♦ English actress and Labour politician
She was born in Birkenhead, Cheshire, became a student at RADA, and made her theatrical debut in Separate Tables (1957) at Worthing and her London debut in the same year in All Kinds of Men. She made her film debut in This Sporting Life (1963), but remained primarily a stage actress in such productions as Alfie (1963), Hamlet (1965) and Marat/Sade (1965). Her films include Women in Love (1969, Academy Award), A Touch of Class (1973, Academy Award), Sunday, Bloody Sunday (1971), Hedda (1975), Stevie (1978) and Business as Usual (1987). Stage performances include Hedda Gabler (1975), Rose (1980), Strange Interlude (1984), The House of Bernarda Alba (1986), Macbeth (1988), and Mother Courage (1990). On television, she played the title role in the series Elizabeth R (1971) and appeared in the film The Patricia Neal Story (1981). Later turning to a career in politics, she was elected as Labour MP for Hampstead and Highgate, London (1992- ). A high-profile backbencher, she was often critical of Tony Blair's leadership of the party.