Maria was born on 17th February 1961 in Bridlington, East Yorkshire. She is the daughter of Andre Eagle, a print worker, and the late Shirley Eagle. Maria has a twin sister, Angela, who is the Member of Parliament for Wallasey. Maria moved to Merseyside when she was four and was educated at St Peter's Church of England School and Formby High School before attending Pembroke College, Oxford. She was awarded a Bachelor of Arts degree in Philosophy, Politics and Economics in 1983. Maria studied at the College of Law, London, and took her law finals in 1990. Maria then worked as a Solicitor in Liverpool until she was elected to Parliament in 1997. Maria joined the Labour Party in 1978 aged 17 and has been an active campaigner since. Maria was selected to stand for election in Liverpool Garston for the 1997 election, following the retirement of Eddie Loyden. Maria held the seat with a majority of 18,417 and has remained the MP since, winning elections in 2001 and 2005. Following boundary changes, Maria stood as the Labour Party Candidate for the newly formed constituency of Garston and Halewood in 2010 and won with a majority of 16,877.