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Shirley Catherine Wynne Summerskill (born 9 September 1931) is a British Labour Party politician and former government minister.

Summerskill was educated at St Paul's School and Somerville College, Oxford and trained as a doctor at St. Thomas's Hospital. She was a member of the executives of the Socialist Medical Association and of the Medical Practitioners' Union.

After unsuccessfully contesting the Blackpool North by-election, 1962[1], Summerskill was elected as Member of Parliament for Halifax in the 1964 general election. After being a Labour shadow minister for Health from 1970-74, she served as a junior minister in the Home Office throughout the 1974-79 Labour government, under two Home Secretaries: Roy Jenkins and Merlyn Rees.

When Labour returned to opposition after the Conservative victory in the 1979 general election, Summerskill became an opposition spokesperson on Home Affairs. She lost her seat in the 1983 general election to the Conservative Roy Galley.

Her mother Edith Summerskill had also been a Labour MP and government minister; her nephew, Ben Summerskill is chief executive of the gay rights group Stonewall.


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Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Maurice Macmillan
Member of Parliament for Halifax
Succeeded by
Roy Galley


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