Catherine McKinnell

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Catherine McKinnell
Official portrait of Catherine McKinnell crop 2.jpg
Shadow Attorney General
In office
14 September 2015 – 11 January 2016
Leader Jeremy Corbyn
Preceded by The Lord Bach
Succeeded by Karl Turner
Shadow Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury
In office
15 May 2012 – 8 October 2013
Leader Ed Miliband
Preceded by Owen Smith
Succeeded by Shabana Mahmood
Member of Parliament
for Newcastle upon Tyne North
Assumed office
6 May 2010
Preceded by Doug Henderson
Majority 10,349 (21.5%)
Personal details
Born Catherine Grady
(1976-06-08) 8 June 1976 (age 42)
Newcastle upon Tyne, England, UK
Political party Labour
Alma mater University of Edinburgh
Website Official website

Catherine McKinnell (born 8 June 1976) is a British Labour Party politician who has been the Member of Parliament (MP) for Newcastle upon Tyne North since the 2010 general election.[1] She has held several Shadow Cabinet positions, including Shadow Attorney General, but resigned from this post in January 2016.[2]

Early life[edit]

McKinnell was born in Denton, Newcastle upon Tyne, where she attended the Sacred Heart Comprehensive School in Fenham.[3] She studied politics and history at the University of Edinburgh.[4]

Before her election to Parliament, McKinnell worked as an employment solicitor in the Newcastle law firm Dickinson Dees.[4]

Parliamentary career[edit]

McKinnell was first elected to Parliament at the 2010 general election for Newcastle upon Tyne North, one of 19 solicitors newly elected to the House of Commons.[5] She was elected with 40.8% of the vote, and a majority of 3,414 over her Liberal Democrat rival.[6] In October 2010, the Labour Leader Ed Miliband appointed her to the role of Shadow Solicitor General, where she was responsible for the party's response to the News International phone hacking scandal.[7] She raised questions about the Crown Prosecution Service's handling of the scandal, including a question to the Attorney General in the House of Commons asking why the CPS had refused for so long to admit that there were grounds to bring prosecutions.[8]

In October 2011, during a shadow ministerial reshuffle, Catherine McKinnell was made shadow children's minister, shadowing Tim Loughton. In that post she criticised the adoption process as too slow and called for immediate improvements in support for social workers and family courts to speed up the process.[9][10] She also accused the government of doing too little to help children for whom adoption was not suitable and following this, requested a guarantee that the government would give priority to placing children in "happy homes|.[11]

In 2012, after the resignation of Peter Hain, she was then moved to become Shadow Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, replacing Owen Smith.

McKinnell backed a campaign by ActionAid on international tax laws[12] and tabled amendments to the Budget which would have required the government to monitor the impact on developing countries of changes to so-called Controlled Foreign Companies regulations. She said, "It seems a false economy to invest ... in changes that will undermine the very progress towards which our international aid money, which increases year on year, is going."[13] In June 2012, McKinnell publicly criticised Take That singer Gary Barlow following newspaper allegations of tax avoidance made against him. McKinnell agreed that Barlow should consider returning his recently awarded OBE if allegations of tax avoidance were proven "because it doesn't send out the right messages to ordinary people who are paying their fair share of tax".[14]

She was made Shadow Attorney General in September 2015 by Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, but resigned in January 2016, citing party infighting, family reasons and the ability to speak in parliament beyond her legal portfolio.[15]

Mckinnell has been a prominent campaigner for the Women Against State Pension Inequality campaign, who, following the acceleration of the equalisation of the State Pension Age, have argued that the acceleration has happened too quickly and left female pensioners uncertain.[16] Mckinnell was also made Vice Chair of the recently established All-Party Parliamentary Group on the WASPI campaign.[17]


  1. ^ Staff writer (4 July 2009). "Two North East MPs standing down". BBC News. Retrieved 7 May 2010. 
  2. ^ Staff writer (12 January 2016). "Shadow Attorney General resigns over Labour policies". Catholic Universe. Retrieved 15 January 2016. 
  3. ^ "Catherine McKinnell". Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 23 June 2010. 
  4. ^ a b "About Catherine". Catherine McKinnell. 27 March 2015. Retrieved 10 June 2017. 
  5. ^ Baksi, Catherine (13 May 2010). "Nineteen new solicitor MPs enter House of Commons". Law Society Gazette. Retrieved 23 June 2010. 
  6. ^ "Election 2010 - Newcastle-upon-Tyne North". BBC News. Retrieved 7 May 2010. 
  7. ^ Ferguson, Mark (11 October 2010). "Junior front bench roles". Labour List. Archived from the original on 12 October 2010. Retrieved 11 October 2010. 
  8. ^ Catherine McKinnell, MP for Newcastle upon Tyne North (5 July 2011). "Oral answers to questions, Attorney-General: Contempt of Court". Parliamentary Debates (Hansard). United Kingdom: House of Commons. col. 1368–1369. 
  9. ^ Brown, Jonathan (7 May 2012). "Fostering system on the brink as number of children in care soars". The Independent. London. Retrieved 22 July 2012. 
  10. ^ Ramesh, Randeep (14 March 2012). "Councils face scorecards in adoption overhaul". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 22 July 2012. 
  11. ^ "December 2011 Archives". Catherine McKinnell MP. Retrieved 11 June 2017. 
  12. ^ Jamieson, Cathy (19 June 2012). "@CatMcKinnellMP making a thoughtful and powerful speech. In Finance Bill Ctee on CFCs and developing countries". Twitter. Retrieved 22 July 2012. 
  13. ^ Catherine McKinnell, MP for Newcastle upon Tyne North (19 June 2012). "Public Bill Committee: Finance Bill". Parliamentary Debates (Hansard). United Kingdom: House of Commons. col. 479–481. 
  14. ^ Staff writer (21 June 2012). "Cameron ducks Gary Barlow tax avoidance question". BBC News. Retrieved 21 June 2012. 
  15. ^ Staff writer (11 January 2016). "Labour's Catherine McKinnell quits shadow cabinet". BBC News. Retrieved 11 January 2016. 
  16. ^ Wearmouth, Rachel (9 December 2015). "Newcastle MP says Minister is leaving North East women 'high and dry' over State Pension age". Newcastle Evening Chronicle. Retrieved 11 June 2017. 
  17. ^ Walker, Jonathan (12 May 2016). "What our MPs are doing to help women hit by state pension age changes". Newcastle Evening Chronicle. Retrieved 11 June 2017. 

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Doug Henderson
Member of Parliament
for Newcastle upon Tyne North

Political offices
Preceded by
Owen Smith
Shadow Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury
Succeeded by
Shabana Mahmood
Preceded by
The Lord Bach
Shadow Attorney General
Succeeded by
Karl Turner