Glenda Jackson - Career in Politics

Career in Politics

Jackson retired from acting in order to enter the House of Commons in the 1992 general election as the Labour MP for Hampstead and Highgate. After the 1997 general election, she was appointed a junior minister in the government of Prime Minister Tony Blair, with responsibility for London Transport, a post she resigned before an attempt to be nominated as the Labour Party candidate for the election of the first Mayor of London in 2000. The nomination was eventually won by Frank Dobson, who lost the election to Ken Livingstone, the independent candidate. In the 2005 general election, she received 14,615 votes, representing 38.29% of the votes cast in the constituency.

As a high profile backbencher she became a regular critic of Blair over his plans to introduce top-up fees in England. She also called for him to resign following the Judicial Enquiry by Lord Hutton in 2003 surrounding the reasons for going to war in Iraq and the death of government adviser Dr. David Kelly. Jackson was generally considered to be a traditional left-winger, often disagreeing with the dominant Blairite governing Third Way faction in the Labour Party.

By October 2005, her problems with Blair's leadership swelled to a point where she threatened to challenge the Prime Minister as a stalking horse candidate in a leadership contest if he did not stand down within a reasonable amount of time. On 31 October 2006, Jackson was one of 12 Labour MPs to back Plaid Cymru and the Scottish National Party's call for an inquiry into the Iraq War.

Her constituency boundaries changed for the 2010 general election. The Gospel Oak and Highgate wards became part of Holborn & St Pancras, and the new Hampstead & Kilburn constituency switched into Brent to include Brondesbury, Kilburn and Queens Park wards (from the old Brent East and Brent South seats). On 6 May 2010, Jackson was elected as the MP for the new Hampstead and Kilburn constituency with a margin of 42 votes over Conservative Chris Philp and Liberal Democrat Edward Fordham. She had the second closest result and second smallest majority of any MP in the 2010 election.

In June 2011, Jackson announced that, presuming the Parliament elected in 2010 lasts until 2015, she would not seek re-election. She explained "I will be almost 80 and by then it will be time for someone else to have a turn".

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