Alex SobelMember of Parliament for Leeds North West
Born in Leeds, Alex Sobel is the son of Israeli immigrants who arrived in the UK in 1971. He has been the Labour MP for Leeds North West since June 2017, when he managed to defeat Liberal Democrat Greg Mulholland, who had held the seat since 2005. Sobel is a senior member of the Jewish Labour Movement and a founding member of Open Labour, a “soft left” activist group that operates within the Labour Party. Sobel previously worked with social enterprises and ran the regional body Social Enterprise Yorkshire. Prior to becoming an MP, Sobel was a councillor for the Moortown ward on Leeds City Council, where he was elected in 2012 and again in 2016, remaining until his campaign to become an MP. As an MP, Sobel has held a number of legislative priorities including the re-nationalisation of energy, water and Royal Mail. At parliament’s dissolution in November 2019, Sobel was a vice-chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Video Games and sat on select committees for backbench business and environmental audit. He nominated Emily Thornberry for Labour leader but, following Keir Starmer’s election to the Labour leadership in April 2020, he became shadow minister for tourism and heritage. Sobel says his greatest political achievements include securing funding for the GB basketball team and for Leeds to become a Clean Air Zone.
Can you identify any historical figure(s), or mentor, who inspired your entry into politics?
Nelson Mandela, Lech Wałęsa, Barbara Castle, Robin Cook, Yitzhak Rabin.
What book or poem has influenced your choice of career, and what do you think your choice reveals about your personality?
Catcher in the Rye – authority is there to be challenged not accepted.
Best media moment of your political career?
Playing basketball with the GB Women’s Basketball Team on Sky Sports News.
Official parliamentary photograph taken by Chris McAndrew, 2017, licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0