Fiona Mactaggart

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Fiona Mactaggart 
MP
Fiona McTaggart MP for Slough.jpg
Member of Parliament
for Slough
Incumbent
Assumed office
1 May 1997
Preceded by John Arthur Watts
Majority 5,523 (11.6%)
Personal details
Born (1953-09-12) 12 September 1953 (age 61)
Glasgow, Lanarkshire, Scotland, UK
Nationality British
Political party Labour
Relations Sir Ian Mactaggart Bt, Sir Herbert Williams
Residence London, Isle of Islay and Slough
Alma mater The Cheltenham Ladies' College
King's College London
Profession Teaching
Website www.fionamactaggart.org.uk

Fiona Margaret Mactaggart (born 12 September 1953) is a British Labour Party politician, who has been the Member of Parliament (MP) for Slough since 1997.

Education[edit]

Cheltenham Ladies' College

While at university, Mactaggart was an outspoken member of the Young Students and Socialists Society and sought to live down her school days at The Cheltenham Ladies' College, an independent school for girls in the spa town of Cheltenham in Gloucestershire. She read for a BA in English at King's College London, an MA at the Institute of Education, Bloomsbury and a PGCE at Goldsmiths, University of London.

Mactaggart was Vice-President and National Secretary of the National Union of Students from 1978 to 1981. She was Press and Public Relations Officer for the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) for six months before being General Secretary of the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants[1] from 1982–87. She was a primary school teacher in Peckham from 1987–92, noting "I have a voice that children can hear at the other end of the playground".[2]

Mactaggart was a councillor and Leader of the Labour Group on Wandsworth Council from 1988 to 1990. From 1992–7, she was a Lecturer in Primary Education at the Institute of Education and Chair of Liberty. While a primary school teacher, she decided to become an MP, as being able to change the world "thirty kids at a time" seemed too slow for her.[3] She is a feminist.[4]

Parliamentary career[edit]

Mactaggart was elected as Labour MP for Slough in 1997. She was selected to stand for election for Labour through an all-women shortlist.[5]

From May 2003, until Mactaggart asked to leave her post in the 5 May 2006 Cabinet reshuffle, she served at the Home Office as Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State with responsibility for Criminal Justice, Race Equality and Communities and then Offender Management.

In 2004, Mactaggart attracted criticism for a reluctance to condemn violent protests by Sikhs which led to the cancellation of the play Behzti at the Birmingham Rep.[6] 1,000 protesters stormed the production, set in a temple, at the opening of the curtain, speaking on BBC Radio 4 MacTaggart stated "I think that when people are moved by theatre to protest, in a way that's a sign of the free speech which is so much part of the British tradition. I think that it's a great thing that people care enough about a performance to protest." Mactaggart also suggested the play and its author would benefit from the violent protests, adding that the controversy was "a sign of a lively flourishing cultural life."[7][8]

In November 2008, Mactaggart attracted criticism on the BBC's Today in Parliament programme for using unreliable statistics that were not fully supported by evidence when discussing the issue of prostitution.[9] Mactaggart was asked how those criminalised by a new law were supposed to know if a prostitute had been trafficked or not. She replied "I think they can guess", "something like 80% of women in prostitution are controlled by their drug dealer, their pimp, or their trafficker."[10] When questioned on her claim she stated that it "came from an official Government publication into prostitution and the sex trade".[11] However, a BBC magazine article states that "it is impossible to find that number in any research done on this subject." The Home Office have also stated that they "do not endorse or use the figure that 80 per cent of prostitutes are controlled by others".[12] The controversy continued in January 2009 with MacTaggart told the House of Commons that she regarded all women prostitutes as the victims of trafficking, because their route into the sector "almost always involves coercion, enforced addiction to drugs and violence from their pimps or traffickers." Again this claim is not supported by any known research.[13]

In May 2011, Mactaggart was criticised by the Association of Political Thought for calling some of the views of London School of Economics professor of political and gender theory Anne Phillips "frankly nauseating" because of her supposed support for prostitution. This assessment was based on the existence of a question on an LSE reading list about the ethical differences between legal waged labour and prostitution.[14][15] Mactaggart had previously caused controversy with her hard-line approach to the issue of prostitution by comparing men who use prostitutes to abusers of children, stating "I don't think most men who use prostitutes think of themselves as child abusers, but they are".[16][17][18]

In 2014 Mactaggart was appointed to the Intelligence and Security Committee.[19]

Mactaggart abstained in the September 2014 vote on whether or not to enter the war against ISIL.[20]

Personal life[edit]

Her father, the late Sir Ian Mactaggart, Bt, was a multimillionaire Glasgow property developer, Conservative candidate and Eurosceptic. Her mother's father, Sir Herbert Williams, Bt, was a Conservative Member of Parliament for 27 years. Her great-grandfather was Sir John Mactaggart, the first treasurer of the first branch of Keir Hardie's Labour Party. Her father left her a fifth of his £6.5m estate, and it is thought she is the second richest Labour MP. Critics often make an issue of MacTaggart's huge wealth, with journalist Benedict Brogan describing her as "a Scottish laird who is as wealthy as she is humourless".[21]

Mactaggart owns three homes, one in London, one on the Isle of Islay and a flat in Slough.[22] She suffers from multiple sclerosis and is an ovarian cancer survivor.[6][23] Her sister stood as a Parliamentary candidate for the Liberal Democrats in Devizes in the 1992 General Election.[24]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants | Home
  2. ^ "Fiona Mactaggart". The Guardian (London). 16 March 2001. 
  3. ^ Sylvester, Rachel (11 August 2001). "Just don't assume too much about this millionairess". The Daily Telegraph (London). 
  4. ^ ‘Rescue’: a new PC term for repatriation | Nathalie Rothschild | spiked
  5. ^ "Seats with Labour candidates from all-female shortlists". London: The Independent. 9 January 1996. Retrieved 13 June 2009. 
  6. ^ a b The Almanac of British Politics – Robert Waller, Byron Criddle – Google Books
  7. ^ Britten, Nick (22 December 2004). "Minister defends rights of protesters as Sikh play closes". The Daily Telegraph (London). 
  8. ^ Britten, Nick (22 December 2004). "Violent protests will benefit axed Sikh play, says minister". The Daily Telegraph (London). 
  9. ^ "Women in prostitution 'controlled'". BBC News. 9 January 2009. 
  10. ^ BBC iPlayer – More or Less: Sex Workers – Babylonian Numbers – Credit Crunch Maths: Journalism
  11. ^ "Fiona Mactaggart and the dodgy prostitution statistics". The Daily Telegraph (London). 9 January 2009. Retrieved 2 May 2010. 
  12. ^ "Is the number of trafficked call girls a myth?". BBC News. 9 January 2009. Retrieved 2 May 2010. 
  13. ^ Davies, Nick (20 October 2009). "Prostitution and trafficking – the anatomy of a moral panic". The Guardian (London). 
  14. ^ OurKingdom (29 May 2011). "MP attacks LSE professor over feminist political theory course". London: OurKingdom. Retrieved 31 May 2011. 
  15. ^ Hansard (18 May 2011). "Hansard Record of 18th May 2001". London: Hansard. Retrieved 31 May 2011. 
  16. ^ Zero tolerance for kerb crawlers | Manchester Evening News – menmedia.co.uk
  17. ^ Hinsliff, Gaby (15 January 2006). "Men who pay for sex are 'as bad as child abusers'". The Guardian (London). 
  18. ^ Prostitution shake-up: one sex worker's view | BMJ
  19. ^ "Fiona Mactaggart MP". UK Parliament. Retrieved 15 December 2014. 
  20. ^ "Iraq: Coalition against Isil". Hansard (UK Parliament). 26 September 2014. 26 Sep 2014 : Column 1360. Retrieved 15 December 2014. 
  21. ^ Kallenbach, Michael (23 June 2000). "Yesterday in Parliament". The Daily Telegraph (London). Retrieved 2 May 2010. 
  22. ^ Slough MP speaks out on expenses
  23. ^ House of Commons Hansard Debates for 12 Oct 2011 (pt 0001)
  24. ^ http://www.politicsresources.net/area/uk/ge92/ge92index.htm

External links[edit]


Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
John Watts
Member of Parliament for Slough
1997–present
Incumbent