Catharine Letitia Hoey (born 21 June 1946) has been the Member of Parliament (MP) for Vauxhall since a 1989 by-election. She served in the Blair Government as Minister for Sport from 1999 to 2001.
Hoey unsuccessfully contested Dulwich at the 1983 and 1987 general elections, being defeated by the Conservative Gerald Bowden, on the second occasion by only 180 votes. In 1989, she was elected at the Vauxhall by-election precipitated by the resignation of Stuart Holland. The local party had chosen black candidate Martha Osamor by eight nominations, with Hoey winning one, but the National Executive Committee vetoed her candicacy and imposed a virtually all-white short-list on the constituency party; from it, Hoey was chosen as the official Labour candidate.
Hoey was Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Home Office from 1998 to 1999, and Minister for Sport in the Department of Culture, Media and Sport from 1999 to 2001.
Hoey is a Eurosceptic and libertarian, and has often rebelled against her party. She was a prominent critic of the ban on handguns and, in an interview in Sporting Gun magazine, voiced her support for fox hunting. She has voted against government policy on the war in Iraq, foundation hospitals, university tuition and top-up fees, ID cards and extended detention without trial. She was a leading Labour rebel supporting a referendum on the EU Lisbon Treaty. Hoey has also opposed the smoking ban in clubs and pubs, reclassification of cannabis from a Class B to Class C and originally opposed devolution. She also favours stricter controls on immigration, tougher welfare reform, withdrawal from the European Union, English Votes for English Laws, grammar schools, marriage tax allowances, free schools and academies. She is a critic of the BBC and she also spoke in support of the election of unionist MPs in Northern Ireland.
As the chairman of the all-party parliamentary group on Zimbabwe, Hoey was a vocal critic of the government of Robert Mugabe. In 2005, she called on Tony Blair to put diplomatic pressure on South Africa to condemn Zimbabwean government demolitions of townships, after an unsanctioned visit to the country.
Kate Hoey nominated John McDonnell for the Labour leadership, but on his withdrawal, she switched her nomination to Diane Abbott. However, she voted for Andy Burnham in 2010, giving Edward Miliband her second preference. In 2015, Hoey supported Andy Burnham and Caroline Flint for the leadership and deputy leadership, saying that she could not see Liz Kendall as a Prime Minister.
2016 EU Referendum
Hoey advocated the United Kingdom should leave the European Union (EU) during the campaign for the EU membership referendum held on 23 June 2016. She pointed to Labour's earlier Eurosceptism "from Attlee to Foot" in The Independent and changes in European bodies since Jacques Delors' advocacy of a "social Europe" to refute the claim that Eurosceptism is a movement of the right.
Government and parliamentary positions
- Opposition spokesperson, citizen's charter and women (1992–1993)
- Parliamentary Private Secretary (PPS) to Frank Field, Department of Social Security (1997–1998)
- Junior minister, home office (1998–1999)
- Junior minister, department of culture, media and sport (1999–2001)
- Backbencher (2001–present)