Mary Honeyball was a Labour Member of the European Parliament from 2000 – 2019 and served as Vice-Chair of the Women’s Rights and Gender Equality Committee. Mary is a committed and passionate feminist and much of her parliamentary career was spent working for the elimination of violence against women, better working conditions for women, and equal pay and representation for women on the boards of major companies.
Mary was Labour’s spokesperson in Europe for women and equality for just under 20 years. During her time as an MEP and in the committee Mary was successful in getting the European Parliament to vote in favor of the adoption of the Nordic Model of Prostitution. At the forefront of campaigning against human trafficking and sexual exploitation, Mary commissioned groundbreaking research on trafficking and adverts for sexual services in London local papers. Mary has been active against Brexit. In addition to women’s rights, she is an expert in legislation on intellectual property.
Mary began her political career in 1978 when she was elected to Barnet London Borough Council. She has been a member of several influential committees in the Labour Party including the National Policy Forum and the pressure group Emily’s List which campaigned for more women in Parliament. Mary is a regular media pundit and her broadcast appearances include the BBC, SKY, and LBC. In print discussing issues as varied as European Politics, women and gender equality, the objectification of women in the media, prostitution, and trafficking, religion, and politics.
Prior to becoming an MEP Mary was General Secretary of the Association of Chief Officers of Probation. She has also held the position of Chief Executive of the lone parents’ charity Gingerbread and Chief Executive of the National Childbirth Trust.
Mary is the author and contributor to several books including; So You Want to be a Politician, The Too Difficult Box, and Honourable Ladies Volumes I and II. She published her first book, Parliamentary Pioneers – Labour Women MPs 1918 – 1945 in 2015 which charts the political rise of the first women Labour MPs elected to Parliament. Her second book will be published in 2021. In her spare time, Mary enjoys traveling across France with her husband Inigo, and their dog Daisy.