Catherine holds a degree in Social Science and Languages, a Masters Degree in Chinese Studies from the School of Oriental and African Studies and speaks five languages including Mandarin. She developed her Mandarin whilst teaching English as a second language in Nanjing, China.
Before being elected as an MP Catherine was leader of Islington Council, and in February 2013, she was awarded the ‘Local Authority Leader of the Year’ award by the Local Government Information Unit, for her work leading the Islington Fairness Commission.
Following her election to parliament in 2015, Catherine was appointed to Labour’s front bench as Shadow Foreign Minister, with responsibility for the Americas, Asia-Pacific, Oceania and the Overseas Territories. She held this position until June 2017.
In September 2017, Catherine was elected onto the Parliamentary Select Committee on International Trade and the joint Committee on Arms Export Controls. She stood down from International Trade in March 2019 to take up a new position on the Foreign Affairs Parliamentary Select Committee. Catherine is also Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Rare, Genetic & Undiagnosed Conditions, Deputy-Chair of the APPG on China, Vice-Chair of the APPG on North Korea, the patron of Hong Kong Watch and the Vice-Chair of the APPG on American Football. In 2017 she established the All-Party Parliamentary Group on swimming.
Catherine is a strong supporter of the campaign to remain in the EU and voted against triggering Article 50. In the summer of 2018 she took up the position of President of London 4 Europe.