Rt. Hon. Margaret Beckett MP is a British Labour Party politician who is the Member of Parliament for the constituency of Derby South.
Mrs Beckett was first elected to Parliament in 1974 and held junior positions in the governments of Harold Wilson and James Callaghan. She lost her seat in 1979 but returned to the House of Commons in 1983 and became a senior member of the Labour Party. She was elected Deputy Leader of the Labour Party in 1992 and was briefly its leader in 1994 following the premature death of John Smith, the first woman to occupy either role.
After Labour’s victory in the 1997 general election, Mrs Beckett became a member of Tony Blair’s Cabinet. Initially the President of the Board of Trade, she was later the Leader of the House of Commons and Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. In 2006, Mrs Beckett was appointed British Foreign Secretary, making her the first woman to hold the position, and, after Margaret Thatcher, the second woman to hold one of the Great Offices of State.
Margaret Beckett is currently a member of the Top Level Group of UK Parliamentarians for Multilateral Nuclear Disarmament and Non-Proliferation.