Angela Eagle (born 17 February 1961) is a British Labour Party politician, who has been the Member of Parliament (MP) for Wallasey since 1992. She served as the Minister of State for Pensions and Ageing Society from June 2009 until May 2010. Eagle was elected to the Shadow Cabinet in October 2010 and was appointed by Ed Miliband to be Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury. On 7 October 2011, she was appointed Shadow Leader of the House of Commons when Miliband reshuffled his Shadow Cabinet.
Born in Bridlington, East Riding of Yorkshire, the daughter of a printworker, she was educated at St. Peter's C of E primary school, Formby High School, andSt John's College, Oxford where she was awarded a Bachelor of Arts degree in Philosophy, Politics and Economics in 1983, and where she was also chairwoman of the Oxford University Fabian Society 1980-1983. She worked briefly in the economic directorate of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) in 1984, before working for the Confederation of Health Service Employees (COHSE) later in the year. At COHSE, she held several positions, leaving on her election to Parliament in the capacity of Parliamentary officer. She was elected secretary for the Constituency Labour Party in Peckham for two years from 1989.
Eagle was first elected in the 1992 election when she defeated the Minister for Overseas Development at the Foreign Office Lynda Chalker by 3,809 votes, and has remained an MP since. She made her maiden speech on 11 May 1992.
In parliament she became a member of the Employment Select Committee in 1994, and was promoted by Tony Blair in 1996 to the position of an Opposition Whip, and became a member of the Blair government following the 1997 general election as the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for the Environment, Transport and the Regions, moving to the Department of Social Security in 1998. Following the 2001 general election, she was a junior minister at the Home Office but was sacked by Blair in 2002, reputedly in error. She has been a member of the Treasury Select Committee since 2003. She returned to the government under Gordon Brown on 29 June 2007 Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, the most junior minister at HM Treasury. She was promoted to Minister of State at the Department for Work and Pensions in the June 2009 reshuffle.
Following Ed Miliband's accession to Labour Leader, Eagle was elected to his shadow cabinet, finishing tied 4th in the vote and was subsequently appointed to the Chief Secretary to the Treasury briefing, shadowing Danny Alexander.
In April 2011, Eagle was famously put down in the House of Commons by prime minister David Cameron when he used Michael Winner's catchphrase "Calm down, dear", in a way that was widely regarded as patronising. Eagle's colleague, deputy Labour leader Harriet Harman, stated "Women in Britain in the 21st century do not expect to be told to 'calm down, dear' by their Prime Minister", with Labour officials calling for an apology, suggesting the remark was patronising and sexist. However it soon emerged that Cameron had previously used the same line in the Commons to a male MP, David Miliband.
In June 2012, Eagle criticised Take That singer Gary Barlow in the House of Commons following newspaper allegations of tax avoidance made against him. Eagle criticised his recent award of the OBE and claimed in the House of Commons that Barlow had "given a whole new meaning to the phrase 'Take That'", as well as questioning why Prime Minister David Cameron hadn't criticised Barlow publicly in the same way he had criticised comedian Jimmy Carr for tax avoidance.
In April 2008 Eagle took part in a debate in Parliament on the UK economy in which the Liberal Democrats tabled a motion suggesting that the country was facing an 'extreme bubble in the housing market' and the 'risk of recession'. Eagle responded stating "Fortunately for all of us...that colourful and lurid fiction has no real bearing on the macro-economic reality." In 2009 Jeremy Browne, who led the debate reflected on her comments, stating "A year ago, Angela Eagle’s comments summed up the Government’s delusional attitude. We had been warning for months that we faced a housing market collapse and a serious recession, but ministers did not want to hear it. Their failure to face up to reality left the country dangerously unprepared for the crisis that now confronts us."
Eagle was joint winner of the British Girls' Under-18 chess championship in 1976.
She gained the distinction of becoming the British Parliament's first openly lesbian member by coming out in September 1997 in an interview with The Observer. Maureen Colquhoun, an earlier lesbian MP, did not declare her sexuality until after time in Parliament. The first out lesbian MP at the time of election is Margot James.
Eagle was joined in the House of Commons at the 1997 general election by her twin sister, Maria Eagle; they thus became the first set of twins to sit in the House. She and her sister are currently the only pair of sisters in the Commons. She was ranked in the top 50 on The Independent's 'Pink List' of the 101 most influential gay men and women in Britain 2009.