Laura Pidcock

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Laura Pidcock
Official portrait of Laura Pidcock crop 2.jpg
Laura Pidcock in 2017
Shadow Secretary of State
for Employment Rights
In office
10 September 2019 – 12 December 2019
LeaderJeremy Corbyn
Preceded byOffice established
Succeeded byRachael Maskell
Shadow Minister for Labour
In office
12 January 2018 – 12 December 2019
LeaderJeremy Corbyn
Preceded byJack Dromey
Succeeded byOffice abolished
Member of Parliament
for North West Durham
In office
8 June 2017 – 6 November 2019
Preceded byPat Glass
Succeeded byRichard Holden
Personal details
Born (1987-08-19) 19 August 1987 (age 33)
North Shields, England, UK
NationalityBritish
Political partyLabour
Domestic partnerDaniel Kebede
Children1
ResidenceLanchester, England, UK
Alma materManchester Metropolitan University
ProfessionPolitician

Laura Pidcock (born 19 August 1987) is a British Labour Party politician who served as the Member of Parliament (MP) for North West Durham from 2017 until 2019.[1] She was the Shadow Secretary of State for Employment Rights in Jeremy Corbyn's Shadow Cabinet.[2] In the 2019 parliamentary election, she lost her seat to the Conservative Richard Holden, who won the constituency with a majority of 1,144. The majority represented a decrease of over 13% of the Labour vote and was significant in being part of the fall of the safe 'Red Wall' seats with this constituency having been held by the Labour Party for over 40 years.

Early life and career[edit]

Pidcock was born in North Shields, North Tyneside and raised in New Hartley and Seaton Delaval, Northumberland.[3] Her parents were both active in politics. Her mother Mary was a social worker while her father Bernard was an office manager[4] who sat on Northumberland County Council from 2008 until his death in February 2019.[5] Aged just 3, Pidcock recollects attending demonstrations with her parents against then-Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, and against the apartheid system in South Africa.[6] Pidcock has stated, "From a very, very young age I was taught to see everything through a political lens and through a class lens", and that at school she was known as "the political one" and a "swot".[7]

She studied politics at Manchester Metropolitan University,[8] and was a mental health support worker before working within, then managing, the education team at anti-racism charity Show Racism the Red Card.[8] She completed an MSc in Disaster Management and Sustainable Development at Northumbria University in 2012, with research focusing on children's institutions in Bulgaria.[9] Pidcock was a councillor for Cramlington Eastfield ward on Northumberland County Council, losing her seat to the Conservative Party candidate in the 2017 UK local elections.[8] In 2020 she led Richard Burgon's unsuccessful campaign to be deputy leader of the Labour Party.[10]

Parliamentary career[edit]

Only weeks prior to the 2017 United Kingdom general election, Pidcock was selected to stand for Labour in North West Durham, when the previous MP, Pat Glass stood down.[11]

A feminist,[12] she said in her maiden speech, that the Palace of Westminster dated from "a time when my class and my sex would have been denied a place in it, because we are deemed unworthy".[13] Her speech was shared over 200,000 times on social media in 48 hours.[14]

On 12 January 2018, she was appointed Shadow Minister for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy,[15] and announced at the 2019 TUC that the next Labour Government would create a Ministry for Employment Rights to "bring about the biggest extension of rights for workers that our country has ever seen" to deliver better wages, greater security and give workers more of a say over how their workplaces are run.[16]

Although once tipped as a future party leader,[6] Pidcock lost her seat at the 2019 general election. Her successor, Richard Holden stated in his acceptance speech that "she represented a branch of the Labour Party that wasn't mainstream, which wasn't what people thought of as traditional Labour and that's what happened tonight".[17] It was the first time the seat had not returned a Labour MP since its creation in 1950.[18]

In July 2020 the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards told Pidcock to repay more than £3,800 after she used Commons stationery to accuse the government of a "betrayal" over the BBC licence fee for over-75s. Pidcock had sent out more than 5,000 letters in September 2019 accusing the Conservatives of a "welfare cut". She said she used a template from a House of Commons department, but had made some changes. The Commissioner said these changes meant the letter "was no longer neutral and objective". Pidcock said it had been an "honest mistake". [19]

Views[edit]

Pidcock identifies as a socialist, and supported the policies of party leader Jeremy Corbyn.[20] A strong critic of the Conservative Party, she said that "I go to parliament to be a mouthpiece for my constituents and class".[21] She stated in mid-2017 that Tories were "the enemy" and said she was "disgusted at the way they're running this country".[22] Pidcock did not socialise with Conservative MPs[23] and said that she had "absolutely no intention of being friends with any Tories."[24]

Pidcock speaking at the Britain is Broken rally in 2019

In June 2017, Pidcock raised the issue of social housing, as it affected her personally: she said she would accept a council house, but there were none available. She also said that she was unable to afford the deposit for her first home, despite her MP's salary, because of university debt, so she was renting in the private sector.[25] However, she managed to purchase a house jointly with her partner at a cost of £230,000 three months later.[26]

She criticised the Conservative government for doing far too little for working-class people, and said that her then constituency had suffered long-term de-industrialisation and lack of investment, leading to significant financial difficulties for many residents. She highlighted the rise in volunteer organisations to help support people who have been left behind by the state.[27] In December 2017, in a Parliamentary question to the Prime Minister, Theresa May, Pidcock condemned delays to payments under the Universal Credit system in the period just before Christmas, "the toughest financial time" for her constituents. She asked, "Is the roll-out a matter of gross incompetence or calculated cruelty?"[28]

She criticised the lack of proxy voting for pregnant women in Parliament, attending a vote in 2018 whilst in the late stages of pregnancy.[29]

Pidcock described climate change as the "biggest issue facing humanity",[30] and spoke at School Strike for Climate demonstrations.[31]

Personal life[edit]

Pidcock's partner since 2015 is Daniel Kebede, a National Education Union official.[32] They have one son, born in July 2018.[33]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Election 2017: Durham North West". BBC News. Archived from the original on 7 June 2017. Retrieved 9 June 2017.
  2. ^ "Labour market abuse widespread – Laura Pidcock responds to the Resolution Foundation's report". The Labour Party. Archived from the original on 18 October 2019. Retrieved 18 October 2019.
  3. ^ Wearmouth, Rachel (30 August 2017). "17 from '17: Labour Firebrand Laura Pidcock Admires Mhairi Black But Says Mum Is Her True Hero". Huffington Post UK. Archived from the original on 16 January 2018. Retrieved 15 January 2018.
  4. ^ Bernard Pidock Archived 8 April 2018 at the Wayback Machine, Companies House. Retrieved 7 April 2018.
  5. ^ Councillor Bernard Pidcock Archived 8 April 2018 at the Wayback Machine, Northumberland County Council. Retrieved 7 April 2018.
  6. ^ a b Chakelian, Anoosh (13 February 2018). "The rapid rise of Laura Pidcock – the Labour MP tipped as a possible successor to Corbyn". New Statesman. Archived from the original on 17 February 2018. Retrieved 17 February 2018.
  7. ^ "Befriending Laura Pidcock: an interview with a Labour firebrand". The Spectator. 23 September 2017. Archived from the original on 4 October 2017. Retrieved 17 February 2018.
  8. ^ a b c Kelly, Mike (8 June 2017). "Who is Laura Pidcock the new Labour MP for the North West Durham constituency?". The Chronicle Live.
  9. ^ "Indicative List of Dissertations for the MSc Disaster Management and Sustainable Development Taught Programme" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 16 November 2018. Retrieved 16 November 2018.
  10. ^ "Richard Burgon denies Laura Pidcock is transphobic". DIVA. 21 February 2020. Retrieved 2 July 2020.
  11. ^ Mason, Rowena; Elgot, Jessica (19 April 2017). "Labour party to hold emergency selections for constituencies". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 21 April 2017.
  12. ^ Edwards, Peter (27 April 2017). "Unite activist wins key north east selection". LabourList. Archived from the original on 2 August 2017.
  13. ^ "New North East MP says Parliament is 'archaic' and 'reeks of the establishment'". ITV News. 27 June 2017. Archived from the original on 28 June 2017. Retrieved 29 June 2017.
  14. ^ Khan, Shehab (29 June 2017). "Labour MP's maiden speech goes viral after she calls on the Commons to fight "the indignity of poverty"". The Independent. Archived from the original on 17 February 2018. Retrieved 17 February 2018.
  15. ^ "Laura Pidcock – House of Commons". Archived from the original on 26 March 2019. Retrieved 9 January 2019.
  16. ^ "Corbyn and Pidcock announce Ministry for Employment Rights and Workers' Protection Agency". The Labour Party. Archived from the original on 18 October 2019. Retrieved 18 October 2019.
  17. ^ Walker, Jonathan (13 December 2019). "North West Durham 2019 election results – full standings, MP and reaction". nechronicle. Archived from the original on 13 December 2019. Retrieved 13 December 2019.
  18. ^ Graham, Hannah (13 December 2019). "See shock moment Laura Pidcock lost North West Durham to the Tories". nechronicle. Archived from the original on 14 December 2019. Retrieved 17 December 2019.
  19. ^ "Laura Pidcock: Former MP to repay £3k over misused stationery". BBC News. 7 July 2020. Retrieved 7 July 2020.
  20. ^ Segalov, Michael (27 September 2017). "'There's no appetite for the political centre anymore'". Huck. Archived from the original on 5 July 2019. Retrieved 8 March 2019.
  21. ^ "I don't want to be friends with any Tories, says Labour MP Laura Pidcock". TotalPolitics.com. 23 August 2017. Archived from the original on 28 August 2017. Retrieved 18 October 2019.
  22. ^ "Labour MP says she could never be friends with a Tory". The Independent. 24 August 2017. Archived from the original on 9 February 2018. Retrieved 17 February 2018.
  23. ^ "'I don't know if other MPs are all off having a good time': Labour MP who 'won't be friends with Tories' speaks of why she finds it hard to socialise in Parliament". The Daily Telegraph. 21 September 2017. Archived from the original on 17 February 2018. Retrieved 17 February 2018.
  24. ^ "Befriending Laura Pidcock: an interview with a Labour firebrand". The Spectator. 23 September 2017. Archived from the original on 4 October 2017. Retrieved 17 February 2018.
  25. ^ Wearmouth, Rachel (23 June 2017). "Labour MP Laura Pidcock 'Would Love A Council House' But Says There Are None". HuffPost. Archived from the original on 13 September 2017. Retrieved 3 February 2018.
  26. ^ "My mum bought her council house. Can Laura Pidcock explain why that's wrong?". Spectator. 10 March 2018. Retrieved 16 April 2020.
  27. ^ "Laura Pidcock: don't ruin Christmas – pause the rollout of Universal Credit". New Statesman. 10 August 2017. Archived from the original on 21 October 2017.
  28. ^ "PM rejects Universal Credit roll-out halt despite 'calculated and cruel' delays". 18 October 2017. Archived from the original on 23 November 2017.
  29. ^ "MPs on maternity leave will be allowed to cast 'proxy votes'". Chronicle Live. 13 September 2018. Archived from the original on 28 January 2019. Retrieved 27 January 2019.
  30. ^ MP, Laura Pidcock (15 February 2019). "Love & #solidarity to all of the young people striking from school today to demand action from the corporate & political class on the biggest issue facing humanity: climate change. All power to you #ClimateStrike Here's the Durham protest pic.twitter.com/PncBGg8sIB". @LauraPidcockMP. Archived from the original on 5 November 2019. Retrieved 18 October 2019.
  31. ^ MP, Laura Pidcock (12 July 2019). "In between the union events I attended today, I managed to drop in on the Climate Emergency #SchoolStrike in the Market Square in Durham. So pleased that these young people are continuing to protest, organise and educate. Keep on building!pic.twitter.com/w3e1ixL4gC". @LauraPidcockMP. Retrieved 18 October 2019.
  32. ^ Roy, Amit (15 February 2018). "Baby test for House". The Telegraph. Retrieved 2 October 2019.
  33. ^ Pidcock, Laura [@laurapidcockmp] (22 September 2018). "Baby update and thank you" (Tweet). Retrieved 2 October 2019 – via Twitter.

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Pat Glass
Member of Parliament
for North West Durham

20172019
Succeeded by
Richard Holden