The Lord Levy
|Born||11 July 1944|
Michael Abraham Levy, Baron Levy, (born 11 July 1944) was a practising Chartered Accountant and Chairman & CEO of a large independent group of music companies, and is a Labour Peer.
He is the President of Volunteering Matters, Jewish Care, Jewish Free School (JFS) and Jewish Lads' and Girls' Brigade (JLGB).
Levy was the chief fundraiser for the UK Labour Party. A long-standing friend of former Prime Minister, Tony Blair, Lord Levy spent nine years as Tony Blair's special envoy to the Middle East,being replaced by Gordon Brown's appointee, Lord Williams of Baglan, from September 2007.
Anthony Charles Lynton Blair is a British politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1997 to 2007 and Leader of the Labour Party from 1994 to 2007. He was Leader of the Opposition from 1994 to 1997. As of 2017, Blair is the last British Labour Party leader to have won a general election.
Michael Charles Williams, Baron Williams of Baglan was a British diplomat and crossbench life peer.
Born in Stoke Newington, North London, to devout Jewish immigrant parents of modest means, Levy was educated at Grocers, later known as Hackney Downs School.
Stoke Newington is an area occupying the north-west part of the London Borough of Hackney in north-east London, England. It is 5 miles (8 km) north-east of Charing Cross. Stoke Newington Church Street was the site of the original hamlet of Stoke Newington, which in turn gave its name to Stoke Newington the ancient parish.
North London is an informally and inexactly defined part of London, England which covers some of the area of the capital lying north of the River Thames. North London extends from Clerkenwell and Finsbury on the edge of the City of London financial district, to Greater London's boundary with Hertfordshire. The constituent districts were traditionally part of Middlesex with the exception of a small area around Barnet which was part of Hertfordshire.
Hackney Downs School was an 11–16 boys, community comprehensive secondary school in Lower Clapton, Greater London, England. It was established in 1876 and closed in 1995.
Levy qualified as a Chartered Accountant in 1966 (ACA then FCA) and set up a very successful professional accountancy practice.
The practice attracted a great number of clients in the music and entertainment industry and Levy became a specialist in international copyright and licence.
Amongst the clients were the Foundations, Vanity Fair, Roger Greenaway, Barry Mason and many other successful producers and artists.
The Foundations were a British soul band, active from 1967 to 1970. The group was made up of West Indians, White British, and a Sri Lankan. Their 1967 debut single "Baby Now That I've Found You" reached number one in the UK and Canada, and number eleven in the US, while their 1968 single "Build Me Up Buttercup" reached number two in the UK and number three on the US Billboard Hot 100. The group was the first multi-racial group to have a number one hit in the UK in the 1960s.
Levy founded Magnet Records with Peter Shelley in 1973.This became one of the most successful independent labels of its day and at one stage had 10% of the British singles market with four singles in the top ten.
Magnet Records was a British record label, started in 1973 by Michael Levy and Peter Shelley. It was acquired by Warner Bros. Records in 1988 for an estimated £10m.
Peter Shelley is a British 1970s pop singer and songwriter who had UK hits with "Gee Baby" and "Love Me Love My Dog". He also originated the persona of Alvin Stardust.
The successful artists on the label included Adrian Baker, Alvin Stardust, Chris Rea, Bad Manners, Darts, Susan Cadogan, Silver Convention and Guys 'n' Dolls.
Adrian Baker is an English singer, songwriter, and record producer.
Bernard William Jewry, known professionally as Shane Fenton and later as Alvin Stardust, was an English rock singer and stage actor. Performing first as Shane Fenton in the 1960s, Jewry had a moderately successful career in the pre-Beatles era, hitting the UK top 40 with four singles in 1961–62. However, he became better known for singles released in the 1970s and 1980s as Alvin Stardust, a character he began in the glam rock era, with hits including the UK Singles Chart-topper "Jealous Mind", as well as later hits such as "Pretend" and "I Feel Like Buddy Holly".
Christopher Anton Rea is a British rock and blues singer-songwriter and guitarist, recognisable for his distinctive, husky-gravel voice and slide guitar playing. The book Guinness Rockopedia described him as a "gravel-voiced guitar stalwart". The British Hit Singles & Albums stated that Rea was "one of the most popular UK singer-songwriters of the late 1980s. He was already a major European star by the time he finally cracked the UK Top 10 with his 18th chart entry "The Road to Hell ". Two of his studio albums, The Road to Hell and Auberge, topped the UK Albums Chart. Rea was nominated three times for the Brit Award for Best British Male Artist: in 1988, 1989 and 1990. As of 2009, he has sold more than 30 million albums worldwide.
Levy sold Magnet Records to Warner Brothers in 1988 for £10m.
Guitarist Chris Rea said of Levy, "He is extremely tough, one of the hardest bastards I have ever met, but I would leave my children with him rather than anyone else." The music producer Pete Waterman described him as "the greatest salesman I have ever met. He would be able to sell sand to the Arabs."
After Magnet was sold, Levy set up M&G Records with backing from Polygram. M&G Records was so named as it was the initials of Michael and his wife Gilda, and featured acts such as Zoe who had a top five hit with "Sunshine on a Rainy Day" and Pele who had success with "Fair blows the wind for France". Polygram were then bought out and the company was eventually sold to Bertelsmann (BMG) in 1997.
Levy was involved in fundraising from his early life and from the late 1960s for many causes including Jewish and Israeli causes. For this he showed a special adeptness, raising, between 1988–1994, £60m for Jewish Care, an amalgam of several Jewish charitable organisations, of which he is now President.Simon Morris, Chief Executive of Jewish Care, said of Levy that, when it comes to fundraising, "there's no one better in the country." Levy has been described as the number one fundraiser in the country.
Levy first met Tony Blair at a dinner party in 1994, hosted by Israeli diplomat Gideon Meir,the two having a common friend in Eldred Tabachnik, a senior barrister (now a QC and a former president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews) at 11 King's Bench Walk, the chambers founded by Derry Irvine where Blair had trained in the early 1980s. They soon became close friends and tennis partners. Levy ran the Labour Leader's Office Fund to finance Blair's campaign before the 1997 general election and received substantial contributions from such figures as Alex Bernstein and Robert Gavron, both of whom were ennobled by Blair after he came to power. Levy himself was created a life peer on 23 September 1997 as Baron Levy, of Mill Hill in the London Borough of Barnet. Since making his maiden speech on 3 December 1997, Levy has not spoken in a debate at the House of Lords.
He has been described by The Jerusalem Post as "undoubtedly the notional leader of British Jewry".He was a founding member of the Jewish Leadership Council, the leadership of UK Jewish community. Levy has close ties with Israeli political leaders. His son, Daniel Levy, was active in Israeli political life, and has served as an assistant to the former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and to Knesset member Yossi Beilin. His son Daniel is now based in the UK and is now President of the US Middle East Project and before that was Head of the Middle East Department of the European Council of Foreign Relations. Levy has praised Blair for his "solid and committed support of the State of Israel" and "his commitment to the peace process". Levy was associated with the Labour Friends of Israel.
Known as "Lord Cashpoint" to some in the media and politics,he was the leading fundraiser for the Labour Party from 1994 to 2007 (having raised over £100m for the Labour Party. In 2007 he voluntarily decided to step down at the same time as former Prime Minister Tony Blair.
In 2000, Levy was criticised when it was revealed that he had paid only £5,000 tax during the financial year 1998–1999– however it was subsequently shown even in that year the tax paid was £30,000. In an interview at the time, repeated on BBC2's Newsnight on 16 March 2006, Levy stated that "Over the years I have paid many millions of tax and, if you average it, each year it comes to many hundreds of thousands of pounds. In that particular year, I was giving my time to the Labour Party and the voluntary sector, and I just lived off capital."
From 1998 until 2007, he acted as Prime Minister Blair's personal envoy to the Middle East.
Many leaders in the region including Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas have praised Levy for always offering constructive suggestions. Mr Blair has said Lord Levy carried out "a perfectly excellent job as my envoy under very difficult circumstances".
In September 2005, Levy was appointed President of the Council of the Specialist Schools and Academies Trust, the body overseeing the government's Specialist schools and Academy programmes.
Levy was arrested and questioned in connection with the "Cash for Honours" inquiry by the Metropolitan Police on 12 July 2006 (whereby it was suggested that money was paid to political parties for Honours in particular peerages).No charges were made against Levy and the police removed all details from their files.
Levy is President of Jewish Care, the Jewish Free School, Volunteering Matters, Jewish Lads' and Girls' Brigade and Barnet & Southgate College.and the Honorary President of UJIA.
He is a Member of the World Board of Directors, The International Peace Institute, IPI (2014- ). He is a Member of the Advisory Council, Step Up to Serve Campaign (2013- ). He is the Chair of the Policy Network Foundation, a policy think tank. He also holds and has held a number of other positions in the voluntary sector.
In 2008 Levy became Chairman of International Standard Asset Management until 2011. Now Principal of Global Consultancy Services acting as a Consultant to a number of companies.
He and his wife Gilda have a son, Daniel, and a daughter, Juliet.
Levy's home in Totteridge, North London, was burgled in 2003. He and his wife Gilda were restrained with handcuffs and had bleach poured over them. Levy was hit on the head with a shovel and had his wrist broken; the attackers fled with £80,000 of cash and jewellery.
Lord Levy received an Honorary Doctorate from Middlesex University in 1999, and the Israel Policy Forum (USA) Special Recognition Award in 2003. In 1994 he was a Recipient of the B'nai B'rith First Lodge Award and in 1998 a Recipient of the Friends of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem Scopus Award. He has received the Jewish Chronicle 175th Anniversary Award for outstanding, unique and long term contributions to British Community life.
Lord Levy's autobiography, A Question of Honour, was published in 2008.
Sir Thomas Dalyell of the Binns, 11th Baronet, known as Tam Dalyell, was a Scottish Labour Party politician who was a member of the House of Commons from 1962 to 2005. He represented West Lothian from 1962 to 1983, then Linlithgow from 1983 to 2005. He is particularly well known for his formulation of what came to be known as the "West Lothian question", on whether non-English MPs should be able to vote upon English-only matters after political devolution.
John Whitaker Straw is a British politician who served as the Member of Parliament (MP) for Blackburn from 1979 to 2015. Straw served in the Cabinet from 1997 to 2010 under the governments of Tony Blair and Gordon Brown. He held two of the traditional Great Offices of State, as Home Secretary from 1997 to 2001 and Foreign Secretary from 2001 to 2006 under Blair. From 2007 to 2010 he served as Lord High Chancellor of Great Britain and the Secretary of State for Justice throughout Brown's Premiership. Straw is one of only three individuals to have served in Cabinet continuously under the Labour government from 1997 to 2010, the others being Gordon Brown and Alistair Darling.
Greville Ewan Janner, Baron Janner of Braunstone, QC was a British politician, barrister and writer who was alleged to have abused vulnerable children, but died before court proceedings could formally establish the facts. He became a Leicester Labour MP in the 1970 general election as a last-minute candidate, succeeding his father. He was an MP until 1997, and then elevated to the House of Lords. Never a frontbencher, Janner was particularly known for his work on Select Committees; he chaired the Select Committee on Employment for a time. He was associated with a number of Jewish organisations including the Board of Deputies of British Jews, of which he was chairman from 1978 to 1984, and was later prominent in the field of education about the Holocaust.
Walter Menzies Campbell, Baron Campbell of Pittenweem,, often known as Ming Campbell, is a British Liberal Democrat politician, advocate and former athlete. He was the Member of Parliament (MP) for North East Fife from 1987 to 2015 and was the Leader of the Liberal Democrats from 2 March 2006 until 15 October 2007.
Ivan Lewis is a British politician. He has been Member of Parliament (MP) for Bury South since 1997.
Essex man and Mondeo man are stereotypical figures which were popularised in 1990s England. "Essex man" as a political figure is an example of a type of median voter and was used to help explain the electoral successes of Margaret Thatcher in the previous decade. The closely related "Mondeo man" was identified as the sort of voter the Labour Party needed to attract to win the election of 1997.
Lee Scott is a British Conservative Party politician. He was the Member of Parliament (MP) for Ilford North from 2005 until his defeat at the 2015 general election. Scott is an officer of the Conservative Friends of Israel.
The Quartet on the Middle East or Middle East Quartet, sometimes called the Diplomatic Quartet or Madrid Quartet or simply the Quartet, is a foursome of nations and international and supranational entities involved in mediating the Israeli–Palestinian peace process. The Quartet comprises the United Nations, the United States, the European Union, and Russia. The group was established in Madrid in 2002, recalling Madrid Conference of 1991, as a result of the escalating conflict in the Middle East. The Quartet's current Special Envoy is Kito de Boer, who assumed the position after the resignation of Tony Blair in 2015.
Labour Friends of Israel (LFI) is a group in the Parliament of the United Kingdom that promotes support for a strong bilateral relationship between Britain and Israel, and seeks to strengthen ties between the British Labour Party and the Israeli Labor Party. LFI supports a two-state solution to the Israeli–Palestinian conflict, with Israel recognised and secure within its borders, and the establishment of a viable Palestinian state. As of May 2019 it includes about 80 MPs from either the Labour Party or from Change UK, or who sit as independents.
The 2006-2007 Life Peerages scandal was a political scandal in the United Kingdom in 2006 and 2007 concerning the connection between political donations and the award of life peerages. A loophole in electoral law in the United Kingdom means that although anyone donating even small sums of money to a political party has to declare this as a matter of public record, those loaning money at commercial rates of interest did not have to make a public declaration.
The Labour Leader's Office Fund was a blind trust established and run by Lord Levy to finance Tony Blair's work in opposition before the 1997 general election. Contributors to it included the millionaires Sir Trevor Chinn, Sir Emmanuel Kaye, Alex Bernstein and Bob Gavron, the latter two of whom later received peerages.
Sir Emmanuel Kaye was a millionaire British industrialist and philanthropist.
The premiership of Tony Blair began on 2 May 1997 and ended upon his resignation on 27 June 2007. Whilst serving as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Tony Blair concurrently served as the First Lord of the Treasury, the Minister for the Civil Service, the Leader of the Labour Party and the Member of Parliament for Sedgefield. He remains a Privy Counsellor, having first been appointed in July 1994 when he became Leader of the Opposition. Blair is the Labour Party's longest-serving Prime Minister, the only Labour Prime Minister to have led the party to victory since 1974, and—having led the party to three consecutive general election victories—also the only Labour Prime Minister to serve two full consecutive terms. Blair is both credited with and criticised for moving the Labour Party towards the centre of British politics, using the term "New Labour" to distinguish his pro-market policies from the more socialist policies which the party had espoused in the past.
Jonathan Neil Mendelsohn, Baron Mendelsohn is a British lobbyist and Labour political organiser. He was appointed the Director of General Election Resources for the party in 2007.
The Israel lobby in the United Kingdom is the diverse coalition of those who, as individuals and/or groups, seek to influence the foreign policy of the United Kingdom to strengthen bilateral ties with Israel, or in support of Zionism, Israel, or the specific policies of its government. The term Israel lobby itself has been subject to debate and criticism over its clarity and exact definition.
The Jewish Leadership Council is an organization in the United Kingdom, founded in 2003, which aims to forward the interests of the organised Jewish community in Britain. The Council was founded by its first Chairman, then President of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, Henry Grunwald QC and an array of other senior UK Jewish leaders. The Council acts as an umbrella group for various Jewish community organizations, charities, Zionist and pro-Israel advocacy groups.
George Galloway is a British politician, broadcaster and writer. Between 1987 and 2015, with a gap in 2010–12, he represented four constituencies as a Member of Parliament, elected as a candidate for the Labour Party and later the Respect Party.
David Martin Abrahams is an English property developer and political activist.
Howard Darryl Leigh, Baron Leigh of Hurley is a British businessman, Conservative Party politician, and since September 2013 a member of the House of Lords. He is the Co-founder and Senior Partner of Cavendish Corporate Finance.
|Wikiquote has quotations related to: Michael Levy, Baron Levy|