Born in Denton, the third of eight children, Catherine’s roots in Newcastle are deep. She grew up in the West End of the city, attending Sacred Heart Comprehensive School in Fenham. Her family also goes back generations in this area, and currently live throughout Newcastle: in Newburn, Denton, Lemington, Gosforth and Woolsington.
Whilst studying Politics and History at Edinburgh University, Catherine was active in various student organisations – campaigning on international development, human rights and social justice issues. It was from that platform that Catherine was elected to the Edinburgh University Students Association, and appointed as Finance Officer. Catherine campaigned for Fairtrade goods to be sold in all University outlets, something which was achieved by the time she graduated in the year 2000. After leaving Edinburgh, Catherine went on to study Law at Northumbria University.
Before being elected as the Labour Member of Parliament for Newcastle upon Tyne North in May 2010, Catherine worked as an employment solicitor with a large Newcastle law firm, where she regularly mediated disputes, appeared before employment tribunals and represented clients in a broad range of environments.
Catherine was briefly a member of the House of Commons Political and Constitutional Reform Committee, before she was appointed to the position of Shadow Solicitor General by Ed Miliband MP as part of his first frontbench team in October 2010. More information about Catherine’s work as Shadow Solicitor General can be read here.
In October 2011, Catherine was appointed Shadow Minister for Children and Young Families by Ed Miliband – more information about this role can be read here.
Catherine became Shadow Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury and a member of the Shadow Treasury team in May 2012 – more information about this role can be read here.
Catherine is a member of several All-Party Parliamentary Groups (APPGs). She is the co-chair of the APPGs for Multiple Sclerosis and for Anti-Corruption, which she founded, and recently became vice-chair of the APPG on Apprenticeships. Catherine is a passionate advocate for apprenticeships and her work in Parliament, which includes the introduction of an Apprenticeships Bill, reflects this.
Catherine lives in the constituency with her husband, Rhys, and their two young children.