Caroline Flint


Caroline Flint
Official portrait of Caroline Flint crop 2.jpg
Flint in 2017
Shadow Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change
In office
7 October 2011 â€“ 14 September 2015
Leader Ed Miliband
Harriet Harman (Acting)
Preceded by Meg Hillier
Succeeded by Lisa Nandy
Shadow Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government
In office
8 October 2010 â€“ 7 October 2011
Leader Ed Miliband
Preceded by John Denham
Succeeded by Hilary Benn
Minister of State for Europe
In office
3 October 2008 â€“ 5 June 2009
Prime Minister Gordon Brown
Preceded by Jim Murphy
Succeeded by The Baroness Kinnock of Holyhead
Minister of State for Housing and Planning
In office
24 January 2008 â€“ 3 October 2008
Prime Minister Gordon Brown
Preceded by Yvette Cooper
Succeeded by Margaret Beckett
Minister of State for Employment
In office
28 June 2007 â€“ 24 January 2008
Prime Minister Gordon Brown
Preceded by Jim Murphy
Succeeded by Stephen Timms
Minister for Yorkshire and the Humber
In office
28 June 2007 â€“ 24 January 2008
Prime Minister Gordon Brown
Preceded by Position established
Succeeded by Rosie Winterton
Minister of State for Public Health
In office
10 May 2005 â€“ 28 June 2007
Prime Minister Tony Blair
Preceded by Melanie Johnson
Succeeded by Dawn Primarolo
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Home Affairs
In office
13 June 2003 â€“ 10 May 2005
Prime Minister Tony Blair
Preceded by The Lord Filkin
Succeeded by Andy Burnham
Member of Parliament
for Don Valley
In office
2 May 1997 â€“ 6 November 2019
Preceded by Martin Redmond
Succeeded by Nick Fletcher
Personal details
Born (1961-09-20) 20 September 1961 (age 59)
Twickenham, Middlesex, England
Political party Labour
Spouse(s) Phil Cole
Residence Doncaster, South Yorkshire, England
Alma mater University of East Anglia
Website Official website
Official Facebook

Caroline Louise Flint (born 20 September 1961) is a British Labour Party politician who served as Member of Parliament (MP) for Don Valley from 1997 to 2019. She served in the Governments of Tony Blair and Gordon Brown as Minister for Public Health from 2005 to 2007, Minister for Employment from 2007 to 2008 and as Minister for Housing and Planning in 2008. Flint then served as Minister for Europe during the time of the introduction of the Treaty of Lisbon into UK law before resigning, citing disagreement with the leadership of Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

In 2010, she was elected to the Shadow Cabinet and Ed Miliband appointed her Shadow Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government.[1] From 2011 to 2015, she was Shadow Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change. After coming third in the running for her party's deputy leader in 2015, Flint returned to the backbenches after not being reappointed to the Shadow Cabinet by Jeremy Corbyn.

After campaigning for remain in the 2016 referendum on membership of the European Union, Flint was one of the few Labour MPs to accept the result of the vote in order to "allow the voices of her constituents to be heard".[2] Flint supported Brexit as her constituents voted heavily to leave. She lost her seat to Conservative candidate Nick Fletcher in Boris Johnson's victory at the 2019 general election. Flint had served as the constituency's MP for 22 years.[3] The Don Valley had been represented by Labour members of parliament since 1922. Flint blamed her defeat on "Corbynistas and Uber Remainers".[4]

Early life and career

Flint was born on 20 September 1961 in Twickenham, Middlesex. She was educated at Twickenham Girls' School,[5] and Richmond Tertiary College[5] before earning a degree in American Literature and History and Film Studies from the University of East Anglia.[6] She joined the Labour Party when she was 17. She was the Women's Officer of the National Organisation of Labour Students from 1982 to 1984.[7]

She began her career with the Inner London Education Authority, as a management trainee from 1984 to 1985 and as a Policy Officer from 1985 to 1987.[8] She was head of the Women's Unit at the National Union of Students from 1988 to 1989, before joining Lambeth Council as an Equal Opportunities Officer from 1989 to 1991, and then Welfare and Staff Development Officer from 1991 to 1993.[8] From 1994 to 1997, she was the Senior Researcher and Political Officer for the GMB Union.[8]

Parliamentary career

Flint was first elected to the House of Commons of the United Kingdom in the 1997 general election.[7] She was re-elected at the 2001 general election, the 2005 general election, the 2010 general election, the 2015 general election and 2017 general election. Along with several other Labour women MPs, she was a member of a tap dancing troupe known as the Division Belles (a play on the term "division bell").[9] She is a member of the Fabian Society and of Labour Friends of Israel.[10][11]

In government

In 1999, Flint became Parliamentary Private Secretary (PPS) to Peter Hain while he was Minister of State at the Department of Trade and Industry and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office before in 2002 becoming Parliamentary Private Secretary to Dr John Reid, while he was Leader of the House of Commons and Minister without portfolio.[7]

Initially joining the government in June 2003 as Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Home Office, Flint was moved in May 2005 to the Department of Health, with responsibility for Public Health first as Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State and from May 2006 as Minister of State in the same role.[7]

As Public Health minister she was responsible for managing government programmes concerning radiation exposure, the potential bird flu epidemic, sex education, and the prevention of communicable diseases such as tuberculosis and HIV, and oversaw campaigns to tackle obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. She was also due to take ministerial responsibility for implementing the smoke-free workplace regulations in all public places resulting from the Health Act 2006, but was moved just a couple of days before it came into force (on 1 July 2007).

During her tenure at the Home Office, Flint reclassified magic mushrooms as a Class A drug.[12] Flint pushed through the bill[13] despite some challenges and objections from peers and MPs such as Dr Brian Iddon,[14][15] plus disputed use of a scientific study by Swiss academic Dr Felix Hasler,[16][17]

In February 2007, it was announced that she would be Hazel Blears' campaign manager in Blears' campaign for the Deputy Leadership election of the Labour Party following John Prescott's resignation. Blears did not win, coming sixth in the election.

In the Cabinet reshuffle of 29 June 2007 Caroline Flint moved to the Department for Work and Pensions where she served as the Minister for Employment and Welfare Reform.[7] Flint was also appointed to the new position of Minister for Yorkshire and the Humber.[7]

On 24 January 2008, Flint was promoted to Minister of State for Housing and Planning, and as a result would now attend Cabinet meetings.[7] She was also appointed a member of the Privy Council and she relinquished her role as regional minister.[7] In February 2008, Flint suggested that unemployed council tenants should "actively seek work", as a condition of their occupancy.[18] In May that year, she inadvertently revealed grim forecasts for the future of house prices when she was photographed walking into Downing Street with her briefing papers visible. Close inspection revealed that her document read: "We can't tell how bad it will get."[19]

She was moved to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in the October 2008 reshuffle, to become the Minister for Europe.[5] On 31 March 2009 she admitted that she had not read the Lisbon Treaty, the document which codifies the rules of the European Union. Critics described her admission as "extraordinary" and "unbelievable," particularly given that the minister's responsibilities include overseeing the introduction of the Treaty.[20]

Flint resigned after the Cabinet reshuffle of 5 June 2009 asserting that Gordon Brown was running a "two-tier government", and believed that she had been treated as "female window dressing" though she had earlier professed her loyalty to the Prime Minister.[21] Flint renewed her attack on Gordon Brown in an Observer newspaper article on 7 June 2009, saying that she was not ashamed of a glamorous photoshoot which had upset Downing Street. She launched a broadside against the Prime Minister, complaining of "this constant pressure, this negative bullying".[22]

In 2005, Flint claimed her constituency home in Sprotbrough in Doncaster as her second home, and a house in outer London as her main home. She sold her outer London home to buy a flat in Victoria, London, in 2006. To buy the flat, Flint claimed £1,000 in solicitor's fees and £12,750 in stamp duty on allowances; the Fees Office paid £7,700 of the claim. The Victoria flat became her second home and her constituency property her main residence.[23][24]

Flint was one of 98 MPs who voted in favour of legislation which would have kept MPs' expense details secret.[25] In an investigation into MPs claims she was ordered by Sir Thomas Legg to repay £572 in over-claimed expenses.[26]

In opposition

Flint in March 2012

Flint was reelected in the 2010 general election.[27] She served in the Shadow Cabinet of Ed Miliband from 2010 to 2015.

Flint was reelected in the 2015 general election.[28] On 16 May 2015, she announced her intention to seek candidacy for the Labour Party deputy leadership election. Along with Tom Watson, she was seen as being a front runner in the contest.[29] By the time nominations closed on 17 June, Flint had gained 43 MP nominees, second only to Tom Watson, and more than enough to confirm her place in the ballot.[30] She came third.

In the 56th Parliament, Flint was a member of the Public Accounts Committee and the Intelligence and Security Committee, the Administration Committee, the Education Sub-committee, the Education & Employment Committee and the Modernisation of the House of Commons Committee.[31]

During the 2016 European Union membership referendum, Flint campaigned for remain.[32][33] She supported Owen Smith in the failed attempt to replace Jeremy Corbyn as party leader in the subsequent Labour leadership election.[34]

In October 2017, Flint defied Labour whips on the EU withdrawal bill. She told BBC Radio 4's Today, "I believe Labour's job is to improve this bill, not kill it as it begins its passage through parliament."[35]

In June 2019, Flint said she would be willing to vote to help Boris Johnson pass a Brexit withdrawal agreement.[36]

In October 2019, Flint stated her intention to vote for the Johnson government's EU Withdrawal Agreement, contrary to the Labour party's official stance, citing its alleged inclusion of a "legally binding protection on workers' rights, environmental standards and consumer protection",[37] a claim rebutted as "objectively false as a matter of law" by the Financial Times' legal commentator, David Allen Green.[38]

On 19 October 2019, Flint was one of six Labour MPs, and the only one seeking reselection for the next general election, to rebel against the party line and vote against the Letwin amendment to the government's Brexit deal.[39] She spoke to Isabel Hardman from The Spectator regarding the vote.[40] Many of her constituents praised her for listening to her constituents.[2]

In the November 2019 floods, Flint's constituency was hit with heavy flooding. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn visited Conisborough and Doncaster and viewed the property damage with Flint, calling on Prime Minister Boris Johnson to declare the floods a national emergency so immediate financial help could be provided to families in need.[41][42]

In November 2019, Flint's daughter spoke out about a man subjecting her mother to malicious mailings for nine months. In 2018, she said one death threat had warned her: "You'll be hanging from a rope".[43]

At the 2019 general election, Flint stood for re-election and was one of the many Labour MPs to be defeated, losing her seat to the Conservatives candidate Nick Fletcher after serving 22 years in Parliament.[44] She blamed Corbyn's leadership for her defeat.[3][45] In her concession speech, Flint told voters that she was "sorry we didn't give you a Labour party you could trust" and attacked the "influential Labour figures, living in North London postcodes, who have brought us to this point." She also declared that, "Labour cannot simply be a party of big cities and university towns, nor just the party of the young or devoted remainers".[46]

In the week after the election, Flint appeared on Sophy Ridge on Sunday and claimed that Shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry had said that Brexit voters in Northern England were "stupid".[47] Thornberry appeared on ITV News and accused Flint of "making up shit" about her[48] and threatened to take legal action.[47][49]

Personal life

Flint's first marriage was to Saief Zammel, a Tunisian stockbroker.[50][51] They had a son and a daughter. They were divorced in 1990 after Zammel was arrested on charges of violent disorder. He was later deported.[51][52]

In July 2001 she married Phil Cole, a former Labour Party regional officer and public relations professional, a councillor for the Edlington and Warmsworth ward of Doncaster Council since May 2012. They live outside Flint's former Don Valley constituency, in Sprotbrough.[53][54] Flint employed her husband as her Senior Parliamentary Assistant on a salary up to £40,000.[55] The practice of MPs employing family members was criticised by some sections of the media, on the grounds that it promotes nepotism.[56][57] Although MPs who were first elected in 2017 were banned from employing family members, the restriction was not retrospective – meaning that Flint's employment of her husband was lawful.[58]

References

  1. ^ "Flint gets CLG role in shadow cabinet". Inside Housing. Archived from the original on 14 December 2019. Retrieved 14 December 2019.
  2. ^ a b editor, Helen Pidd North of England (20 October 2019). "'She has listened to us': constituents back Labour rebel Caroline Flint". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Archived from the original on 10 December 2019. Retrieved 14 December 2019.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  3. ^ a b "Caroline Flint loses seat and asks: 'What is the point of the Labour Party?'". Sky News. Archived from the original on 14 December 2019. Retrieved 14 December 2019.
  4. ^ "Caroline Flint: 'Corbynistas and Uber Remainers' to blame for predicted Labour losses in constituencies including her Don Valley seat". www.doncasterfreepress.co.uk. Archived from the original on 14 December 2019. Retrieved 14 December 2019.
  5. ^ a b c "Caroline Flint: Electoral history and profile". The Guardian. London. Archived from the original on 3 December 2013. Retrieved 4 January 2011.
  6. ^ Clark, Tom (16 May 2008). "Only Tony Blair himself has purer Blairite credentials ... ambition is the word that crops up most about her work". The Guardian. London. Archived from the original on 30 May 2015. Retrieved 4 January 2011.
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h "Democracy Live – Caroline Flint MP". BBC News. Archived from the original on 12 April 2011. Retrieved 4 January 2011.
  8. ^ a b c "Debrett's: The Rt Hon Caroline Flint MP". Archived from the original on 7 June 2013. Retrieved 4 January 2011.
  9. ^ Crompton, Simon (18 November 2006). "The nation's top nanny". The Times. London. Archived from the original on 15 June 2011. Retrieved 4 January 2011.
  10. ^ "Anger grows within Labour over forced Palestinian vote". Independent. 10 October 2014. Archived from the original on 15 April 2018. Retrieved 10 April 2018.
  11. ^ "LFI Supporters in Parliament". Labour Friends of Israel. Archived from the original on 2 October 2019. Retrieved 8 September 2019.
  12. ^ "Drugs Bill" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 4 December 2012. Retrieved 12 October 2012.
  13. ^ "Magic mushrooms ban becomes law". BBC News. 18 July 2005. Archived from the original on 17 May 2014. Retrieved 12 October 2012. .
  14. ^ Honigsbaum, Mark (16 April 2005). "Peers and MPs join furore over 'rushed' ban on magic mushrooms". The Guardian. London. Archived from the original on 17 May 2014. Retrieved 12 October 2012.
  15. ^ "Evidence to the Standing Committee on the Drugs Bill 2005". Archived from the original on 4 December 2012. Retrieved 12 October 2012.
  16. ^ "Acute psychological and physiological effects of psilocybin in healthy humans" (PDF). Retrieved 22 November 2016.
  17. ^ "The Evidence Base for the Classification of Drugs" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 8 April 2011. Retrieved 12 October 2012.
  18. ^ Wintour, Patrick. Wintour "Labour: if you want a council house, find a job", Archived 3 June 2016 at the Wayback Machine The Guardian, 5 February 2009. Retrieved 2 September 2019.
  19. ^ .Patrick Wintour (14 May 2008). "Minister reveals housing fears in briefing gaffe". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 27 March 2019. Retrieved 27 March 2019.
  20. ^ Rosa Prince (31 March 2009). "Caroline Flint, Europe minister, hasn't read Lisbon Treaty". Daily Telegraph. London. Archived from the original on 12 July 2010. Retrieved 2 April 2018.
  21. ^ "'Just female window dressing' – Full text of Caroline Flint's resignation letter". Edinburgh: The Scotsman. 5 June 2009. Archived from the original on 8 June 2009. Retrieved 5 June 2009.
  22. ^ Hinsliff, Gaby (7 June 2009). ""Angry Flint in fresh attack on Brown" The Observer". London: Guardian. Archived from the original on 6 September 2013. Retrieved 7 June 2009.
  23. ^ Prince, Rosa (8 May 2009). "Caroline Flint claimed £14,000 for fees for new flat: MPs' expenses". The Daily Telegraph. London. Archived from the original on 11 May 2009. Retrieved 6 June 2009.
  24. ^ "Caroline Flint's response over MPs' expenses". The Daily Telegraph. London. 8 May 2009. Archived from the original on 11 November 2012. Retrieved 1 June 2009.
  25. ^ Bremner, Charles; Robertson, David (20 May 2007). "How your MP voted on the FOI Bill". The Times. London. Archived from the original on 8 May 2009. Retrieved 9 October 2010.
  26. ^ "Full list of MPs' expenses repayments". BBC News. 4 February 2010. Archived from the original on 10 April 2015. Retrieved 16 October 2010.
  27. ^ "BBC News | Election 2010 | Constituency | Don Valley". news.bbc.co.uk. Archived from the original on 15 July 2019. Retrieved 14 December 2019.
  28. ^ "Don Valley – 2015 Election Results – General Elections Online". electionresults.parliament.uk. Retrieved 14 December 2019.
  29. ^ Bush, Stephen (16 May 2015). "Caroline Flint launches bid for Labour's deputy leadership". New Statesman. Archived from the original on 9 September 2015. Retrieved 30 July 2015.
  30. ^ "Yorkshire MP makes final five in fight to be Labour's deputy leader". Yorkshire Post. 17 June 2015. Archived from the original on 25 July 2015. Retrieved 30 July 2015.
  31. ^ "Caroline Flint MP". GOV.UK. Archived from the original on 29 October 2018. Retrieved 29 October 2018.
  32. ^ Caroline Flint on Staying In the EU, archived from the original on 17 June 2017, retrieved 14 December 2019
  33. ^ "Caroline Flint says: "I Love Britain. I'm voting to REMAIN in the EU."". Caroline Flint. Archived from the original on 14 December 2019. Retrieved 14 December 2019.
  34. ^ "Full list of MPs and MEPs backing challenger Owen Smith". LabourList. 21 July 2016. Archived from the original on 15 July 2019. Retrieved 15 July 2019.
  35. ^ correspondent, Peter Walker Political (11 September 2017). "Former Europe minister Caroline Flint to defy Labour whips on EU bill". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Archived from the original on 14 December 2019. Retrieved 14 December 2019.
  36. ^ PoliticsHome.com (23 June 2019). "Labour MP Caroline Flint says she would vote to help Boris Johnson pass a Brexit deal". PoliticsHome.com. Archived from the original on 24 June 2019. Retrieved 14 December 2019.
  37. ^ Flint, Caroline [@CarolineFlintMP] (18 October 2019). "Labour MPs have secured legally binding protection on workers' rights, environmental standards & consumer protection & a parliamentary lock on deciding our future partnership. Plus improving unfair dismissal protections & tackling TUPE anomalies" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  38. ^ Green, David Allen [@davidallengreen] (18 October 2019). "This is not a party-partisan point. Will happily promote Labour MPs and their valuable work. This account even praises Corbyn when he gets things right. But what @CarolineFlintMP says here is objectively false as a matter of law" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  39. ^ Helm, Toby (19 October 2019). "Johnson 'faces fresh court action' after urging rejection of Brexit delay". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 20 October 2019. Retrieved 20 October 2019.
  40. ^ "Caroline Flint: why I'm backing this Brexit deal". The Spectator. 26 October 2019. Archived from the original on 14 December 2019. Retrieved 14 December 2019.
  41. ^ "Flood warnings remain in place as Corbyn visits deluged community". BelfastTelegraph.co.uk. ISSN 0307-1235. Archived from the original on 14 December 2019. Retrieved 14 December 2019.
  42. ^ Hayes, Dan (9 November 2019). "Jeremy Corbyn calls for South Yorkshire floods to be declared a national emergency". Yorkshire Post. Archived from the original on 14 December 2019.
  43. ^ Scott, Geraldine (26 November 2019). "Daughter of Don Valley Labour candidate Caroline Flint reveals nine-month 'malicious mailings' campaign against her mother". Yorkshire Post. Retrieved 7 July 2020.
  44. ^ "DON VALLEY: Labour's Caroline Flint loses seat after 22 years to the Conservatives". www.doncasterfreepress.co.uk. Archived from the original on 14 December 2019. Retrieved 14 December 2019.
  45. ^ "Caroline Flint tears into Jeremy Corbyn after losing her Doncaster seat to Conservative Party". www.yorkshirepost.co.uk. Archived from the original on 14 December 2019. Retrieved 14 December 2019.
  46. ^ "'I'm sorry we didn't give you a Labour party you could trust' – Caroline Flint in parting shot to Jeremy Corbyn as she loses Don Valley to Conservatives". www.doncasterfreepress.co.uk. Archived from the original on 14 December 2019. Retrieved 14 December 2019.
  47. ^ a b "Caroline Flint 'stands by' comments about Emily Thornberry as Shadow Foreign Secretary threatens her with court action". www.yorkshirepost.co.uk. Retrieved 7 January 2020.
  48. ^ "Emily Thornberry accuses Caroline Flint of 'making up s***' about her and says she is taking legal action". ITV News. Retrieved 7 January 2020.
  49. ^ editor, Mason, Rowena (16 December 2019). "Emily Thornberry threatens to sue over 'stupid voters' claim". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 7 January 2020.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  50. ^ Langley, William (18 May 2008). "An all-too-revealing peek at the briefs of Caroline Flint". The Daily Telegraph. Archived from the original on 5 February 2017. Retrieved 5 February 2017.
  51. ^ a b Fairford, Lucy (10 May 2009). "Sexism, motherhood, ambition – and looking good". The Observer. Archived from the original on 5 February 2017. Retrieved 5 February 2017.
  52. ^ Leach, Ben; Lefort, Rebecca (10 July 2010). "MP's scandals covered up on Wikipedia". The Daily Telegraph. Archived from the original on 27 January 2011. Retrieved 5 February 2017.
  53. ^ "Sprotbrough". Archived from the original on 9 June 2016. Retrieved 31 May 2016.
  54. ^ "About Caroline". Archived from the original on 14 December 2011. Retrieved 30 March 2012.
  55. ^ "IPSA". GOV.UK. Archived from the original on 26 September 2018. Retrieved 29 October 2018.
  56. ^ "One in five MPs employs a family member: the full list revealed". The Daily Telegraph. 29 June 2015. Archived from the original on 2 April 2017. Retrieved 29 October 2018.
  57. ^ Mason, Rowena (29 June 2015). "Keeping it in the family: new MPs continue to hire relatives as staff". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 10 August 2018. Retrieved 29 October 2018.
  58. ^ Cecil, Nicholas (21 April 2017). "MPs banned from employing spouses after election in expenses crackdown". Evening Standard. Archived from the original on 25 December 2018. Retrieved 29 October 2018.

External links

Copyright