Kate Hoey

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For the Thai third gender, see Kathoey
Kate Hoey
Kate Hoey, May 2009 1.jpg
Minister for Sport
In office
20 October 1999 – 7 June 2001
Prime Minister Tony Blair
Preceded by Tony Banks
Succeeded by Richard Caborn
Member of Parliament
for Vauxhall
Assumed office
15 June 1989
Preceded by Stuart Holland
Majority 10,651 (24.7%)
Personal details
Born (1946-06-21) 21 June 1946 (age 70)
Mallusk, Northern Ireland
Political party Labour
Alma mater University of Ulster
London Guildhall University
Profession Academic
Website www.katehoey.com

Catharine Letitia Hoey (born 21 June 1946) is a British Labour Party politician who has been the Member of Parliament (MP) for Vauxhall since the by-election in 1989. She served in the Blair Government as Minister for Sport from 1999 to 2001.


Born in County Antrim, she studied at Belfast Royal Academy. While attending the Ulster College of Physical Education, she joined the International Marxist Group, one of the few people with an Ulster Unionist background to do so in the 1960s.[1] After relocating to England, she graduated in economics from the City of London College, today known as London Metropolitan University. She was a senior lecturer at Kingsway College from 1976 to 1985, during which time she left the International Marxist Group.


Hoey is known for her longstanding interest in sport. She was Northern Ireland High Jump Champion and worked for football clubs including Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur, Queens Park Rangers, Chelsea and Brentford, as an Educational Advisor. Prior to entering Parliament she was educational adviser to Arsenal Football Club from 1985 to 1989.

A founder member of the London Northern Ireland Supporters' Club, Hoey took part in a St Patrick's Day parade in London with Northern Ireland manager Lawrie Sanchez.[2]


Hoey in 2009, on the day of Michael Martin's resignation as Speaker of the House of Commons

Hoey unsuccessfully contested Dulwich at the 1983 and 1987 general elections, being defeated by 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.

She 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 libertarian, and has often rebelled against her party.[3] She was a prominent critic of the ban on handguns[4] and supporter of fox hunting[4] and has voted against government policy on the war in Iraq, foundation hospitals, 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.[5] Hoey has also opposed the smoking ban in clubs and pubs, reclassification of cannabis from a Class B to Class C and originally opposed devolution. She also 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. She is a critic of the BBC and she also spoke in support of the election of unionist MPs in Northern Ireland. It has been suggested that because of her own political positions, she might defect to the Conservative Party[6][7][8] or even UKIP[9] but Hoey has not done so.

As the chairman of the all-party parliamentary group on Zimbabwe, Hoey has been 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.[10] The Zimbabwean government threatened to jail her if she repeated her "sneak" visit.[11]

Although having a voting record moderately in favour[citation needed] of gay rights, she has been described as "the least gay-friendly of all Labour MPs" by the Chief Executive of Stonewall.[12] However, she voted in favour of same-sex marriage in 2013.[13]

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.[14] The announcement was controversial both because Hoey had once said of London's Olympic bid "we don't deserve it and Paris does"[15] and because it could have been perceived as endorsing an election candidate from a rival party.[16]

Kate Hoey nominated John McDonnell for the Labour leadership, but on his withdrawal, she switched her nomination to Diane Abbott. However, she voted for Andy Burnham in 2010, giving Ed Miliband her second preference. In 2015, 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.

2016 European Union Referendum[edit]

Hoey was vocal in her opinion that in the referendum on 23 June 2016, the United Kingdom should leave the European Union. She said this would be a 'left-wing move.'[17] This view was at odds with her local Labour Party[18] and her constituency where an estimated 78% voted to remain in the European Union.[19][20] In March she signed a contentious letter along with a number of Tory politicians threatening the BBC for running stories that were critical of Brexit.

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.[21][22]

On 22 July 2005, Hoey was named the new chairman of the Countryside Alliance (a British group known for its pro-hunting stance).[23] She said the appointment was a "great honour and a great challenge". The Alliance's headquarters are in Hoey's Vauxhall constituency.[24] 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 is patron of Roots & Shoots, a vocational training centre for young people in Lambeth.[25]

Hoey has been a trustee of the Outward Bound charity since October 2002.[26] A Vice President of the Great Britain Wheelchair Basketball Association, Hoey is a strong supporter of the women's national team and the work of the charity.

In October 2013, Hoey was fined £240 for driving through a red light having previously criticised cyclists as "Lycra louts that run red lights".[27] Hoey wants all cyclists to pay tax[28] and be registered so they have a registration number:

Government and parliamentary positions[edit]

  • Opposition spokesperson, citizen's charter and women (1992–1993)
  • PPS to Frank Field, Department of Social Security (1997–1998)
  • Junior minister, home office (1998–1999)
  • Junior minister, department of culture, media and sport (1999–2001)
  • Backbencher (2001–present)


  1. ^ "The Guardian". London: Politics.guardian.co.uk. 2001-04-30. Retrieved 2010-04-13. 
  2. ^ McDonald, Ruth (2007-03-19). "BBC News". BBC News. Retrieved 2010-04-13. 
  3. ^ "The Public Whip website". Publicwhip.org.uk. Retrieved 2010-04-13. 
  4. ^ a b Sapsted, David (2 Jan 2001). "Hoey criticises ban on handguns". Telegraph. Retrieved 27 March 2015. 
  5. ^ "House of Commons Hansard Debates for 21 Jan 2008 (pt 0022)". parliament.uk. 
  6. ^ Isaby, Jonathan (22 April 2008). "With foes like Kate Hoey...". Retrieved 27 March 2015. 
  7. ^ "Courageous. Free-thinking. Principled. That's why Kate Hoey is a very unusual MP". Daily Mail. Retrieved 27 March 2015. 
  8. ^ Hamilton-Miller, Tara (24 April 2008). "What a load of Hoey". New Statesman. Retrieved 27 March 2015. 
  9. ^ Henry, Charlotte (26 November 2014). "The Labour MPs who deny planning to defect to Ukip". Spectator. Retrieved 27 March 2015. 
  10. ^ "Blair pressed on Zimbabwe stance". BBC. 16 June 2005. Retrieved 27 March 2015. 
  11. ^ "Zimbabwe threatens to jail Hoey for 'sneak' trip". Telegraph. 7 Oct 2006. Retrieved 27 March 2015. 
  12. ^ Summerskill, Ben (2010-03-24). "Gay-friendly? MPs lag behind Britain". The Guardian. London. 
  13. ^ "MP-by-MP: Gay marriage vote". BBC News. 2013-02-05. 
  14. ^ "Labour Hoey would help Tory mayor", BBC News, 29 April 2008. Retrieved on 29 April 2008.
  15. ^ Hart, Simon (4 May 2008). "Fury over role for Kate Hoey". Telegraph. Retrieved 27 March 2015. 
  16. ^ Jones, Sam (30 April 2008). "Labour MP denies defection in mayoral campaign". Guardian. Retrieved 27 March 2015. 
  17. ^ "Labour MP Kate Hoey: Why leaving the EU is a left-wing move". Independent. 2015-10-09. 
  18. ^ Vauxhall Labour http://www.vauxhall-labour.org.uk/statement
  19. ^ "How the United Kingdom voted on Thursday... and why - Lord Ashcroft Polls". lordashcroftpolls.com. Retrieved 2016-06-26. 
  20. ^ Franklin, Will; Holder, Josh; Osborn, Matt; Clarke, Sean; Kommenda, Niko; Franklin, Will; Holder, Josh; Osborn, Matt; Clarke, Sean (2016-06-23). "EU referendum full results – find out how your area voted". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2016-06-26. 
  21. ^ "''The Telegraph''". London: Telegraph.co.uk. Retrieved 2010-04-13. 
  22. ^ Department of the Official Report (Hansard), House of Commons, Westminster (2004-09-15). "Hansard text". Parliament.the-stationery-office.co.uk. Retrieved 2010-04-13. 
  23. ^ "Page not found – Countryside Alliance". countryside-alliance.org. 
  24. ^ "Western Mail & Echo". Icwales.icnetwork.co.uk. 2006-10-31. Retrieved 2010-04-13. 
  25. ^ "Roots and Shoots". rootsandshoots.org.uk. 
  26. ^ The Outward Bound Trust, Marketing and Communications. "Outward Bound website". Outwardbound.org.uk. Retrieved 2010-04-13. 
  27. ^ "Labour MP who called cyclists 'law-breakers' busted for running a red". Bikebiz. 
  28. ^ a b Peter Walker. "Kate Hoey: the MP who thinks cyclists should be registered (and pay road tax)". The Guardian. 

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Stuart Holland
Member of Parliament for Vauxhall
Political offices
Preceded by
Tony Banks
Minister for Sport
Succeeded by
Richard Caborn