Yvette Cooper (born 20 March 1969) is a British Labour Party politician who has been the Member of Parliament (MP) for Normanton, Pontefract and Castleford since 2010, having previously been MP for Pontefract and Castleford since 1997. In 2008, she was appointed to Gordon Brown's Cabinet as Chief Secretary to the Treasury and later served as Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (2009–2010). She served in the Cabinet between 2008 and 2010. A former Chair of the Home Affairs Select Committee (2016–2021), Cooper was appointed as Shadow Home Secretary in 2021, having previously served in the same role from 2011 to 2015.
- Sexism in politics is nothing new when you're standing for election. But don't stand for election and it's almost as bad. Shockingly, David Cameron thought it acceptable to claim this week that my decision not to run for the Labour leadership was because my husband, Ed Balls, "stopped [me] from standing."
- "Why I'm not standing for Labour leader – this time" The Guardian (28 May 2010).
- I decided I don't want to go for the top job now. I could be working for another 25 years and I'd like to be reading bedtime stories to my children for another two or three years.
- On why she did not nominate herself to become Leader of the Labour Party, during BBC's Today programme (May 2010).
- I have to say, Mr. Deputy Speaker, the Ministers are like fraudsters in the fairy tale, telling gullible Liberal Democrat MPs about the beautiful progressive clothes that the emperor is wearing, if only they are clever enough and loyal enough to see them. And desperately, we have Liberal Democrats clinging to shreds of invisible cloth, reaching deep into their Liberal and Conservative history to pretend that they can be progressive now. They are claiming that Keynes might have backed the Budget. They are calling on Beveridge for support, kidding themselves that they can call on their history and that they are following in the footsteps of great liberal Conservatives like Winston Churchill, who supported the minimum wage, but the truth is that the emperor has no clothes.
The truth is that if you look at the detail, the Budget is nastier than any brought in by Margaret Thatcher. Instead of Churchill, Keynes or the founders of the welfare state, the Liberal Democrats have signed up, with the Right Honourable Member for Chingford and his Chancellor, to cut support for the poor. It is perhaps apt that in this week of World Cup disappointments, it was actually a footballer who got it right. In 2002, after England were defeated in the World Cup by Brazil, Gareth Southgate reflected ruefully on England's performance and said:
"We were expecting Winston Churchill and instead got Iain Duncan Smith."
That is the reality for the Liberal Democrats now. With all their high hopes, they have betrayed the poor and the vulnerable, whom they stood up to defend.
[The Minister of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Steve Webb) rose]
I will give way to the hon. Gentleman because I know he has a history of supporting people on low incomes and I do not know why he is betraying it now.
- Cut is the Sure Start maternity allowance. Has [the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Iain Duncan Smith] no idea at all that supporting a family and getting the children out of poverty when the babies are born can save money from the public purse for years to come? Instead, he wants to cut support from the babes in their mothers' arms. At least Margaret Thatcher had the grace to wait until the children were weaned before snatching their support.
- During a budget response debate, cited from Hansard (28 July 2010).
- Nigel Farage is still trying to whip up fear and hatred towards refugees who are fleeing from conflict. It was extremely ill-judged of him to describe himself as a victim.
- Response on Farage's denial for being responsible for whipping up hate against immigrants - "Nigel Farage says he is a victim of political hatred in response to Jo Cox question" The Independent (19 June 2016).
- Some in the Labour Party want to blame our defeat only on the leadership. Others want to blame it only on Brexit. Yet it was about both of those things and more. In our towns in Yorkshire, we knocked on thousands of doors trying to persuade people to stick with Labour. Some said they just didn’t want Jeremy Corbyn to be Prime Minister. Others were fearful that we wouldn’t stand up for national security. Some wanted Brexit done and felt angry and let down. We found little enthusiasm for Boris Johnson. One woman told me in tears that she was voting Tory for the first time and she was furious with us for making her feel like she had to do it.
- From an article in the Daily Mirror in responce to the poor result from Labour in the 2019 General Election - Yvette Cooper: Labour did badly in the election but will pull UK together (December 2019)
- This dangerous rapist should not be in a women's prison and it should be clear that if someone poses a danger to women and committed crimes against women they should not be being housed in a women's prison.
- Interviewed on the Today programme (BBC Radio 4), as quoted in "Former prisoner governor says she would have quit over trans rapist" The Telegraph (26 January 2023).
- An untransitioned trans women Isla Bryson (born Adam Graham) was convicted in Glasgow of raping two women (at the time of the crimes, the offender was unquestionably male), but began to identify as a woman after being charged. This individual was initially sent to a women's prison while awaiting sentence.
Quotes about Cooper
- She was a formidable intellect and it's no surprise to me or anyone else around here that she's done as well as she has.
- Cooper in the words of a former teacher. Cited in Mary Ann Sieghart "Profile: Shadow foreign secretary Yvette Cooper" BBC News (11 October 2010).
- I think the reason she's got so many votes in the Parliamentary Labour Party is because there's nobody, really, who doesn't like and admire Yvette... she doesn't make people feel rivalrous of her.
- She came recommended to me as someone who was very much a Labour person but also a very clever economist so I was very much looking forward to meeting her. And then this slip of a girl raced up at party conference and said 'I'm Yvette' and when I thought of all the experience she had had and all the brains that she had, it seemed to be impossible that someone so young was that person. She is very remarkable because she combines being very, very clever without any shred of arrogance which is quite unusual in a politician, I have to say. She also combines being very steely and determined but without being macho [...] She doesn't talk in a way that excludes people, so on the GMTV sofa, she can speak to people in a way that they understand.
- She's very sharp analytically; she gets to the absolute core of an issue very quickly. Certainly, seeing her in action with officials, they know they going to have to be well-briefed. So she's a very clever person; a good operator and also a pretty decent human being which is important in politics and a bit rare.
- I've been rather warming to Yvette Cooper over the last year or two. She was one of those new Labour women whom Tories loved to hate at first. I found her pretty irritating. There was something slightly cold and zombie-like in which she used the apparatchik-speak language of New Labour politics and never really seemed to engage with people. She seemed too much like an operative and not enough like a minister. But I've noticed her changing. She's relaxed. She's got funnier.