Kerry McCarthy

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Kerry McCarthy
Official portrait of Kerry McCarthy.jpg
Official portrait, 2017
Shadow Minister for Climate Change
Assumed office
29 June 2022
LeaderKeir Starmer
Preceded byOlivia Blake
Shadow Minister for Green Transport
In office
9 April 2020 – 4 December 2021
LeaderKeir Starmer
Preceded byPosition established
Succeeded byGill Furniss
Shadow Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
In office
13 September 2015 – 26 June 2016
LeaderJeremy Corbyn
Preceded byMaria Eagle
Succeeded byRachael Maskell
Shadow Minister for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs
In office
7 October 2011 – 13 September 2015
LeaderEd Miliband
Preceded byEmma Reynolds
Succeeded byDiana Johnson
Shadow Treasury Minister
In office
8 October 2010 – 7 October 2011
LeaderEd Miliband
Preceded byPosition Established
Succeeded byPosition Abolished
Shadow Minister for Disabled People
6 May 2010 – 8 October 2010
LeaderHarriet Harman
Preceded byMark Harper
Succeeded byMargaret Curran
Member of Parliament
for Bristol East
Assumed office
5 May 2005
Preceded byJean Corston
Majority10,794 (20.7%)
Personal details
Kerry Gillian McCarthy

(1965-03-26) 26 March 1965 (age 57)
Luton, England
Political partyLabour
Alma materUniversity of Liverpool
London Guildhall University
University of London
WebsiteOfficial website

Kerry Gillian McCarthy[1] (born 26 March 1965) is a British politician who has served as Member of Parliament (MP) for Bristol East since 2005. A member of the Labour Party, she is the Shadow Minister for Climate Change. She was Shadow Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs from 2015 to 2016.

Early life and career[edit]

McCarthy was born in Luton,[2] where she attended Denbigh High School, followed by Luton Sixth Form College. McCarthy studied at the University of Liverpool reading Russian Studies, before studying law at City of London Polytechnic.

McCarthy qualified as a solicitor in 1994 and worked as a lawyer for Abbey National Treasury Services (1994–1996), Merrill Lynch Europe (1996–1999) and the Labour Party (2001). She was a director of London Luton Airport Ltd (1999–2003), a director at Britain in Europe (2002–2004), and Head of Public Policy at the Waterfront Partnership (2004–2005).[3]

McCarthy began a doctorate on Labour links with the City of London at Goldsmiths' College, but did not complete it.[4] She was a councillor in Luton, and was a member of Labour's National Policy Forum.

Parliamentary career[edit]

In 2005, McCarthy was selected as the Labour candidate for Bristol East through an all-women shortlist[5] and retained the seat for her party at the 2005 general election. She was appointed a member of the Treasury Select Committee, and was involved in its inquiries into financial inclusion, globalisation and the role of the International Monetary Fund, and the administration of tax credits. She has also sat on two Finance Bill committees, as well as the UK Borders Bill Committee, the Offender Management Bill Committee and the Mental Health Bill Committee. She was described as a Gordon Brown loyalist, stating in 2005 that "The Chancellor's nine Budgets are the bedrock of all that we have achieved in government".[4]

In April 2007, McCarthy was appointed Parliamentary Private Secretary (PPS) to Rosie Winterton, Minister for Health Services, and helped her steer the Mental Health Bill through the Commons. From July 2007 to January 2009, she worked as PPS to Douglas Alexander, the Secretary of State for International Development, before being made a Junior Whip in June 2009.[6] She is chair of the South West Group of Labour MPs, secretary of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Somaliland, a member of Labour's National Policy Forum, and lead contact for the End Child Poverty campaign among Labour MPs in parliament.

She was re-elected at the 2010 General Election, with her majority reduced by more than a half.[7] McCarthy was appointed as an acting Shadow Minister for Work and Pensions in May 2010 with responsibility for disability.[8] She supported Ed Balls in the 2010 Labour leadership election,[9] and became a junior Shadow Treasury Minister following Ed Miliband's election in October 2010.[10][11] In September 2011, McCarthy was made Shadow Foreign Office Minister with a responsibility for East Asia, South Asia, the Caribbean, Latin America and human rights.[12]

On World Vegan Day in November 2011, McCarthy became the first MP to set out in Parliament the case for becoming vegan.[13] She is also believed to be the first MP to deliver a speech in Parliament with the aid of an iPad.[14]

After being re-elected with an increased majority in the 2015 General Election, McCarthy nominated Andy Burnham in that year's Labour leadership campaign.[15] She was appointed by Jeremy Corbyn as Shadow Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs in September 2015. She argued in a Spring 2015 interview with Viva!life, a magazine for vegans, that meat should be treated like tobacco, with "public campaigns to stop people eating it".[16] Tim Bonner of the Countryside Alliance said her opinions "are completely out of step with the vast majority of people".[17] "The world is not going to turn vegan because I am in post", McCarthy said on BBC Radio 4's Farming Today shortly after her appointment. "I have my own personal views on what I choose to eat, but I accept that we have a livestock industry in this country. What I want is for the industry to have the best welfare standards possible, to be sustainable as well as economically viable."[17]

Kerry McCarthy speaking at a 2016 Labour Party Conference fringe meeting

On 26 June 2016, McCarthy was among dozens of shadow ministers who resigned from Corbyn's team.[18] She argued that "a new leader is needed to take on the challenges ahead".[19] According to McCarthy, in an article for The Huffington Post: "When the leader's office did venture into Defra territory, they didn't talk to the shadow team".[20] McCarthy does not believe Corbyn is the right Labour leader or a potential prime minister.[21] She supported Owen Smith in the 2016 Labour leadership election.[22]

In November 2017, McCarthy raised a complaint of inappropriate behaviour against Kelvin Hopkins, Labour MP for Luton North,[23] which remained unresolved at the time Hopkins stepped down as an MP before the 2019 General Election.[24]

McCarthy nominated Keir Starmer in the 2020 Labour leadership election, and was appointed Shadow Green Transport Minister following his election in April 2020.[25][26] She stepped down from the front bench due to 'personal reasons' in Autumn 2021.[27]

On 29 June 2022 McCarthy returned to the Labour frontbench as Shadow Minister for Climate Change following the resignation of Olivia Blake.[28]


In May 2009, McCarthy repaid £402 for a second bed claimed in expenses for her one bedroom flat. She stated the claim had been made in error.[29][30]

In October 2010, McCarthy admitted a charge of electoral fraud, accepting a police caution for revealing on Twitter the number of postal votes cast per party in her constituency at the 2010 election, and apologised for this action.[10][31][32][33]

In May 2012, McCarthy branded a fellow train passenger a "lager drinking oaf" and suggested he should "have been killed before he could breed" in comments made to her followers on Twitter. According to McCarthy, he was playing loud techno music on the train and wearing a t-shirt emblazoned with an obscene phrase about his sex life.[34]

Personal life[edit]

McCarthy is a vegan, and has given talks on the subject. She was a presenter at the Vegan Society's 2005 annual awards.[35] She divides her time between Bristol and London, and is a part-owner of a house in Luton.[36] She is a vice-president of the League Against Cruel Sports,[37] and an honorary associate of the National Secular Society.[38]

McCarthy is a fan of punk and post-punk music. She has written about industrial bands including Cabaret Voltaire and Test Dept for the website Louder Than War.[39]


  1. ^ "No. 59418". The London Gazette. 13 May 2010. p. 8739.
  2. ^ Dod's parliamentary companion, Google Books
  3. ^ "McCarthy, Kerry". Who's Who. (Nov 2016 online ed.). A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc. Retrieved 19 December 2016. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  4. ^ a b The Almanac of British Politics, Google Books; accessed 26 December 2013.
  5. ^ "Kerry McCarthy at UK Parliament website". Archived from the original on 15 September 2017. Retrieved 2 September 2017.
  6. ^ "Voting Record – Kerry McCarthy". The Public Whip. Archived from the original on 2 March 2010. Retrieved 4 January 2010.
  7. ^ " » Bristol East". Archived from the original on 20 September 2016. Retrieved 16 November 2010.
  8. ^ "Democracy Live – Your representatives: Kerry McCarthy". BBC News. Archived from the original on 12 May 2011. Retrieved 16 November 2010.
  9. ^ MP Kerry McCarthy chooses sides in Labour leadership battle,; accessed 26 December 2013.
  10. ^ a b "Bristol Labour MP cautioned for electoral fraud". BBC News. 25 October 2010. Archived from the original on 30 November 2017. Retrieved 22 June 2018.
  11. ^ Shadow minister cautioned for election tweeting Archived 27 October 2010 at the Wayback Machine,]
  12. ^ Ltd, Hudson Berkley Reinhart. "About Kerry McCarthy". Archived from the original on 26 August 2016. Retrieved 2 September 2016.
  13. ^ Kerry McCarthy MP leads debate on World Vegan Day Archived 15 November 2011 at the Wayback Machine,, 1 November 2011.
  14. ^ "MP reads speech from iPad in Commons first". The Daily Telegraph. 29 March 2011. Archived from the original on 23 December 2011. Retrieved 31 October 2011.
  15. ^ "Who nominated who for the 2015 Labour leadership election?". New Statesman. 15 June 2015. Archived from the original on 28 June 2018. Retrieved 21 September 2016.
  16. ^ Wardle, Tony (Spring 2015). "The Honourable Member". Viva!life. No. 58. Archived from the original on 16 February 2017. Retrieved 21 September 2016.
  17. ^ a b Wilkinson, Michael (24 September 2015). "Treat meat eaters like smokers, warns Jeremy Corbyn's new vegan farming minister Kerry McCarthy". The Daily Telegraph. Archived from the original on 22 September 2016. Retrieved 21 September 2016.
  18. ^ Syal, Rajeev; Perraudin, Frances; Slawson, Nicola (27 June 2016). "Shadow cabinet resignations: who has gone and who is staying". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 22 July 2016. Retrieved 14 September 2016.
  19. ^ "'I believe that a new leader is needed': Kerry McCarthy's resignation letter in full". ITV News. 26 June 2016. Archived from the original on 11 July 2016. Retrieved 1 July 2016.
  20. ^ McCarthy, Kerry (31 August 2016). "On 'Betrayal' and Badgers". The Huffington Post. Archived from the original on 2 September 2016. Retrieved 1 September 2016.
  21. ^ Stewart, Heather (21 September 2016). "Kerry McCarthy: I'm angry some people don't care about winning". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 21 September 2016. Retrieved 21 September 2016.
  22. ^ "Owen Smith's battlebus arrives in Bristol". Bristol 24/7. 30 August 2016. Archived from the original on 7 April 2017. Retrieved 6 April 2017.
  23. ^ Stewart, Heather (10 November 2017). "Labour MP accuses Kelvin Hopkins of inappropriate behaviour". The Guardian. Retrieved 10 January 2021.
  24. ^ "Keir Starmer proposes overhaul of Labour party machinery". 4 February 2020.
  25. ^ "Bristol torn between Keir Starmer and Rebecca Long-Bailey". 7 February 2020.
  26. ^ "Shadow ministers appointed as Starmer completes frontbench".
  27. ^ "New Year Message & 2021 Review". Retrieved 6 February 2022.
  28. ^ McCarthy, Kerry [@KerryMP] (29 June 2022). "This "progress" report from @theCCCuk shows just how little progress had been made. I'm pleased to have been asked to join @Ed_Miliband's team as Shadow Climate Change Minister, to work on Labour's plans and hold the Government to account. We need to act faster, and go further" (Tweet). Retrieved 18 July 2022 – via Twitter.
  29. ^ Swinford, Steven; Warren, Georgia (24 May 2009). "Duck island MP says his birds never liked it". The Times. London.
  30. ^ Kerry McCarthy (22 May 2009). "MP expenses Keri McCarthy £402 on second bed". This is Bristol. Archived from the original on 31 December 2009. Retrieved 15 January 2011.
  31. ^ "Labour MP cautioned over Twitter election gaffe". The Daily Telegraph. London. 26 October 2010. Archived from the original on 10 November 2010. Retrieved 5 April 2018.
  32. ^ Batty, David (29 April 2010). "Police investigate Labour candidate's Twitter postal vote gaffe". The Guardian. London. Archived from the original on 2 October 2013. Retrieved 14 October 2010.
  33. ^ "Police probe Twitter votes gaffe by Bristol candidate". BBC News. 29 April 2010. Retrieved 14 October 2010.
  34. ^ "MP's 'flippant' Twitter outburst at train passenger". BBC News. 25 May 2012. Archived from the original on 1 December 2017. Retrieved 11 November 2017.
  35. ^ "Made in Bristol – Vegan vote for Bristol firms". BBC News. 28 October 2005. Archived from the original on 29 June 2011. Retrieved 4 January 2010.
  36. ^ Profile: Kerry McCarthy MP, Bristol East Archived 23 July 2013 at the Wayback Machine,; accessed 26 December 2013
  37. ^ "Board of Trustees". League Against Cruel Sports. Archived from the original on 12 July 2015. Retrieved 10 July 2015.
  38. ^ "Honorary Associates". Archived from the original on 2 August 2019. Retrieved 1 August 2019.
  39. ^ Pollock, David (1 October 2015). "Kerry McCarthy: 'David Cameron was a Phil Collins obsessive'". Archived from the original on 1 October 2015. Retrieved 1 October 2015.

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by Member of Parliament
for Bristol East

Political offices
Preceded by Shadow Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Succeeded by