Harriet Harman

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Person.png Harriet Harman   WebsiteRdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
(politician)
Official portrait of Rt Hon Harriet Harman QC MP crop 2.jpg
BornHarriet Ruth Harman
1950-07-30
London, United Kingdom
NationalityBritish
Alma materGoodricke College, University of York
ReligionChristianity
Children2 sons 1 daughter
SpouseJack Dromey
PartyLabour
UK Labour politician given the task of "reforming" the Welfare State.

Employment.png Leader of the Labour Party Wikipedia-icon.png

In office
8 May 2015 - 12 September 2015
Preceded byEd Miliband
Succeeded byJeremy Corbyn

Employment.png Leader of the Labour Party Wikipedia-icon.png

In office
11 May 2010 - 25 September 2010
Preceded byGordon Brown
Succeeded byEd Miliband

Employment.png UK/Leader of the Opposition Wikipedia-icon.png

In office
8 May 2015 - 12 September 2015
Preceded byEd Miliband
Succeeded byJeremy Corbyn

Employment.png UK/Leader of the Opposition Wikipedia-icon.png

In office
11 May 2010 - 25 September 2010
Preceded byDavid Cameron
Succeeded byEd Miliband

Employment.png Shadow Secretary of State for International Development

In office
8 October 2010 - 7 October 2011
Succeeded byIvan Lewis

Employment.png Leader of the House of Commons Wikipedia-icon.png

In office
28 June 2007 - 11 May 2010
Preceded byJack Straw
Succeeded byGeorge Young

Employment.png Lord Privy Seal Wikipedia-icon.png

In office
28 June 2007 - 11 May 2010
Preceded byJack Straw
Succeeded byGeorge Young

Employment.png UK/Minister for Women and Equality

In office
28 June 2007 - 11 May 2010

Employment.png Solicitor General for England and Wales Wikipedia-icon.png

In office
11 June 2001 - 10 May 2005

Employment.png Secretary of State for Social Security Wikipedia-icon.png

In office
3 May 1997 - 27 July 1998
Preceded byPeter Lilley

Employment.png Minister for Women

In office
3 May 1997 - 27 July 1998

Employment.png Shadow Secretary of State for Social Security Wikipedia-icon.png

In office
1 July 1996 - 2 May 1997
Succeeded byPeter Lilley

Employment.png Shadow Secretary of State for Health Wikipedia-icon.png

In office
19 October 1995 - 1 July 1996
Preceded byMargaret Beckett

Employment.png Shadow Secretary of State for Employment

In office
21 July 1994 - 19 October 1995
Preceded byJohn Prescott

Employment.png Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury Wikipedia-icon.png

In office
18 July 1992 - 21 July 1994
BossGordon Brown
Preceded byMargaret Beckett
Succeeded byAndrew Smith

Employment.png Member of Parliament for Camberwell and Peckham

In office
28 October 1982 - Present

Harriet Ruth Harman is a British politician and solicitor who has served as Member of Parliament (MP) for Camberwell and Peckham, formerly Peckham, since 1982. A member of the Labour Party, she has served in various Cabinet and Shadow Cabinet positions.

Political Career

Harry Lamborn, the Labour MP for Peckham, died on 21 August 1982. In the subsequent by-election held on 28 October 1982, Harman was elected to succeed Lamborn with 11,349 votes (50.34%), a majority of 3,931 over Social Democratic candidate Dick Taverne, a former Labour MP for Lincoln. The Conservative Party candidate was John Redwood, who came third, and went on to be elected MP for Wokingham in 1987.

Harman was involved in a European Court of Human Rights case against MI5. During a 1984 television interview by Cathy Massiter, it was revealed personal files were held by MI5 on Harman and on the (by then former-) General Secretary of the NCCL, Patricia Hewitt.[1] They successfully argued that there had been an infringement of their rights because MI5 was not a legally constituted and democratically accountable organisation, this being the minimum standard in democracy.[2] The success of the case led to enactment of the Security Service Act 1989.

In 1984, Harman became a Shadow Social Services minister and served as a Shadow Health minister in 1987. After the 1992 general election she entered the Shadow Cabinet as Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury (1992–1994) and later served as Shadow Employment Secretary (1994–1995), Shadow Health Secretary (1995–1996) and Shadow Social Security Secretary (1996–1997).[3]

After Labour's victory in the 1997 general election, she became Secretary of State for Social Security and the first ever Minister for Women.[4] She was given the task of reforming the Welfare State. She also headed up New Labour's controversial cut to single parent benefit despite the majority of those affected being women.[5][6][7] There was public outcry at this perceived attacked on the living standards of some of the poorest women and children. According to The Independent, a group of women protesters shouted "Labour scum"[8] as the measure was approved in Parliament – albeit with a rebellion of 47 Labour MPs and the abstention of many others.[9] Harman was sacked from the position in 1998. According to many in the media, this was the result of a series of public rows with junior minister Frank Field, though others also cited her decision to cut benefits to lone parents as a factor.[10]

Harman voted with the party on all but a few instances during its period in government.

Expenses

In January 2009, Harman proposed a rule change to exempt MPs' expenses from the Freedom of Information Act. Her parliamentary order aimed to remove "most expenditure information held by either House of Parliament from the scope of the Freedom of Information Act". It meant that, under the law, journalists and members of the public would no longer be entitled to learn details of their MP's expenses. Labour MPs were to be pressured to vote for this measure by use of a three line whip. Her proposal was withdrawn when the Conservative Party said they would vote against, and in light of an online campaign by mySociety.[11] The failure of the motion led to the disclosure of expenses of British members of parliament.

In December 2010, it emerged that Harman was amongst 40 MPs who had secretly repaid wrongly claimed expenses between 2008 and 2010. In November 2010, Harman's parliamentary private secretary Ian Lavery had blocked a motion designed to allow the repayments to be made public.[12]


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