Julie Cooper (politician)

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Julie Cooper
MP
Official portrait of Julie Cooper crop 2.jpg
Member of Parliament
for Burnley
Assumed office
8 May 2015
Preceded by Gordon Birtwistle
Majority 6,353 (15.7%)
Personal details
Born (1960-06-20) 20 June 1960 (age 57)
Burnley, England
Political party Labour

Julie Elizabeth Cooper MP (born 20 June 1960) is a British Labour Party politician, who is the Member of Parliament (MP) for Burnley. She was elected at the 2015 General Election, defeating the sitting Liberal Democrat MP Gordon Birtwistle, with a 6.3% swing.

Career

Local politics, and 2010 General Election

An English teacher by profession, Cooper taught at secondary level, before running a Burnley-based pharmacy business with her husband.[1] She was first elected as a Labour councillor for Burnley Borough Council's Bank Hall ward in May 2005, and later became leader of the Labour group.

She was selected as Labour's candidate to contest the 2010 General Election in December 2009, after the sitting Labour MP, Kitty Ussher decided to stand down at the election. The selection of Ussher's successor caused some controversy, when Labour's National Executive Committee ruled that the constituency should adopt an all female shortlist, a decision it subsequently overturned following accusations of unfairness.[2]

Cooper contested the general election in May 2010, but was defeated by the Liberal Democrat candidate, Gordon Birtwistle. Burnley, which had returned a Labour candidate at every election since 1935, was one of three constituencies in East Lancashire to be lost by the party in 2010, something that local activists blamed on the unpopularity of the government of Gordon Brown.

The loss of emergency hospital services in the town, which were moved to nearby Blackburn, had also become a contentious issue, and Birtwistle had campaigned on a platform to bring them back.[3] However, in the May 2012 local elections Labour regained control of the council with Cooper becoming council leader.[4]

2015 general election and Constituency MP

In July 2013, she was selected to contest the seat again in 2015, an all female shortlist was used, and selection was conducted through a secret ballot.[5] Along with other seats in East Lancashire, Labour regarded winning the Burnley constituency as an important step to return to government.[6]

Among the issues Cooper's campaign focused on were employment, health, and questioning the effects of the austerity programme pursued by the Conservative–Liberal Democrat coalition. She rejected Birtwistle's argument that Burnley Hospital's upgraded urgent-care centre was effectively an accident and emergency department, and claimed credit for new investment in the town during her tenure as leader of the council.[7]

At the election she took the seat back from the Liberal Democrats, defeating Birtwistle with a 6.3% swing in Labour's favour.[8][9] Following the resignation of Ed Miliband as Labour leader in the wake of the election, Cooper was one of 68 MPs to give their support to Andy Burnham in the subsequent leadership contest.[10][11]

Cooper gave her maiden speech to the House of Commons on 1 June.[12][13] On 4 June Cooper was announced as one of twenty House of Commons backbenchers who would be given parliamentary time to introduce a private member's bill, coming fourth on the list.[14] Her bill, to exempt carers from having to pay hospital car parking charges, received its first reading on 24 June.[15] At the second reading, in October, it was talked out in a filibuster by the Conservative MP Philip Davies.[16]

When, in September 2015, Labour elected Jeremy Corbyn as Miliband's successor with 59.5% of first preference votes, and Tom Watson as his deputy, Cooper called for members to support the party's new leadership: "This is a very decisive result. There is no arguing about it. It’s plain to see what the party members want. The job now is to get 100% behind the leader and the deputy."[17]

References

  1. ^ Wainwright, Martin (5 May 2010). "Troubles come in threes for Labour as it struggles to hold Burnley". The Guardian. Guardian Media Group. Archived from the original on 20 September 2015. Retrieved 20 July 2015. 
  2. ^ "Julie Cooper will be Labour candidate in General Election". Blackpool Gazette. Johnston Press. 7 December 2009. Archived from the original on 23 September 2015. Retrieved 20 July 2015. 
  3. ^ Moseley, Tom (8 May 2010). "Labour party reflects on three East Lancashire losses". Lancashire Telegraph. Newsquest Media Group. Archived from the original on 21 July 2015. Retrieved 20 July 2015. 
  4. ^ "Live election results: Burnley". Lancashire Telegraph. Newsquest Media Group. 2 May 2012. Archived from the original on 2 March 2016. Retrieved 31 July 2015. 
  5. ^ "Julie Cooper to stand for Labour at General Election". Burnley Express. Johnston Press. 29 July 2013. Archived from the original on 23 September 2015. Retrieved 20 July 2015. 
  6. ^ Jacobs, Bill (23 April 2015). "General Election 2015: Ed Balls says Labour party has to win our three marginals". Lancashire Telegraph. Newsquest Media Group. Archived from the original on 21 July 2015. Retrieved 20 July 2015. 
  7. ^ Jacobs, Bill (24 April 2015). "General Election 2015: Liberal Democrats have it all to do in Burnley". Lancashire Telegraph. Newsquest Media Group. Archived from the original on 18 July 2015. Retrieved 20 July 2015. 
  8. ^ "Election 2015: Labour snatch Burnley and Lancaster & Fleetwood". BBC News. 8 May 2015. Archived from the original on 8 May 2015. Retrieved 8 May 2015. 
  9. ^ "Julie Cooper gains Burnley seat for Labour". Lancashire Telegraph. Newsquest Media Group. 8 May 2015. Archived from the original on 21 July 2015. Retrieved 20 July 2015. 
  10. ^ "Who nominated who for the 2015 Labour leadership election?". New Statesman. Progressive Media International. 15 June 2015. Archived from the original on 5 July 2015. Retrieved 20 July 2015. 
  11. ^ "Support for Andy Burnham from East Lancs MPs". Lancashire Telegraph. Newsquest Media Group. 17 June 2015. Archived from the original on 22 July 2015. Retrieved 20 July 2015. 
  12. ^ "House of Commons Official Report: Parliamentary Debates: Monday 1 June 2015" (PDF). Hansard. 1 June 2015. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2 June 2015. Retrieved 20 July 2015. 
  13. ^ Collis, Dominic (7 June 2015). "New Burnley MP makes maiden speech in Commons". Burnley Express. Johnston Press. Archived from the original on 9 June 2015. Retrieved 20 July 2015. 
  14. ^ "Labour MP Rob Marris tops private members ballot". BBC News. 4 June 2015. Archived from the original on 7 June 2015. Retrieved 20 July 2015. 
  15. ^ "Private Members' Ballot Bills First Reading: 24 June 2015". Parliament.uk. 24 June 2015. Archived from the original on 17 July 2015. Retrieved 20 July 2015. 
  16. ^ "Philip Davies: Why I blocked free parking bill". BBC News. 1 November 2015. Archived from the original on 4 November 2015. Retrieved 22 April 2016. 
  17. ^ Collis, Dominic (15 September 2015). "MP's unity call over new leader". Burnley Express. Johnston Press. Archived from the original on 3 October 2015. Retrieved 2 October 2015. 

External links

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Gordon Birtwistle
Member of Parliament
for Burnley

2015–present
Incumbent
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