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Catherine West (born 14 September 1966) is a Labour Party politician in the United Kingdom. She was first elected as the Member of Parliament (MP) for Hornsey and Wood Green in May 2015.

Catherine West

Woman wearing a red rosette with a read and yellow centre, lettered "Catherine West"
Shadow Minister for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs
In office
18 September 2015 – 30 June 2017
LeaderJeremy Corbyn
Preceded byJohn Spellar
Succeeded byFabian Hamilton
Member of Parliament
for Hornsey and Wood Green
Assumed office
8 May 2015
Preceded byLynne Featherstone
Majority30,738 (49.3%)
Leader of Islington London Borough Council
In office
6 May 2010 – 10 October 2013
DeputyPaul Smith
Janet Burgess
Preceded byTerry Stacy
Succeeded byRichard Watts
Labour Party Group Leader
on Islington London Borough Council
In office
11 May 2004 – 10 October 2013
Preceded byMary Creagh
Succeeded byRichard Watts
Councillor for Islington London Borough Council
In office
2 May 2002 – 22 May 2014
Preceded byBarbara Sidnell
Succeeded byFlora Williamson
Personal details
Born (1966-09-14) 14 September 1966 (age 53)
Sydney, Australia
Political partyLabour
Alma materUniversity of Sydney
SOAS, University of London
WebsiteOfficial website

Early life and educationEdit

West was born on 14 September 1966 in Sydney, Australia. She was educated at Ravenswood School for Girls. She studied at the University of Sydney and gained a master's degree in Chinese politics from the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London.

West is fluent in five languages, including Mandarin Chinese, which she became proficient in when she lived in Nanjing.[1]

Political careerEdit

From 2 May 2002 to 22 May 2014, West was a member of the Islington London Borough Council representing the Tollington Ward. She was leader of the council's Labour Party group from 2004 to 10 October 2013 and Council Leader from 6 May 2010 to 10 October 2013.

She was elected Member of Parliament (MP) for Hornsey and Wood Green in the 2015 general election.[2]

West opposes the renewal of Trident nuclear weapon system.[3] In September 2015, West along with Tulip Siddiq and Keir Starmer wrote a letter to British prime minister David Cameron seeking urgent action to address the refugee crisis due to the Syrian Civil War.[4][5][6]

Following the election of Jeremy Corbyn as Leader of the Labour Party, whose campaign she supported, Catherine was promoted to the Official Opposition Frontbench as a Shadow Foreign Office Minister.

During the 2016 EU membership referendum Campaign, West was involved with Britain Stronger In Europe, campaigning for the UK to remain within the European Union, arguing that "Britain would be stronger, more prosperous, more secure and more peaceful" if they were to remain within the EU. West's constituency of Hornsey and Wood Green secured the highest remain vote in the UK with 81.5% voting to remain.[7] Following the EU referendum, West confirmed she would vote against invoking Article 50 should a vote come before parliament.[8]

In September 2016, she founded the All-Party Parliamentary Group on UK-EU Relations, that seeks to secure a positive and progressive relationship between Britain and the EU.[9] This group has cross-party support with Green Party Leader Caroline Lucas, former Conservative Secretary of State for Education Nicky Morgan and former Labour Higher Education Minister David Lammy among its elected officers.

In January 2017, West voted against triggering Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, the process by which EU Member States may use to withdraw from the European Union, along with 46 other Labour Party Members of Parliament.[10]

West was sacked from the Labour frontbench in June 2017 after she voted in favour of an amendment to the Queen's Speech which called on the UK to remain in the European Single Market, in defiance of the Labour whip.[11]

Personal lifeEdit

West is a Quaker. She is one of three Quakers elected during the 2015 general election, the others being Ruth Cadbury and Tania Mathias.[12]

She has two children.[13]


  1. ^ "About me". Retrieved 17 June 2017.
  2. ^ "Hornsey & Wood Green Parliamentary constituency". BBC. Retrieved 7 May 2015.
  3. ^ "Labour CND conference – 'Labour and Trident Replacement'". Archived from the original on 18 May 2015. Retrieved 24 May 2015.
  4. ^ Cadwalladr, Carole (28 December 2014). "Rising stars of 2015: politician Dan Jarvis". The Guardian. Retrieved 10 September 2015.
  5. ^ Pasha, Syed Nahas (5 September 2015). "Tulip Siddiq urges PM Cameron to take urgent action to address refugee crisis in Europe". London: Retrieved 10 September 2015.
  6. ^ "Tulip seeks action to end refugee crisis". Dhaka: Prothom Alo. 5 September 2015. Archived from the original on 10 September 2015. Retrieved 10 September 2015.
  7. ^ Hanretty, Chris (29 June 2016). "The EU referendum: how did Westminster constituencies vote?". Retrieved 17 June 2017.
  8. ^ West, Catherine (27 June 2016). "75% of my constituents voted to remain in the EU. I stand w/ them on this issue & I will vote against Brexit". Retrieved 17 June 2017.
  9. ^ Commons, The Committee Office, House of. "House of Commons - Register Of All-Party Parliamentary Groups as at 12 October 2016: UK-EU Relations". Retrieved 17 June 2017.
  10. ^ Sparrow, Andrew (1 February 2017). "MPs vote to give May power to trigger article 50 – as it happened". The Guardian. Retrieved 17 June 2017.
  11. ^ Asthana, Anushka (29 June 2017). "Jeremy Corbyn sacks three frontbenchers after single market vote". The Guardian. Retrieved 29 June 2017.
  12. ^ "First Quaker MPs elected in a decade". Quakers in Britain. Religious Society of Friends (Quakers). 8 May 2015. Archived from the original on 24 May 2015. Retrieved 24 May 2015.
  13. ^ "Special Report: Catherine West MP reflects on her first six months in Parliament". Ham & High. 20 December 2015. Retrieved 3 July 2019.

External linksEdit