Sharon Hodgson is the Labour MP for Washington and Sunderland West.
Sharon was born in 1966, and has lived in Tyne and Wear virtually all of her life; she continues to live there with her husband, Alan, with whom she has two children.
Sharon became interested in politics during the 1980s when Mrs Thatcher’s government did so much damage to the region. Sharon was convinced that there was a better way to run the country; one that would not decimate the North East’s economy and ruin so many lives. She firmly believed that unemployment was NOT a price worth paying for profits for those at the top of society and is proud to have been part of a government that has since proved it isn’t!
Growing up on Tyneside, Sharon was taught in several local schools, including Whitehall Road, Greenwell and Heathfield, followed by Newcastle College. Before becoming involved in politics professionally, she was an administrator and book-keeper for Northern Rock before she took the role of Administrator for the “Total Learning Challenge”, a North East charity providing early intervention for children at risk of dropping out of education and their communities.
As a Governor of her children’s school in Dunston, treasurer of a Gateshead playgroup and Women’s Officer for Tyne Bridge Labour party, Sharon was an active Party member and campaigner for many years.
Following a break to care for her children, Sharon went on to work full time for the Labour Party, and became a successful Labour Party organiser for Labour North, and later in the Mitcham and Morden constituency in London, where she helped Siobhain McDonagh MP increase her majority in 2001.
She then became Unison’s Labour-Link Co-ordinator, a key national role responsible for managing the relationship between the Labour Party and the union.
Sharon was elected as the MP for Gateshead East and Washington West in 2005, and then (following boundary changes) for the new constituency of Washington and Sunderland West in 2010; it was confirmed by a unanimous vote of the Washington and Sunderland West Constituency Labour Party (CLP) that she would also be their candidate for the 2015 General Election. Sharon was re-elected as the MP for Washington and Sunderland West in 2015.
In her first term (2005) Sharon held positions on several key parliamentary committees, including the European Scrutiny Committee and the Children, Schools and Families select committee, as well as serving as a Parliamentary Private Secretary for Dawn Primarolo at the Department of Health, Liam Byrne at the Home Office, and Bob Ainsworth at the Ministry of Defence. In June 2009, Sharon was promoted to the position of a Government Whip, an organisational role in Parliament ensuring the successful passage of legislation.
In her second term (2010), Sharon initially reprised her role as a Whip, before being appointed Shadow Minister for Children and Families in the new Leader Ed Miliband’s first Opposition team, working on issues including Special Educational Needs (including scrutinising the Children and Families Act 2014 in the House of Commons), early intervention, childcare and school food.
In October 2013, Sharon was asked to take on the Women and Equalities brief, working with Gloria De Piero campaigning for a better deal for women and other minority groups across Government departments.
In September 2015, following Jeremy Corbyn’s election as the new Labour Party Leader, Sharon rejoined the Shadow Education Team as Shadow Children’s Minister, until her resignation 27 June 2016.
In October 2016, following Jeremy Corbyn’s re-election as Party Leader, Sharon was made Shadow Minister for Public Health, which is her current role.
Sharon is active in a number of other areas; she currently Chairs the All-Party Parliamentary Groups (APPGs) on Ovarian Cancer, Art, Craft and Design in Education, Dyslexia and SpLD, Video Games and School Food, and is Joint Chair of the APPGs on Breast Cancer and Ticket Abuse.
Sharon has also been leading the #PutFans1st campaign in Parliament for action on ticket touts, to make the process of buying concert and event tickets fairer for fans.
As well as taking up a variety of issues on behalf of constituents, including campaigning to bring the Tyne and Wear Metro to Washington, Sharon’s proudest achievement as an MP is one which very few manage – passing a Private Members’ Bill into law. The Special Educational Needs (Information) Act 2008, which Sharon tabled and lobbied Ministers and fellow Parliamentarians to approve, aims to improve services for and the outcomes of children and young people with Special Educational Needs by ensuring that the Government collects and publishes information on their progress annually – more information on the Act can be found here.
Sharon writes regular columns for local newspapers, as well as contributing to political blogs and pamphlets, including writing a chapter on Early Intervention in the 2014 publication One Nation Fizz book and writing a joint-chapter with Caroline Flint MP on childcare in the 2017 publication This Woman Can pamphlet.