Maria Eagle (born 17 February 1961) is a British Labour Party politician who is the Member of Parliament (MP) for Garston and Halewood and Shadow Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport.
She has held the rank of Minister of State at both the Government Equalities Office and the Ministry of Justice. She was previously a Minister at the Department for Work and Pensions, the Department for Education and Skills, and the Northern Ireland Office. After the 2010 general election she became the Shadow Solicitor General. On 8 October 2010, Eagle was announced as the Shadow Secretary of State for Transport in Ed Miliband's shadow cabinet, and on 7 October 2013, appointed as Shadow Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. On 14 September 2015, Eagle was confirmed as the Shadow Defence Secretary in Jeremy Corbyn's first Shadow Cabinet.
Eagle was born in Bridlington, East Riding of Yorkshire. The daughter of a printworker, she was educated at St Peter's Church of England School in Formby and Formby High School before attending Pembroke College, Oxford, where she was awarded a Bachelor of Arts degree in Philosophy, Politics and Economics in 1983.
She then went to the College of Law, London, where she took her law finals in 1990. She was a solicitor in the voluntary sector from 1983, before she joined Brian Thompson & Partners in Liverpool as an articled clerk in 1990. In 1992 she became a solicitor with Goldsmith Williams in Liverpool, and later the senior solicitor at Steven Irving & Co also in Liverpool, where she remained until her election to Westminster
After joining the Labour Party, Eagle was elected the secretary of the Crosby Constituency Labour Party (CLP) for two years in 1983, and was also elected as the campaigns organiser with that CLP for three years in 1993. She contested the Crosby seat at the 1992 general election where she lost to the sitting Conservative MP Malcolm Thornton by 14,806 votes.
For the following election in 1997 Eagle was selected through an all-women shortlist to stand for Labour in Garston, Merseyside. She was elected to the House of Commons with a majority of 18,417 and remains an MP, now for Garston & Halewood, following boundary changes in 2010. She joined her sister Angela in Parliament, making them the first set of twins to sit in the Commons at the same time.
In parliament Eagle was a member of the Public Accounts Committee following her initial election, and in 1999 she was appointed the Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Minister of State at the Department of Health, John Hutton. She was promoted to the Tony Blair government following the 2001 general election as a Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Department for Work and Pensions, and after the 2005 general election, she was the Minister for Children at the Department for Education and Skills, until the May 2006 reshuffle moved her to Northern Ireland, where she was Minister for more than one department at a time, including a period at the Department for Employment and Learning, on 29 June 2007 she moved to the Ministry of Justice. As part of the reshuffle of Gordon Brown's government in October 2008, she assumed additional responsibility for the Government Equalities Office. In the June 2009 reshuffle she was promoted to Minister of State within the justice department.
After Labour lost the 2010 general election she served in interim Labour leader Harriet Harman's front bench as Shadow Solicitor General and Shadow Justice Minister. In October 2010 Eagle was elected to the Shadow Cabinet of new Labour Party leader Ed Miliband as Shadow Secretary of State for Transport in the Labour Party Shadow Cabinet election.
Maria Eagle was nominated for the Stonewall Politician of the Year Award in 2008 for her work to support equality for lesbian, gay and bisexual people. She was given a score of 93% in favour of lesbian, gay and bisexual equality by Stonewall. On 5 February 2013 MP Maria Eagle voted in favour in the House of Commons Second Reading vote on marriage equality in Britain.
Maria Eagle was appointed Shadow Secretary of State for Defence in September 2015 by the newly elected Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn. Eagle said she was surprised by her appointment as she disagrees with Corbyn's advocacy of unilateral nuclear disarmament and supports of the renewal of the Trident nuclear weapons system. Tasked with leading Labour's defence review, she said that she would not rule out the possibility that it might recommend unilateral disarmament, but described Corbyn's comments that he would not countenance using a nuclear deterrent as "unhelpful" to the policy process.
On 17 May 2009 The Daily Telegraph revealed that Eagle had claimed £3,500 for the refurbishment of the bathroom of her Liverpool home property, then switched her second home designation to a different property four months later. Eagle voted in favour of legislation which would have kept MPs' expenses information secret.
- Opposition Front Bench Labour Party
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- Biography - Maria Eagle UK Parliament
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- Eaton, George (14 October 2015). "Maria Eagle on nuclear disarmament: "I’m not ruling it out"". New Statesman. Retrieved 9 November 2015.
- Hansard Debates for 17 June 1997 UK Parliament
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- Thornberry among new Labour front benchers ePolitix.com, 28 May 2010
- Cooper tops shadow cabinet vote BBC News, 7 October 2010
- Shaw, Milly (23 September 2008). "Stonewall Awards shortlist announced". Lesbilicious. Retrieved 27 February 2013.
- "Stonewall MP Voting Records 2010 (Voting on key gay equality issues in Parliament, 2005 to date" (PDF). p. 6. Retrieved 27 February 2013.
- "House of Commons Hansard Debates for 05 Feb 2013 (pt 0004)". 5 Feb 2013 : Column 231. Retrieved 27 February 2013.
- "Jeremy Corbyn shadow Cabinet live: Labour leader under fire after ignoring women for top jobs". 14 Sept. Retrieved 14 September 2015.
- Dathan, Matt (30 September 2015). "Jeremy Corbyn's ability to become Prime Minister questioned by shadow defence secretary". Independent. Retrieved 9 November 2015.
- Sawer, Patrick (17 May 2009). "Maria Eagle: bathroom renovated on expenses before flat was 'flipped'". Daily Telegraph (London). Retrieved 12 May 2010.
- Wynne-Jones, Ros (13 June 2009). "Yes, twinister: Meet political sister act.. Angela and Maria Eagle". Mirror.co.uk (London: MGN Limited). Retrieved 17 October 2010.
- High Time or High Tide for Labour Women? by Maria Eagle and Joni Lovenduski, 1998, Fabian Society Books, ISBN 0-7163-0585-2, OCLC 39267019
- Maria Eagle MP official website
- Profile at Parliament of the United Kingdom
- Contributions in Parliament at Hansard 1803–2005
- Current session contributions in Parliament at Hansard
- Voting record at Public Whip
- Record in Parliament at TheyWorkForYou
- Profile at Westminster Parliamentary Record
- Profile at BBC News Democracy Live
|Parliament of the United Kingdom|
|Member of Parliament
for Liverpool Garston
|New constituency||Member of Parliament
for Garston and Halewood
|Undersecretary of State for Disabled People
|Undersecretary of State for Children and Families
|Shadow Solicitor General
|Shadow Secretary of State for Transport
|Shadow Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
|Shadow Secretary of State for Defence
|Shadow Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport