Jennifer Chapman (born 25 September 1973)[1][2] is a British Labour Party politician who was the Member of Parliament (MP) for Darlington from 2010 until 2019 when Conservative Peter Gibson defeated Chapman with a 3,294 majority. She is currently the chair of Keir Starmer's campaign in the 2020 Labour Party leadership election.[3]

Jenny Chapman
Official portrait of Jenny Chapman crop 2.jpg
Member of Parliament
for Darlington
In office
6 May 2010 – 6 November 2019
Preceded byAlan Milburn
Succeeded byPeter Gibson
Personal details
Born (1973-09-25) 25 September 1973 (age 46)
Surrey, England
Political partyLabour
Nick Smith (m. 2014)
Alma materBrunel University
Durham University

Early life and careerEdit

Chapman was born in Surrey but moved to Darlington at a young age where she attended Hummersknott School and Queen Elizabeth Sixth Form College,[2] before studying psychology at Brunel University, and later took an MA in archaeology at Durham University. She had work placements attached to prison psychology departments whilst studying for her undergraduate degree.[4]

She married fellow Labour MP Nick Smith in July 2014.[5] She has two children from a previous relationship.

Chapman worked as constituency office manager for Darlington Labour MP Alan Milburn. After a career break for children, she returned to politics at Darlington Borough Council when she was elected as borough councillor for the Cockerton West ward in 2007.[6]

Parliamentary careerEdit

In November 2009, Chapman was shortlisted as one of four candidates to succeed Milburn as Labour's parliamentary candidate for Darlington on an open shortlist.[6] She was selected to stand for parliament by the local constituency party the following month. Chapman said: "This shows that the people of Darlington want to choose a Darlington person who will put the town first."[7] She was elected Darlington MP in the 2010 general election with a majority of 3,388.[8] As a result of her election victory, she decided to stand down as a councillor.[9]

Chapman made her maiden speech in Parliament on 7 June 2010, during which she asked for social network services to be regulated to stop paedophiles. She also backed the Building Schools for the Future programme.[10]

In 2011, Chapman was appointed as Shadow Prisons Minister.[11] She had previously written policy recommendations on the subject of incarceration including a recommendation that prison officers should receive training to help them rehabilitate inmates.[11]

Chapman became the Shadow Minister for Childcare and Early Years in January 2016, but resigned in the summer of the same year among dozens of Labour frontbench colleagues.[12] She has since rejoined the shadow frontbench as Shadow Minister for Exiting the European Union[13] alongside Keir Starmer. The department was set up as a consequence of Britain voting leave during the 2016 United Kingdom European Union membership referendum on 23 June 2016.

She supported Owen Smith in the failed attempt to replace Jeremy Corbyn in the 2016 Labour Party (UK) leadership election.[14]

Chapman is a former vice-chair of Progress.[15]


  1. ^ "No. 59418". The London Gazette. 13 May 2010. p. 8741.
  2. ^ a b "Jenny Chapman MP". Westminster parliamentary record. Archived from the original on 30 June 2009. Retrieved 11 May 2010.
  3. ^ "Labour leadership frontrunner Starmer hires ex-Corbyn aide as key strategic advisor". ITV News. 8 January 2020. Retrieved 9 January 2020.
  4. ^ James, Erwin (25 February 2015). "The would-be minister with inside knowledge of the prisons beat". The Guardian. Retrieved 11 September 2018.
  5. ^ Jim Shannon (9 April 2014). "Chapman-Smith marriage". Parliamentary Debates (Hansard). House of Commons. col. 308. Archived from the original on 14 September 2017.
  6. ^ a b Pyrah, Lauren (20 November 2009). "Labour shortlist confirmed". The Northern Echo. Archived from the original on 30 June 2009. Retrieved 10 May 2010.
  7. ^ Westcott, Matt (6 December 2009). "Chapman chosen to succeed Alan Milburn in Darlington". The Northern Echo. Archived from the original on 30 June 2009. Retrieved 10 May 2010.
  8. ^ "Darlington". BBC News. Archived from the original on 30 June 2009. Retrieved 10 May 2010.
  9. ^ "Four contest Darlington Borough Council seat". The Northern Echo. 11 June 2010. Archived from the original on 30 June 2009. Retrieved 18 June 2010.
  10. ^ Cook, Paul (8 June 2010). "New MP calls for tighter controls on sex offenders". The Northern Echo. Archived from the original on 30 June 2009. Retrieved 22 October 2010.
  11. ^ a b Moss, Richard (10 October 2011). "North East MP Jenny Chapman handed shadow prison role". BBC News. Archived from the original on 25 September 2015. Retrieved 20 March 2015.
  12. ^ "Darlington MP Jenny Chapman resigns from education team". Archived from the original on 22 November 2016. Retrieved 12 June 2017.
  13. ^ "Corbyn appoints 21 frontbenchers – LabourList". 9 October 2016. Archived from the original on 22 November 2016. Retrieved 12 June 2017.
  14. ^ "Full list of MPs and MEPs backing challenger Owen Smith". LabourList. 21 July 2016. Retrieved 15 July 2019.
  15. ^ "Chair and Vice-chairs". Progress. Archived from the original on 6 September 2015. Retrieved 13 September 2015.

External linksEdit

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Alan Milburn
Member of Parliament for Darlington
Succeeded by
Peter Gibson