Born on 17th February 1961 in Bridlington; Angela is the Daughter of Andre Eagle, a print worker, and the late Shirley Eagle. Educated at Formby Comprehensive High School Angela went on to study at St Johns College, Oxford where she was awarded with a BA(Hons) in Politics, Philosophy and Economics. She was also the chair of the Oxford University Fabian Society (1980-1983). On leaving University Angela worked for CoHSE (now Unison) as a researcher (1984), press officer (1986) before becoming the Parliamentary liaison officer (1987).
Angela has been an active member of the Labour Party since she first joined aged 17 in 1978 and has since held various positions in the party. She was elected to the Party’s National Women’s Conference in 1989 and chaired the National Conference of Labour Women in 1991. From 1989 until 1991 Angela was the constituency party secretary for Peckham in South London before being selected as the Labour Party candidate for the constituency of Wallasey. Angela was first elected to Parliament in the 1992 general election when she defeated the then Minister for Overseas Development at the Foreign Office, Lynda Chalker, by 3,809 votes to become the first ever Labour Member of Parliament for Wallasey. Angela paid full tribute to Baroness Chalker during her maiden speech to Parliament whom she described as a ‘popular and well respected MP’.
Whilst in opposition, and as a newly elected MP; Angela became a member of the Employment Select Committee in 1994 that has investigated such subjects as the role of trade unions, mothers in employment and executive salaries. In recognition of her achievements Angela was promoted to the role of opposition whip in 1996. Angela’s first Government role was in the Department for Environment, Transport and the Regions where she was appointed as a Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State following the 1997 general election that saw The Labour Party elected to Government and Angela re-elected to serve Wallasey with a greatly increased majority of 19,074. In her new role Angela worked on environmental issues such as water, the countryside and regeneration. In the 1998 reshuffle Angela was moved to the Department of Social Security, again as a Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, where she had a number of responsibilities including Income Support, Jobseekers Allowance, Family Tax Credits and the Benefits Agency. Angela remained in this role until the 2001 general election where she was re-elected to serve Wallasey for the third time.
Following the 2001 general election Angela was moved to The Home Office where she remained until the reshuffle in May 2002 when she returned to the backbenches. Shrugging off her sacking, Angela served as a member of the Treasury Select Committee for five years where she used her background in economics to investigate such things as the role and activities of Private Equity groups. Angela was also elected as Vice Chair of the Parliamentary Labour Party during this period. She was also elected to represent backbench Labour MPs on the Party’s ruling National Executive Committee. In recognition of her talents and hard work in these roles Angela was again promoted in June 2007, this time to the role of Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, a new position created in HM Treasury. Here Angela had a wide range of responsibilities including competition and better regulation, excise duties and gambling, climate change issues such as carbon trading and taxation of transport and responsibility for the Royal Mint. Angela was promoted again in June 2009; this time to the role of Minister of State for Pensions and the Ageing Society in the Department for Work and Pensions.
Following the 2010 general election the Tory-led Coalition took the keys to Number 10 and the Labour Party was in opposition. Angela came joint fourth in the Labour Party’s shadow cabinet election and was appointed to the role of Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury by the new party leader Ed Miliband. In a reshuffle in October 2011 Angela was moved to the position of Shadow Leader of the House. In 2013, Angela became Chair of the Labour Party.
Angela has an identical twin sister Maria, who, having been elected as Member of Parliament for Liverpool Garston in 1997 gave Angela and Maria the unique status of being the first twins elected as MPs and later the first twins serving as Ministers of State. They also have a younger brother Andrew.