Patricia Hewitt

Patricia Hope Hewitt (born 2 December 1948) is an Australian-born British Labour politician, who served in the Cabinet from 2001 to 2007, latterly as Secretary of State for Health.


Patricia Hewitt
Hewitt in 2006
Secretary of State for Health
In office
5 May 2005  27 June 2007
Prime MinisterTony Blair
Preceded byJohn Reid
Succeeded byAlan Johnson
Secretary of State for Trade and Industry
President of the Board of Trade
In office
8 June 2001  5 May 2005
Prime MinisterTony Blair
Preceded byStephen Byers
Succeeded byAlan Johnson
Minister for Women
In office
8 June 2001  5 May 2005
Prime MinisterTony Blair
Preceded byThe Baroness Jay of Paddington
Succeeded byTessa Jowell
Economic Secretary to the Treasury
In office
27 July 1998  17 May 1999
Prime MinisterTony Blair
Preceded byHelen Liddell
Succeeded byMelanie Johnson
Member of Parliament
for Leicester West
In office
1 May 1997  12 April 2010
Preceded byGreville Janner
Succeeded byLiz Kendall
Personal details
Born
Patricia Hope Hewitt

(1948-12-02) 2 December 1948 (age 72)
Canberra, Australia
Political partyLabour
Spouse(s)David Gibson-Watt (1970–1978)
Bill Birtles (1981–2020†)
Children2
RelativesLenox Hewitt (father)
Alma materAustralian National University
Newnham College, Cambridge

Hewitt's political career began in the 1970s as a high-profile left-winger and supporter of Tony Benn, even being classified by MI5 as an alleged communist sympathiser. After nine years as General Secretary of the National Council for Civil Liberties, she became press secretary to Neil Kinnock, whom she assisted in the modernisation of the Labour Party. In 1997, she became the first female MP for Leicester West, a safe Labour seat, in the East Midlands which she represented for thirteen years.

In 2001, she joined Blair's cabinet as President of the Board of Trade and Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, before becoming Health Secretary in 2005. During her tenure, the ban on smoking in public places became legally enforceable.

In March 2010, Hewitt was suspended from the Parliamentary Labour Party over the question of political lobbying irregularities, alleged by the Channel 4 Dispatches programme.

Since September 2020, Hewitt has been an adviser to the British Board of Trade.[1]