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Maria Eagle MP

Member of Parliament
for Liverpool Garston
Assumed office 
1 May 1997
Preceded by Edward Loyden
Majority 7,193 (20.6%)

Born 17 February 1961 (1961-02-17) (age 49)
Nationality British
Political party Labour
Alma mater Pembroke College, Oxford

Maria Eagle (born 17 February 1961) is a British Labour politician and solicitor, who has been the Member of Parliament for Liverpool Garston since 1997. She currently holds the rank of Minister of State at both the Government Equalities Office and the Ministry of Justice. She was previously a Minister at the Department for Work and Pensions and the Northern Ireland Office.



Eagle was born in Bridlington, East Yorkshire, the daughter of a printworker, she was educated at St Peter's Church of England School in Formby and Formby High School, before attending Pembroke College, Oxford where she was awarded a Bachelor of Arts degree in Philosophy, Politics and Economics in 1983.

She then went to The College of Law, London, where she took her law finals in 1990. She was a solicitor in the voluntary sector from 1983, before she joined Brian Thompson & Partners in Liverpool as an articled clerk in 1990, before becoming a solicitor with Goldsmith Williams in Liverpool in 1992, before becoming the senior solicitor at Steven Irving & Co also in Liverpool, where she remained until her election to Westminster.

Political Life

She joined the Labour Party in 1978, and was elected the secretary of the Crosby Constituency Labour Party (CLP) for two years in 1983, and was also elected as the campaigns organiser with that CLP for three years in 1993. She unsuccessfully contested the Crosby seat at the 1992 General Election where she was defeated by the sitting Conservative MP Malcolm Thornton by 14,806.

For the following election Eagle was selected to stand for election for Labour in Garston, through on this occasion through an all-women shortlist [1]. This method of selection was subsequently declared illegal in January 1996 as it breached sex discrimination laws.[2] Despite the ruling she remained in place as the candidate for the following year's election. She was elected to the House of Commons at the 1997 General Election at Liverpool Garston following the retirement of the veteran Labour MP Edward Loyden. Eagle held the seat with a majority of 18,417 and has remained the MP there since. She made her maiden speech on 17 June 1997. [1]

Parliamentary career

In parliament she was a member of the Public Accounts Committee following her initial election, and in 1999 she was appointed the Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Minister of State at the Department of Health, John Hutton. She was promoted to the Tony Blair government following the 2001 General Election as a Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Department for Work and Pensions, and after the 2005 General Election, she was the Minister for Children at the Department for Education and Skills, until the May 2006 reshuffle moved her to Northern Ireland, where she was Minister for more than one department at a time, including a period at the Department for Employment and Learning, on 29 June 2007 she moved to the Ministry of Justice. As part of the reshuffle of Gordon Brown's government in October 2008, she assumed additional responsibility for the Government Equalities Office. In the June 2009 reshuffle she was promoted to Minister of State within the justice department.

Before entering parliament, Eagle concentrated on housing issues whilst a solicitor. When she was first elected to parliament in 1997 she joined her twin sister, Angela Eagle, who had been elected at the previous parliament, to serve as one of the first set of twins in the House of Commons. Another set of sisters, Sylvia Heal and Ann Keen, had both been elected at the 1997 election, also, meaning that neither pair of sisters holds the record for being the first. She has also called for the ban on mink fur farming.

Expenses controversy

On 17th May 2009 the Daily Telegraph revealed that Eagle had claimed £3,500 for the refurbishment of the bathroom of her Liverpool home property, then switched her second home designation to a different property just four months later. Eagle voted in favour of legislation which would have kept MPs expense information secret.[3]

Personal Life

Like her sister, she is a very able chess player having played for England, and a keen cricketer.



  • High Time or High Tide for Labour Women? by Maria Eagle and Joni Lovenduski, 1998, Fabian Society Books, ISBN 0-7163-0585-2, OCLC 39267019

External links

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Edward Loyden
Member of Parliament for Liverpool Garston
Political offices
Preceded by
Margaret Hodge
Minister for Children
2005 – 2006
Succeeded by
Beverley Hughes


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