Yvette Cooper is the Labour MP for Normanton, Pontefract and Castleford, having first been elected as part of Labour’s landslide victory in 1997. Previously a very safe-seat, at the 2019 election Cooper only held on with a 1,276 majority, making the constituency a newly marginal one. Throughout her time in Parliament, Cooper has been an important voice on the soft-left of the Labour Party. She held Cabinet posts in Gordon Brown’s government and is currently Head of the influential Commons Home Affairs Select Committee.
Cooper has been a Member of the Labour Party since she was a teenager
After working as a political adviser to former Labour Leader John Smith and to Harriet Harman, Cooper entered Parliament herself at the 1997 election. Having held junior Government roles under Tony Blair, Cooper was promoted to the Cabinet under Gordon Brown as Chief Secretary to the Treasury in 2008.
From 2009 until Labour’s 2010 General Election loss, Cooper was Secretary of State for Work and Pensions.
Under Ed Miliband, Cooper served as shadow Foreign Secretary from 2010 to 2011 and shadow Home Secretary from 2011 to 2015.
After declining to stand in the 2010 Labour leadership election, Cooper threw her hat in the ring for the 2015 contest. As part of her campaign, Cooper made a commitment to restore the old Brown-Blair target to end child poverty by 2020. Cooper ultimately lost out to Jeremy Corbyn who she had been immensely critical of during the campaign. After his election, Cooper remained a Corbyn scpetic on the Labour backbenches.
In 2016, Labour’s Yvette Cooper was elected Chair of the influential Home Affairs Select Committee.
Cooper was a prominent opponent of Brexit both before and after the 2016 referendum. In April 2019, Cooper tabled a Private Members Bill which proposed making a no deal Brexit, effectively, illegal. MP’s voted 312 to 311 in favour the legislation and it received Royal Assent on 8 April 2019.
Born in Inverness in 1969, Yvette studied at Oxford, Harvard and The LSE. She then worked as a journalist.
Yvette Cooper and Keir Starmer
A figure of the Labour Party’s soft-left, Cooper backed Keir Starmer in the 2019 Labour leadership election. Commenting on her choice, Cooper said: ‘I have always argued it’s time we had a Labour woman leader [but] … I nominated Keir Starmer and Angela Rayner because I think they are the best people to get us out of the hole that we’re in’.
Cooper is married to former Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls. Under Gordon Brown, they were the first ever husband and wife to sit in the cabinet together. The couple have three children.
Yvette Cooper – Things you may not know
Her father was a trade union leader
Yvette Cooper’s father, Tony Cooper, formerly served as the Joint General Secretary of the Trade Union ‘Prospect’.
Andrew Marr attended her wedding to Ed Balls
Andrew Marr, the former BBC political editor and current host of the Andrew Marr Show on BBC 1, attended Cooper’s and Ed Balls’ wedding. Marr was Cooper’s former boss at the ‘Independent’-Marr was Editor and Cooper was an economics correspondent.
She had Chronic Fatigue Syndrome for a year in her 20s
In her 20s, Cooper suffered from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) and had to take a year out of work because of the condition.
She worked for Bill Clinton’s campaign to become American President
As a student studying at Yale, Cooper volunteered for Bill Clinton’s 1992 campaign in Arkansas. Cooper remembers seeing Clinton in an ‘I’m backing Hillary’s husband’ badge- Cooper has jokingly used this to explain her and Ed Balls’ similar relationship.
Twitter – @YvetteCooperMP
Personal website – https://yvettecooper.com