Esther McVey

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The Right Honourable
Esther McVey
Official portrait of Esther McVey crop 2.jpg
Deputy Chief Government Whip
Treasurer of the Household
Assumed office
2 November 2017
Prime Minister Theresa May
Preceded by Julian Smith
Chair of the British Transport Police Authority
In office
19 November 2015 – 2 May 2017
Deputy Brian Phillpott
Mark Phillips
Preceded by Millie Banerjee
Succeeded by Mark Phillips (Acting)
Minister of State for Employment
In office
7 October 2013 – 8 May 2015
Prime Minister David Cameron
Preceded by Mark Hoban
Succeeded by Priti Patel
Parliamentary Undersecretary of State for Disabilities
In office
4 September 2012 – 7 October 2013
Prime Minister David Cameron
Preceded by Maria Miller
Succeeded by Mike Penning (Minister of State for Disabled People)
Member of Parliament
for Tatton
Assumed office
9 June 2017
Preceded by George Osborne
Majority 14,787 (30.1%)
Member of Parliament
for Wirral West
In office
6 May 2010 – 7 May 2015
Preceded by Stephen Hesford
Succeeded by Margaret Greenwood
Personal details
Born Esther Louise McVey
(1967-10-24) 24 October 1967 (age 50)
Liverpool, England
Political party Conservative
Alma mater Queen Mary University of London
City University London
Liverpool John Moores University

Esther Louise McVey (born 24 October 1967) is a British Conservative Party politician. She was elected as the Member of Parliament (MP) for Tatton in 2017. Previously she was MP for Wirral West from 2010 until losing the seat in 2015.

A former Minister of State at the Employment (2013–15), McVey was appointed a privy councillor in February 2014 and the following July was accorded the further privilege of attending Cabinet by the Prime Minister. She had previously served the Cameron–Clegg coalition as Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Disabled People (2012–13).[1]

Before entering politics, McVey was a television presenter and businesswoman.

Early life and career[edit]

McVey, of Irish Catholic descent,[2] was born in Liverpool and educated at the Belvedere School, before reading Law at Queen Mary University of London (LLB) and Radio Journalism at City University London (MA). In July 2009, McVey graduated with the degree of MSc (with Distinction) in Corporate Governance from Liverpool John Moores University, and also won the North of England Excellence Award[3] for her work.

From 2000 to 2006, McVey was a director of her family's Liverpool-based construction business J. G. McVey & Co. (run by her father)[4] which specialised in demolition and site clearance,[5] land reclamation and regeneration. In 2003, the firm received two immediate prohibition safety notices with which the company complied.[6]

Media career[edit]

McVey returned to the family business after university, while undertaking a postgraduate course in Radio Journalism at City University, before embarking on a career in the media, both as a presenter and producer.[7]

McVey was a co-presenter of the summer holiday Children's BBC strand But First This in 1991, and has subsequently presented and produced a wide range of programmes, co-hosting GMTV, BBC1's science entertainment series How Do They Do That?, 5's Company, The Heaven and Earth Show, Shopping City, BBC2's youth current affairs programme Reportage, and Channel 4's legal series Nothing But The Truth with Ann Widdecombe. McVey has debated at the Oxford Union and took part in Eve Ensler's The Vagina Monologues at the Empire Theatre, Liverpool.[citation needed]

McVey returned to Liverpool and set up her own business, Making It (UK) Ltd,[8] which provides training for small and medium enterprises, as well as providing office space for new startup businesses which led to her founding "Winning Women",[9] supported by funding from the North West Regional Development Agency.[10]

A supporter of Conservative Way Forward,[11] a Thatcherite organisation, McVey was selected to stand as the Conservative Party candidate in the 2005 general election for the Wirral West constituency, but lost to the sitting Labour MP Stephen Hesford by 1,097 votes.[citation needed]

Parliamentary career[edit]

First term (2010–15)[edit]

In the 2010 general election, McVey gained Wirral West defeating the Labour candidate, Phil Davies, by a 2,436 majority (16,726 votes cast, 42.5% vote share).[12] In 2010, McVey was Parliamentary Private Secretary to then-Employment Minister Chris Grayling.[13] From September 2012 to October 2013, she was Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Work and Pensions.[citation needed]

In December 2013, she was formally reprimanded for using House of Commons notepaper and postage to electioneer for the Conservative Party; she apologised and repaid the £300 costs.[14]

At his 7 October 2013 reshuffle, David Cameron appointed her Minister of State for Employment in the Department for Work and Pensions. McVey was sworn into the Privy Council on 27 February 2014.[15]

In April 2014, McVey was criticised on social media for attacking the Wirral Labour Group in a tweet published while a memorial service for the Hillsborough disaster was being held at Anfield. Later, in a radio interview with BBC Radio Merseyside, she expressed regret over the mistiming of her communication and also stated that she did not personally send the tweet.[16]

John McDonnell, the current Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer,[17] in 2014 discussed a "Sack Esther McVey Day" among Labour activists and politicians, saying that "a whole group in the audience" argued 'Why are we sacking her? Why aren't we lynching the bastard?'"[18] Conservative Party chairman Grant Shapps requested Labour to withdraw the whip following the "sickening demand, in public, for a violent attack on an MP".[18] McDonnell described McVey as "the stain of inhumanity" in a Commons debate in 2015. "I simply reported what was shouted out at a public meeting", he said about his earlier comments.[19] The issue reemerged in September 2016 when Labour MP Jess Phillips was interviewed by LBC. While disagreeing with McVey's politics, she described McDonnell's comments as "utterly despicable", and added "I cannot imagine why he refuses to apologise".[17]

Out of parliament (2015–17)[edit]

In the 2015 general election McVey was defeated by the Labour candidate Margaret Greenwood who gained the Wirral West seat by 417 votes.[20][21]

After losing her seat, McVey took up the post of chair of the British Transport Police Authority from November 2015, on a four-year contract with a three months' notice requirement. However, 10 days after it was announced that a 2017 general election would take place, McVey resigned the post having been paid between £86,000 and £89,000 in 15 months. Between the elections she also had part-time jobs as a special adviser to two investment firms and a fellowship at the University of Hull.[22]

Second term (2017–present)[edit]

In April 2017, McVey was selected to succeed George Osborne as the Conservative candidate for the June 2017 general election in his safe seat of Tatton.[23] She was elected, with around the same vote share as Osborne gained in 2015 (58.6%), but with a decreased majority. In a reshuffle prompted by Michael Fallon's resignation as Secretary of State for Defence in the wake of sexual assault allegations, and in which former Chief Whip Gavin Williamson replaced Fallon and his deputy Julian Smith replaced Williamson; McVey was appointed Deputy Chief Government Whip.

Personal life[edit]

McVey lives in West Kirby, Wirral. When in London, she formerly shared a flat in Pimlico with Conservative colleague, Philip Davies.[24] The arrangement ended when McVey lost her first seat at the 2015 general election.[25]

A longstanding friend of Kate McCann, McVey helped her family set up the Madeleine McCann Fund, becoming a founding trustee.[26]


  1. ^ "Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Disabled People". Retrieved 20 November 2016. 
  2. ^ "House of Commons Hansard Debates for 21 Jun 2012 (pt 0001)". 
  3. ^ North of England Excellence (1 April 2015). "Overview". 
  4. ^ "Esther McVey". 
  5. ^ "Esther McVey selected as Parliamentary Candidate". Wirral West Conservatives. 
  6. ^ Wall, Tom (9 October 2013). "McVey loses safety brief". Environmental Health News. Retrieved 20 November 2016. 
  7. ^ Odone, Cristina (16 February 2014). "Esther McVey: 'Marriage never came my way. I don't know why'". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 20 November 2016. 
  8. ^ "The Pool of business at the House". 
  9. ^ "Winning Women – About Us". Winning Women. Archived from the original on 17 September 2008. Retrieved 19 August 2008. 
  10. ^ Collinson, Dawn (29 November 2010). "MP Esther McVey launches a magazine to inspire teenage girls". Liverpool Echo. Retrieved 20 November 2016. 
  11. ^ Hope, Christopher (15 July 2014). "Pen portraits of the 10 Conservative women ministers who were promoted in the reshuffle". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 27 April 2017. 
  12. ^ "UK General Election Wirral West Vote Result". BBC. 
  13. ^ "Government publishes list of Parliamentary Private Secretaries". Government of the United Kingdom. 17 November 2010. 
  14. ^ Eden, Richard (1 December 2013). "Tory rising star Esther McVey is formally reprimanded". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 20 November 2016. 
  15. ^ "Privy Council appointments: February 2014" (Press release). Office of the Prime Minister. 27 February 2014. Retrieved 21 July 2014. 
  16. ^ Johnson, Mark (11 April 2014). "Wirral MP Esther McVey in social media storm after sending out party-political tweet during Hillsborough service". Liverpool Echo. Retrieved 15 April 2014. 
  17. ^ a b Whale, Sebastian (26 September 2016). "Jess Phillips condemns John McDonnell over 'utterly despicable' Esther McVey remarks". Politics Home. Retrieved 27 April 2017. 
  18. ^ a b Coates, Sam (14 November 2014). "Labour refuses to sack MP for lynching joke". The Times. Retrieved 27 April 2017.  (subscription required)
  19. ^ Asthana, Anushka (25 September 2016). "McDonnell defends calling Tory MP 'stain of inhumanity'". The Guardian. Retrieved 27 April 2017. 
  20. ^ Carter, Helen (8 May 2015). "Conservative Esther McVey loses her Wirral seat by just over 400 votes". The Independent. Retrieved 20 November 2016. 
  21. ^ Bartlett, David (8 May 2015). "Esther McVey Lost: What went wrong in Wirral West?". Liverpool Echo. Retrieved 20 November 2016. 
  22. ^ "McVey's paydays". Private Eye. London: Pressdram Ltd. 25 August 2017. 
  23. ^ "Esther McVey selected to contest Tatton for Conservatives". BBC News. 26 April 2017. Retrieved 27 April 2017. 
  24. ^ "Former wife of Shipley MP is expecting baby". Keighley News. 6 April 2013. Retrieved 3 October 2013. 
  25. ^ "Philip Davies moves on from Esther McVey – Spectator Blogs". Spectator Blogs. Retrieved 25 October 2015. 
  26. ^ "Esther McVey". 

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Stephen Hesford
Member of Parliament
for Wirral West

Succeeded by
Margaret Greenwood
Preceded by
George Osborne
Member of Parliament
for Tatton

Political offices
Preceded by
Maria Miller
Undersecretary of State for Disabilities
Succeeded by
Mike Penning
as Minister of State for Disabilities
Preceded by
Mark Hoban
Minister of State for Employment
Succeeded by
Priti Patel
Preceded by
Julian Smith
Deputy Chief Whip of the House of Commons
Treasurer of the Household