a sabbatical as president of the student union. He is interested in an education-based career, perhaps linked to politics.’ – the Guardian, 2005 [vii]

‘For too long the Liberal Democrats’ position on scrapping tuition fees has been about as clear as mud. Woolly long-term pledges won’t wash and the LibDems should not take the student vote for granted.’ – Wes Streeting, 2010 [viii]

‘People are feeling incredibly angry. They have debts in excess of £20,000 after being told they would get a job at the end of their degree and earn more money. Instead they’re just heavily indebted.’ – Wes Streeting, 2010 [ix]

‘This Government doesn’t have the same zeal for increasing the number of students in higher education as the previous one, symbolised by Tony Blair’s totemic target of getting 50 per cent of young people into higher education.’ – Wes Streeting, 2011 [x]

‘A modernising ex-president of the National Union of Students and staunch campaigner against tuition fees, he faced accusations of being too close to [Gordon] Brown’s government. Now a Labour councillor in Redbridge, he has been listed as one of the top 40 most powerful gay politicians in the UK.’ – Matt Chorley, 2010 [xi]

‘Even someone like me – brought up on a council estate, single-parent family, free school meals, worked outside politics – can benefit from the powerful networks that come with a Cambridge education and involvement in student politics.’ – Wes Streeting, 2015 [xii]

‘We lost because of leadership and economic credibility.’ – Wes Streeting, 2015 [xiii]


‘I will absolutely back whoever is chosen as the next leader of the Labour party.’ – Wes Streeting, 2015 [xiv]

‘We’re meant to be a political party, not a cult.’ – Wes Streeting, 2016 [xv]

‘Jeremy [Corbyn] has many redeeming features. Being an effective leader of the opposition is not one of them.’ – Wes Streeting, 2016 [xvi]

‘Jeremy Corbyn has to decide whether he is going to be a leader who repairs and strengthens, or whether he is going to go down in history as the Labour leader who broke the Labour Party.’ – Wes Streeting, 2019 [xvii]

Shami Chakrabarti will bring great experience to the Lords. But let’s not pretend that a Labour peerage in these circumstances doesn’t stink.’ – Wes Streeting, 2016 [xviii]

‘It’s time for Jeremy Corbyn and his team to act on complaints about anti-Semitism and stop complaining about journalists and whistleblowers.’ – Wes Streeting, 2019 [xix]

‘I am ashamed of my Party.’ – Wes Streeting on antisemitism, 2019 [xx]

‘Under Jeremy Corbyn, Labour can’t win a general election.’ – Wes Streeting, 2016 [xxi]


‘He has got to explain beyond the usual generalities and attempts to bluster, how on earth the Mayor of London has drawn this conclusion that Brexit is the right deal for London and the rest of the UK.’ – Wes Streeting on Boris Johnson, 2016 [xxii]

‘If free movement were to end following Brexit, is it not reasonable to assume we could see increases in wages for low-skilled workers in the UK?’ – Wes Streeting, 2016 [xxiii]

‘David Cameron would have had a better campaign if he hadn’t paraded around as a Eurosceptic before calling for a Remain vote.’ – Wes Streeting, 2016 [xxiv]

‘I would rather put my job at risk by opposing Brexit than vote to put my constituents jobs at risk by supporting it.’ – Wes Streeting, 2019 [xxv]

‘Any Brexit deal must go back to the public.’ – Wes Streeting, 2019 [xxvi]


‘This obsession with our own rulebook and structures when we are weeks away from a likely general election is the most extraordinary self-indulgence.’ – Wes Streeting on attempts to rewrite Clause 4, 2019 [xxvii]

‘Labour has no future if the debate about our direction becomes locked in a battle between two competing visions of the past.’ – Wes Streeting, 2021 [xxviii]

‘You only win general elections when you’re the Labour Party by persuading people who previously voted Tory to vote Labour.’ – Wes Streeting, 2021 [xxix]

‘Journalists are people doing their job. A party that stands up for workers’ rights should not allow them to be booed and hissed at. End of.’ – Wes Streeting, 2016 [xxx]

‘There are a bunch of people who were relatively recent joiners to the Labour party who didn’t understand its history or traditions or how you win elections. A lot of people have left who were never really committed to it and frankly, a lot them were barnacles on the boat.’ – Wes Streeting, 2022 [xxxi]

‘Boris Johnson surrounds himself with people who say ‘yes’ rather than people who can deliver for the country when there are far more competent backbenchers for the jobs, Tom Tugendhat for example.’ – Wes Streeting, 2021 [xxxii]

‘Clip him round the earhole.’ – Wes Streeting advises Theresa May on how to deal with Boris Johnson, 2018 [xxxiii]


‘As I told the voters across two general elections – you may not always agree with me, but you’ll always know where I stand. We are there to represent the voices of our constituents, but we are also there to be custodians and guardians of their livelihoods and our national interest.’ – Wes Streeting, 2019 [xxxiv]

‘Not only is bringing the railways into public ownership popular, it’s pragmatic and possible as contracts come up for renewal.’ – Wes Streeting, 2014 [xxxv]

‘Londoners are sick and tired of Tory MPs crying crocodile tears in their local papers about police station closures, and then coming here to cheerlead the cuts that make them necessary.’ – Wes Streeting, 2017[xxxvi]

‘Sentences should be strengthened to provide a tougher deterrent.’ – Wes Streeting on police officers being assaulted, 2019. [xxxvii]

‘With Labour, private education will be made redundant. Because we will make sure that every child in our country has those opportunities.’ – Wes Streeting, 2021 [xxxviii]

‘What next? Replacing the Union flag with the white flag?’ – Wes Streeting, after Ken Livingstone suggested withdrawing from Nato, 2016 [xxxix]

‘We’ve given the impression in recent years that we’re more comfortable with other people’s flags than our own and that’s a problem.’ – Wes Streeting, 2021 [xl]

‘Men have penises, women have vaginas, here ends my biology lesson.’ – Wes Streeting, 2022 [xli]

‘I’m really not the Mary Poppins of the Labour Party.’ – Wes Streeting, 2022 [xlii]


see also:


[i] Guardian 10 November 2020

[ii] Guardian 30 January 2022

[iii] Times 18 September 2021

[iv] Times 18 September 2021

[v] Guardian 30 January 2022

[vi] Evening Standard 30 April 2015

[vii] Guardian 11 June 2005

[viii] Daily Mail 12 January 2010

[ix] Observer 31 January 2010

[x] Times 3 October 2011

[xi] Independent on Sunday 26 September 2010

[xii] Guardian web edition 8 June 2015

[xiii] Twitter 4 August 2015

[xiv] Independent web edition 28 May 2015

[xv] Sunday Times 5 June 2016

[xvi] Daily Telegraph 27 June 2016

[xvii] Birmingham Mail 11 March 2019

[xviii] Press Association 6 August 2016

[xix] Daily Mail 15 July 2019

[xx] MailOnline 26 November 2019

[xxi] Herald 8 August 2016

[xxii] Telegraph web edition 23 March 2016

[xxiii] Herald 2 March 2016

[xxiv] Times web edition 24 June 2016

[xxv] Express web edition 24 January 2019

[xxvi] Express web edition 2 May 2019

[xxvii] Times 18 September 2019

[xxviii] Observer 16 May 2021

[xxix] Times 18 September 2021

[xxx] Daily Mirror 2 June 2016

[xxxi] Guardian 30 January 2022

[xxxii] Times web edition 17 September 2021

[xxxiii] South Wales Echo 7 March 2018

[xxxiv] Politics Home, 22 January 2019

[xxxv] Sunday Times 4 May 2014

[xxxvi] Coventry Telegraph 22 December 2017

[xxxvii] Mail Online 16 August 2019

[xxxviii] Guardian 28 September 2021

[xxxix] Mail on Sunday 10 January 2016

[xl] Times 18 September 2021

[xli] Guardian 1 April 2022

[xlii] Guardian 30 January 2022


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