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Yvette Cooper

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A British Labour Party politician. The current Shadow Home Secretary and Shadow Minister for Women and Equalities.
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Yvette Cooper (born 20 March 1969) is a British Labour Party politician who has been the Member of Parliament (MP) for Normanton, Pontefract and Castleford since 2010, having previously been MP for Pontefract and Castleford since 1997. She served in the Cabinet between 2008 and 2010 under Prime Minister Gordon Brown as Chief Secretary to the Treasury and then as Secretary of State for Work and Pensions. She is currently the Shadow Home Secretary and Shadow Minister for Women and Equalities. She is married to fellow Labour politician Ed Balls.

 

Political career

She was selected to contest the safe Labour seat of Pontefract and Castleford at the 1997 general election, after Deputy Speaker Geoff Lofthouse announced his retirement. She held the seat with a majority of 25,725, and made her maiden speech on 2 July 1997, speaking about her constituency's struggle with unemployment. She served for two years on the Education and Employment Select Committee.

 

In 1999, she was promoted to become a Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Department of Health, and in 2003 moved to the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister. After the 2005 general election, she was promoted within the same department to become a Minister of State.

 

In the reshuffle following Peter Hain's resignation on 24 January 2008, Cooper became the first woman ever to serve as Chief Secretary to the Treasury. As her husband, Ed Balls, was already a Cabinet Minister, her promotion meant that the two became the first married couple ever to sit in the Cabinet together. In 2009, Cooper was appointed Secretary of State for Work and Pensions.

 

Cooper and her husband Ed Balls were both mentioned in the press as a potential leadership candidates when Gordon Brown resigned as Leader of the Labour Party. Before Balls announced his candidacy, he offered to stand aside if Cooper wanted to stand, but Cooper declined for the sake of their children, stating that it would not be the right time for her. She later topped the 2010 ballot for places in the Shadow Cabinet, and there was speculation that the newly-elected Labour Leader Ed Miliband would appoint her Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer. She would instead be appointed Shadow Foreign Secretary. When Alan Johnson resigned as Shadow Chancellor on 20 January 2011, Cooper was moved to become the Shadow Home Secretary. Her husband, who had previously served in that role, moved to replace Johnson as Shadow Chancellor. Yvette Cooper is now Shadow Home Secretary

 

Personal

She married Ed Balls on 10 January 1998 in Eastbourne. Her husband is the Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer and was a former leadership candidate. They have two daughters and one son. Cooper and Balls were the first married couple to serve together in the Br. tish cabinet. In February 2013 she was assessed as one of the 100 most powerful women in the United Kingdom by Woman's Hour on BBC Radio 4.

 

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February 2, 2012

updated: 2013-08-13

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