Margaret Beckett was re-elected MP for Derby South on May 7th 2015 with 20007 votes, taking 49.0% of the vote.
In 1973, she was selected as Labour candidate for Lincoln and almost immediately after her election she was appointed as Judith Hart's Parliamentary Private Secretary. Harold Wilson made her a Whip in 1975, and she was promoted in 1976 by James Callaghan to Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department of Education and Science.
She joined Granada Television in 1979 as a researcher. Out of Parliament, and now Margaret Beckett, she won election to Labour's National Executive Committee in 1980.
Beckett was chosen to fight the parliamentary seat of Derby South after the retirement of the sitting MP, Walter Johnson. At the 1983 General Election she won the seat.
She became spokeswoman on Social Security since 1984, and a member of the Shadow Cabinet in 1989 as Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury. After the 1992 General Election she was elected Deputy Leader of the Labour Party and served under John Smith as Shadow Leader of the House of Commons. She became a Member of the Privy Council in 1993. She was the first woman to serve as deputy leader of the Labour Party.
Following the sudden death of John Smith from a heart attack on 12 May 1994, Margaret Beckett became Labour leader.
Under Tony Blair's leadership, Margaret Beckett was the Shadow Secretary of State for Health, and then from 1995 the shadow President of the Board of Trade.
Margaret Beckett held a number of important positions in the Blair government. After the election she was appointed President of the Board of Trade (a position the title of which would later revert to Secretary of State for Trade and Industry); the first woman to have held the post. She was succeeded by Peter Mandelson in July 1998.
Beckett was then Leader of the House of Commons from 1998 until her replacement by Robin Cook in June 2001.
After the 2001 General Election, Beckett became Secretary of State at the new Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.
Following the 2006 local elections, Tony Blair demoted Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, and appointed Margaret Beckett as his successor. She was the first woman to hold the post, and only the second woman to hold one of the great offices of state until 2007. Beckett returned to government in the reshuffle on 3 October 2008 as the Minister of State for Housing in the Department for Communities and Local Government.
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Date of Birth
15 January 1943
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