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Laura Jean Moffatt (born 9 April 1954) is a British Labour Party politician who was the Member of Parliament (MP) for Crawley from 1997 until 2010.

Early life[edit]Edit

Born Laura Jean Field in London in 1954, she was educated at Hazelwick School in CrawleyWest Sussex before attending the Crawley College of Technology (now renamed Central Sussex College).

From 1975 until her election to the House of Commons in 1997, she worked as a state registered nurse at Crawley Hospital. She joined the Labour Party in 1979 and was elected to Crawley Borough Council in 1984, remaining as a councillor until 1997 and serving as the town's mayor in 1990.

Parliamentary career[edit]Edit

Moffatt stood in Crawley at the 1992 general election, but lost out to the sitting Conservative MP Nicholas Soames. For the following election she was again selected as the Labour candidate, though this time through an all-women shortlist.[1]

At the 2005 general election she was elected to the Commons on the smallest majority in the country with 37 votes, with her share of the vote falling by over 10 percent from the 2001 general election result. After an epic count, and numerous re-counts, Moffatt broke down in tears after being returned to Parliament.

In the Commons, Moffatt has served variously as a Parliamentary Private Secretary (PPS) to the Lord Chancellor Derry Irvine (2001–03); the Secretary of State for Constitutional AffairsCharles Falconer (2003–05); the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions David Blunkett (2005); the Minister of State at the Department for Education and Skills Jacqui Smith (2005–06), and since 2006 has served as the PPS to Alan Johnson initially as Secretary of State for Education and Skills and since 2007 as Secretary of State for Health. From 1997-2001 she served as a member of the Defence Select Committee.

On 15 March 2010, Moffatt announced her intention to stand down at the 2010 General Election because the job had taken a toll on her family life.

Personal life[edit|edit source]Edit

She married Colin Moffatt in 1975 in Crawley and they have three grown up sons, Russell, Alistair and Edward. She lives in the Broadfield area of the town.

She has a tattoo on her left foot of a Labour rose with the number '37' in order to remind her of her slim majority.[3]

In May 2009, Moffatt made the news during the MPs' expenses row as one of the most responsible members of parliament even after taking into consideration the small size of her constituency. Once giving up her flat in London because she said that the "annual cost did not sit comfortably with me", in her blog she writes: "I never travel first class when commuting and since getting rid of my flat I more often sleep on a camp bed in my office when the house sits late … and have only made one claim for personal goods in 2007/08, under £20, I think, to replace some towels."

Moffatt may have been induced into giving up the flat by a report in the Daily Mail in Nov 2007 ridiculing her need for London accommodation because she felt unsafe having been flashed on two occasions on a late night train.

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