Question 2. Which current frontbencher has the greatest sense of Labour history?


An overwhelming 18 voted for Nick Thomas-Symonds who was a front bencher when the survey was conducted. There were four votes for Rachel Reeves and three for Hilary Benn. A number of other front benchers got just one vote each (including Keir Starmer). Three historians voted for the option that none of the front bench had a sense of Labour history.

Nick Thomas-Symonds


The vote for Thomas-Symonds makes a lot of sense as he is the author of major biographies of Harold Wilson, Aneurin Bevan and Clement Attlee. Rachel Reeves has authored a number of books on Labour women including a study of Alice Bacon MP (co-authored with Richard Carr of the LHRU). The vote for Hilary Benn was (one colleague observed) based on his family history as son of Tony Benn.

Image: Official portrait of Nick Thomas-Symonds crop 2.jpg (cropped). Original image by Chris McAndrew, available on Wikimedia Commons, public domain.