Barbara Roche

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The Right Honourable
Barbara Roche
Minister of State for Asylum and Immigration
In office
29 July 1999 – 11 June 2001
Prime Minister Tony Blair
Preceded by Office Created
Succeeded by The Lord Rooker
Financial Secretary to the Treasury
In office
4 January 1999 – 29 July 1999
Prime Minister Tony Blair
Preceded by Dawn Primarolo
Succeeded by Stephen Timms
Member of Parliament
for Hornsey and Wood Green
In office
9 April 1992 – 5 May 2005
Preceded by Hugh Rossi
Succeeded by Lynne Featherstone
Personal details
Born (1954-04-13) 13 April 1954 (age 65)
Nationality British
Political party Labour
Alma mater Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford
Ethnicity Jewish

Barbara Maureen Roche (née Margolis, born 13 April 1954) is a British Labour Party politician, who was the Member of Parliament (MP) for Hornsey and Wood Green from 1992 until 2005, when she lost the seat, despite having previously enjoyed a majority of over 20,000.[1][2]

Family and education

The daughter of Barnet and Hanna Margolis[3] she was educated at the Jews Free School, Camden Town and Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford where she read Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE).[4] She trained to be a barrister and was called to the bar at the Middle Temple, 1977.


She first stood for Parliament in the 1984 Surrey South-West by-election, before standing in Hornsey and Wood Green in 1987.

First elected to Parliament in 1992, she saw her majority soar to 20,500 in 1997 (including polling 26,000 votes more than the Liberal Democrats' candidate, Lynne Featherstone, who eventually unseated her). However, by 2001 her majority had almost halved to 10,500, and in 2005 she unexpectedly lost her seat on a large 14.6% swing.

Factors in her defeat include her association with many of the government's more unpopular policies, such as the crucial 26 March 2003 vote on the war on Iraq.[5] A local newspaper described her in 2005 as "a fiercely loyal Labour MP, who has only rebelled against the Government in four out of 1,570 votes."[6]


During her time in Government, she held several ministerial offices; Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Trade and Industry, 1997–1998; Financial Secretary to the Treasury, 1999; Minister of State for Asylum and Immigration, Home Office, 1999–2001; Cabinet Office, 2001–2002; Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, 2002-2003.

In February 2016, a biography of Tony Blair, Broken Vows: Tony Blair -- The Tragedy of Power (serialized in the Daily Mail), by British author Tom Bower, described Roche's alleged part in the deliberate encouragement of mass immigration into the UK during Blair's time as Prime Minister of the UK.[7]

The Daily Mail, in its serialization, commented thus on the book: "The most incredible revelations concern Barbara Roche, a little-known MP who was immigration minister between 1999 and 2001. During this period, she quietly adopted policies – with Mr Blair’s approval – that changed the face of the UK." and "She changed the rules to allow more work permits to be issued, especially to people who would previously have been considered asylum seekers. Stephen Boys Smith, who was then head of the Home Office’s immigration directorate, said: ‘It was clear that Roche wanted more immigrants to come to Britain. She didn’t see her job as controlling entry into Britain, but by looking at the wider picture in a “holistic way” she wanted us to see the benefit of a multicultural society.’"[7]


She is an avid theatre-goer and reader of detective fiction. After her defeat in 2005 and prior to the 2010 General Election, she attempted to re-enter the Commons, seeking the Labour Party nomination (and being shortlisted) in the 'safe' Labour seats of Stockton North,[8] Houghton & Sunderland South,[9] Wigan,[10] and Stalybridge & Hyde[11] but was not been selected for any of them, despite the support of the Labour-affiliated Unite union.[11]


  1. "Labour defeats: Who lost out | Daily Mail Online". Retrieved 2016-05-11.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. "What happens to ex-MPs? | Politics". The Guardian. Retrieved 2016-05-11.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. Dodd's Parliamentary Companion 2005, 173rd edition, London 2004, p.291.
  4. "LMH, Oxford - Prominent Alumni". Retrieved 2016-05-11.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. "Commons vote on war - 26 March". 2006-09-26. Retrieved 2016-05-11.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. Martyn Kent (2005-01-19). "Majority rules (From Times Series)". Retrieved 2016-05-11.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. 7.0 7.1 "How Blair cynically let in two million migrants". Mail Online. Retrieved 2016-02-27.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. Passant, Andy. "Veteran Stockton MP loses selection battle". Gazette Live. Retrieved 2016-05-11.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. "Bridget Phillipson set to become one of Britain's youngest MPs - The Journal". Retrieved 2016-05-11.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. "Labour unveils its election candidate". Wigan Today. 2010-02-04. Retrieved 2016-05-11.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. 11.0 11.1 "News : Politics". The Times. Retrieved 2016-05-11.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Sir Hugh Rossi
Member of Parliament for Hornsey and Wood Green
Succeeded by
Lynne Featherstone
Political offices
Preceded by
Dawn Primarolo
Financial Secretary to the Treasury
Succeeded by
Stephen Timms