Barbara Mary Keeley[1] (born 26 March 1952) is a British Labour Party politician who has been a Member of Parliament (MP) since 2005, first for Worsley and then for Worsley and Eccles South since 2010.[2] She was Deputy Leader of the House of Commons from 2009 to 2010.

Barbara Keeley

Shadow Minister for Mental Health and Social Care
Assumed office
7 October 2016
LeaderJeremy Corbyn
Preceded byLuciana Berger
Deputy Leader of the House of Commons
In office
9 June 2009 – 11 May 2010
Prime MinisterGordon Brown
Preceded byChris Bryant
Succeeded byDavid Heath
Member of Parliament
for Worsley and Eccles South
Worsley (2005–2010)
Assumed office
5 May 2005
Preceded byTerry Lewis
Majority3,219 (7.2%)
Tafford Councillor for Priory ward
In office
6 April 1995 – 10 June 2004
Personal details
Born (1952-03-26) 26 March 1952 (age 67)
Political partyLabour
Spouse(s)Colin Huggett
Alma materUniversity of Salford

Early lifeEdit

Keeley was educated at Mount St Mary's College in Leeds and the University of Salford, gaining a BA in Politics and Contemporary History.[3]

Her early career was with IBM, first as a Systems Engineer and then as a Field Systems Engineering Manager. Later she became an independent consultant, working on community regeneration issues across North West England.

She was elected as a Labour councillor on Trafford Council in 1995 on which Keeley served as a member for Priory ward until 2004. She was Cabinet member for Children and Young People, Early Years and Childcare and Health and Wellbeing. From 2002 to 2004, she was Cabinet member for Education, Children's Social Services and all services for children and young people and Director of a Pathfinder Children's Trust. She is a member of the GMB Union, the Co-operative Party and the Fabian Society.

From 2002 to 2005, she worked as a consultant to the charity, the Princess Royal Trust for Carers, researching carers' issues — particularly those related to primary health care. She is co-author of the reports Carers Speak Out and Primary Carers.

Parliamentary careerEdit

In the House of Commons, Keeley served as a member of the Constitutional Affairs Select committee and from February 2006, the Finance and Services Committee. On 8 February 2006, she was appointed as Parliamentary Private Secretary (PPS) to the Cabinet Office, working with the Cabinet Office Minister, Jim Murphy MP. In June 2006, she moved to be PPS to Jim Murphy as Minister of State at the Department for Work and Pensions.

On 16 December 2006, she won the nomination to be the Labour Party candidate for the constituency of Worsley and Eccles South, following boundary changes affecting Worsley.

In 2007, she served as the Parliamentary Champion for Carers Week (11 June – 17 June). She introduced a Private Members Bill — The Carers (Identification and Support) Bill — into the House of Commons on 24 April 2007. The Bill would require health bodies to identify patients who are carers or who have a carer and would make provision in relation to the responsibilities of local authorities and schools for the needs of young carers.

In June 2007, Keeley was appointed as PPS to Harriet Harman as Secretary of State for Women and Equality and appointed by Gordon Brown to chair the Labour Party's manifesto group on Social Care. In October 2008 she became an Assistant Government Whip. Then in June 2009 she was promoted to Deputy Leader of the House of Commons. In June 2010, she was appointed as a member of the Shadow Health Team and as the Shadow Deputy Leader of the House.

She stood in the 2010 Shadow Cabinet elections, coming 23rd. She was shadow minister for the Department of Communities and Local Government until October 2011.

She was appointed a member of the shadow health team in September 2015 as Shadow Minister for Older People, Social Care and Carers.[4]

She supported Owen Smith in the failed attempt to replace Jeremy Corbyn in the 2016 Labour Party (UK) leadership election.[5]


Keeley is concerned about a fall in the number of psychiatrists treating children and young people in England. Keeley said, “These figures are a severe blow to the government’s plans for children and young people’s mental health, which will come to nothing unless the NHS trains and recruits more child psychiatrists.” Keeley also said, “Children in need of mental health services are being turned away in their droves despite showing evidence of self-harm, while many have to wait six months for treatment to start – all because of a shortage of key clinical staff.”[6]

Keeley is also concerned about poor standards of care in many private care homes after an investigation found, elderly residents soiling themselves because staff did not attend to them in time, residents with autism suffering inappropriate and disproportionate physical force, patients waiting excessively long after ringing bells because staff are under pressure, elderly residents not treated with respect with underwear exposed and faeces smeared on a cushion, patients put at risk of attack from other patients and medicines handled unsafely. Keeley stated, “This investigation has exposed the appalling standards of care being provided by some of the largest providers of outsourced residential care which has left large numbers of vulnerable people in need of care suffering terrible indignity and neglect.[7]

Keeley is further concerned about care workers having their wages docked when they are sick. Keeley said this was, “symptomatic of our broken care system. (...) Good care quality depends on workers with good terms and conditions, but in hollowing out our social care system through relentless cuts to council budgets, this government has empowered irresponsible providers that are driving down workers’ conditions and at the same time damaging the quality of care.”[8]

Personal lifeEdit

She is married to Colin Huggett.[9]

External linksEdit


  1. ^ "No. 59418". The London Gazette. 13 May 2010. p. 8737.
  2. ^ "Barbara Keeley MP". Retrieved 6 December 2019.
  3. ^
  4. ^ "Labour Frontbench". Labour Party. 18 September 2015. Retrieved 18 September 2015.
  5. ^ "Full list of MPs and MEPs backing challenger Owen Smith". LabourList. 21 July 2016. Retrieved 15 July 2019.
  6. ^ Fall in number of NHS psychiatrists treating children in England The Guardian
  7. ^ Companies running 'inadequate' UK care homes make £113m profit The Guardian
  8. ^ British care company fines workers £50 for calling in sick The Guardian
  9. ^ "Meet the MP: Barbara Keeley". 20 December 2005.
Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Terry Lewis
Member of Parliament
for Worsley

New constituency Member of Parliament
for Worsley and Eccles South

Political offices
Preceded by
Luciana Berger
Shadow Minister for Mental Health