Louise Haigh

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Louise Haigh

Official portrait of Louise Haigh MP crop 2.jpg
Haigh in 2019
Shadow Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
Assumed office
28 April 2020
(Acting: 6 April 2020 – 28 April 2020)
LeaderKeir Starmer
Preceded byTony Lloyd
Shadow Minister of State for Policing
In office
3 July 2017 – 6 April 2020
LeaderJeremy Corbyn
Preceded byLyn Brown
Succeeded bySarah Jones
Shadow Minister for Digital Economy
In office
10 October 2016 – 3 July 2017
LeaderJeremy Corbyn
Preceded byChi Onwurah
Succeeded byLiam Byrne
Shadow Minister for Civil Service and Digital Reform
In office
18 September 2015 – 10 October 2016
LeaderJeremy Corbyn
Preceded byOffice established
Succeeded bySteve Reed
Member of Parliament
for Sheffield Heeley
Assumed office
7 May 2015
Preceded byMeg Munn
Majority8,520 (20.0%)
Personal details
Louise Margaret Haigh

(1987-07-22) 22 July 1987 (age 32)
Sheffield, England
Political partyLabour
Alma materLondon School of Economics
University of Nottingham
WebsiteOfficial website

Louise Margaret Haigh (born 22 July 1987) is a British Labour Party politician currently serving as the Shadow Secretary of State for Northern Ireland. She was elected as the Member of Parliament (MP) for Sheffield Heeley at the 2015 general election, as the youngest Labour member of that parliament.[1]

Early life[edit]

Haigh grew up on Abbeydale Road, Sheffield, and now lives in Norfolk Park, Sheffield.[2] She was educated at Sheffield High School, an independent school.[3] She then studied Government and Economics at the London School of Economics but did not complete the course, and opted to study politics at the University of Nottingham.[4] Her grandfather and uncle were trade union officials.[5]

After graduating, Haigh worked for the local council youth service between 2006 and 2008. She then began working in Parliament, where she was the co-ordinator of the All Party Parliamentary Group on International Corporate Responsibility.[5] During this time, she was also a Unite shop steward and volunteered as a Special Constable in the Metropolitan Special Constabulary between 2009 and 2011.[6]

From 2012, Haigh worked for Aviva as Public Policy Manager, responsible for corporate governance and responsible investment policy.[6][7][8]

Political career[edit]

Member of Parliament for Sheffield Heeley (2015–present)[edit]

Haigh was selected to stand for the Labour Party in Sheffield Heeley in May 2014.[9] She was first elected to Parliament at the May 2015 general election and re-elected in June 2017 and December 2019.

Haigh was declared the "most hard-working" new MP in February 2016 after a study of the activity of MPs elected in 2015.[10][11][12]

Haigh was instrumental in revealing that hundreds of women had their tax credits stopped in error by US company Concentrix.[13] The revelation led to an announcement that their HMRC contract would not be renewed.[14] Panic alarms have been installed in Haigh's office and home by South Yorkshire Police after she received death threats for calling for a debate on the banning of Britain First, the far-right group. South Yorkshire Police have provided her with uniformed and undercover protection as she attends to her constituency activities.[15]

In November 2016 Haigh introduced a Private Members’ Bill calling for statutory leave from work for living organ donors, after a constituent complained of being given three days’ unpaid holiday after donating bone marrow.[16]

In April 2019 Haigh introduced a Private Members’ Bill that would remove the automatic parental rights of fathers of children conceived through rape. The Bill would also establish an inquiry into the family court's handling of domestic abuse and violence against women and girls.[17] This Bill was borne out of Haigh's work with Sammy Woodhouse, a survivor of child sexual exploitation, to increase protections for victims of abuse.[18]

Haigh is a member of a number of All-Party Parliamentary Groups, including the APPGs on Corporate Governance, Refugees, Colombia and Looked After Children. In July 2017 she was elected Vice Chair of the APPG on State Pension Inequality and in February 2019 became a Joint Chair of the APPG on Social Care.[19][20]

Shadow Minister (2015–2020)[edit]

In September 2015, Haigh was appointed Shadow Minister for Civil Service and Digital Reform.[21][22] The role, newly expanded under Jeremy Corbyn,[23] covers the Government's digital strategy, the Freedom of Information Act, data security and privacy.[24] In this role, Haigh criticised a 2016 reshuffle of Permanent Secretaries which saw two fewer women as departmental heads.[25] She opposed the closure of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills office in Sheffield city centre, saying the decision demonstrated "contempt" for the city.[26]

On 10 October 2016, she was made Shadow Minister for the Digital Economy.[27] Haigh served in this role during the passage of the Digital Economy Act (2017) and introduced a number of amendments, including an obligation for television broadcasters to include subtitles and closed captioning in on-demand content online which was adopted by a subsequent Government amendment.[28] She has repeatedly raised concerns about child protection online, including calling for social media companies to recognise "that alongside their new-found power, they have responsibilities" in dealing with harmful and illegal content.[29]

She also called for compulsory online education alongside sex and relationships education in schools, citing an 800% increase in children contacting the NSPCC about online abuse.[30]

On 3 July 2017, she was made Shadow Policing Minister.[31] Haigh has called for greater protection for police officers involved in vehicle pursuits, saying the current rules are "hampering the ability of the police to apprehend very serious offenders".[32] In this role she has raised the issue of stress and mental health of officers, citing a 77% rise in officer leave due to mental health between 2014 and 2018.[33] She has called for a "public health approach" to reducing violent crime[34] and blamed the rise in crime on government spending cuts to both police and other public services.[35]

Shadow Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (2020–present)[edit]

On 6 April 2020, Haigh replaced Tony Lloyd as the interim Shadow Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, following Lloyd’s hospitalisation as a result of the COVID-19 virus.[36] On 28 April 2020, Lloyd resigned as Shadow Northern Ireland Secretary to focus on recovery, and Haigh replaced him permanently.[37]

Views and policies[edit]

Haigh is concerned that forcing police to find more to pay for police pensions out of their general budget leaves less money for the police to protect the public. Haigh stated, "Forcing the police at the last minute to bear the huge cost of pension changes demonstrates the utter failure of ministers to grasp the crisis in policing caused by their cuts. They have played fast and loose with public safety and the police are right to step up and take action."[38]

Haigh also feels it is wrong that the police are forced to deal with mental health crises that has been caused by underfunding of the NHS. Haigh said, “The government’s underfunding of mental health services is a national scandal and passing the buck to our overstretched police officers is exacerbating the crisis in policing. It is frankly shocking that the police are often the only people who someone experiencing a mental health crisis can turn to. Nearly a decade of brutal austerity has torn at the fabric of our society and the most vulnerable are being failed.”[39]

She has spoken out about the crisis within the special education needs system.[40] She has said, "School funding cuts that have resulted in the loss of teaching assistants, a narrower curriculum, and bigger class sizes have all made certain mainstream schools more hostile environments for children with SEN."[41]

Haigh has also been outspoken in her opposition to fracking. She has said, "I do not support fracking for a number of reasons: health and safety; the potential for earth tremors; the likely pollution of the water table; the impact on local communities in terms of disruption and subsidence; the fact that the chemicals used are deleterious to our health. Crucially, we also know that fracking contributes significantly to climate change and so, while all of the above means that fracking should absolutely not take place on an island as populated and as unconducive as ours, the evidence clearly shows that we should reject it outright."[42]

Haigh campaigned for the United Kingdom to remain a member of the European Union in the 2016 United Kingdom European Union membership referendum.[43]

Labour Leadership Elections[edit]

Haigh was one of 36 Labour MPs to nominate Jeremy Corbyn as a candidate in the Labour leadership election of 2015.[44]. She supported and campaigned for Andy Burnham, however.[45]

In the 2016 Labour leadership election, Haigh supported Owen Smith.[46]

In the 2020 leadership election Haigh chaired the leadership campaign of Lisa Nandy.[47] She also nominated Angela Rayner for Deputy.


  1. ^ "Sheffield Heeley Parliamentary constituency". Election 2015. BBC News. 2015. Retrieved 13 May 2015.
  2. ^ "About Louise". 2015. Retrieved 23 March 2016.
  3. ^ Beardmore, Ellen (13 August 2014). "Sheffield Heeley candidate could be youngest MP". The Star. Sheffield. Retrieved 16 June 2015.
  4. ^ "Louise Haigh MP – Sheffield Girls School". Sheffield Girls High School. Retrieved 8 April 2019.
  5. ^ a b "Louise Haigh". Politics.co.uk. Retrieved 23 March 2016.
  6. ^ a b "Profiles: Louise Haigh". 2015. Retrieved 23 March 2016.
  7. ^ "Louise Haigh". Labour Party. Retrieved 16 June 2015.
  8. ^ "Towards an agreement on corporate sustainability reporting" (PDF). Aviva Investors. 2013. Retrieved 16 June 2015.
  9. ^ Beardmore, Ellen (12 May 2014). "'Time is right' for Sheffield MP to stand down". The Star. Sheffield. Retrieved 23 March 2016.
  10. ^ Leftly, Mark (20 February 2016). "Tory MP Royston Smith is least active among Parliament's new members". The Independent. London. Retrieved 23 March 2016.
  11. ^ "'Least active MP' Royston Smith defends record". BBC News. 22 February 2016. Retrieved 23 March 2016.
  12. ^ Proctor, Kate (25 February 2016). "Louise Haigh most hard-working of all new MPs". Yorkshire Post. Retrieved 23 March 2016.
  13. ^ "HMRC to axe tax credit checking firm Concentrix". Retrieved 3 October 2016.
  14. ^ Byrne, Paul (13 September 2016). "Concentrix to be stripped of HMRC contract over tax credits blunders". Retrieved 3 October 2016.
  15. ^ Pidd, Helen; Perraudin, Frances (15 December 2016). "Female MP received death threats for calling for ban on Britain First". The Guardian. Retrieved 15 December 2016.
  16. ^ "Organ Donors (Leave) – Hansard Online". hansard.parliament.uk. Retrieved 22 August 2017.
  17. ^ "Parental Rights (Rapists) and Family Courts Bill 2017–19 — UK Parliament". services.parliament.uk. Retrieved 20 July 2019.
  18. ^ "Family Courts Must Protect Abuse Victims". Louise Haigh. Retrieved 20 July 2019.
  19. ^ "Vice Chair of State Pension Inequality APPG". www.louisehaigh.org.uk. Retrieved 22 August 2017.
  20. ^ "Launching an APPG on Social Care". Louise Haigh. Retrieved 20 July 2019.
  21. ^ "Labour's FOI Review". Labour Party. Retrieved 23 March 2016.
  22. ^ Marrs, Colin (21 September 2015). "Jeremy Corbyn appoints MP Louise Haigh to Labour digital brief". Civil Service World. Retrieved 23 March 2016.
  23. ^ Say, Mark (21 September 2015). "Louise Haigh takes Labour digital role". UK Authority.com. Retrieved 23 March 2016.
  24. ^ Clarke, Lauren (18 September 2015). "Sheffield MP Louise Haigh joins Shadow Cabinet". The Star. Sheffield. Retrieved 23 March 2016.
  25. ^ "Louise Haigh interview: the shadow Cabinet Office minister on Jeremy Corbyn, Whitehall diversity – and why the Tories have "always understood" civil service reform | Civil Service World". www.civilserviceworld.com. Retrieved 22 August 2017.
  26. ^ "BIS Sheffield closure confirmed – full details and reaction from staff, unions and MPs | Civil Service World". www.civilserviceworld.com. Retrieved 22 August 2017.
  27. ^ Haigh, Louise (10 October 2016). "Louise appointed Shadow Minister for the Digital Economy – Louise Haigh, Labour Member of Parliament for Sheffield Heeley". Louisehaigh.org.uk. Retrieved 3 April 2017.
  28. ^ "Digital Economy Bill will require on-demand programmes to include subtitles". www.cable.co.uk. Retrieved 22 August 2017.
  29. ^ Haigh, Louise. "It is time to make the internet giants meet their responsibility". Retrieved 22 August 2017.
  30. ^ "Why Our 'Smartphone Generation' Deserve Statutory Online Education". HuffPost UK. Retrieved 22 August 2017.
  31. ^ Haigh, Louise (3 July 2017). "Louise appointed Labour's Shadow Policing Minister". Louisehaigh.org.uk. Retrieved 5 July 2017.
  32. ^ Haigh, Louise (4 August 2017). "How can the police stop criminals on mopeds if they can't pursue them?". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 22 August 2017.
  33. ^ "This Week Has Seen Policing Stretched To Its Limit – Time To Admit Cuts Have Cost Us Dear". HuffPost UK. 13 July 2018. Retrieved 20 August 2018.
  34. ^ "Louise Haigh MP on Twitter". Twitter. Retrieved 20 August 2018.
  35. ^ "Rising Crime Nationwide – And In South Yorkshire – Louise Haigh". Louise Haigh. Retrieved 20 August 2018.
  36. ^ "Starmer unveils full shadow cabinet line-up". BBC News. 9 April 2020. Retrieved 14 April 2020.
  37. ^ "Rochdale MP Tony Lloyd steps down from frontbench after spell in ICU with coronavirus that left him 'gasping for air'". Manchester Evening News. 28 April 2020. Retrieved 28 April 2020.
  38. ^ Dodd, Vikram (30 October 2018). "Police to sue government unless it backs down over cuts". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 31 October 2018.
  39. ^ "NHS failings 'forcing police to respond to mental health incidents rather than crimes', report finds". The Independent. 27 November 2018. Retrieved 27 November 2018.
  40. ^ "A tragedy and a disgrace: the state of special educational needs funding – Louise Haigh". The Yorkshire Post. Retrieved 20 July 2019.
  41. ^ "Supporting Children with SEN". Louise Haigh. Retrieved 20 July 2019.
  42. ^ "Stop Fracking". Louise Haigh. Retrieved 20 July 2019.
  43. ^ Haigh, Louise (23 June 2016). "Vote Remain today: Sheffield is better off in the EU – Louise Haigh, Labour Member of Parliament for Sheffield Heeley". Louisehaigh.org.uk. Retrieved 3 April 2017.
  44. ^ "Who nominated who for the 2015 Labour leadership election". The New Statesman. 15 June 2015. Retrieved 23 March 2015.
  45. ^ "Here's why I'm backing Andy Burnham to lead Labour back to power". The New Statesman. 10 June 2015. Retrieved 28 May 2020.
  46. ^ "Jeremy Corbyn has served Labour well. But Owen Smith is the leader we need". The Guardian. 21 July 2016. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 25 September 2016.
  47. ^ "Why The Labour Leadership Could Become A Two-Horse Race On Tuesday". Huff Post. 20 March 2020. Retrieved 28 May 2020.

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Meg Munn
Member of Parliament
for Sheffield Heeley