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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 Conservative 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 will fight tirelessly for Labour to get into government to be able to tackle injustice faced by ordinary people.
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 a number of local companies including Tyneside Safety Glass, and Northern Rock before she took the role of Charity 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 became one of the first ever trainee organisers in 1999 and went on to work full time for the Labour Party as a successful 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 first 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. Sharon has consecutively been re-elected as the MP for Washington and Sunderland West at all three General Elections since 2010: 2015, 2017 and 2019.
Her constituency is home to one of Europe's most productive car plants, Nissan Motors UK, which is leading the way in electric vehicle production in the UK.
Sharon has taken on many roles in Parliament since her election in 2005 including on key parliamentary committees (such as the Children, Schools and Families Select Committee), Parliamentary Private Secretary to three different government Ministers, Government Whip, Opposition Whip, and Shadow Ministerial roles (Children and Families 2010-2013; Women and Equalities 2013-2015; Children 2015-2016; Public Health 2016-2020; Veterans 2020-2021).
In April 2021, Sharon was appointed to be Parliamentary Private Secretary (PPS) to the Leader of the Labour Party and Leader of HM Opposition, Sir Keir Starmer MP.
Sharon has served under all Leaders of the Labour Party since 2005.
Sharon was nominated in March 2023 by Sir Kier Starmer to her current influential position as Chairman of the House of Commons Finance Committee. In this role Sharon oversees the expenditure on services for the House of Commons and has responsibility for the preparation and scrutiny of the House of Commons budgets.
Another element of Sharon’s work as Chair of the House of Commons Finance Committee is with The Parliamentary Works Estimates Commission. This cross-party commission is overseeing the important organisation of the restoration of the Palace of Westminster to preserve the historic site for the next thousand years of British democracy.
A key area of Sharon’s wider work in Parliament is her involvement in a number of All-Party Parliamentary Groups (APPGs). These committees allow Sharon to tailor her work around a range of topics that she is especially dedicated to.
Sharon is the Chair of seven APPGs: Ovarian Cancer; Art, Craft and Design in Education; Dyslexia and SpLD; School Food; Coeliac disease; Medicine and Medical Device Harm; and Ticket Abuse. She also Co-Chairs the All-Party Parliamentary Groups (APPGs) on: Music and Myalgic Encephalomyelitis ME.
Her work within APPGs runs even deeper, as aside from chairing numerous committees, Sharon also holds Vice-Chair positions on a large variety of groups on a broad range of topics and key issues.
Firstly, as part of her constituency’s connection to the automotive sector, Sharon develops her knowledge of and impact on automotive policy through her work with the Motor Group APPG, and the Electric Vehicles APPG.
As Vice-Chair Sharon is also involved in numerous APPGs that support her interests in Early Years Development and Special Educational Needs and Disabilities. In this area she is currently sitting on APPGs for Hormone pregnancy tests; Baby loss; ‘Conception to age two – first 1001 days’; infant feeding and inequalities; Valproate and other anti-epileptic drugs in pregnancy; Inappropriate Institutional Care of Autistic People and People with Learning Disabilities; Special Educational Needs and Disabilities; and on the APPG for Usher syndrome.
Furthermore, Sharon’s APPG commitments see her advocate for community issues across the North East as she Vice-Chairs APPGs on Child of the north; Coalfield Communities; ‘Left Behind’ Neighbourhoods and Tidy Britain.
Another theme in Sharon’s parliamentary work is her commitment to raising standards across healthcare, as she works closely as Vice-Chair for the Cancer; and Breast Cancer APPGs, and the APPG for Surgical mesh. With her specific interest in the health impacts of food insecurity her work is informed by her positions on the APPGs for Food and health; and the Food and drink supply chain as they work to understand how accessible nutritious food is integral to a healthy society.
Finally, her Vice-Chair work spans a range of other important issues as Sharon Vice-Chairs APPGs for the Armed Forces Covenant; Video Games and Esports; Music; Music Education; Dance, and Ethics and Sustainability in Fashion.
As well as taking up a variety of issues on behalf of constituents, including campaigning to bring the Tyne and Wear Metro to Washington, and reopening the Leamside Line; which is now seeing some substantial success. Sharon's proudest achievements as an MP include helping local activists lead the successful campaign to stop the building of a gasification plant in Hillthorn Park near Sulgrave, which after years of campaigning was eventually halted in 2020; and the successful passing of a Private Members' Bill into law – something very few MPs manage to do. Sharon proposed, tabled and successfully sought ministerial approval for the Special Educational Needs (Information) Act 2008, which aimed 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.
Across her eighteen years as an elected Member of Parliament, Sharon has dedicated her time to best represent her area and constituents, while also championing the advancement of various campaigns and policy areas in Parliament.
As we near the next general election, Sharon will continue to contact residents, listen to their concerns, work hard at home and in Parliament, and campaign for a Labour Government, which will build a fairer, greener and more dynamic Britain.
Updated May 2023