Louise Ellman was educated at the independent Manchester High School for Girls, before studying at the University of Hull where she received a BA in Sociology and History. She went on to study Social Administration at the University of York where she was awarded a Master of Philosophy in 1972. From 1970, she worked as a lecturer for the Open University in further education, leaving in 1976. She was elected as a councillor on the Lancashire County Council in 1970, becoming the Labour group leader in 1977, and she led the council from 1981 until her election to Parliament in 1997. She was Vice Chair of Lancashire Enterprises.
Louise contested the Darwen constituency at the 1979 General Election. She was elected to Parliament at the 1997 General Election for the safe seat of Liverpool Riverside, being re-elected in the 2010 contest. She has been a member of the Transport Committee and its predecessor since 1997, most recently as chairperson. Ellman is also the Chair of the Jewish Labour Movement and Vice Chair of Labour Friends of Israel and has been an active spokeswoman in Parliament on issues relating to transport, local government and the Middle East.
Louise has also played an active effort in the effort to pressure the Bulgarian government to free Michael Shields and recently, Gillian Gibbons – the teacher jailed in Sudan for blasphemy who has now been pardoned.
Louise has been married since 16 July 1967 to Geoffrey Ellman, a pharmacist. She lived in Leeds then moved to Skelmersdale in 1969. They have a son and a daughter.