Maria Eagle

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Maria Eagle
Maria Eagle MP.jpg
Shadow Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Assumed office
7 October 2013
Leader Ed Miliband
Preceded by Mary Creagh
Shadow Secretary of State for Transport
In office
8 October 2010 – 7 October 2013
Preceded by Sadiq Khan
Succeeded by Mary Creagh
Shadow Solicitor General
In office
11 May 2010 – 8 October 2010
Leader Harriet Harman
Ed Miliband
Preceded by Jonathan Djanogly
Succeeded by Catherine McKinnell
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Ministry of Justice (also in the Government Equalities Office)
In office
10 June 2009 – 11 March 2010
Prime Minister Gordon Brown
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Ministry of Justice
In office
28 June 2007 – 10 June 2009
Prime Minister Gordon Brown
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Northern Ireland Office
In office
8 May 2006 – 28 June 2007
Prime Minister Tony Blair
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Department for Work and Pensions (Children and Families)
In office
17 June 2005 – 8 May 2006
Prime Minister Tony Blair
Minister of State for Social Security (Minister for Disabled People)
In office
11 June 2001 – 17 June 2005
Prime Minister Tony Blair
Preceded by Margaret Hodge
Succeeded by Anne McGuire
Member of Parliament
for Garston and Halewood
Liverpool Garston (1997–2010)
Assumed office
1 May 1997
Preceded by Eddie Loyden
Majority 16,877 (39.4%)
Personal details
Born (1961-02-17) 17 February 1961 (age 54)
Bridlington, East Riding of Yorkshire, England
Nationality British
Political party Labour
Alma mater Pembroke College, Oxford
Religion None

Maria Eagle (born 17 February 1961) is a British Labour Party politician who is the Member of Parliament (MP) for Garston and Halewood.

She has held the rank of Minister of State at both the Government Equalities Office and the Ministry of Justice. She was previously a Minister at the Department for Work and Pensions, the Department for Education and Skills, and the Northern Ireland Office. After the 2010 general election she became the Shadow Solicitor General.[1] On 8 October 2010, Eagle was announced as the Shadow Secretary of State for Transport in Ed Miliband's new shadow cabinet. She is, as of 7 October 2013, Shadow Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

Early life[edit]

Eagle was born in Bridlington, East Riding of Yorkshire.[2] The daughter of a printworker, she was educated at St Peter's Church of England School in Formby and Formby High School before attending Pembroke College, Oxford, where she was awarded a Bachelor of Arts degree in Philosophy, Politics and Economics in 1983.[3]

She then went to The College of Law, London, where she took her law finals in 1990.[citation needed] She was a solicitor in the voluntary sector from 1983,[citation needed] before she joined Brian Thompson & Partners in Liverpool as an articled clerk in 1990.[citation needed] In 1992 she became a solicitor with Goldsmith Williams in Liverpool,[citation needed] and later the senior solicitor at Steven Irving & Co also in Liverpool,[citation needed] where she remained until her election to Westminster. Before entering parliament, Eagle concentrated on housing issues whilst a solicitor.[citation needed]

Political life[edit]

Eagle joined the Labour Party in 1978,[citation needed] and was elected the secretary of the Crosby Constituency Labour Party (CLP) for two years in 1983,[4] and was also elected as the campaigns organiser with that CLP for three years in 1993.[4] She unsuccessfully contested the Crosby seat at the 1992 general election[4] where she was defeated by the sitting Conservative MP Malcolm Thornton by 14,806 votes.[citation needed]

For the following election Eagle was selected to stand for Labour in Garston through an all-women shortlist.[5][6] She was elected to the House of Commons at the 1997 general election at Liverpool Garston[4] following the retirement of the veteran Labour MP Edward Loyden.[citation needed] Eagle held the seat with a majority of 18,417 and remained the MP until the constituency was abolished in 2010.[4] She made her maiden speech on 17 June 1997.[7]

Parliamentary career[edit]

In parliament Eagle was a member of the Public Accounts Committee following her initial election,[4] and in 1999 she was appointed the Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Minister of State at the Department of Health, John Hutton.[4] She was promoted to the Tony Blair government following the 2001 general election as a Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Department for Work and Pensions,[4] and after the 2005 general election, she was the Minister for Children at the Department for Education and Skills,[4] until the May 2006 reshuffle moved her to Northern Ireland,[4] where she was Minister for more than one department at a time, including a period at the Department for Employment and Learning, on 29 June 2007 she moved to the Ministry of Justice. As part of the reshuffle of Gordon Brown's government in October 2008, she assumed additional responsibility for the Government Equalities Office.[4] In the June 2009 reshuffle she was promoted to Minister of State within the justice department.[4]

When she was first elected to parliament in 1997 she joined her twin sister, Angela Eagle, who had been elected at the previous parliament, to serve as one of the first set of twins in the House of Commons.[citation needed] Another set of sisters, Sylvia Heal and Ann Keen, had both been elected at the 1997 election,[citation needed] also, meaning that neither pair of sisters holds the record for being the first.

She has called for the ban on mink fur farming.[8]

After Labour lost the 2010 general election she served in interim Labour leader Harriet Harman's front bench as Shadow Solicitor General[9] and Shadow Justice Minister.[4] In October 2010 Eagle was elected to the Shadow Cabinet of new Labour Party leader Ed Miliband as Shadow Secretary of State for Transport in the Labour Party Shadow Cabinet election.[10]

Maria Eagle was nominated for the Stonewall Politician of the Year Award in 2008 for her work to support equality for lesbian, gay and bisexual people.[11] She was given a score of 93% in favour of lesbian, gay and bisexual equality by Stonewall.[12] On 5 February 2013 MP Maria Eagle voted in favour in the House of Commons Second Reading vote on marriage equality in Britain.[13]

Expenses controversy[edit]

On 17 May 2009 The Daily Telegraph revealed that Eagle had claimed £3,500 for the refurbishment of the bathroom of her Liverpool home property, then switched her second home designation to a different property just four months later. Eagle voted in favour of legislation which would have kept MPs' expenses information secret.[14]

Personal life[edit]

Like her twin sister Angela, Maria Eagle is a very able chess player having played for England,[15] and a keen cricketer.[15]


  1. ^ Opposition Front Bench Labour Party
  2. ^ "The Biography of Angela Eagle". Angela Eagle. 2008. Retrieved 17 October 2010. 
  3. ^
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Biography - Maria Eagle UK Parliament
  5. ^
  6. ^ Rentoul, John; Ward, Stephen; MacIntyre, Donald (9 January 1996). "Labour blow as all-women lists outlawed". The Independent (London). 
  7. ^ Hansard Debates for 17 June 1997 UK Parliament
  8. ^ Hansard Debates for 05 Mar 1999 UK Parliament
  9. ^ Thornberry among new Labour front benchers, 28 May 2010
  10. ^ Cooper tops shadow cabinet vote BBC News, 7 October 2010
  11. ^ Shaw, Milly (23 September 2008). "Stonewall Awards shortlist announced". Lesbilicious. Retrieved 27 February 2013. 
  12. ^ "Stonewall MP Voting Records 2010 (Voting on key gay equality issues in Parliament, 2005 to date". p. 6. Retrieved 27 February 2013. 
  13. ^ "House of Commons Hansard Debates for 05 Feb 2013 (pt 0004)". 5 Feb 2013 : Column 231. Retrieved 27 February 2013. 
  14. ^ Sawer, Patrick (17 May 2009). "Maria Eagle: bathroom renovated on expenses before flat was 'flipped'". Daily Telegraph (London). Retrieved 12 May 2010. 
  15. ^ a b Wynne-Jones, Ros (13 June 2009). "Yes, twinister: Meet political sister act.. Angela and Maria Eagle". (London: MGN Limited). Retrieved 17 October 2010. 


External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Edward Loyden
Member of Parliament for Liverpool Garston
Constituency abolished
New constituency Member of Parliament for Garston and Halewood
2010 – present
Political offices
Preceded by
Margaret Hodge
Minister for Children
Succeeded by
Beverley Hughes
Preceded by
Margaret Hodge
Minister of State for Social Security (Minister for Disabled People)
Succeeded by
Anne McGuire