Kerry McCarthy

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Kerry McCarthy
Kerry McCarthy, MP (3961960061).jpg
Shadow Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Assumed office
13 September 2015
Leader Jeremy Corbyn
Preceded by Maria Eagle
Member of Parliament
for Bristol East
Assumed office
5 May 2005
Preceded by Jean Corston
Majority 3,980 (8.6%)
Personal details
Born (1965-03-26) 26 March 1965 (age 50)
Luton, Bedfordshire, England
Political party Labour
Alma mater University of Liverpool
London Guildhall University
University of London

Kerry Gillian McCarthy[1] (born 26 March 1965) is a British Labour Party politician who has been the Member of Parliament (MP) for Bristol East since 2005 and the Shadow Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs since September 2015.

Early life[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 began a doctorate on Labour links with the City of London at Goldsmith's College, but did not complete it.[3] She was a councillor in Luton and for a short period of time volunteered in the Legal Department of the Labour Party. She was also 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[4] 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".[3]

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 the PPS to Douglas Alexander, the Secretary of State for International Development, before being made a Junior Whip in June 2009.[5] 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 has not voted against the party line since March 2007.[5]

She was re-elected at the 2010 General Election, with her majority reduced by more than a half.[6] She was appointed as a temporary shadow Minister for work and pensions[7] until October 2010 when she was appointed as a junior shadow Minister to the Treasury.[8][9] She had supported Ed Balls' unsuccessful bid to become Labour leader.[10]

She is believed to be the first MP to deliver a speech in Parliament with the aid of an iPad.[11]

On World Vegan Day in November 2011, McCarthy became the first MP to set out in Parliament the case for becoming vegan.[12]

After being re-elected with an increased majority in the 2015 General Election, McCarthy was appointed by Jeremy Corbyn as Shadow Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs in September 2015. She angered farmers by saying that meat should be treated like tobacco, with "public campaigns to stop people eating it."[13]


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.[14][15]

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.[8][16][17][18][19]

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 over 13,000 followers on Twitter.[20]

On 27 November 2015, Kerry McCarthy attracted publicity and some ridicule for tweeting on Twitter that the term "fishermen" should not be used and that a "gender-neutral" alternative should be found and substituted for it.[21]

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.[22] She divides her time between Bristol and London, and is a part-owner of a house in Luton.[23] She is a vice-president of the League Against Cruel Sports.[24]

McCarthy is a fan of punk and post-punk music, and has credited reading the music press as a teenager with sparking an interest in politics - in a 2015 interview she claimed that she "studied Russian at university because Dostoevsky was mentioned in a Joy Division tune". She has written about industrial bands including Cabaret Voltaire and Test Dept for the website Louder Than War.[25]


  1. ^ The London Gazette: no. 59418. p. 8739. 13 May 2010.
  2. ^ Dod's parliamentary companion, Google Books
  3. ^ a b The Almanac of British Politics, Google Books; accessed 26 December 2013.
  4. ^ UK Parliament website
  5. ^ a b "Voting Record – Kerry McCarthy". The Public Whip. Retrieved 4 January 2010. 
  6. ^ » Bristol East
  7. ^ "Democracy Live – Your representatives: Kerry McCarthy". BBC News. 
  8. ^ a b "Bristol Labour MP cautioned for electoral fraud". BBC News. 25 October 2010. 
  9. ^ Shadow minister cautioned for election tweeting,]
  10. ^ MP Kerry McCarthy chooses sides in Labour leadership battle,; accessed 26 December 2013.
  11. ^ "MP reads speech from iPad in Commons first". The Telegraph. 29 March 2011. Retrieved 31 October 2011. 
  12. ^ Kerry McCarthy MP leads debate on World Vegan Day,, 1 November 2011.
    • Also see Kerry McCarthy MP video (starts at 22:27) and full transcript (columns 895–904), World Vegan Day, Adjournment Debate, House of Commons, 10.27 pm – 10.56 pm, 1 November 2011.
  13. ^ "Treat meat eaters like smokers, warns Jeremy Corbyn's new vegan farming minister Kerry McCarthy". 
  14. ^ Swinford, Steven; Warren, Georgia (24 May 2009). "Duck island MP says his birds never liked it". The Times (London). 
  15. ^ Kerry McCarthy (22 May 2009). "MP expenses Keri McCarthy £402 on second bed". This is Bristol. Retrieved 15 January 2011. 
  16. ^ "Labour MP cautioned over Twitter election gaffe". The Daily Telegraph (London). 26 October 2010. 
  17. ^ Batty, David (29 April 2010). "Police investigate Labour candidate's Twitter postal vote gaffe". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 14 October 2010. 
  18. ^ "Police probe Twitter votes gaffe by Bristol candidate". BBC Online. 29 April 2010. Retrieved 14 October 2010. 
  19. ^ "Postal vote tweet by MP Kerry McCarthy". Twitter. 29 April 2010. Retrieved 29 April 2010. 
  20. ^ "MP's 'flippant' Twitter outburst at train passenger". BBC News. 25 May 2012. 
  21. ^ "Fishermen should be 'fishers' to be 'gender neutral', says vegan shadow environment secretary Kerry McCarthy". Retrieved 2015-11-28. 
  22. ^ "Made in Bristol – Vegan vote for Bristol firms". BBC News. 28 October 2005. Retrieved 4 January 2010. 
  23. ^ Profile: Kerry McCarthy MP, Bristol East,; accessed 26 December 2013
  24. ^ "Board of Trustees". League Against Cruel Sports. Retrieved 10 July 2015. 
  25. ^ Pollock, David (1 October 2015). "Kerry McCarthy: 'David Cameron was a Phil Collins obsessive'". Retrieved 1 October 2015. 

External links[edit]

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

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