Mary Creagh

Mary Creagh
Mary Creagh MP
Shadow Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Assumed office
8 October 2010
Leader Ed Miliband
Preceded by Hilary Benn
Member of Parliament
for Wakefield
Assumed office
5 May 2005
Preceded by David Hinchliffe
Majority 1,613 (3.6%)
Personal details
Born 2 December 1967 (1967-12-02) (age 43)
Coventry, England
Nationality British
Political party Labour
Spouse(s) Adrian Pullman
Alma mater Pembroke College, Oxford, London School of Economics

Mary Helen Creagh (born 2 December 1967) is a British Labour Party politician and Member of Parliament (MP) for Wakefield since 2005. She was appointed to the shadow cabinet on 7 October 2010.



Image of Mary Creagh in Parliament

Creagh was born and brought up in Coventry of Irish parentage[citation needed], her father a car factory worker and her mother a primary school teacher. She was educated at the Bishop Ullathorne Comprehensive School in Coventry and won a scholarship to Pembroke College, Oxford where she read modern languages.[1] She then attended the London School of Economics and gained an MSc in European Studies. She worked in Brussels for four years, first as a stagiaire at the European Parliament and then for the European Youth Forum. She taught entrepreneurship at the Cranfield University School of Management from 1997 until her election to Westminster, and spent seven years as a trustee with Rathbone, a national charity.

Political career


Creagh was elected as a councillor in the London Borough of Islington in 1998, becoming the Labour group leader (2000–2004). She stood down from the council in 2005 on her election as a Westminster MP.

In 2002 Creagh instigated an investigation into cronyism in the appointment the Islington Council Chief Executive by five Liberal Democrats councillors. After the longest ever investigation by the Standards Board for England her complaint was rejected. Creagh was criticised by the tribunal as "heavily influenced by her political motives" and that she was an "insensitive witness, lacking in balanced judgment and one who was prepared to make assumptions about honesty and integrity of others without any proper basis". However, Creagh defended herself saying she "blew the whistle because I believed the Liberal Democrats were not meeting the standards we expect from people in public office. I invite people to look at my evidence and draw their own conclusions."[2] The Liberal Democrats involved lost their council seats in the 2006 elections.

Member of Parliament

She succeeded the retiring David Hinchliffe for Wakefield with a majority of 5,154 and has remained the MP there since. She made her maiden speech on 25 May 2005 using the occasion to raise issues of poverty in her constituency. She also mentioned locally born sculptor Barbara Hepworth.[3] She was a member of the Human Rights Select Committee from 2005 until 2007, and was the Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, Andy Burnham, from 2006 until June 2009. In June 2009 she was made an assistant Government Whip in the Department of Health. In 2007 she was among those MPs who backed Gordon Brown for the leadership of the Labour Party.[4] In May 2010, Creagh supported David Miliband's bid to become leader of the Labour Party.

She has campaigned successfully on a number of issues since entering parliament. In 2005 she introduced a Children's Food Bill which sought to introduce minimum nutritional standards for all school meals and take fizzy drinks and sugary snacks out of school vending machines. Both of these measures were accepted by the government and came into law as part of the Education and Inspections Bill 2006.[5]

In 2006 she launched a campaign aimed at preventing scalding injuries in the home. She brought together medical experts, campaign groups, and victims of scalding injuries to lobby the government to change the building regulations to prevent people being severely burned by scalding hot water. The coalition pressured the government to make the fitting of a water temperature regulating device, such as a Thermostatic Mixing Valve (TMV), compulsory in new bathrooms in England. In 2009, after a 3 year "Hot Water Burns Like Fire" campaign, the government confirmed that from April 2010 TMVs would be fitted as standard in all new bathrooms.[6][7]

From 2007 to 2009 Mary Creagh was Chair of the Labour Movement for Europe, succeeding Chris Bryant MP and succeeded by Richard Corbett MEP.

In 2009, as vice-chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for the Prevention of Genocide and Other Crimes Against Humanity, Mary Creagh called on Justice Secretary Jack Straw to tighten UK law so that people accused of genocide could be prosecuted in Britain. She said there was an "impunity gap" which allowed people accused of terrible crimes in places like Rwanda and Bosnia to escape justice and live freely in Britain.[8] As a result of this the government agreed to amend the Coroner's and Justice Bill and tighten the law so that anyone suspected of war crimes anywhere in the world since 1991 and resident in the UK can be prosecuted by UK courts.[9]

On 8 October 2010, Creagh was appointed Shadow Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. In February 2011 she secured a debate [10] in the House of Commons on the government’s plans to sell off 85% of England’s Public Forest Estate. The plans were subsequently abandoned by the government [11] as it had become clear the public “were not happy with the proposals”.[12]

Creagh has criticised the decision by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to cut flood defence spending in real terms by 32%.[13] She has also been involved in campaigns calling for the banning of wild animals from circuses [14] and opposing the government’s policy of badger culling. [15] At the Labour Party’s annual conference in September 2011 Creagh launched the Back the Apple [16] campaign with Unite the Union. The campaign opposes the government’s plan to abolish the Agricultural Wages Board[17] which sets wages and conditions for thousands of agricultural workers.

In October 2011 Creagh was retained by Labour leader Ed Miliband as Shadow Environment Secretary.

Personal life

Creagh has been married to Adrian Pulham since 2001 and they have a son, Clement (named after the former Labour Prime Minister Clement Attlee) and a daughter, Beatrice.[18] She is fluent in French and Italian and enjoys cycling and yoga. She is a member of the GMB Trade Union.


External links

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
David Hinchliffe
Member of Parliament for Wakefield
Political offices
Preceded by
Hilary Benn
Shadow Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

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