Sarah Champion (politician)

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Sarah Champion
MP
Official portrait of Sarah Champion crop 2.jpg
Shadow Secretary of State for Women and Equalities
Shadow Minister of State (2016-2017)
In office
6 October 2016 – 16 August 2017
Leader Jeremy Corbyn
Preceded by Angela Rayner
Succeeded by Dawn Butler
Member of Parliament
for Rotherham
Assumed office
29 November 2012
Preceded by Denis MacShane
Majority 11,387 (30.0%)
Personal details
Born (1969-07-10) 10 July 1969 (age 48)
Maldon, England
Political party Labour
Spouse(s) Graham Hoyland (m. 1999 div. 2007)
Alma mater University of Sheffield
Website Official website

Sarah Deborah Champion MP (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, but resigned in June 2016, following a vote of no confidence in Corbyn, but returned to the frontbench in July 2016. In October 2016, she was appointed to the role of Shadow Minister for Women and Equalities in addition to her other post.[2]

In August 2017, Champion resigned from her post following criticism of an opinion piece she wrote for The Sun that discussed what she termed the "problem" of white girls being raped and exploited by British Pakistani men, and which fellow Labour MP Naz Shah described as "incendiary and irresponsible".

Career[edit]

Champion graduated with a BA degree in psychology from the University of Sheffield in 1991.[3] 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.[4]

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.[5] Champion is Rotherham's first female MP.[6]

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."[6]

In a 2014 BBC interview, Champion admitted that she rarely attends Prime Minister's Questions.[7]

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.[8]

In September 2017, the political commentator Iain Dale placed Champion at Number 92 on his list of the '100 most influential people on the Left'.[9]

In November 2017, a fly-on-the-wall BBC documentary Labour: The Summer that Changed Everything made during the 2017 general election campaign was shown, with Champion as one of four MPs critical of Jeremy Corbyn's leadership who were followed for six weeks. The documentary showed Champion stating "I don’t believe you can be a leader if nobody’s following you", and the MPs' surprise at the election result. Champion discussed the psychological stresses of the campaign and being at parliament, and that she did feel tough enough to go back to parliament the day after the result.[10][11]

Parliament[edit]

Champion was formerly a member of the Transport Select Committee,[2] 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.[12]

Champion was appointed Shadow Minister for 'preventing abuse and domestic violence' in 2015.[13] 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.[14]

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.[15]

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.[16] 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.[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]

Shadow Minister for Women and Equalities[edit]

In October 2016, the leader of the Labour Party Jeremy Corbyn appointed Champion to the role of Shadow Minister for Women and Equalities.[27] In November 2016, Champion launched Dare2Care, a National Action Plan for Preventing Child Abuse and Violence in Teenage Relationships. Among Champion's key recommendations is the compulsory introduction of resilience and relationships education for all children from Key Stage One.[28]

In August 2017, on BBC Radio 4's Today programme she asserted that "more people are afraid to be called a racist than they are afraid to be wrong about calling out child abuse".[29] Her statements were followed by an opinion piece for The Sun titled "British Pakistani men ARE raping and exploiting white girls ... and it’s time we faced up to it".[30][31] The article went on to suggest that "Britain has a problem with British Pakistani men raping and exploiting white girls".[32] Fellow Labour MP Naz Shah criticised Champion's statements, describing the headline as incendiary and irresponsible, and arguing that 90% of child sexual abusers were white men.[33]

A few days later, Champion distanced herself from The Sun article, which she said should "not have gone out in my name", asserting that beginning of the article had been altered by the newspaper's staff resulting in the piece being "stripped of nuance". The newspaper said the article's final form had been approved by her team,[34] and later produced an email from one of her aides confirming she was actually "thrilled" by the article.[35] Champion resigned from her post on 16 August 2017.[32]

Personal life[edit]

In 1999 Champion married Graham Hoyland, a BBC producer and explorer. The couple divorced in 2007.[36]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Chinese Arts Centre". Dellam Corporate Information. 14 October 2008. Retrieved 30 November 2012. 
  2. ^ a b "Sarah Champion MP". parliament.uk. UK Parliament. Archived from the original on 4 February 2015. Retrieved 4 February 2015. 
  3. ^ Who's Who 2017. A & C Black. ‘CHAMPION, Sarah Deborah’. 
  4. ^ "Biography". Sarah Champion. Archived from the original on 29 November 2012. Retrieved 30 November 2012. 
  5. ^ "Labour holds Rotherham seat in by-election". BBC News. BBC. 30 November 2012. Archived from the original on 30 November 2012. Retrieved 30 November 2012. 
  6. ^ a b "Rotherham MP Sarah Champion says 'not career politician'". BBC News. 30 November 2012. Archived from the original on 6 December 2012. Retrieved 3 December 2012. 
  7. ^ Mason, Chris (17 April 2014). "John Bercow: Female MPs put off PMQs by bad behaviour". BBC News. Archived from the original on 11 March 2015. Retrieved 4 February 2015. 
  8. ^ Harada, Christine (15 June 2015). "Who nominated who for the 2015 Labour leadership election?". New Statesman. Archived from the original on 5 July 2015. Retrieved 21 May 2016. 
  9. ^ Dale, Iain (25 September 2017). "The 100 Most Influential People On The Left: Iain Dale's 2017 List". LBC. Archived from the original on 25 September 2017. Retrieved 31 October 2017. 
  10. ^ O'Donovan, Gerard (20 November 2017). "Labour: The Summer That Changed Everything was a fine example of how elections can wrong-foot politicians - review". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 2 April 2018. 
  11. ^ Hayward, Will (21 November 2017). "Everything we learned about Stephen Kinnock and politics from the BBC documentary on Labour's summer". Wales Online. Retrieved 2 December 2017. 
  12. ^ "Sarah Champion, MP". All-party Parliamentary Health Group. Archived from the original on 4 February 2015. Retrieved 4 February 2015. 
  13. ^ "Rotherham MP appointed to shadow cabinet after CSE work". ITV News. 17 September 2015. Archived from the original on 14 March 2016. Retrieved 14 March 2016. 
  14. ^ "Children's charity and MP team up to tackle child sexual exploitation". Barnardo's. 20 November 2013. Archived from the original on 9 January 2015. Retrieved 4 February 2015. 
  15. ^ "Children to get better protection from predatory sex offenders". Barnardo's. 21 July 2014. Archived from the original on 16 January 2017. Retrieved 13 January 2017. 
  16. ^ "Rotherham MP launches initiative to tackle child abuse". ITV News. Archived from the original on 14 March 2016. Retrieved 14 March 2016. 
  17. ^ "Why Have You Not Acted, Mr Cameron?". The Huffington Post UK. Archived from the original on 24 March 2016. Retrieved 17 March 2016. 
  18. ^ "Sarah Champion MP responds to Rotherham Child Sexual Exploitation Report". sarahchampionmp.com. 26 August 2014. Archived from the original on 9 January 2015. Retrieved 4 February 2015. 
  19. ^ "House of Commons Hansard Debates for 02 Sep 2014 (pt 0001)". Hansard. Archived from the original on 2 February 2015. Retrieved 4 February 2015. [not in citation given]
  20. ^ "Risky Business manager appointed as Rotherham CSE specialist". ITV News. 14 October 2014. Archived from the original on 3 February 2015. Retrieved 4 February 2015. 
  21. ^ "PMQs: Cameron and Champion on child sex abuse help". BBC News Online. 19 November 2014. Archived from the original on 20 February 2015. Retrieved 4 February 2015. 
  22. ^ "House of Commons Hansard Debates for 16 Dec 2014 (pt 0002)". Hansard. Archived from the original on 9 January 2015. 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. Archived from the original on 22 August 2016. Retrieved 21 May 2016. 
  24. ^ "Jeremy Corbyn appoints Rotherham MP Sarah Champion as shadow Minister for Preventing Abuse". The Independent. 17 September 2015. Archived from the original on 19 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. Archived from the original on 26 July 2016. 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. ^ "Jeremy Corbyn appoints Labour MP Sarah Champion to shadow equalities role". Pink News. 6 October 2016. Archived from the original on 19 November 2016. Retrieved 18 November 2016. 
  28. ^ Packham, Amy (2 November 2016). "Sex Education Should Teach Kids About Sexual Abuse From Age Five, Says Labour MP Sarah Champion". The Huffington Post. Archived from the original on 19 November 2016. Retrieved 18 November 2016. 
  29. ^ Cowburn, Ashley (10 August 2017). "Newcastle sex ring: People care more about being called racist than preventing child abuse, says Rotherham's Labour MP". The Independent. Archived from the original on 15 August 2017. Retrieved 16 August 2017. 
  30. ^ Elgot, Jessica; Ruddick, Graham (16 August 2017). "Sarah Champion distances herself from Sun article on British Pakistani men". The Guardian. Guardian Media Group. Archived from the original on 16 August 2017. Retrieved 16 August 2017. 
  31. ^ Champion, Sarah (10 August 2017). "British Pakistani men ARE raping and exploiting white girls… and it's time we faced up to it". The Sun. News UK. Archived from the original on 17 August 2017. Retrieved 17 August 2017. 
  32. ^ a b Elgot, Jessica (16 August 2017). "Sarah Champion resigns as shadow equalities minister". The Guardian. Guardian Media Group. Archived from the original on 16 August 2017. Retrieved 16 August 2017. 
  33. ^ Merrick, Rob (12 August 2017). "Labour MPs go to war with each other over profiling Pakistani men as sexual abusers of young white girls". The Independent. Archived from the original on 15 August 2017. Retrieved 16 August 2017. 
  34. ^ Elgot, Jessica; Ruddick, Graham (16 August 2017). "Sarah Champion distances herself from Sun article on British Pakistani men". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 16 August 2017. Retrieved 16 August 2017. 
  35. ^ Elgot, Jessica (17 August 2017). "Sajid Javid says Jeremy Corbyn 'wrong to sack Sarah Champion'". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 17 August 2017. Retrieved 17 August 2017. 
  36. ^ Badshah, Nadeem (24 September 2016). "MP's arrest over row with ex-husband" – via www.thetimes.co.uk. 

External links[edit]

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

2012–present
Incumbent
Political offices
Preceded by
Angela Rayner
Shadow Minister for Women and Equalities
2016–2017
Succeeded by
Dawn Butler