Barbara Roche

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.

Family and education

The daughter of Barnet and Hanna Margolis she was educated at the Jews Free School, Camden Town and Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford where she read Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE). 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, and on mass immigration.

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."


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.


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, Houghton & Sunderland South, Wigan, and Stalybridge & Hyde but was not selected for any of them, despite the support of the Labour-affiliated Unite union.