A selection of images representing communities.
Margaret Beckett was appointed Minister of State for Housing and Planning, attending Cabinet, at Communities and Local Government on 3 October 2008.
Mrs Beckett was most recently Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs from May 2006 until June 2007.
Before entering Parliament, Mrs Beckett completed an engineering apprenticeship, specialising in metallurgy, at AEI Manchester. She went on to work as a Metallurgist at Manchester University.
She became a Research Assistant for the Labour Party in 1970 and served as a Political Advisor to the Ministry for Overseas Development in 1974. She was PPS to the then Minister of Overseas Development (Mrs Judith Hart) between 1974-75.
She served as a Government Whip in 1975 and was appointed Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department of Education and Science in 1976, serving in that position until 1979.
Between 1979 and 1983, Mrs Beckett worked as Principal Researcher for Granada Television. Mrs Beckett was appointed shadow Minister for Social Security from 1984-1989, shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury from 1989-1992, and shadow Leader of the House from 1992-1994. She was elected as Deputy Leader of the Labour Party between 1992-1994 and became Leader between May and July 1994 after the death of the Rt Hon John Smith MP.
She then served as shadow Secretary of State for Health from 1994-1995, and shadow Secretary of State for Trade and Industry from 1995-1997.
She was appointed President of the Board of Trade and Secretary of State for Trade and Industry when the Labour Party was elected to Government in May 1997, and served in that post until July 1998 when she was appointed President of the Privy Council and Leader of the House of Commons. She was appointed Secretary of State for the newly formed Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, in June 2001.
Mrs Beckett was born 15 January 1943 in Ashton-Under-Lyne Lancashire and has been Member of Parliament for Derby South, since 1983. She was previously MP for Lincoln from 1974 until 1979. She is Honorary President of Labour Friends of India. She is married to Leo.