Harriet Harman

Harriet Harman

Infobox Officeholder
honorific-prefix = The Right Honourable

name = Harriet Harman
honorific-suffix =

office = Leader of the House of Commons
Lord Privy Seal
primeminister = Gordon Brown
term_start = 28 June 2007
term_end =
predecessor = Jack Straw
successor =
office2 = Minister for Women and Equality
term_start2 = 28 June 2007
term_end2 =
primeminister2 = Gordon Brown
predecessor2 = Ruth Kelly
successor2 =
term_start3 = 3 May 1997
term_end3 = 27 July 1998
primeministe3 = Tony Blair
predecessor3 = "Position Created"
successor3 = The Baroness Jay of Paddington
office4 = Deputy Leader of the Labour Party
term_start4 = 24 June, 2007
term_end4 =
leader4 = Gordon Brown
predecessor4 = John Prescott
successor4 =
office5 = Labour Party Chair
term_start5 = June 24, 2007
term_end5 =
primeminister5 = Tony Blair
Gordon Brown
predecessor5 = Hazel Blears
successor5 =
office6 = Solicitor General
term_start6 = 11 June 2001
term_end6 = 10 May 2005
primeminister6 = Tony Blair
predecessor6 = Ross Cranston
successor6 = Mike O'Brien
office7 = Secretary of State for Social Security
term_start7 = 3 May 1997
term_end7 = 27 July 1998
primeminister7 = Tony Blair
predecessor7 = Peter Lilley
successor7 = Alastair Darling
constituency_MP8 = Camberwell and Peckham
Peckham (1982-1997)
predecessor8 = Harry Lamborn
successor8 =
majority8 = 13,483 (46.5%)
term_start8 = 28 October 1982
term_end8 =
birth_date = birth date and age|1950|07|30|df=y
birth_place = Marylebone, London
death_date =
death_place =
party = Labour
spouse = Jack Dromey
alma_mater = University of York
occupation = Lawyer
religion =
website = [http://www.harrietharman.org http://www.harrietharman.org]
footnotes =

Harriet Ruth Harman QC MP (born 30 July 1950) is a British solicitor and Labour politician. Since 24 June 2007, she has been the Deputy Leader and Party Chair of the Labour Party. On 28 June 2007 she was appointed Leader of the House of Commons, Lord Privy Seal and Minister for Women and Equality. [cite web|url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/6918188.stm|title=Harman made equalities secretary|publisher=BBC] On 12 October 2007 she became head of a new UK Government Department, the Government Equalities Office, made up of staff transferred from the already existing Women and Equality unit. She still however retains her title of Minister for Women, bringing her total number of jobs to five.

Harman is a well known feminist [cite web|url=http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/politics/article1979600.ece|title=Harriet Harman elected deputy leader of Labour Party|publisher=Times Online] and has been the Member of Parliament (MP) for Camberwell and Peckham since 1997, having previously been MP for Peckham since 1982. She is the longest serving of all current female MPs.

Early life

She was born in London to the Harley Street physician John Bishop Harman FRCP (who was an expert witness in the trial of suspected serial killer John Bodkin Adams [Pamela V. Cullen, "A Stranger in Blood: The Case Files on Dr John Bodkin Adams", London, Elliott & Thompson, 2006, ISBN 1-904027-19-9] ) and his wife Anna, a solicitor, the only child of Group Captain Malcolm Spicer, RAF, ["Forthcoming Marriages", "The Times", February 26, 1946] ["Births", "The Times", August 1, 1950] son of James Spicer of Eltham, who was a member of the paper manufacturing family and a brother of the Liberal MP Sir Albert Spicer and also a brother of the surgeon and campaigner for women's rights, Louisa Martindale. [ [http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/b26.htm Louisa Martindale] , Spartacus Educational] Her parents both came from non conformist backgrounds — her grandfather Nathaniel Bishop Harman was a prominent Unitarian ["Obituary", "The Times", December 8, 1945] and the Spicer family were well known congregationalists. She was educated at the independent St Paul's Girls' School and the University of York, where she gained a BA in Politics. Between 1978 and 1982 she was legal officer for the National Council for Civil Liberties and as such was found in contempt of court in the important civil liberties case "Home Office v. Harman 1983 1 A.C. 280, 308", before becoming MP for Peckham in a by-election in 1982.

Harman was later involved in a European Court of Human Rights case against MI5 after it was revealed by whistleblower Cathy Massiter in 1984 that personal files were held by MI5 on her and another leading member of the NCCL — Patricia Hewitt. Spies, Lies and Whistleblowers: MI5 and the David Shayler Affair: M15, M16 and the Shayler Affair (Hardcover)by Annie Machon Book Guild Ltd (May 2005) ISBN-10: 185776952X, The Guardian 21 of February 1985, ‘20/20 Vision’(Documentary) Channel 4 1985] They successfully argued that there had been an infringement of their rights because MI5 was not a legally constituted and democratically accountable organisation, this being the minimum standard in democracy. The success of the case was largely resultant in the subsequent implementation of the 1989 Security Services Act by Parliament.

Member of Parliament

In the by-election held on 28 October 1982 she was elected Member of Parliament for Southwark, Peckham with a majority of 3,931 votes. She became Labour's front-bench spokeswoman for social services in 1984, and then health in 1987. After the 1992 general election she entered the Shadow Cabinet as Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury (1992-1994), Shadow Employment Secretary (1994-1995), Shadow Health Secretary (1995-1996) and Shadow Social Security Secretary (1996-1997). [cite news|url=http://www.bbc.co.uk/politics97/background/frontbench/socsec.shtml|title=Politics 97; Harriet Harman|work=BBC Political Research Unit|publisher=British Broadcasting Corporation|year=1997|accessdate=2008-09-30]

In government

After Labour's victory in the 1997 general election, she became Secretary of State for Social Security and was given the task of reforming the Welfare State. She left this position in a cabinet reshuffle in 1998. According to the Daily Mail, this was the result of a series of public rows with junior minister Frank Field. [cite web|url=http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-464091/The-fall-rise-Harriet-Harperson.html|title=Daily Mail - The fall and rise of Harriet Harperson] She made a return to the front bench after the 2001 general election with her appointment to the office of Solicitor General, thus becoming the first female Solicitor General.

Voting record

Harman has supported the Labour government,cite news | first= | last= | coauthors= | title=Harriet Harman | date= | publisher= | url =http://politics.guardian.co.uk/profiles/story/0,,457912,00.html | work =The Guardian | pages = | accessdate = 2007-06-24 | language = ] and voted with the party in all but a few instances. Like most Labour MPs she supported the Iraq war, although during the Deputy Leadership campaign, she claimed that she would not have voted for it had she been in full possession of the facts, specifically about the non-existence of weapons of mass destruction.cite news | first= | last= | coauthors= | title= Voting Record — Harriet Harman MP, Camberwell & Peckham | date= | publisher= | url =http://www.publicwhip.org.uk/mp.php?id=uk.org.publicwhip/member/1472#divisions | work =The Public Whip | pages = | accessdate = 2007-06-24 | language = ] cite news | first= | last= | coauthors= | title= Full Voting Record — Harriet Harman MP, Camberwell & Peckham | date= | publisher= | url =http://www.publicwhip.org.uk/mp.php?mpn=Harriet_Harman&mpc=Camberwell+%26amp%3B+Peckham&display=allvotes#divisions | work =The Public Whip | pages = | accessdate = 2007-06-24 | language = ]

How Harriet Harman voted on key issues since 2001:cite news | first= | last= | coauthors= | title= Voting Record on Key Issues — Harriet Harman MP| date= | publisher= | url =http://www.publicwhip.org.uk/mp.php?id=uk.org.publicwhip/member/1472&showall=yes#divisions| work =The Public Whip | pages = | accessdate = 2008-02-29 | language = ]
* Has not voted on a freedom of information act.
* Voted for introducing a smoking ban.
* Voted for introducing ID cards.
* Voted for introducing foundation hospitals.
* Voted for introducing student top-up fees.
* Voted for Labour's anti-terrorism laws.
* Voted for the Iraq war.
* Voted against investigating the Iraq war.
* Voted for replacing Trident.
* Voted for the hunting ban.
* Voted for equal gay rights.

Minister of Justice

After the 2005 general election she became a Minister of State in the Department for Constitutional Affairs with responsibilities including constitutional reform, legal aid and court processes. During this time she was made an honorary silk (Queen's Counsel), gaining the letters "QC" after her name.

On 16 March 2006, Harman relinquished her ministerial responsibilities for electoral administration and reform of the House of Lords. She stated that this was to avoid any potential conflict of interest after her husband Jack Dromey, the Treasurer of the Labour Party, announced that he would be investigating a number of loans made to the Labour Party which had not been disclosed to party officers. She retained her other responsibilities. [cite news | first= | last= | coauthors= | title=Harman gives up Lords reform role | date=16 March 2006 | publisher= | url =http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/4812666.stm | work =BBC Website | pages = | accessdate = 2007-06-25 | language = ]

The Department for Constitutional Affairs was reorganised into the new Ministry of Justice on 9 May 2007, where she became Minister of State.

Deputy Leader of the Labour Party

Harriet Harman announced her intention to stand for Deputy Leadership of the Labour Party when John Prescott stood down. [cite news | first= | last= | coauthors= | title=Harman intends Labour deputy bid | date=15 September 2006 | publisher= | url =http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/5350360.stm | work =BBC Website | pages = | accessdate = 2007-06-25 | language = ] On 27 November 2006 Patrick Wintour reported that she had commissioned an opinion poll which found that she would be more popular with the electorate than any of the other likely candidates. She used this point to argue that she should become the next Deputy Prime Minister of the UK in an interview with the BBC. [cite news | first=Brian | last=Wheeler | coauthors= | title=Interview: Harriet Harman | date=8 March 2007 | publisher= | url =http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/6423761.stm | work =BBC Website | pages = | accessdate = 2007-06-25 | language = ]

Harman did not have the support of any major unions, and had to borrow money to fund her campaign for deputy leadership, taking out a personal loan of £10,000 [cite news |url=http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/politics/article2957667.ece |title=Harriet Harman may pay price for leaving her leader in lurch |author=Francis Elliott, Philip Webster and Greg Hurst |work=The Times |date=28 November 2007 |accessdate=2007-12-26] and a £40,000 extension to her mortgage. [cite news |url=http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2007/12/01/nfunds201.xml |title=Harriet Harman faces second finances inquiry |author= |work=The Daily Telegraph |date=3 December 2007 |accessdate=2007-12-24] Harman failed to report some donations and loans on time, and was subject to an Electoral Commission inquiry for breaches of electoral law. [cite news |url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/7351154.stm |title=Harman reminded of donation rules|date=16 April 2008 |publisher=BBC|accessdate=2008-04-24] On 24 June 2007, Harriet Harman won the contest and became Deputy Leader of the Labour Party. [cite news | author=Mark Sellman and Sam Coates | title=Harriet Harman elected deputy leader of Labour Party | date=24 June 2007 | publisher=The Times | url=http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/politics/article1979600.ece | accessdate = 2007-06-25]

She won the election, receiving 50.43% of the vote in the final round of a closely-fought contest. Alan Johnson had led in all but the first of the previous rounds, but the members' votes after re-distribution in each of the 4 elimination rounds – particularly the votes re-allocated from Jon Cruddas according to second preference – led her to narrowly beating Johnson in the final round.

Return to Cabinet

Harman is known as a key supporter of Gordon Brown and has been closely associated with him since the 1980s. She was appointed to sit in newly-appointed Prime Minister Gordon Brown's cabinet as Lord Privy Seal and Leader of the House of Commons (combining these post with the Deputy Leadership and Chairmanship of the Labour Party). She also holds the post of Minister for Women the result being that she has five roles. She attacked the Conservative Party at the Labour Party Conference 2007, referring to them as the nasty party and suggesting that there will be little competition at the next election. [cite web|url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/7016326.stm|title=Tories still nasty, says Harman|publisher=BBC] Harman stood in for Gordon Brown during PMQ's on Wednesday 2nd April, as the Prime Minister was attending a NATO summit in Romania, she became the first female Labour Minister to take Prime Minister's Questions. She stood in for Gordon Brown again on Wednesday 9 July, as the Prime Minister was attending the G8 Conference in Tokyo, Japan.

In April 2008, Harman's blog was "hacked" and changed to state that she had joined the Conservative Party. Harman later admitted when questioned by Sky News that the incident was a result of her using the "Harriet" and "Harman" as her username and password. [cite web|url=http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/04/25/harriet_harman_website_hacked/|title=The Register - Harman hack horror has blog backing Boris] [cite web|url=http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=0AL93KiCfTc&locale=en_GB&persist_locale=1|title=YouTube - Harriet Harman admits to account=Harriet password=Harman]



Harriet Harman has been criticised by some for her feminist views and activity. Erin Pizzey, a fierce critic of feminism, has criticised the views expressed by Harman and other leading female labour figures in the 1990 IPPR report "The Family Way". Writing in the Daily Mail, she accused the report of being a "staggering attack on men and their role in modern life" of , as a result of it questioning whether "the presence of fathers in families is necessarily a means to social harmony and cohesion". [cite web|url=http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/news/news.html?in_article_id=430702&in_page_id=1770|title=Daily Mail - How feminists tried to destroy the family]

However, rather than attacking traditional family forms, the report aimed to "encourage the formation of strong, loving and lasting bonds between fathers and their children". [cite web|url=http://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&ie=UTF-8&id=ACkhgPaSGasC&oi=fnd&pg=PR7&dq=harman+%22The+Family+Way%22&ots=I6TTJlhzDF&sig=JPsO634rkek7_NRDfikQtOMJVZk|title=Social Policy and Social Justice p114] and argued that quality of relationships matter more to children's upbringing than family structure. It also encouraged men to take more responsibility for the upbringing of their children, stressing "inter-dependence" as opposed to women's "independence". Indeed, reviewers have described The Family Way as lacking feminist radicalism. [http://www.jstor.org/stable/1395246] Despite this, the Daily Mail has called her "hardline", accused her of "hating marriage" and said she "clings to the dogma of the left". [http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1020553/Why-does-Harriet-Harman-hate-marriage.html]

In June 2008, two members of Fathers 4 Justice, Mark Harris and Jolly Stanesby, staged a protest on the roof of her house in Herne Hill, south east London. Harris and Stanesby displayed a banner which read: A father is for life not just conception. After they climbed back off the roof they were arrested by the Metropolitan Police and bailed until 16 July 2008. [cite web|url=http://mensnewsdaily.com/2008/06/11/fathers-4-justice-uk-strikes-again|title=Fathers 4 Justice UK Strikes Again] On the morning of 9 July 2008, another Fathers 4 Justice protest began on the same roof. Nigel Ace and Tony Ashby displayed a banner reading "Stop war on dads". [cite web|url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/7496804.stm|title=Fathers protest on Harman's roof]

Harriet herself has joked that she could never be prime minister because "there aren't enough airports in the country for all the men who would want to flee". [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/7497512.stm]

Equality Bill

As part of a proposed Equality Bill, Harman announced a consultation on changing the existing discrimination laws, which included options for Positive Action in employment. Under the proposals, employers would be legally allowed to discriminate in favour of a job candidate on the basis of their race or gender where the candidates were otherwise equally qualified. Employers would not be required to use these powers, but would be able to do so without the threat of legal action for discriminatory practices. Harman has claimed that this proposal would not simply involve discrimination against white males, and than men will benefit in some circumstances; for example if a school wanted to balance a predominantly female workforce by discriminating in favour of employing a male teacher. [cite news |url=http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1029526/Harman-vows-force-true-equality-workplace-row-rages-plans-discriminate-white-men.html |title= Harman vows to force through 'true equality' in the workplace as row rages over plans to discriminate against white men
author=Daniel Martin |work=Daily Mail |date=26 June 2008|quote=
] The white paper also proposed measures to end age discrimination, promote transparency in organisations and introduce a new equality duty on the public sector. [Citation| first = Harriet | last = Harman | title = Framework for a Fairer Future - The Equalities Bill | year = 2008 | pages = 40 | place = London | publisher = HMSO | url = http://www.equalities.gov.uk/publications/FRAMEWORK%20FAIRER%20FUTURE.pdf] These changes, if made, could face a challenge under Article 14 of the European Convention on Human Rights which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex, race, color, language, religion and on several other criteria. [http://conventions.coe.int/treaty/en/Treaties/Html/005.htm]

Writing in the Daily Mail, Leo McKinstry, a former aide to Harman condemned her proposals stating that they were a "direct contradiction of equal opportunities" and that "nothing could be more unjust, patronising or discriminatory than awarding jobs on the basis of skin colour or gender". [http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1020553/Why-does-Harriet-Harman-hate-marriage.html]

Others have criticised Harman's Equality Bill for not going far enough. John Carvel, social affairs editor of The Guardian has described the bill "watered down" as it does not include a requirement for all private sector companies to conduct compulsory pay audits as a way of promoting equal pay for women. [http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2008/jun/27/equality.constitution]

Whereas Michael Millar, writing in the Spectator was of the opinion that, "The Equality Bill before parliament today gives employers the right to choose an ethnic minority candidate or female candidate over a white male, specifically because they are an ethnic minority or female." [http://www.spectator.co.uk/coffeehouse/798356/harriet-harman-unleashes-positive-discrimination.thtml]

Harman also commissioned a report on allowing political parties to draw up all-black shortlistscite web|url=http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/politics/article3341874.ece|title=Harriet Harman in plan to give parties all-black shortlists|publisher=Times Online] designed to increase the number of black MPs in Westminster. A further measure extended the arrangement allowing all-women shortlists until 2030 All-women shortlists have already been used by the Labour Party to increase the number of female MPs. [cite web|url=http://hansardsociety.org.uk/blogs/publications/archive/2007/10/01/Women-at-the-Top-2005.aspx|title=Hansard Society report on use of all women shortlists] These proposals are supported by members of all the major parties. [cite web|url=http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200708/cmhansrd/cm080626/debtext/80626-0004.htm#08062679000001|title=House of Commons Hansard Debates for 26 Jun 2008 (pt 0004)|publisher=UK parliament]

Choice of school

She was involved in a media controversy when she [http://commentisfree.guardian.co.uk/fiona_millar/2007/05/why_i_wont_back_harriet_harman.html sent] her eldest son, Harry, to a grant-maintained school the London Oratory School in 1993, [http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-497226/Harman-Dromey--high-priests-hypocrisy.html then] her younger son Joseph to St Olave's Grammar School, Orpington in 1995. Harry was head boy of the Oratory School from 2000-1. Euan Blair was deputy [http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1309459/Euan-Blair-is-made-deputy-head-boy.html head boy] the following year. Labour policy opposed these forms of educationFact|date=August 2008 and Labour abolished them in 1998 but she retained office with the support of the Labour leader, Tony Blair.

Controversy over Iraq War apology

Harman has been accused of going back on a pledge to apologise for the Blair government's policy on Iraq. During the deputy leadership campaign Harman had participated in a live debate on "Newsnight" with the other deputy leadership candidates. Jeremy Paxman asked the candidates whether, if knowing what they knew now, any of the candidates would have voted against the war, [ [http://www.bbc.co.uk/mediaselector/check/player/nol/newsid_6700000/newsid_6703000?redirect=6703037.stm&news=1&bbram=1&nbwm=1&nbram=1&bbwm=1 Video of Deputy Leadership debate] , Newsnight, BBC 2] Harman responded by saying that

"if I'd have known if there weren't weapons of mass destruction I wouldn't have voted for the war. Clearly it was a mistake. It was made in good faith. But I think with a new leadership we have to acknowledge the bitterness and anger that there has been over Iraq and that we were wrong."

Later, when asked by Paxman if the Labour Party should say sorry for what happened, Jon Cruddas said that it should; Harman replied:

"Yep, I agree with that".
When Cruddas further said that the Labour Party could "rebuild a sense of trust and a dialogue with the British people" by acknowledging its culpability in the situation in Iraq, Harman replied:
"and I agree with that".
On June 25, her first day in the job, Harman appeared to backtrack on BBC Radio 4's Today Programme and asked for evidence to be provided of where she had stated that the party should apologise.

peeding convictions

In 2003 Harman was fined £400 and banned from driving for seven days after being convicted of driving at convert|99|mi/h|km/h|abbr=on on a motorway, convert|29|mi/h|km/h|abbr=on above the speed limit. [cite web|url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/2748411.stm|title=Harman banned for speeding|publisher=BBC] The sentence was criticised by some given that Harman's salary at the time was £115,989 plus full parliamentary pay. [cite web |url=http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qn4158/is_20030212/ai_n12677994 |title= Harman is fined £400 for driving at 99 mph |date=2003-02-12 |publisher=The Independent |accessdate-2008-03-27 ]

On 7 April 2007, Harman was issued with a £60 fixed penalty notice and given three penalty points on her license for driving at convert|50|mi/h|km/h|abbr=on in a portion of the A14 in Suffolk which had a temporary convert|40|mi/h|km/h|abbr=on limit. Harman paid the fine several months late and avoided appearing at Ipswich magistrates court.cite web |url=http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2007/09/19/nharman119.xml |title=Harriet Harman avoids court over speeding |first=David |last=Sapsted |date=2007-09-21 |accessdate=2007-12-02 |publisher=The Telegraph ] A Labour Party source said of her failure to pay the fine "She made an innocent mistake. She forgot to pay on time because she was spending all her time on the deputy leadership contest touring the country." [cite web |url=http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/news/article-23412355-details/Harman+in+dock+for+failing+to+pay+speed+fine/article.do |title= Harman in dock for failing to pay speed fine
date=2007-09-15 |publisher=Evening Standard |accessdate-2007-12-02

Campaign donation from David Abrahams

In November 2007, it emerged that property developer David Abrahams' secretary Janet Kidd had given a donation of £5,000 donor to Harman's successful deputy leadership bid.cite news |url=http://www.mailonsunday.co.uk/pages/live/articles/news/news.html?in_article_id=496244&in_page_id=1770 |title=How big Labour backer is a jobbing builder who knows NOTHING about his £200,000 donation |author=Jonathan Oliver |work=The Mail on Sunday |date=25 November 2007 |accessdate=2007-12-26] After an investigation by The Mail on Sunday newspaper into other donations made by people associated with Abrahams, and Prime Minister Gordon Brown's assertion that all such monies would be returned, Harman issued a statement saying she accepted the donation on 4 July "in good faith," had registered the monies with the Electoral Commission and the Register of Members' Interests, and that she "was not aware of any funding arrangements... between David Abrahams and Janet Kidd".cite news |url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/7115016.stm |title=Harman took cash 'in good faith' |author= |work=BBC News online |date=27 November 2007 |accessdate=2007-12-24] Harriet Harman was interviewed on the BBC Radio 4 PM programme on 27 November 2007 and was evasive when asked to confirm or deny that her campaign team had contacted Janet Kidd soliciting money and was unable to answer this question directly, preferring to change the subject. On 28 November the BBC's Nick Robinson reported on his blog [cite news |url=http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/nickrobinson/2007/11/someone_else_di.html |title=Someone else knew (and sorry Harriet & Janet) |author=Nick Robinson |work=Nick Robinson's Newslog |date=28 November 2007 |accessdate=2007-12-24 |quote=Harriet Harman has accepted that her campaign may have asked Janet Kidd for a donation after seeing her name on the list of Labour's donors.] that Mrs Harman had now revealed that her team "may" have asked Mrs Kidd for a donation. The blog entry goes on to wonder whether Mrs Kidd informed the campaign team at that point that she was acting as a proxy. Margaret Jay, Baroness Jay of Paddington who was working on the deputy leadership of Hilary Benn, questioned and turned down a similar donation of £5,000 by Mrs Kidd; but it was subsequently accepted by Benn's team when made under the name of Mr Abrahams. Kidd offered another donation to the leadership campaign of Gordon Brown, but was turned down as she was not a known donor.cite news |url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/7114327.stm |title=Brown admits donations 'unlawful' |author= |work=BBC News online |date=27 November 2007 |accessdate=2007-12-24 |quote=]

tab vest for constituency walkabout

On 1 April 2008 the "Daily Mail" reported that Harriet Harman had decided to wear a kevlar-reinforced stab vest while touring her Peckham constituency under police guard.cite news |url=http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/news/news.html?in_article_id=552428&in_page_id=1770 |title=Harriet Harman: Wearing a stab-proof vest in my constituency is the same as donning a hard hat on a building site |author=Ben Brogan |work=Daily Mail |date=1 April 2008 |accessdate=2008-04-01 |quote=] On 2 April "The Guardian" relayed information from the Metropolitan Police that "the type of Met Vest she wore over her jacket protected her from knife attacks and bullets, and, for her at least, was optional".cite news |url=http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2008/apr/02/harrietharman |title=Armour furore leaves Harman wounded |author=Helen Pidd |work=The Guardian |date=2 April 2008 |accessdate=2008-04-02 |quote=]

Harman compared the decision to wearing a hard hat while touring a building site, which led the BBC's John Humphrys to respond, during an interview for BBC Radio 4, "You wear a hard hat on a building site because... there is the danger that something might drop on your head. You don't need to wear a bullet-proof vest on the streets of London, do you?"cite news |url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/politics/7324123.stm |title=Harman defends wearing stab vest |author= |work=BBC News online |date=1 April 2008 |accessdate=2008-04-01 |quote=] Media reports quoted a police source who said that "everyone was flabbergasted by her decision to wear the vest, especially when she was guarded by three police officers" — in apparent contradiction of Harman's own claims that it was as a courtesy to the police that she wore the jacket. Beatrice Smith, a Peckham resident, was quoted by the "Evening Standard" and "The Daily Telegraph" observing that, "The only time we see Harriet Harman is either on voting day or doing some PR stunt. There is a lot of trouble on the estates but we don't get given stab vests.... [cite news |url=http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/standard/article-23470392-details/It%27s%20normal%20to%20wear%20a%20stab-proof%20vest%20to%20tour%20my%20constituency/article.do?expand=true#StartComments |title= It's normal to wear a stab-proof vest to tour my constituency |author=Joe Murphy |work=Evening Standard|date=1 April 2008 |accessdate=2008-04-01 |quote=] I'd rather see her spending time sorting the crime problem out than posing in such a ridiculous outfit." [cite news |url=http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2008/04/01/nharman201.xml |title= Harriet Harman in stab vest for Peckham walk |author=Richard Edwards |work=Daily Telegraph |date=1 April 2008 |accessdate=2008-04-01 |quote=]

Personal life

Family connections

Harman has significant family connections. Her father was a brother of Elizabeth Longford, the writer who wrote biographies of, amongst others, Queen Victoria and Wellington. Lady Longford was married to Francis Pakenham, 7th Earl of Longford, the lawyer and social reformer. Harman's first cousins include the writers Thomas Pakenham, Rachel Billington and the historian Antonia Fraser. Fraser is married to Harold Pinter, and was once married to the politician Sir Hugh Fraser and is the mother of Flora Fraser, another writer. Also, Harman's great-grandparents were Arthur Chamberlain and Louisa Kenrick. Arthur Chamberlain was the brother of Joseph Chamberlain, the social reformer and radical politician who served under Gladstone and Salisbury. Louisa's cousin Harriet married Joseph Chamberlain and they were the parents of Sir Austen Chamberlain, who served as Chancellor of the Exchequer and Foreign Secretary. Louisa Kenrick's sister Florence married Joseph Chamberlain after Harriet's death and they were the parents of Neville Chamberlain, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1937-1940.

Her sister Sarah was a lawyer and part-time judge. She resigned having been caught passing confidential papers to Harriet Harman, then Solicitor General. Sarah Harman was found guilty of contempt of court and "conduct unbefitting a solicitor". She was ordered to pay £25,000 costs. [cite news |url=http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/columnists/columnists.html?in_article_id=464374 |title=Harriet Harman: 'A bleating, hectoring and finger wagging vote loser' |author=Quentin Letts |work=Daily Mail |date=26 June 2007 |accessdate=2007-12-24] Her other two sisters, Janet and Virginia, are solicitors.

Harman has a house in Suffolk, in addition to her 'main' home in Herne Hill, South London. She married Jack Dromey in 1982 in the borough of Brent, after meeting him on the picket line of the Grunwick dispute in 1977; she was legal advisor to the Grunwick Strike Committee. They have two sons (born February 1983 and November 1984) and a daughter (born January 1987).


* Ms Harriet Harman (1950–1982)
* Harriet Harman MP (1982–1997)
* The Rt. Hon. Harriet Harman MP (1997–2005)
* The Rt. Hon. Harriet Harman QC MP (2005–)



* "Sex Discrimination in Schools: How to Fight it" by Harriet Harman, 1978, Civil Liberties Trust ISBN 0-901108-73-1
* "Justice Deserted: Subversion of the Jury" by Harriet Harman et al, 1979, Civil Liberties Trust ISBN 0-901108-79-0
* "Violence Against Social Workers: The Implications for Practice" by Dan Norris, foreword by Harriet Harman, Jessica Kingsley Publishers ISBN 1-85302-041-9
* "The Family Way: A New Approach to Policy Making" by Harriet Harman et al, 1990, Institute for Public Policy Research ISBN 1-872452-15-9
* "The Century G

* "Winning for Women" by Harriet Harman and Deborah Mattinson, 2000, Fabian Society ISBN 0-7163-0596-8
* "Women with Attitude" by Susan Vinnicombe, John Bank, foreword by Harriet Harman, 2002, Routledge ISBN 0-415-28742-1

External links

* [http://www.harrietharman.org Harriet Harman- personal website]
* [http://www.equalities.gov.uk Government Equalities Office]
* [http://www.commonsleader.gov.uk Office of the Leader of the House of Commons]
* [http://politics.guardian.co.uk/person/0,9290,-2223,00.html Guardian Unlimited Politics - Ask Aristotle: Harriet Harman MP]
* [http://www.theyworkforyou.com/mp/harriet_harman/camberwell_and_peckham TheyWorkForYou.com - Harriet Harman MP]
* [http://www.southwarklabour.co.uk Labour in Southwark]
* [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/shared/mpdb/html/115.stm BBC Politics]
* [http://www.dmoz.org/Regional/Europe/United_Kingdom/Society_and_Culture/Politics/Parties/Labour/MPs/Harman,_Harriet/ Open Directory Project — Harriet Harman] directory category

Video clips

* [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/7407216.stm Defending a "Tory toff" campaign by the Labour party in May 2008]
* [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5IRQJjbQtRk Harman v Hague April 2008]
* [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lj9uuTW2D-U Talking about being first elected as an MP]
* [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gYzGCWRJDXA Answering readers questions in 2007]
-succession box
before = Ross Cranston
title = Solicitor General for England and Wales
years = 2001–2005
after = Mike O'Briensuccession box
before = Peter Lilley
title = Secretary of State for Social Security
years = 1997–1998
after = Alastair Darling


NAME= Harman, Harriet
DATE OF BIRTH= July 30, 1950
PLACE OF BIRTH= Marylebone, London, England, United Kingdom

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