Kerry was elected as the Labour Member of Parliament for Bristol East in May 2005.
One of six children, Kerry attended comprehensive school in Luton before going on to study Russian, Politics and Linguistics at Liverpool University and to take her law exams in London. She became actively involved in the Labour Party in the early 1990s, becoming Chair and then Secretary of her local constituency party and Vice-Chair of the East of England Regional Board. She served five years as a councillor on Luton Borough Council, and four years as a director of the local authority-owned Luton Airport. From 1998 until her election to Parliament in May 2005 Kerry was also a member of Labour’s National Policy Forum and its Economic Policy Commission.
Before being elected to Parliament Kerry worked as a lawyer and on political campaigns. A qualified solicitor, she began her legal career in the late 1980s working at a magistrates’ court and a Legal Aid firm, but then moved to work in the corporate/banking sector and became a specialist in financial markets law, working on cross-border transactions on behalf of a range of international clients. More recently, she worked for the Britain in Europe campaign and as Head of Public Policy at a consultancy specialising in transport issues.
Kerry's main policy areas of interest are: sustainability and the environment, food policy, the economy, tackling poverty, international aid and trade, transport, and animal welfare.
During her first term in Parliament, in addition to her constituency responsibilities, Kerry was appointed a member of the Treasury and the South West Regional Select Committee. She served as Parliamentary Private Secretary (PPS) to Rosie Winterton, Minister for Health Services, and later as PPS to Douglas Alexander, the Secretary of State for International Development. In the June 2009 reshuffle she was made a Junior Whip. Kerry’s work also included being Secretary of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Somaliland, and acting as lead contact for the End Child Poverty campaign amongst Labour MPs.
Following her re-election in 2010, Kerry was temporarily made a Shadow Work and Pensions Minister, and was subsequently appointed as a Shadow Treasury Minister. From September 2011, Kerry served as Labour’s Shadow Foreign Affairs Minister, focusing on human rights, Asia, the Caribbean and Latin America.
In May 2015, Kerry was elected again to represent Bristol East in Parliament and was later appointed to the Shadow Cabinet, serving as the Shadow Secretary of State for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs between September 2015 and June 2016.
Kerry then joined the House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee, and has additionally been a member of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee since October 2016.
In January 2017, Kerry joined the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. The Council's main role is to promote human rights, democracy and the rule of law amongst its 47 member states.
Kerry was the first vegan MP in the House of Commons and has been a vegan for more than 25 years, having been a vegetarian for 10 years prior to that. Kerry is a Patron of FoodCycle and is working to ensure that the pressing issues of food poverty and food waste are on the political agenda, having introduced a Food Waste (Reduction) Bill in 2012 and 2015, and set up the All Party Parliamentary Group on Food Waste. Kerry is also co-chair of the APPG on Agroecology, and an officer of the APPG on Vegetarianism and Veganism.