Politician & Activist

Yvette Cooper

Yvette Cooper is a British Labour Party politician who has been the Member of Parliament for Normanton, Pontefract and Castleford since 2010, having served as the MP for Pontefract and Castleford since 1997.

On 13 May 2015, Cooper announced she would run to be Leader of the Labour Party in the leadership election following the resignation of Ed Miliband.

Cooper came third with 17.0% of the vote in the first round. Cooper subsequently resigned as Shadow Home Secretary in September 2015.

In October 2016, Cooper was elected chair of the Home Affairs Select Committee.

  • Full name: Yvette Cooper PC, MP
  • Profession: British politician, MP
  • Born: 20 March 1969 (age 51 years), Inverness
  • Spouse: Ed Balls (m. 1998)
  • Children: Ellie Balls, Joe Balls, Maddy Balls
  • Books: She Speaks: Women’s Speeches That Changed the World, from Boudica to Greta, Making Sense of Localism
  • Party: Labour Party
  • Previous offices: Shadow Home Secretary (2011–2015)
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About Yvette Cooper

Yvette Cooper was born on 20 March 1969 in Inverness, Scotland.

Her father is Tony Cooper, former General Secretary of the Prospect trade union, a former non-executive director of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority and a former Chairman of the British Nuclear Industry Forum. He was also a government adviser on the Energy Advisory Panel.

Her mother was a maths teacher.


She was educated at Eggar’s School, a comprehensive school in Holybourne, and Alton College, both in Alton, Hampshire.

She read Philosophy, Politics and Economics at Balliol College, Oxford, and graduated with a first-class honours’ degree.

She won a Kennedy Scholarship in 1991 to study at Harvard University, and she completed her postgraduate studies with an MSc in Economics at the London School of Economics.


Cooper began her career as an economic policy researcher for Shadow Chancellor John Smith in 1990 before working in Arkansas for Bill Clinton, nominee of the Democratic Party for President of the United States, in 1992. Later that year, she became a policy advisor to Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury Harriet Harman.

At the age of 24, Cooper developed chronic fatigue syndrome, which took her a year to recover from.

In 1994 she moved to become a research associate at the Centre for Economic Performance. In 1995, she became the chief economics correspondent of The Independent, remaining with the newspaper until her election to the House of Commons in 1997.


She served in the Cabinet between 2008 and 2010 under Prime Minister Gordon Brown as Chief Secretary to the Treasury and then as Secretary of State for Work and Pensions.

After Labour lost the 2010 general election, Cooper was appointed as Shadow Foreign Secretary, then became Shadow Home Secretary in 2011.