Catherine McKinnell

Catherine McKinnell (born 8 June 1976) is a British Labour politician serving as Member of Parliament (MP) for Newcastle upon Tyne North since 2010.[1]

Catherine McKinnell

McKinnell in 2017
Chair of the Petitions Committee
Assumed office
29 January 2020
Preceded byHelen Jones
Chair of the Treasury Select Committee
In office
13 September 2019  23 October 2019
Preceded byJohn Mann (Acting)
Succeeded byMel Stride
Shadow Attorney General
In office
14 September 2015  11 January 2016
LeaderJeremy Corbyn
Preceded byThe Lord Bach
Succeeded byKarl Turner
Shadow Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury
In office
15 May 2012  14 September 2015
LeaderEd Miliband
Preceded byOwen Smith
Succeeded byRebecca Long-Bailey
Shadow Solicitor General for England and Wales
In office
8 October 2010  7 October 2011
LeaderEd Miliband
Preceded byMaria Eagle
Succeeded byKarl Turner (2014)
Member of Parliament
for Newcastle upon Tyne North
Assumed office
6 May 2010
Preceded byDoug Henderson
Majority5,765 (12.3%)
Personal details
Catherine Grady

(1976-06-08) 8 June 1976 (age 45)
Newcastle upon Tyne, England
Political partyLabour
Alma materUniversity of Edinburgh
WebsiteOfficial website

Early life

McKinnell was born and raised in Denton, Newcastle upon Tyne, where she attended the Sacred Heart Catholic High School in Fenham.[2] She studied politics and history at the University of Edinburgh.[3]

Before her election to Parliament, McKinnell worked as an employment solicitor at Dickinson Dees, a Newcastle law firm.[3]

Parliamentary career

McKinnell was first elected to Parliament at the 2010 general election for Newcastle upon Tyne North, one of 19 solicitors newly elected to the House of Commons.[4] She was elected with 40.8% of the vote, and a majority of 3,414 over her Liberal Democrat rival.[5]

In October 2010, the Labour Leader Ed Miliband appointed her to the role of Shadow Solicitor General, where she was responsible for the party's response to the News International phone hacking scandal.[6] She raised questions about the Crown Prosecution Service's handling of the scandal, including a question to the Attorney General in the House of Commons asking why the CPS had refused for so long to admit that there were grounds to bring prosecutions.[7]

In October 2011, during a shadow ministerial reshuffle, Catherine McKinnell was made shadow children's minister, shadowing Tim Loughton. In that post she criticised the adoption process as too slow and called for immediate improvements in support for social workers and family courts to speed up the process.[8][9] She also accused the government of doing too little to help children for whom adoption was not suitable and following this, requested a guarantee that the government would give priority to placing children in "happy homes|.[10]

In 2012, after the resignation of Peter Hain, she was then moved to become Shadow Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, replacing Owen Smith. McKinnell backed a campaign by ActionAid on international tax laws[11] and tabled amendments to the Budget which would have required the government to monitor the impact on developing countries of changes to so-called Controlled Foreign Companies regulations. She said, "It seems a false economy to invest ... in changes that will undermine the very progress towards which our international aid money, which increases year on year, is going."[12] In June 2012, McKinnell publicly criticised Take That singer Gary Barlow following newspaper allegations of tax avoidance made against him. McKinnell agreed that Barlow should consider returning his recently awarded OBE if allegations of tax avoidance were proven "because it doesn't send out the right messages to ordinary people who are paying their fair share of tax".[13]

She was made Shadow Attorney General in September 2015 by Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, but resigned in January 2016, citing party infighting, family reasons and the ability to speak in parliament beyond her legal portfolio.[14] She supported Owen Smith in the failed attempt to replace Jeremy Corbyn in the 2016 Labour Party (UK) leadership election.[15]

Mckinnell has been a prominent campaigner for the Women Against State Pension Inequality campaign, who, following the acceleration of the equalisation of the State Pension Age, have argued that the acceleration has happened too quickly and left female pensioners uncertain.[16] Mckinnell was also made Vice Chair of the recently established All-Party Parliamentary Group on the WASPI campaign.[17]

In September 2020, McKinnell was appointed a vice-chair of Labour Friends of Israel.[18]


  1. Staff writer (4 July 2009). "Two North East MPs standing down". BBC News. Retrieved 7 May 2010.
  2. "Catherine McKinnell". Daily Telegraph. London. Archived from the original on 6 March 2012. Retrieved 23 June 2010.
  3. "About Catherine". Catherine McKinnell. 27 March 2015. Retrieved 10 June 2017.
  4. Baksi, Catherine (13 May 2010). "Nineteen new solicitor MPs enter House of Commons". Law Society Gazette. Archived from the original on 14 May 2010. Retrieved 23 June 2010.
  5. "Election 2010 – Newcastle-upon-Tyne North". BBC News. Retrieved 7 May 2010.
  6. Ferguson, Mark (11 October 2010). "Junior front bench roles". Labour List. Archived from the original on 12 October 2010. Retrieved 11 October 2010.
  7. Catherine McKinnell, MP for Newcastle upon Tyne North (5 July 2011). "Oral answers to questions, Attorney-General: Contempt of Court". Parliamentary Debates (Hansard). United Kingdom: House of Commons. col. 1368–1369.
  8. Brown, Jonathan (7 May 2012). "Fostering system on the brink as number of children in care soars". The Independent. London. Retrieved 22 July 2012.
  9. Ramesh, Randeep (14 March 2012). "Councils face scorecards in adoption overhaul". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 22 July 2012.
  10. "December 2011 Archives". Catherine McKinnell MP. Retrieved 11 June 2017.
  11. Jamieson, Cathy (19 June 2012). "@CatMcKinnellMP making a thoughtful and powerful speech. In Finance Bill Ctee on CFCs and developing countries". Twitter. Retrieved 22 July 2012.
  12. Catherine McKinnell, MP for Newcastle upon Tyne North (19 June 2012). "Public Bill Committee: Finance Bill". Parliamentary Debates (Hansard). United Kingdom: House of Commons. col. 479–481.
  13. Staff writer (21 June 2012). "Cameron ducks Gary Barlow tax avoidance question". BBC News. Retrieved 21 June 2012.
  14. Staff writer (11 January 2016). "Labour's Catherine McKinnell quits shadow cabinet". BBC News. Retrieved 11 January 2016.
  15. "Full list of MPs and MEPs backing challenger Owen Smith". LabourList. 21 July 2016. Retrieved 15 July 2019.
  16. Wearmouth, Rachel (9 December 2015). "Newcastle MP says Minister is leaving North East women 'high and dry' over State Pension age". Newcastle Evening Chronicle. Retrieved 11 June 2017.
  17. Walker, Jonathan (12 May 2016). "What our MPs are doing to help women hit by state pension age changes". Newcastle Evening Chronicle. Retrieved 11 June 2017.
  18. Harpin, Lee (9 September 2020). "Labour Friends of Israel announces six new vice-chairs". The jewish Chronicle. Retrieved 9 September 2020.