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Kerry Gillian McCarthy[1] (born 26 March 1965) is a British Labour Party politician who has been the Member of Parliament (MP) for Bristol East since 2005 and was the Shadow Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs from September 2015 to June 2016.

Kerry McCarthy
Official portrait of Kerry McCarthy.jpg
Shadow Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
In office
13 September 2015 – 26 June 2016
LeaderJeremy Corbyn
Preceded byMaria Eagle
Succeeded byRachael Maskell
Member of Parliament
Bristol East
In office
6 May 2005 – 6 November 2019
Preceded byJean Corston
Succeeded byElection in progress
Majority13,394 (26.4%)
Personal details
Kerry Gillian McCarthy

(1965-03-26) 26 March 1965 (age 54)
Luton, England, UK
Political partyLabour
Alma materUniversity of Liverpool
London Guildhall University
University of London
WebsiteOfficial website

Early life and careerEdit

McCarthy was born in Luton,[2] where she attended Denbigh High School, followed by Luton Sixth Form College. McCarthy studied at the University of Liverpool reading Russian Studies, before studying law at City of London Polytechnic.

McCarthy qualified as a solicitor in 1994 and worked as a lawyer for Abbey National Treasury Services (1994–1996), Merrill Lynch Europe (1996–1999) and the Labour Party (2001). She was a director of London Luton Airport Ltd (1999–2003), a director at Britain in Europe (2002–2004), and Head of Public Policy at the Waterfront Partnership (2004–2005).[3]

McCarthy began a doctorate on Labour links with the City of London at Goldsmith's College, but did not complete it.[4] She was a councillor in Luton, and was a member of Labour's National Policy Forum.

Parliamentary careerEdit

In 2005, McCarthy was selected as the Labour candidate for Bristol East through an all-women shortlist[5] and retained the seat for her party at the 2005 general election. She was appointed a member of the Treasury Select Committee, and was involved in its inquiries into financial inclusion, globalisation and the role of the International Monetary Fund, and the administration of tax credits. She has also sat on two Finance Bill committees, as well as the UK Borders Bill Committee, the Offender Management Bill Committee and the Mental Health Bill Committee. She was described as a Gordon Brown loyalist, stating in 2005 that "The Chancellor's nine Budgets are the bedrock of all that we have achieved in government".[4]

In April 2007, McCarthy was appointed Parliamentary Private Secretary (PPS) to Rosie Winterton, Minister for Health Services, and helped her steer the Mental Health Bill through the Commons. From July 2007 to January 2009, she worked as PPS to Douglas Alexander, the Secretary of State for International Development, before being made a Junior Whip in June 2009.[6] She is chair of the South West Group of Labour MPs, secretary of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Somaliland, a member of Labour's National Policy Forum, and lead contact for the End Child Poverty campaign among Labour MPs in parliament. She has not voted against the party line since March 2007.[6]

She was re-elected at the 2010 General Election, with her majority reduced by more than a half.[7] She was appointed as a temporary shadow Minister for work and pensions[8] until October 2010 when she was appointed as a junior shadow Minister to the Treasury.[9][10] She had supported Ed Balls' unsuccessful bid to become Labour leader.[11] In September 2011, McCarthy was made Shadow Foreign Office Minister with a responsibility for human rights.[12]

She is believed to be the first MP to deliver a speech in Parliament with the aid of an iPad.[13]

On World Vegan Day in November 2011, McCarthy became the first MP to set out in Parliament the case for becoming vegan.[14]

After being re-elected with an increased majority in the 2015 General Election, McCarthy nominated Andy Burnham in that year's Labour leadership campaign.[15] She was appointed by Jeremy Corbyn as Shadow Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs in September 2015. She argued in a Spring 2015 interview with Viva!life, a magazine for vegans, that meat should be treated like tobacco, with "public campaigns to stop people eating it".[16] Tim Bonner of the Countryside Alliance said her opinions "are completely out of step with the vast majority of people".[17] "The world is not going to turn vegan because I am in post", McCarthy said on BBC Radio 4's Farming Today shortly after her appointment. "I have my own personal views on what I choose to eat, but I accept that we have a livestock industry in this country. What I want is for the industry to have the best welfare standards possible, to be sustainable as well as economically viable."[17]

Kerry McCarthy speaking at a 2016 Labour Party Conference fringe meeting

On 26 June 2016, McCarthy was among dozens of shadow ministers who resigned from Corbyn's team.[18] She argued that "a new leader is needed to take on the challenges ahead".[19] According to McCarthy, in an article for The Huffington Post: "When the leader's office did venture into Defra territory, they didn't talk to the shadow team".[20] McCarthy does not believe Corbyn is the right Labour leader or a potential prime minister.[21] She supported Owen Smith in the 2016 Labour leadership election.[22]


In May 2009, McCarthy repaid £402 for a second bed claimed in expenses for her one bedroom flat. She stated the claim had been made in error.[23][24]

In October 2010, McCarthy admitted a charge of electoral fraud, accepting a police caution for revealing on Twitter the number of postal votes cast per party in her constituency at the 2010 election, and apologised for this action.[9][25][26][27]

In May 2012, McCarthy branded a fellow train passenger a "lager drinking oaf" and suggested he should "have been killed before he could breed" in comments made to her followers on Twitter. According to McCarthy, he was playing loud techno music on the train and wearing a t-shirt emblazoned with an obscene phrase about his sex life.[28]

Personal lifeEdit

McCarthy is a vegan, and has given talks on the subject. She was a presenter at the Vegan Society's 2005 annual awards.[29] She divides her time between Bristol and London, and is a part-owner of a house in Luton.[30] She is a vice-president of the League Against Cruel Sports,[31] and an honorary associate of the National Secular Society.[32]

McCarthy is a fan of punk and post-punk music. She has written about industrial bands including Cabaret Voltaire and Test Dept for the website Louder Than War.[33]


  1. ^ "No. 59418". The London Gazette. 13 May 2010. p. 8739.
  2. ^ Dod's parliamentary companion, Google Books
  3. ^ "McCarthy, Kerry". Who's Who. (Nov 2016 online ed.). A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc. Retrieved 19 December 2016. (subscription or UK public library membership required)
  4. ^ a b The Almanac of British Politics, Google Books; accessed 26 December 2013.
  5. ^ Kerry McCarthy at UK Parliament website
  6. ^ a b "Voting Record – Kerry McCarthy". The Public Whip. Retrieved 4 January 2010.
  7. ^ » Bristol East
  8. ^ "Democracy Live – Your representatives: Kerry McCarthy". BBC News.
  9. ^ a b "Bristol Labour MP cautioned for electoral fraud". BBC News. 25 October 2010.
  10. ^ Shadow minister cautioned for election tweeting,]
  11. ^ MP Kerry McCarthy chooses sides in Labour leadership battle,; accessed 26 December 2013.
  12. ^ Ltd, Hudson Berkley Reinhart. "About Kerry McCarthy". Retrieved 2 September 2016.
  13. ^ "MP reads speech from iPad in Commons first". The Telegraph. 29 March 2011. Retrieved 31 October 2011.
  14. ^ Kerry McCarthy MP leads debate on World Vegan Day,, 1 November 2011.
    • Also see Kerry McCarthy MP video (starts at 22:27) and full transcript (columns 895–904), World Vegan Day, Adjournment Debate, House of Commons, 10.27 pm – 10.56 pm, 1 November 2011.
  15. ^ "Who nominated who for the 2015 Labour leadership election?". New Statesman. 15 June 2015. Retrieved 21 September 2016.
  16. ^ Wardle, Tony (Spring 2015). "The Honourable Member". Viva!life (58). Retrieved 21 September 2016.
  17. ^ a b Wilkinson, Michael (24 September 2015). "Treat meat eaters like smokers, warns Jeremy Corbyn's new vegan farming minister Kerry McCarthy". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 21 September 2016.
  18. ^ Syal, Rajeev; Perraudin, Frances; Slawson, Nicola (27 June 2016). "Shadow cabinet resignations: who has gone and who is staying". The Guardian. Retrieved 14 September 2016.
  19. ^ "'I believe that a new leader is needed': Kerry McCarthy's resignation letter in full". ITV News. 26 June 2016. Retrieved 1 July 2016.
  20. ^ McCarthy, Kerry (31 August 2016). "On 'Betrayal' and Badgers". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 1 September 2016.
  21. ^ Stewart, Heather (21 September 2016). "Kerry McCarthy: I'm angry some people don't care about winning". The Guardian. Retrieved 21 September 2016.
  22. ^ "Owen Smith's battlebus arrives in Bristol". Bristol 24/7. 30 August 2016. Retrieved 6 April 2017.
  23. ^ Swinford, Steven; Warren, Georgia (24 May 2009). "Duck island MP says his birds never liked it". The Times. London.
  24. ^ Kerry McCarthy (22 May 2009). "MP expenses Keri McCarthy £402 on second bed". This is Bristol. Archived from the original on 31 December 2009. Retrieved 15 January 2011.
  25. ^ "Labour MP cautioned over Twitter election gaffe". The Daily Telegraph. London. 26 October 2010.
  26. ^ Batty, David (29 April 2010). "Police investigate Labour candidate's Twitter postal vote gaffe". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 14 October 2010.
  27. ^ "Police probe Twitter votes gaffe by Bristol candidate". BBC News. 29 April 2010. Retrieved 14 October 2010.
  28. ^ "MP's 'flippant' Twitter outburst at train passenger". BBC News. 25 May 2012. Retrieved 11 November 2017.
  29. ^ "Made in Bristol – Vegan vote for Bristol firms". BBC News. 28 October 2005. Retrieved 4 January 2010.
  30. ^ Profile: Kerry McCarthy MP, Bristol East,; accessed 26 December 2013
  31. ^ "Board of Trustees". League Against Cruel Sports. Retrieved 10 July 2015.
  32. ^ "Honorary Associates". Retrieved 1 August 2019.
  33. ^ Pollock, David (1 October 2015). "Kerry McCarthy: 'David Cameron was a Phil Collins obsessive'". Retrieved 1 October 2015.

External linksEdit

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Jean Corston
Member of Parliament
for Bristol East

Succeeded by
Election in progress
Political offices
Preceded by
Maria Eagle
Shadow Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Succeeded by
Rachael Maskell