Tracy Brabin

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Tracy Brabin

Official portrait of Tracy Brabin MP crop 2.jpg
Brabin in 2020
Shadow Minister for Cultural Industries
Assumed office
9 April 2020
LeaderKeir Starmer
Preceded byPosition established
Shadow Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
In office
7 January 2020 – 6 April 2020
LeaderJeremy Corbyn
Preceded byTom Watson
Succeeded byJo Stevens
Shadow Minister for Early Years
In office
3 July 2017 – 7 January 2020
LeaderJeremy Corbyn
Preceded byTulip Siddiq
Succeeded byTulip Siddiq
Member of Parliament
for Batley and Spen
Assumed office
20 October 2016
Preceded byJo Cox
Majority3,525 (6.7%)
Personal details
Born (1961-05-09) 9 May 1961 (age 59)
Batley, West Riding of Yorkshire, England
Political partyLabour Co-op
Alma materLoughborough University
University of the Arts London

Tracy Lynn Brabin (born 9 May 1961) is a British actress and Labour Co-op politician, who has been Member of Parliament (MP) for Batley and Spen since October 2016, following a by-election after the murder of Jo Cox. She was appointed as Shadow Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport by Jeremy Corbyn in January 2020, succeeding former Deputy Labour Leader Tom Watson. In April 2020, new Labour Leader Keir Starmer appointed Jo Stevens as Shadow Culture Secretary, ending Brabin's brief tenure in the Shadow Cabinet.

Prior to entering politics, Brabin was an actress and television writer, having appeared in several British soap operas, including Coronation Street, EastEnders, Casualty and Emmerdale.

Early life[edit]

Brabin was born in Batley in the West Riding of Yorkshire, and educated at Heckmondwike Grammar School. She studied drama at Loughborough University and gained a Master of Arts degree in screenwriting from the London College of Communication of the University of the Arts London in 2001.[1]

Professional career[edit]


Brabin is known for her roles as clumsy waitress Sandra playing opposite David Jason in A Bit of a Do, Tricia Armstrong in Coronation Street from 1994 to 1997, and as Ginny in three series of Richard Harris's Outside Edge. She appeared in EastEnders as Roxy Drake, The Ghost Hunter as Mrs Oliver, Love + Hate as Gaynor, and in an episode of Midsomer Murders ("Dead Letters", 2006).

In 2008, she appeared in a series of commercials for supermarket chain Sainsbury's playing "Sarah", a mother-of-two and Sainsbury's employee who does her weekly shopping at the store.[2] In 2014, she appeared as Lyndsey Bernstein in Law & Order: UK, Pam in Undeniable, and as Carole in Emmerdale.[3][4]


In 2012, she played Maggie, a mother who comes to realise she is one of a race of aliens, in artist Shezad Dawood's first feature, the sci-fi art-house film Piercing Brightness.


Brabin played Linda, Sharon and Annie in Simon Beaufoy's play The Full Monty,[5] an adaptation of his screenplay for the film, directed by Sheffield Theatre's Daniel Evans. The play opened at the Sheffield Lyceum to excellent reviews, followed by a national tour and a West End run at the Noël Coward Theatre. The production was nominated for the Best New Comedy at the Laurence Olivier Awards in 2014. Brabin's previous theatre performances include the lead role in Shelagh Stevenson's The Long Road at Curve in Leicester directed by Adel Al Salloum and Joy in Meat written by Jimmy Osbourne for London's 503 Theatre.


Brabin has written for Heartbeat, Family Affairs, Crossroads, The Story of Tracy Beaker, and Hollyoaks, on which she worked for two years. She has written for Shameless for Company Pictures and for three series of Seacht – nominated for Best Youth Programme Irish Film and Television Awards in 2011. With her mentor Elizabeth Karlsen, the producer of Made in Dagenham, she was involved on the romantic comedy feature Father August for the prestigious She Writes programme, with Minkie Spiro attached to direct. Brabin wrote an episode of Doctors which was screened in December 2012.

Political activity[edit]

Brabin publicly endorsed the Labour Party at the 1997 general election, writing an article for the Labour-supporting Daily Mirror newspaper explaining that her father-in-law had died on a hospital trolley while waiting to see a doctor.[6] In May 1998 she appeared in a Party Political Broadcast for the party appealing for people to join it.[7] Brabin was the lead member of a group of nine actors to write to The Observer explaining that while they continued to oppose the Blair government's military intervention in Iraq, they still "strongly support the re-election of a Labour government".[8] She canvassed for the Labour Party in the Kirklees council election in 2012.[9]

When Jo Cox was selected as Labour candidate for Batley and Spen, Brabin joined her campaign against the closure of libraries in the constituency.[10]

Parliamentary career[edit]

In August 2016, Brabin said that she was considering standing in the Batley and Spen by-election, caused by Cox's murder.[11] On 19 September, she was shortlisted along with Labour activist Jane Thomas.[12] Brabin was selected at a meeting on 23 September.[13] The Conservative Party, Liberal Democrats, Green Party and UKIP did not field candidates as a mark of respect to Cox.[14] On 20 October 2016, Brabin was elected with an increased majority of around 10,000.[15] She was then sworn in on 24 October.[16]

Brabin made her maiden speech in the House of Commons on 2 November, paying tribute to her predecessor, whom she described as "inspirational". The speech won applause from fellow MPs.[17]

Brabin retained the seat in the 2017 general election, with a majority of just under 9,000 over the Conservative Party candidate.[18] On 3 July 2017 she was appointed as Shadow Early Years Minister by Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.[19]

Brabin was re-elected as the MP for Batley & Spen in the 2019 General Election, with a majority of 3,525.[20] She was appointed as shadow culture secretary in January 2020 after the previous holder, Tom Watson stood down at the 2019 general election.[21]. . She was replaced as shadow culture secretary in Keir Starmer's Shadow Front Bench announcement but made Shadow Minister for Cultural Industries[22].


Television credits[edit]

Year Title Role
1989 A Bit of a Do Sandra Pickersgill
1989 Hale and Pace Various characters
1989 Coronation Street Chloe (2 episodes)
1991 Riff-Raff Singer
1992 El C.I.D. Fran
1992 Charles and Diana: Unhappily Ever After Sarah, Duchess of York
1994 Peak Practice Lou Clarke
1994–1997 Coronation Street Tricia Armstrong (193 episodes)
1994–1995 Outside Edge Ginnie Willis
1995 Mayday Mayday Sylvia Redpath
1999 Sunburn Sheila Adams
2000 The Ghost Hunter Mrs. Oliver
2000 Where the Heart Is Stella Taylor
2000 The Bill Mrs. Sanderson
2000 Doctors Lucy Carlton
2001 EastEnders Roxy Drake
2001 Holby City Lucy Gartside
2002 Nice Guy Eddie Stephanie
2002 Silent Witness Nina Palmer
2002 The Bill Pam
2003 Is Harry on the Boat? Isobel
2004 Bodies Karen Taylor
2004 Heartbeat Sandra Tetley
2005 Coronation Street: The Duckworth Family Album Herself
2005 Love + Hate Gaynor
2005 Holby City Stella Howard
2006 An Audience with Coronation Street Herself
2006 Rosemary & Thyme Nicola Spicer
2006 Midsomer Murders Ruth Chalk
2006 Strictly Confidential Tina Roebottom
2006 Doctors Tina Machin
2007 Casualty Veek Kitching
2007 The Real Extras Herself
2007 The Good Samaritan Gloria
2008 Doctors Amanda Webster
2008 The Bill Isabel Edgar
2009 Casualty April
2014 Emmerdale Carole
2014 Law & Order: UK Lindsey Bernstein
2014 Casualty Roz Conlon

Writing credits[edit]


  1. ^ Perraudin, Frances (30 September 2016). "Tracy Brabin: 'I hope I can build on Jo Cox's legacy'". The Guardian. Retrieved 17 October 2016.
  2. ^ "Sainsbury's ad for former Coronation Street star Tracy Brabin". Daily Mirror. 3 September 2008. Retrieved 30 November 2008.
  3. ^ "Emmerdale spoilers: ex-Coronation Street actress Tracy Brabin to play Ashley's new love interest". Retrieved 6 September 2016.
  4. ^ "Casting news: Tracy Brabin joins Emmerdale". Archived from the original on 16 September 2016. Retrieved 6 September 2016.
  5. ^ "Tracy's West End dream will be fulfilled at last". Spenborough Guardian. 11 May 2013. Retrieved 26 August 2014.
  6. ^ Daily Mirror, 14 April 1997.
  7. ^ David Boothroyd. "Party Political Broadcast: Join the Labour Party!" – via YouTube.
  8. ^ "Letters". The Observer. 3 April 2005.
  9. ^ "Labour's star turn". Huddersfield Daily Examiner. 27 April 2012. p. 4.
  10. ^ "Emmerdale actress against library cuts". Batley and Birstall News. 11 September 2014.
  11. ^ "Jo Cox MP death: Actress Tracy Brabin may stand in Batley & Spen by-election". BBC News. 24 August 2016. Retrieved 20 September 2016.
  12. ^ Halliday, Josh (19 September 2016). "Former actor Tracy Brabin is frontrunner to win Jo Cox's seat". The Guardian. Retrieved 20 September 2016.
  13. ^ "Soap star Tracy Brabin to stand in Jo Cox by-election". BBC News. 23 September 2016. Retrieved 23 September 2016.
  14. ^ Halliday, Josh (19 September 2016). "Former actor Tracy Brabin is frontrunner to win Jo Cox's seat". The Guardian. Retrieved 20 September 2016.
  15. ^ "Batley and Spen by-election: Tracy Brabin victory for 'hope and unity'". BBC News. 21 October 2016. Retrieved 21 October 2016.
  16. ^ "Tracy Brabin and Robert Courts sworn in as MPs". BBC News. 24 October 2016.
  17. ^ "Tracy Brabin pays tribute to Jo Cox in maiden speech". BBC News. 2 November 2016. Retrieved 12 November 2016.
  18. ^ "Batley and Spen Parliamentary Constituency". BBC News. 9 June 2017. Retrieved 13 June 2017.
  19. ^ "Reshuffle 2: The Maintenance of the Malcontents". New Socialist. 8 July 2017. Retrieved 10 July 2017.
  20. ^ "Batley & Spen parliamentary constituency - Election 2019". BBC News. 19 December 2019. Retrieved 19 December 2019.
  21. ^ "PM renews push to get his Brexit deal through Parliament - live". Evening Standard. 7 January 2020. Retrieved 7 January 2020.
  22. ^ Rodgers, Sienna (9 April 2020). "Shadow ministers appointed as Starmer completes frontbench". LabourList. Archived from the original on 10 April 2020. Retrieved 9 April 2020.

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Jo Cox
Member of Parliament
for Batley and Spen