Hilary Armstrong

Infobox Minister
name=The Right Honourable Hilary Armstrong MP

Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Minister for the Cabinet Office and Minister for Social Exclusion
term_start = 5 May 2006
term_end = 27 June 2007
primeminister =Tony Blair
predecessor = John Hutton
successor = Ed Milliband
office2= Chief Whip and
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury
term_start2 = 8 June 2001
term_end2 = 5 May 2006
primeminister2 =Tony Blair
predecessor2 = Ann Taylor
successor2 = Jacqui Smith
constituency_MP3=Durham North West
majority3= 13,443 (34%)
term_start3 = 11 June 1987
term_end3 =
predecessor3 = Ernest Armstrong
successor3 = Incumbent
birth_date = Birth date and age|1945|11|30|df=yes
birth_place = Sunderland
death_date =
death_place =
nationality = British
spouse =Paul Corrigan
party = Labour
relations =
children =
residence =
alma_mater = University of Birmingham
occupation =
profession =
religion =

website = http://www.hilaryarmstrong.com/
footnotes =

Hilary Jane Armstrong (born 30 November 1945, Sunderland) is a British Labour Party politician. She is the Member of Parliament for North West Durham.

Early life

Armstrong was educated at Monkwearmouth School, the University of East London and the University of Birmingham. A former social worker and university lecturer, Armstrong worked for VSO in Kenya before entering politics. She was first elected as Durham County Councillor for Crook North Division in 1985.

The daughter of Labour MP Ernest Armstrong, she was shortlisted for the vacant Sedgefield constituency in 1983, only to lose out to Tony Blair. Four years later, at the 1987 general election, she was elected to her father's North West Durham seat on his retirement, increasing his majority by 3,806 to 10,162. [ [http://www.psr.keele.ac.uk/area/uk/ge83/i07.htm University of Keele - Political Science Resources - 1987 general election] ]

Parliamentary career

Armstrong was parliamentary private secretary to John Smith during his time as Labour leader, and played a large part in his successful fight to institute one member one vote at Labour's party conference.

Armstrong was seen as a politician on the centre-right of the Labour Party, and was close politically to her near neighbour Tony Blair and the New Labour agenda. However, she is also a member of the Amicus trades union (formerly MSF), and her trades union links were useful when she helped to shore up support for the rewriting of Clause IV.

In government

Armstrong spent four years as Minister for Local Government in the Department for Transport, Local Government and the Regions, before being promoted into the Cabinet of the United Kingdom as Chief Whip after the 2001 election. This was the high point of a political career which was low-key but generally successful; though she endured controversies over select committee membership and over allegations of strong arm tactics with Labour dissenters over military action in Afghanistan. [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/4978928.stm BBC News - Hilary Armstrong MP profile] ]

Armstrong also faced criticism after government defeats in the Commons over the length of time suspected terrorists could be detained without charge, and incitement to religious hatred provisions in the Prevention of Terrorism Act 2005. Press commentators speculated that in losing these votes through miscalculating government support, and in one instance letting the Prime Minister off the "Whip" because she believed the vote was won, Armstrong's position had become vulnerable. [ [http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/politics/article724243.ece The Times - Whips in turmoil as Blair's no-show castrates hate Bill] ] However the rumours that she would resign the post [ [http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2006/feb/01/religion.immigrationpolicy "The Guardian" - Government suffers chaotic double defeat over bill to combat religious hatred] ] proved unfounded.

Afterwards Conservative leader David Cameron mocked Armstrong during an exchange with Tony Blair, saying “She must be the first Chief Whip in history to put the Prime Minister in the frame for losing a key vote — which is an interesting career move, to say the least.” [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/4668868.stm BBC News - Blair to push ahead with reforms] ] This was the second time David Cameron had attacked her during Prime Ministers Questions; on his debut as Leader of the Opposition on 7 December 2005 she was singled out by Cameron when he said "That's the problem with these exchanges - the chief whip on the Labour side shouting like a child. Is she finished? Are you finished?" [ [http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2005/dec/07/conservatives.uk1?commentpage=1 "The Guardian" - He's in front of you, Tony] ]

On 5 May 2006 Armstrong was appointed Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (Minister for the Cabinet Office) and Minister for Social Exclusion.

In 2006 Armstrong launched a petition on behalf of the Bethnal Green and Bow Labour Party against Respect MP George Galloway's participation in Channel 4's "Celebrity Big Brother". She criticised Galloway for being paid as an MP during the time he was in the Big Brother house. Galloway responded by saying he planned to refund the taxpayer after his exit from the show as he would not know how much to refund until then. [ [http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qn4156/is_20050115/ai_n16005276 "The Sunday Herald" - Galloway: pledge to pay back taxpayers' money to cover absence (via FindArticles.com)] ]

Armstrong formally resigned from the government on 27 June 2007 when Tony Blair resigned as Prime Minister. On becoming Prime Minister, Gordon Brown announced Armstrong's appointment as Chair of a Parliamentary Labour Party Manifesto Committee drawing up policy ideas covering children.

Personal life

Armstrong is married to Paul Corrigan. Prof Corrigan's enthusiastic championing of the role of the private sector in public service provision has long been a source of concern for some of Armstrong's trades union colleagues. She is a keen supporter of SunderlandFact|date=September 2008, regularly attending matches home and away.


External links

* [http://www.hilaryarmstrong.com/ Hilary Armstrong MP] official site
* [http://www.number-10.gov.uk/output/Page1396.asp 10 Downing Street - Hilary Armstrong] official biography
* [http://www.nwdurhamlabour.org.uk/ North West Durham Labour Party - Hilary Armstrong MP] official site
* [http://politics.guardian.co.uk/person/0,9290,-117,00.html Guardian Unlimited Politics - Ask Aristotle: Hilary Armstrong MP]
* [http://www.theyworkforyou.com/mp/hilary_armstrong/north_west_durham TheyWorkForYou.com - Hilary Armstrong MP]
* [http://www.publicwhip.org.uk/mp.php?mpn=Hilary_Armstrong&mpc=North_West_Durham The Public Whip - Hilary Armstrong MP] voting record

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