Kate Hoey

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The Baroness Hoey
Official portrait of Baroness Hoey crop 1.jpg
Official Portrait, 2022
Chair of the Northern Ireland Affairs Select Committee
15 May 2019 – 12 June 2019
Preceded byAndrew Murrison
Succeeded bySimon Hoare
Minister for Sport
In office
20 October 1999 – 7 June 2001
Prime MinisterTony Blair
Preceded byTony Banks
Succeeded byRichard Caborn
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department
In office
28 July 1998 – 29 July 1999
Prime MinisterTony Blair
Preceded byThe Lord Williams of Mostyn
Succeeded byThe Lord Bassam of Brighton
Member of the House of Lords
Life peerage
13 October 2020
Member of Parliament
for Vauxhall
In office
15 June 1989 – 6 November 2019
Preceded byStuart Holland
Succeeded byFlorence Eshalomi
Personal details
Born (1946-06-21) 21 June 1946 (age 76)
Mallusk, County Antrim, Northern Ireland
Political partyNon-affiliated (2020–present)[1]
Labour (before 2019)
ResidenceNorthern Ireland
Alma materUniversity of Ulster
London Guildhall University

Catharine Letitia Hoey, Baroness Hoey[2] (born 21 June 1946), better known as Kate Hoey, is a Northern Irish politician and life peer who served as Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Home Affairs from 1998 to 1999 and Minister for Sport from 1999 to 2001. A former member of the Labour Party, she was Member of Parliament (MP) for Vauxhall from 1989 to 2019.

Early life[edit]

Hoey was born in Mallusk, County Antrim,[3] and studied at Belfast Royal Academy and the Ulster College of Physical Education.[4] She has a degree in Economics earned at London Guildhall University, and was a Vice-President of the National Union of Students.[5]


Hoey has a longstanding interest in sport. She was the 1966 Northern Ireland high jump champion[6] and has worked for football clubs including Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur, Queens Park Rangers, Chelsea and Brentford as an educational advisor. Before entering Parliament, she was educational adviser to Arsenal FC from 1985 to 1989.

Political career[edit]

Hoey was one of the early members of the Newtownabbey Labour Party during the mid-1970s which left its parent organisation, the Northern Ireland Labour Party (NILP), in 1974.[citation needed] Prior to being a member of the British Labour Party, Hoey was a member of the International Marxist Group, whose policies included support for a united Ireland.[7]

As a member of the Labour Party (UK), she unsuccessfully contested Dulwich at the 1983 and 1987 general elections, being defeated by the Conservative Gerald Bowden, on the second occasion by only 180 votes. In 1989, she was elected at the Vauxhall by-election precipitated by the resignation of Stuart Holland. Martha Osamor had the most nominations, with Hoey only having one,[8] but the National Executive Committee declined to shortlist Osamor and imposed a shortlist on the constituency party. When the local party refused to choose from the shortlist, Hoey was imposed by the NEC as the Labour candidate.[9]

Hoey was Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Home Office from 1998 to 1999, and Minister for Sport in the Department of Culture, Media and Sport from 1999 to 2001.

Hoey is a Eurosceptic and has often rebelled against her party.[10] She was a prominent critic of the ban on handguns[11] and, in an interview in Sporting Gun magazine, voiced her support for fox hunting.[11] She has voted against Labour government policy on the war in Iraq, foundation hospitals, Trident, university tuition and top-up fees, ID cards and extended detention without trial. She was a leading Labour rebel supporting a referendum on the EU Lisbon Treaty.[12] Hoey favours stricter controls on immigration, tougher welfare reform, withdrawal from the European Union, English votes for English laws, grammar schools, marriage tax allowances, free schools and academies.

As the chairman of the all-party parliamentary group on Zimbabwe, Hoey was a vocal critic of the government of Robert Mugabe. In 2005, she called on Tony Blair to put diplomatic pressure on South Africa to condemn Zimbabwean government demolitions of townships, after an unsanctioned visit to the country.[13] The Zimbabwean government threatened to jail her if she repeated her "sneak" visit.[14]

On 29 April 2008, it was announced that Hoey would form part of the team of Conservative Boris Johnson, should he become Mayor, as an unpaid non-executive director advising on sport and the 2012 Olympics.[15] The announcement was controversial both because Hoey had once said of London's Olympic bid "we don't deserve it and Paris does"[16] and because it could have been perceived as endorsing an election candidate from a rival party.[17]

Hoey nominated John McDonnell for the Labour leadership election of 2010, but on his withdrawal, she switched her nomination to Diane Abbott. However, she voted for Andy Burnham, giving Ed Miliband her second preference. In the 2015 Labour election, Hoey supported Andy Burnham and Caroline Flint for the leadership and deputy leadership, saying that she could not see Liz Kendall as a Prime Minister.[citation needed] In 2016, Hoey was one of few Labour MPs who did not vote no confidence in Jeremy Corbyn's leadership of the party. She supported him in the ensuing leadership contest.

On 8 July 2019, Hoey announced that she would retire from the House of Commons, and would not seek re-election as a Labour candidate at the next general election.[18]

In July 2020, Hoey was nominated for a life peerage in the House of Lords in the 2019 Dissolution Honours and was created Baroness Hoey, of Lylehill and Rathlin in the County of Antrim, on 14 September 2020.[19]

On 23 August 2021, Prime Minister Boris Johnson appointed Baroness Hoey as the UK's trade envoy to Ghana.[20]

LGBT+ rights[edit]

In 2010, Hoey was described as "the least gay-friendly of all Labour MPs" by the chief executive of Stonewall.[21] However, she voted in favour of same-sex marriage in 2013.[22]

In 2017, Hoey sparked criticism from LGBT advocates after it emerged she had liked a swastika-emblazoned Pride flag on Twitter. She stated that the tweet was "liked in error" and later apologised.[23]

In March 2019, Hoey abstained on a vote to allow LGBT+ inclusive education in schools.[24] When asked why by Vice News, she stated that it was "going to pass anyway".[25]

In July 2019, she was the only Labour MP to have voted against allowing abortion and same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland.[26][better source needed]


Hoey advocated the United Kingdom leaving the European Union during the campaign for the EU membership referendum held on 23 June 2016. She pointed to Labour's earlier Euroscepticism "from Attlee to Foot" in The Independent and changes in European bodies since Jacques Delors' advocacy of a "social Europe" to refute the claim that Eurosceptism was a movement of the right.[27] She later extended these views, characterising the EU as a "part of the global movement to remove democratic resistance to capitalism" and as fascism, in a Heat Street/blog article[28] written after the EU referendum, deleted from her blog.

Originally active in Labour Leave as a co-chair, Hoey resigned in February 2016 following internal disagreements.[29] Soon afterwards, she became active in Grassroots Out, along with then-UKIP leader Nigel Farage and George Galloway, then-leader of the Respect Party.[30] In her Vauxhall constituency, an estimated 78% voted to remain in the EU.[31][32] Her Constituency Labour Party (CLP) stated in February 2017 that she was insufficiently opposing Conservative government policy on child refugees and the residency rights of EU nationals after the UK leaves.[33]

The following month, Hoey was one of 70 parliamentary signatories to a letter sent to the Director-General of the BBC, Lord Hall of Birkenhead, along with two Labour colleagues and many Conservative politicians, which was critical of the BBC for running stories biased against Brexit.[34] Since then she has continued to criticise the BBC, accusing them of being "embittered Remainers" "taking delight" in "undermining our country". Fellow Labour MP Wes Streeting responded that it was "Orwellian" to expect broadcasters to "act as cheerleaders for the government".[35]

During an interview on BBC Radio 4's Today programme in November 2017, Hoey commented that the Irish border problem – how to avoid a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, post-Brexit, whilst avoiding a border in the Irish Sea between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK – would be solved if the Republic of Ireland also left the EU. Addressing Senator Neale Richmond, Fine Gael spokesperson on European affairs in Seanad Éireann, Hoey said, "We joined the EU together, you joined when we joined, and I wouldn't be a bit surprised if we leave and when we are very successful that you don't start thinking about leaving as well".[36]

Hoey attracted criticism again from within the Labour Party and from Irish political figures in February 2018 after she said the Good Friday Agreement was "not sustainable in the long term". These comments followed similar remarks by Eurosceptic Conservative politicians Daniel Hannan and Owen Paterson. Simon Coveney, the Republic of Ireland's Tánaiste (deputy head of government) and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, condemned the comments as "not only irresponsible but reckless". Owen Smith, the Shadow Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, said the remarks by Hannan, Paterson and Hoey were a "concerted, transparent effort to undermine the GFA... driven by their blind, misplaced faith in Brexit" and were "reckless and utterly wrong".[37]

On 17 July 2018, Hoey was one of five Labour MPs who defied the Labour whip in order to vote with the government on a Brexit amendment, which, if passed, would have required the UK to remain a member of a customs union with the EU in the event of no other arrangements on free trade and no arrangements for no hard border in Ireland. The UK Government was against this amendment, but would have lost the vote without Hoey and the other Labour rebels, who possibly saved the Government from defeat.[38][39] A few days later her CLP members passed a motion calling for her Labour whip to be withdrawn and for her to become ineligible to be a future Labour parliamentary candidate.[40]

On 3 September 2019, Hoey and John Mann were the only Labour MPs to vote with the Government in an attempt to prevent MPs from taking control of the House in an attempt to block a potential no deal Brexit.[41] In November 2019, Hoey said she would be voting for the Democratic Unionist Party in the December general election in Northern Ireland. She also endorsed the Conservative Party and Boris Johnson, stating that Labour "would not keep faith with the British people".[42]

In June 2021, Hoey claimed that the Republic of Ireland "will probably decide to leave" in the short term following the UK's departure from the EU.[43]

Other interests[edit]

Hoey in 2010, at the launch of the Blue Badge 2012 Guided Tours for the 2012 Summer Olympics

Hoey is known for her objection to the Labour Government's ban of fox hunting: a rare position among Labour MPs.[44] On 22 July 2005, she was named the new chairman of the Countryside Alliance (a British group known for its pro-hunting stance).[45] She said the appointment was a "great honour and a great challenge". The Alliance's headquarters are in Hoey's Vauxhall constituency.[46] This appointment was controversial in the Labour Party as the Countryside Alliance was seen to be behind a campaign to unseat Labour MPs at the 2005 election. Hoey stepped down in 2015 saying "I am sad to be resigning after more than nine years as chairman of the Countryside Alliance. The organisation has achieved much in that time, but I will always be most proud that having joined when hunting faced such uncertainty, I leave with new generations queuing up to join the hunting field."[47]

Hoey is patron of Roots & Shoots, a vocational training centre for young people in Lambeth.[48]

Hoey has been a trustee of the Outward Bound charity since October 2002.[49]

A vice-president of the Great Britain Wheelchair Basketball Association, Hoey is a supporter of the women's national team and the work of the charity.

In December 2018 she became patron of the Professional Paralegal Register.[50]

In October 2013, Hoey was fined £240 for driving through a red light having previously criticised cyclists as "Lycra louts that run red lights".[51][52] Hoey wants all cyclists to pay tax[51] and be registered so they have a registration number:

What I do genuinely think, and the cycling lobby should argue for it too, is that everyone who rides a bicycle, particularly as a form of transport to work, should be registered, so their bike has a registration number. At the moment if someone does knock down an old lady and rides off no one can trace that person.[51]

Government and parliamentary positions[edit]

Additionally, Hoey was a member of several select committees during her time as a Member of Parliament, including: the European Scrutiny Committee, the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee, the Public Administration Committee, the Social Security Committee and the Science and Technology Committee.

In popular culture[edit]

Hoey's role on the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Select Committee was dramatised in the 2017 verbatim musical Committee: (A New Musical), which retold the downfall of the charity Kids Company and which was first performed at the Donmar Warehouse. Hoey was portrayed by actor Rosemary Ashe.[53]


  1. ^ @CatharineHoey (14 December 2019). "I will not have a vote for Labours new Leader as no longer a member of @UKLabour but with @CarolineFlintMP not an MP there would have been no-one I could have supported anyway" (Tweet). Retrieved 14 December 2019 – via Twitter.
  2. ^ "Kate Hoey chooses title of Baroness of Lylehill & Rathlin after townland of her idyllic childhood". www.newsletter.co.uk. Retrieved 15 September 2021.
  3. ^ "New Minister brings her sporty spark into the game of politics". The Irish Times. 7 August 1999. Retrieved 14 December 2017.
  4. ^ "Interview: Kate Hoey". The Guardian. 30 April 2001. Retrieved 8 September 2017.
  5. ^ "Kate Hoey". politics.co.uk.
  6. ^ "Northern Irish Championships". gbrathletics.com. Retrieved 26 April 2017.
  7. ^ Staunton, Denis (10 December 2017). "Kate Hoey: an Antrim-born MP who said Ireland should pay for Border". The Irish Times.
  8. ^ "Martha Osamor: unsung hero of Britain's black struggle – Institute of Race Relations". www.irr.org.uk.
  9. ^ Rye, Danny (2014). Political Parties and the Concept of Power: A Theoretical Framework. Basingstoke, Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan. p. 92.
  10. ^ "The Public Whip website". Publicwhip.org.uk. Retrieved 13 April 2010.
  11. ^ a b Sapsted, David (2 January 2001). "Hoey criticises ban on handguns". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 27 March 2015.
  12. ^ "House of Commons Hansard Debates for 21 Jan 2008 (pt 0022)". Parliament of the United Kingdom.
  13. ^ "Blair pressed on Zimbabwe stance". BBC. 16 June 2005. Retrieved 27 March 2015.
  14. ^ "Zimbabwe threatens to jail Hoey for 'sneak' trip". The Daily Telegraph. 7 October 2006. Retrieved 27 March 2015.
  15. ^ "Labour Hoey would help Tory mayor", BBC News, 29 April 2008. Retrieved 29 April 2008.
  16. ^ Hart, Simon (4 May 2008). "Fury over role for Kate Hoey". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 27 March 2015.
  17. ^ Jones, Sam (30 April 2008). "Labour MP denies defection in mayoral campaign". The Guardian. Retrieved 27 March 2015.
  18. ^ @KateHoeyMP (8 July 2019). "Whoever is fortunate enough to be the next MP for Vauxhall I wish them well" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  19. ^ "Baroness Hoey". UK Parliament. Retrieved 14 September 2020.
  20. ^ "PM announces new Trade Envoys to boost British business around the world". GOV.UK (Press release). 23 August 2021. Retrieved 23 August 2021.
  21. ^ Summerskill, Ben (24 March 2010). "Gay-friendly? MPs lag behind Britain". The Guardian. London.
  22. ^ "MP-by-MP: Gay marriage vote". BBC News. 5 February 2013.
  23. ^ "Exclusive: Labour veteran denies deliberately 'liking' swastika Pride flag". 29 May 2017.
  24. ^ "Who didn't vote in favour of LGBT-inclusive education and why?". LabourList. 28 March 2019.
  25. ^ "56 MPs Didn't Vote for LGBT-Friendly Sex Ed – We Asked Them All Why". VICE. 29 November 2019. Retrieved 27 May 2020.
  26. ^ "Northern Ireland (Executive Formation) Bill — Lords Amendments — Abortion — Marriage and Civil Partnerships — Transparency etc.: Recent Votes". TheyWorkForYou. 18 July 2019. Retrieved 27 May 2020.
  27. ^ Hoey, Kate (9 October 2015). "Labour MP Kate Hoey: Why leaving the EU is a left-wing move". The Independent. Retrieved 25 April 2017.
  28. ^ "Kate Hoey: The Left-Wing Case For Brexit". 19 September 2016. Archived from the original on 19 September 2016. Retrieved 28 May 2019.
  29. ^ Hughes, Laura (5 February 2016). "Kate Hoey quits Brexit group after leadership row". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 25 April 2017.
  30. ^ Sims, Alexandra (21 February 2017). "George Galloway compares relationship with Nigel Farage to Churchill and Stalin". The Independent. Retrieved 25 April 2017.
  31. ^ "How the United Kingdom voted on Thursday... and why – Lord Ashcroft Polls". lordashcroftpolls.com. Retrieved 26 June 2016.
  32. ^ Franklin, Will; Holder, Josh; Osborn, Matt; Clarke, Sean; Kommenda, Niko; Franklin, Will; Holder, Josh; Osborn, Matt; Clarke, Sean (23 June 2016). "EU referendum full results – find out how your area voted". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 26 June 2016.
  33. ^ Murphy, Joe (27 February 2017). "Brexit MP Kate Hoey denounced by her own constituency party". London Evening Standard. Retrieved 25 April 2017.
  34. ^ Cowburn, Ashley (21 March 2017). "BBC accused of Brexit bias by more than 70 MPs in open letter". The Independent. Retrieved 25 April 2017.
  35. ^ Mann, Sebastian (19 September 2017). "Brexit-backing Labour MP Kate Hoey sparks row with 'Orwellian' BBC criticism". Evening Standard.
  36. ^ BBC Radio 4 Today programme, Monday 27 November 2017, beginning 2hrs 41ʹ48ʺ into the programme)
  37. ^ O'Carroll, Lisa (20 February 2018). "Ireland condemns Kate Hoey's 'reckless' Good Friday agreement remarks". The Guardian. Retrieved 21 February 2018.
  38. ^ Kinchen, Rosie (22 July 2018). "Kate Hoey, the Labour MP who saved the Tories". Sunday Times. London. Retrieved 27 July 2018.
  39. ^ Syal, Rajeev (18 July 2018). "Kate Hoey under pressure from Labour after siding with Tories". The Guardian. Retrieved 27 July 2018.
  40. ^ Schofield, Kevin (27 July 2018). "Kate Hoey facing deselection after Labour activists pass 'no confidence' motion over Brexit stance". PoliticsHome. Retrieved 27 July 2018.
  41. ^ "9.32 Labour's Mann on rebel vote". BBC News. 4 September 2019. Retrieved 4 September 2019.
  42. ^ "Watch: Former Labour MP Kate Hoey says she will vote DUP in General Election". Belfast Telegraph. 13 November 2019. Retrieved 23 November 2019.
  43. ^ Hope, Christopher; Wells, Louisa (18 June 2021). "Chopper's Politics: Ireland will follow the UK out of the European Union, says Brexiteer peer Kate Hoey". The Telegraph. Retrieved 9 September 2021.
  44. ^ Department of the Official Report (Hansard), House of Commons, Westminster (15 September 2004). "Hansard text". Parliament.the-stationery-office.co.uk. Archived from the original on 5 June 2011. Retrieved 13 April 2010.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  45. ^ "Our structure". Countryside Alliance. Archived from the original on 18 June 2012.
  46. ^ "Western Mail & Echo". Icwales.icnetwork.co.uk. 31 October 2006. Retrieved 13 April 2010.
  47. ^ "Kate Hoey MP to step down as Alliance Chairman" (Press release). Countryside Alliance. 24 March 2015. Archived from the original on 30 July 2018. Retrieved 30 July 2018.
  48. ^ "Roots and Shoots". rootsandshoots.org.uk.
  49. ^ The Outward Bound Trust, Marketing and Communications. "Outward Bound website". Outwardbound.org.uk. Archived from the original on 30 April 2008. Retrieved 13 April 2010.
  50. ^ "Kate Hoey MP Becomes a Patron of PPR | PPR".
  51. ^ a b c Walker, Peter (2 November 2013). "Kate Hoey: the MP who thinks cyclists should be registered (and pay road tax)". The Guardian. Retrieved 27 July 2018.
  52. ^ "Labour MP who called cyclists 'law-breakers' busted for running a red". BikeBiz. 30 October 2013. Archived from the original on 1 November 2013.
  53. ^ "Committee: (A New Musical) review – Kids Company crisis lacks drama". The Observer. Retrieved 6 July 2022.

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by Member of Parliament
for Vauxhall

Succeeded by
Political offices
Preceded by Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Home Affairs
Succeeded by
Preceded by Minister for Sport
Succeeded by
Orders of precedence in the United Kingdom
Preceded by Ladies
Baroness Hoey
Followed by
The Baroness Fleet