Harriet Ruth Harman (born 30 July 1950) is a British Labour Party politician who has been a Member of Parliament (MP) since 1982, initially for Peckham, and subsequently Camberwell and Peckham from 1997 onwards. She has been the Deputy Leader of the Labour Party since 2007, and is currently the Shadow Deputy Prime Minister and Shadow Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport.
Harman was first appointed to the Cabinet in 1997 under Tony Blair, as Secretary of State for Social Security and the first ever Minister for Women. She was dismissed from both of these roles in 1998, but later returned to the Cabinet in 2001 as the Solicitor General. In 2007, she was elected as the Deputy Leader of the Labour Party, going on to become the Leader of the House of Commons, the Lord Privy Seal and Minister for Women and Equality under Gordon Brown. Following the resignation of Brown as Prime Minister and Labour Leader in May 2010, Harman became the Acting Leader and the Leader of the Opposition. She remained in these roles until Ed Miliband was elected Leader.
Miliband subsequently went on to appoint her as Shadow Secretary of State for International Development in his Shadow Cabinet, and in 2011 moved her to become Shadow Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport. She stands in for Miliband whenever he is absent for Prime Minister's Questions in her role as Shadow Deputy Prime Minister, and she is currently the longest continuously-serving female MP in the House of Commons.
February 5, 2012