Sarah Champion (politician)

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Sarah Champion
Sarah Champion MP.jpg
Shadow Minister for Preventing Abuse
Assumed office
25 July 2016
Leader Jeremy Corbyn
Preceded by herself
In office
17 September 2015 – 28 June 2016
Leader Jeremy Corbyn
Preceded by Position Established
Succeeded by herself
Member of Parliament
for Rotherham
Assumed office
29 November 2012
Preceded by Denis MacShane
Majority 8,446 (22.3%)
Personal details
Born (1969-07-10) 10 July 1969 (age 47)
Maldon, Essex, England
Nationality British
Political party Labour
Alma mater University of Sheffield

Sarah Deborah Champion (born 10 July 1969)[1] is a British Labour politician and Member of parliament for Rotherham in the House of Commons.

Champion studied Psychology at Sheffield University. Before entering Parliament, she ran art workshops and was employed as the Chief Executive of a children's hospice in Rotherham. Champion was first elected to Parliament at the 2012 by-election. She was given the role of Shadow Minister for Preventing Abuse in the Shadow Cabinet of Jeremy Corbyn in September 2015. Champion resigned in June 2016 following a vote of no confidence in Corbyn but returned to the frontbench in July 2016.


Champion graduated with a degree in psychology from Sheffield University in 1991. After working as a volunteer at Sheffield's St Luke's Hospice and running art workshops at the city's Abbeydale Road Secondary School she gained full-time employment, running Rotherham Arts Centre from 1992–1994. Champion then worked as an Arts Development Officer for Ashfield District Council. She ran the Chinese Arts Centre in Manchester from 1996 to 2008, and was the Chief Executive of the Bluebell Wood Children's Hospice in North Anston, Rotherham from 2008 to 2012.[2]

In November 2012 she was selected to be Labour's candidate for the upcoming Rotherham by-election, which was triggered by the resignation of the constituency's MP, Denis MacShane. Champion was chosen to stand for Parliament from a shortlist chose by the party. She was elected as MP for Rotherham on 29 November with 9,866 votes (a 46.25% overall share of the vote). Jane Collins of the UK Independence Party was second with 4,648 votes (21.79%), achieving that party's best result in a by-election. Labour achieved a majority of 5,218 (24.46%), an increase in terms of percentage from Rotherham's 2010 general election result, but a decrease in the actual number of votes cast.[3] Champion is Rotherham's first female MP.[4]

In an interview with BBC Radio Sheffield on 30 November 2012, Champion said that she does not regard herself as being a career politician: "There are some people who from the moment they were born wanted to be a politician. Whereas for me, since I started working I've always been working with the community and I want to carry on doing that."[4]

In a 2014 BBC interview, Champion admitted that she rarely attends Prime Minister's Questions.[5]

On 7 May 2015, Champion was re-elected as the Member of Parliament for Rotherham with a 52.5% share of the vote. She secured 19,860 votes, increasing her majority by over 3,000. She was one of 36 Labour MPs to nominate Jeremy Corbyn as a candidate in the Labour leadership election of 2015.[6]


Champion was formerly a member of the Transport Select Committee,[7] Parliamentary Private Secretary to Shadow Education Secretary Tristram Hunt, Chair of the All-party parliamentary group (APPG) on Victims and Witnesses, Chair of the All-party Parliamentary Group on Choice at the End of Life, and Co-chair All-party Parliamentary Health Group.[8]

It was reported on 15 March 2015 that Champion had claimed £17 on her parliamentary expenses for a Remembrance day wreath she had bought in 2014. The claim was of a type that was not allowed and repayment was being sought but had not been made.[9] Champion later said she would reimburse the money.[10]

Champion was appointed Shadow Minister for 'preventing abuse and domestic violence' in 2015.[11] She resigned from this position on 28 June 2016, in the wake of criticism of Jeremy Corbyn's approach towards the EU referendum following a vote to leave the EU.

Child sexual exploitation[edit]

In November 2013, it was announced that Champion, in partnership with children’s charity Barnardos, would lead a cross-party inquiry to investigate the effectiveness of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 in tackling child sexual exploitation and trafficking within the UK.[12]

Champion conducted an inquiry with Barnardo's in 2013 to investigate how effectively children are protected from sexual exploitation by the law in 2013. Later, in July 2014, and as a result of her inquiry, Champion managed to make an amendment to the Criminal Justice and Courts Bill that allowed a person caught arranging to meet a child for sex to be convicted straight away. Previously, the person had to be caught twice. [13]

In April 2014 a report was published by Champion and Barnardos calling on the Government to toughen up laws that protect children from being groomed by predatory sex offenders. It recommended a legal loophole be closed which would allow police to step in sooner if they suspect a child of being groomed for sex.[14]

In January 2016, Champion launched a campaign called Dare2Care that focuses on preventing child abuse and the normalisation of violence in young people's relationships The campaign has launched a website, putting tools and resources for young people, parents and professionals in one place. These are intended to help better inform people on how to tackle child abuse and relationship violence. [15] Later in March she publicly criticised the Prime Minister over a failure to carry out pledges made the previous year in tackling with child abuse. Champion criticised the lack of progress over a national child abuse task force and a whistleblowing portal that had no 'taskforce to blow to' as well as the failure to begin a consultation on extending the offence of wilful neglect to children's social care, education and councils. [16][17]

Rotherham child sexual exploitation scandal[edit]

In response to the Jay Report released in August 2014 which found 1,400 victims of child sexual exploitation in Rotherham between 1997 and 2013, Champion applauded the council for apologising and accepting the report.[18] The following week Champion asked a short question to the Home Secretary, saying she was angry, and asked for necessary resources to solve the problems.[19]

In October 2014, Champion secured additional funding to appoint Jayne Senior, a specialist in child sexual exploitation, to support the 1,400 victims of child abuse in Rotherham.[20]

In November 2014, Champion asked the Prime Minister to support Rotherham’s victims and to ensure that procedures are in place to prevent such widespread abuse happening again. The Prime Minister replied in part that the Home Office was leading "this important effort" in getting departments to work together. [21]

Gender pay equality[edit]

In December 2014, Champion took a Ten Minute Rule Bill to Parliament asking for the mandatory publishing of figures of the pay gap between men and women in any company of over 250 employees. The Bill was overwhelmingly supported by MPs, with 258 voting in support and just 8 voting against.[22]

In July 2015 the Prime Minister, David Cameron, announced the Government would be adopting the measures put forward in Champion's Bill.[23]

Shadow Minister for Preventing Abuse[edit]

Champion was appointed as Shadow Minister for Preventing Abuse by Jeremy Corbyn in September 2015.[24]

In June 2016, Champion resigned as shadow Home Office minister focusing on women, equality and domestic violence after Labour MPs passed a motion of no confidence in Jeremy Corbyn. However, the next month she returned to the frontbench in the same post.[25]

In September 2016, it became known that Champion had been cautioned by police in 2007 after a violent altercation with her husband while they were about to divorce.[26] Champion admitted she had "lost control" and said: “I’m not proud of what happened and I accept I was in the wrong but I have nothing to hide. I lost control after being provoked for years and for that I am sorry but I felt extremely vulnerable at that moment".[26][27] Her former husband, Graham Hoyland, said he'd been "the victim of the attack by Sarah Champion" and that it was "embarrassing to have to admit your wife attacked you".[27]


  1. ^ "Chinese Arts Centre". Dellam Corporate Information. 14 October 2008. Retrieved 30 November 2012. 
  2. ^ "Biography". Sarah Champion. Archived from the original on 29 November 2012. Retrieved 30 November 2012. 
  3. ^ "Labour holds Rotherham seat in by-election". BBC News. BBC. 30 November 2012. Retrieved 30 November 2012. 
  4. ^ a b "Rotherham MP Sarah Champion says 'not career politician'". BBC News. BBC. 30 November 2012. Retrieved 3 December 2012. 
  5. ^ Mason, Chris (17 April 2014). "John Bercow: Female MPs put off PMQs by bad behaviour". BBC News Online. Retrieved 4 February 2015. 
  6. ^ Harada, Christine (15 June 2015). "Who nominated who for the 2015 Labour leadership election?". New Statesman. Retrieved 21 May 2016. 
  7. ^ "Sarah Champion MP". UK Parliament. Retrieved 4 February 2015. 
  8. ^ "Sarah Champion, MP". All-party Parliamentary Health Group. Retrieved 4 February 2015. 
  9. ^ "BBC News – MP Sarah Champion claims £17 poppy wreath expenses". BBC News. 
  10. ^ "Daily Mail". Retrieved 20 March 2015. 
  11. ^ "Rotherham MP appointed to shadow cabinet after CSE work". ITV News. 17 September 2015. Retrieved 14 March 2016. 
  12. ^ "Children's charity and MP team up to tackle child sexual exploitation.". Barnardo's. 20 November 2013. Retrieved 4 February 2015. 
  13. ^ "Rotherham MP secures child grooming law change". Retrieved 14 March 2016. 
  14. ^ "Report of the Parliamentary inquiry into the effectiveness of legislation for tackling child sexual exploitation and trafficking within the UK" (PDF). Barnardo's. April 2014. Retrieved 4 February 2015. 
  15. ^ "Rotherham MP launches initiative to tackle child abuse". ITV News. Retrieved 14 March 2016. 
  16. ^ "National child abuse strategy promised a year ago, so where is it?". Retrieved 17 March 2016. 
  17. ^ "Why Have You Not Acted, Mr Cameron?". The Huffington Post UK. Retrieved 17 March 2016. 
  18. ^ "Sarah Champion MP responds to Rotherham Child Sexual Exploitation Report". 26 August 2014. Retrieved 4 February 2015. 
  19. ^ "House of Commons Hansard Debates for 02 Sep 2014 (pt 0001)". Hansard. Retrieved 4 February 2015. [not in citation given]
  20. ^ "Risky Business manager appointed as Rotherham CSE specialist". ITV News. 14 October 2014. Retrieved 4 February 2015. 
  21. ^ "PMQs: Cameron and Champion on child sex abuse help". BBC News Online. 19 November 2014. Retrieved 4 February 2015. 
  22. ^ "House of Commons Hansard Debates for 16 Dec 2014 (pt 0002)". Hansard. Retrieved 4 February 2015. 
  23. ^ "More needs to be done to close gender pay gap, says Rotherham MP". Shields Gazette. Johnston Press. 14 July 2015. Retrieved 21 May 2016. 
  24. ^ "Jeremy Corbyn appoints Rotherham MP Sarah Champion as shadow Minister for Preventing Abuse". The Independent. 17 September 2015. Retrieved 18 September 2015. 
  25. ^ Stone, Jon (25 July 2016). "Labour MP Sarah Champion who quit Jeremy Corbyn's front bench last month 'unresigns' and gets her old job back". The Independent. Retrieved 25 July 2016. 
  26. ^ a b Badshah, Nadeem (24 September 2016). "MP's arrest over row with ex-husband". The Times. Retrieved 25 September 2016. (subscription required)
  27. ^ a b "Labour domestic abuse Minister attacked husband during divorce". Retrieved 2016-09-25. 

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Denis MacShane
Member of Parliament for Rotherham
2012 – present