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Karen Patricia Buck MP (born 30 August 1958) is a British Labour Party politician who has been a Member of Parliament (MP) since 1997, firstly for Regent's Park and Kensington North until 2010, and for Westminster North after that.[2] She is a former Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Transport.

Karen Buck

Official portrait of Ms Karen Buck crop 2.jpg
Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Leader of the Opposition
In office
17 April 2013 – 12 September 2015
LeaderEd Miliband
Preceded byJohn Denham
Succeeded bySteve Rotheram
Shadow Minister for Education
In office
8 October 2011 – 17 April 2013
LeaderEd Miliband
Shadow SecStephen Twigg
Preceded byIain Wright
Succeeded byTristram Hunt
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport
In office
10 May 2005 – 16 March 2006
Prime MinisterTony Blair
Sec. of StateAlistair Darling
Preceded byCharlotte Atkins
Succeeded byGillian Merron
Member of Parliament
for Westminster North
Regent's Park and Kensington North (1997–2010)
Assumed office
1 May 1997
Preceded byJohn Wheeler
(Westminster North)
Dudley Fishburn
Majority11,512 (26.6%)
Personal details
Born (1958-08-30) 30 August 1958 (age 61)
Castlederg, County Tyrone, Northern Ireland
Political partyLabour
Spouse(s)Barrie Taylor
Alma materLondon School of Economics
OccupationMember of Parliament
WebsiteOfficial website
parliament..karen-buck Parliamentary profile

Early lifeEdit

Born in Castlederg, County Tyrone, Northern Ireland, she was educated at the Chelmsford County High School for Girls and the London School of Economics, from where she was awarded a BSc and a MSc in Economics, and an MA in Social Policy and Administration.[citation needed] She joined the Labour Party in 1978. In 1979, she became a research and development worker with Outset, a charity working with disabled people, before joining Hackney London Borough Council in 1983 initially as a senior disability officer, and from 1986 a public health officer. She began to work for the Labour Party in 1987 as a health directorate researcher, becoming a campaign strategy coordinator in 1992. She was elected as a councillor to the City of Westminster Council in 1990 and remained on the council until her election to parliament in 1997.[citation needed]

Buck first gained attention while a councillor at Westminster when she was involved in exposing the fraudulent behaviour of Shirley Porter and the Homes for Votes scandal.[citation needed]

Parliamentary careerEdit

Buck was selected to stand for election for Labour through an all-women shortlist. The seat was based largely on the former Westminster North held narrowly by the Conservative former minister John Wheeler. Wheeler retired, and Buck was elected at the 1997 General Election as the Labour MP for Regent's Park and Kensington North with a majority of 14,657. She made her maiden speech on 17 June 1997 and has remained an MP since then.[citation needed]

Following her election to Parliament, Buck joined the Social Security Select Committee, and after the 2001 General Election on the Work and Pensions Select Committee. In 2001, her appointment as an Assistant Government Whip was announced without her knowledge and consent. She declined to take up the post. However, she did became a member of Tony Blair's government in the wake of the 2005 General Election as the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Transport.

Buck has voted in favour of the hunting ban and gay marriage, and against the Iraq War and replacing Trident.[3] At the 2010 General Election she was elected MP for the new seat of Westminster North with a majority of 2,126 over Joanne Cash, the Conservative candidate. In July 2015, she was elected as a member of the Work and Pensions Select Committee.[4] At the 2017 general election, she increased her majority to 11,512.

In December 2018, Buck's Private Member's Bill received Royal Assent as the Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act, coming into force on 20 March 2019. If a landlord failed to let and maintain a property that was fit for human habitation, the Bill would give tenants the right to take action in the courts. The Bill received cross-party support.[5]


Buck is concerned that homeless Londoners are forced to move out of London, and stated, "Losing your home is a deeply traumatic event and then being offered accommodation miles away from your community, your work, your children’s school and your care responsibilities compounds all that trauma. People are struggling against the most appalling odds to hold their own lives together and above all to hold their kids’ lives together."[2]

Personal lifeEdit

Buck's spouse is Barrie Taylor, a school governor and former Labour councillor in Westminster. They have a son, Cosmo.[citation needed]


  1. ^ List of Roman Catholic MPs
  2. ^ a b Number of homeless households moved out of London soars The Guardian
  3. ^ "Voting record - Karen Buck MP, Westminster North". TheyWorkForYou. mySociety Limited. Retrieved 12 April 2018.
  4. ^ "Work and Pensions Committee – membership". UK Parliament. Retrieved 26 September 2015.
  5. ^ Cromarty, Hannah; Wilson, Wendy (14 December 2018). "Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Bill 2017-19". Retrieved 9 February 2019.

External linksEdit