Thornberry, Emily

Emily Thornberry was first elected as the Labour MP for Islington South and Finsbury in 2005, being reelected in 2019 with a majority of 17,328.

The constituency of Islington South and Finsbury is located just to the north of the City of London and covers the communities of Canonbury, Holloway, Kings Cross, Clerkenwell and Pentonville. This is a young seat which contains a high proportion of people in their twenties and thirties.  Close to 72% of the electorate here backed Remain in the 2016 EU referendum. This seat was formerly represented at Westminster by the Labour Cabinet Minister, Chris Smith.  Smith was the first openly gay MP.

Once a stronghold for the SDP, the Liberal Democrats have traditionally maintained some base of support here and came close to gaining the seat in both 2005 and 2010. Tony Blair lived in this seat prior to becoming Prime Minister. In 2005, the Guardian newspaper once described the dinner tables of this constituency as “routinely maligned as the natural habitat of the hypocritical, well off, ostensibly liberal chattering classes”.

Thornberry currently sits in the Shadow Cabinet as the Shadow Attorney General. She was previously also the Shadow Secretary of State for International Trade under Keir Starmer.

She served as Shadow Defence Secretary and then Shadow Foreign Secretary under Jeremy Corbyn between 2015 and 2019.

Thornberry was a candidate in the 2020 Labour leadership election but failed to make it through to the final ballot.

Previously Thornberry had served as Shadow Attorney General under Ed Miliband before resigning in 2014 following a controversial tweet she sent about an England flag that she encountered when campaigning in the Rochester and Stroud by-election.

Born in 1960, Thornberry was born in Guildford before moving to Kent.   Having attended a secondary modern school, Thornberry initially worked in a care home and as a cleaner on cross channel ferries.  Later deciding to go to university she studied law at Kent University. Thornberry later worked as an employment and human rights lawyer in the chambers of Mike Mansfield QC.

Emily Thornberry is Vice Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Sexual and Reproductive Health in the UK.

Known for her quick wit and turn of phrase, she once described Donald Trump as an ‘asteroid of awfulness’.

She is married with three children.  Her husband is the Rt Hon. Lord Justice Nugee, who is a judge of the Court of Appeal of England and Wales.


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Twitter: @EmilyThornberry

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