Anna Soubry

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Anna Soubry
MP
>
Minister of State for Defence
Incumbent
Assumed office
14 July 2014
Prime Minister David Cameron
Preceded by Andrew Murrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence Personnel, Welfare and Veterans
In office
7 October 2013 – 14 July 2014
Prime Minister David Cameron
Preceded by Mark Francois
Succeeded by Julian Brazier
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Public Health
In office
4 September 2012 – 7 October 2013
Prime Minister David Cameron
Preceded by Anne Milton
Succeeded by Jane Ellison
Member of Parliament
for Broxtowe
Incumbent
Assumed office
6 May 2010
Preceded by Nick Palmer
Majority 390 (0.7%)
Personal details
Born (1956-12-07) 7 December 1956 (age 57)
Lincoln, Lincolnshire, England
Nationality British
Political party Conservative
Website www.annasoubry.org.uk

Anna Mary Soubry[1] (born 7 December 1956) is a British Conservative Party politician who has been the Member of Parliament (MP) for Broxtowe since the 2010 general election.

The Independent's Simon Carr has stated that "she has a record of unusually free speech".[2] Since October 2013 she has been Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence.[3]

Early life[edit]

Soubry was born, the daughter of David Soubry,[4] a Nottinghamshire garage-owner, in Lincoln Hospital, Lincolnshire (where her mother, Frances Coward/Soubry, worked) and brought up at Dunham-on-Trent and Clumber Park, Nottinghamshire.[5] She graduated in law from the University of Birmingham in 1979.[6]

Professional career[edit]

Soubry was a journalist from 1981 until 1995 and also reported on and presented several regional and networked TV programmes, including Grampian Television's North Tonight in the North of Scotland and the East Midlands regional news programme, Central News East. Soubry also presented and reported Granada Television's This Morning in the late 1980s. She returned to Liverpool's Albert Dock in October 2013 for the This Morning 25-year anniversary party.[7] She was called to the bar in 1995 and is a member of the Criminal Bar Association.[8]

Personal life[edit]

She is a single mother of two children.[9]

Political career and constituency issues[edit]

Anna Soubry on election night, 5 May 2010. Second count win over Nick Palmer

Soubry was involved in student politics in the 1970s, becoming the only one Conservative member of the National Union of Students' executive committee.[9] She left the Conservatives and joined the SDP soon after its formation in 1981.

Soubry was the Conservative Party candidate for the Gedling constituency in the United Kingdom general election of 2005. During the campaign, she said she was "ashamed" of living in Nottingham as it had a bad reputation for crime.[10] She said she wasn't ashamed of the people of Nottingham, but, instead, was ashamed of what had happened to the city.[10]

Soubry was chosen as an "A-List candidate" and in 2006 was selected for the nearby Broxtowe Parliamentary seat.[11] In a debate in front of sixth formers in 2006, she said an honest debate was needed to stop people taking Class A drugs and she supported the legalisation of cannabis.[12] Soubry was one of the 49% of Conservative MPs who entered parliament in 2010, she is regarded as "one of the most formidable communicators of the new intake" but is not a 'Thatcherite.'[13]
In June 2010, Soubry was elected as a Conservative member of the Justice Select Committee,[14] but is no longer part of that committee.[15]

She was a strong supporter of the Equal Marriage Bill stating at the time that she was "very much in favour of legalising Same Sex Marriage".[16] She voted in favour of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013 at both readings.[17]

Tram system[edit]

In June 2010, Soubry met the transport minister Norman Baker and called for the £400m extension to the Nottingham Express Transit tram system to be scrapped saying the money would be better spent on the A453 road. David Thornhill of the Campaign for Better Transport expressed astonishment at her opinion and said the tram was definitely better value for money.[18] Soubry said she was pro-tram, but that the tram route through her constituency was "fundamentally flawed". Broxtowe Conservatives had always opposed the route.[19] A subsequent report by the Campaign identified Nottingham as "the least car dependent city in England" and noted the expanding tram system.[20]

In July 2013, Soubry criticised Nottingham City Council leader Jon Collins over his refusal to meet with her and others to discuss compensation for shops and businesses in the constituency which faced closure due to the tram works.[21] Collins subsequently agreed to meet with her[22] with the outcome being a review into the compensation packages available for affected businesses.[23]

Slavery row[edit]

In July 2010, Soubry was criticised for employing a member of Nottingham Conservative Future, for three months, who in 2008 had faced a police probe after holding up a banner calling for the return of slavery.[24][25] The man, who was 20 at the time and president of the University of Nottingham Conservative Association. Soubry said she was aware of his background but he had made a full apology and "regretted doing something so stupid".[25]

Royal Mail privatisation[edit]

In October 2010, Soubry wrote in her monthly column in the Beeston Express that on returning to Parliament she met a "somewhat shell-shocked Parliamentary Assistant bearing a pile of some 300 cards from constituents urging me to oppose the proposed sell-off of the Royal Mail."[26]

She expressed dismay at the time and cost of replying to each constituent when she had already discussed the issue with the Communication Workers' Union.[26] Twelve days later she announced in Parliament that of the 700 postal workers in her constituency, to her knowledge, none had written to her opposing privatisation of Royal Mail and only two had come down to London.[27]

In November 2010, the Communication Workers' Union wrote to Parliament alleging her statement was both untrue and wrongly implied there was little support for its "Keep the Post Public" campaign.[28] It wanted to get the statement formally withdrawn.[28]

Soubry agreed she was wrong, but said that some of the letters had been misfiled and others had arrived late or were sent to the wrong MP and that the Communication Workers' Union had been inefficient. She claimed she genuinely believed she was telling the truth.[28] The bill protected Royal Mail, its workers and the universal postal service and that was the only reason she supported it.[28]

The union collected around 10,000 signatures for its campaign in Nottingham.[28]

Support for Citizens' Advice Bureau[edit]

On 28 November 2010, Soubry appeared on the East Midlands version of The Politics Show to discuss her efforts to help the Citizens' Advice Bureau.

The programme reviewed the current state of Nottinghamshire's CAB which is facing a 30% increase in enquiries plus cuts in its budget from local councils and the Ministry of Justice.[29] It also briefly covered Chris Leslie's oral question to Ken Clarke earlier that month on the same topic.[30] In the overview, Simon Hartley Jones of Mansfield CAB said the cuts to the CAB beggared belief, threatened it with closure and contradicted the Big Society.[31] Soubry was shown speaking to local CAB workers and it was stated that her Broxtowe CAB handled 33,000 enquiries last year.[31]

In the studio interview, Soubry said she had asked the leader of Nottingham County Council and Clarke who she described as a "long standing supporter of the CAB" to reconsider. She also said the Government had made a £100m contingency fund available for charities facing problems in the immediate aftermath of the cuts. A reduction in the CAB's capability would add pressure to the MPs workload. She believed it was imperative to continue to fund the CAB from the public purse but also believed the banks and credit card companies who bear some responsibility for debts could help. An additional serious concern she would take up was that even at this late stage, the CAB did not know what its budget would be for the next financial year.

According to her website, Soubry later organised a meeting between the CAB, Midlands Women's Aid and Nick Hurd, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Charities, Social Enterprise and Volunteering. The meeting aimed to make him aware of the effects of the proposed cuts in funding to these organisations.[32]

Anonymity (Arrested Persons) Private Member's Bill[edit]

In June 2010, Soubry sponsored a private member's bill to provide anonymity to a person who has been arrested but not charged. A clause allowed any party to ask for anonymity to be removed if it was in the interests of justice.[33] The press coverage of the arrest of the landlord of Joanna Yeates in December 2010 was criticised by both police and the Attorney General and seemed a good example of the mischief which the bill could remedy. The second reading took place in February 2011.[33] MPs of all parties alluded to the Yeates murder.

Mike Freer referring to "the landlord in Bristol" said "it was the castigation, the crawling over of that gentleman's background, the questioning of his looks, his eccentricity and his sexuality that were abhorrent and that will follow him around for ever."[34] Soubry replied, "What we saw in Bristol was, in effect, a feeding frenzy and vilification. Much of the coverage was not only completely irrelevant, but there was a homophobic tone to it which I found deeply offensive. The slurs on the man were out of order."[34] She also said that the Contempt of Court Act 1981 which the Attorney-General hadn't been able to use to "stop the salacious and vilifying nature of the coverage of the man arrested in Bristol" could be amended.[35]

Robert Flello said that many members had alluded to "the media's dreadful treatment of her landlord". The shameful way in which that man was portrayed in the press-from "weird-looking" to "strange", and with questions raised about his sexuality, his teaching practices and even his hairstyle-should embarrass and shame our media.[36]

Philip Davies was one of a number of MPs to raise the problems with websites. He pointed out that even if the bill applied to the UK, there would be no way of effectively controlling what was put out by websites based abroad.[37]

Soubry withdrew the bill after its second reading, when Justice Minister Crispin Blunt promised the Attorney General would examine the area of concern.[33][38]

Support for NHS Reforms[edit]

As PPS to Health Minister Simon Burns, Soubry was invited to appear on the Daily Politics show to discuss the controversial NHS reforms with the chair of the Royal College of GPs, Dr Clare Gerada.[39] Burns had previously claimed that Gerada's opposition to the reforms did not represent the views of GPs.[39] Gerada rejected this saying that despite 18 months of "endless consultations" in a recent survey 90% of the 44,000 GPs had asked for the Bill to be withdrawn. Parts of it were good, putting GPs in charge of finance, putting patients first, addressing health inequality but in its totality the Bill was a mess and would not achieve its objectives.[39] Soubry said Gerada was wrong.[39] She had talked to GP constituents who had formed a consortium before the election and they were already putting into operation what the Bill was trying to achieve (one local GP is a Conservative Councillor).[39] Another GP constituent had "actually begged her" to get the bill through so he could deliver the treatment that he wanted to give his patients.[39] However she agreed with the presenter Andrew Neil that this was anecdotal evidence whilst Gerada's evidence came from surveys and conferences.[39]
Gerada said the experience of Soubry's local GPs wasn't reflected in what she was hearing through the Royal College.

Neil then questioned Gerada saying her opposition to competition and further choice appeared to be based on ideological grounds and she appeared to be suggesting the Bill was an attempt to privatise the NHS along American lines.[39] Gerada agreed the bill did seem to be an attempt to privatise the NHS, turning it into a mixed funding system.[39] GPs were not against competition where it added value to patients, but they were against full fettered competition where any qualified provider could compete to treat the same hip.[39]

In March 2012, a group of 240 doctors, including 30 professors wrote to The Independent describing the Bill as an "embarrassment to democracy" which had no support from professional healthcare organisations.[40] They blamed the Bill's supporters for putting the Coalition survival "above professional opinion, patient safety and the will of the citizens of this country". They pledged to stand as candidates against MPs who backed it and Soubry was mentioned as a likely target both because of her tiny majority and because she told her constituents the bill's opponents were exploiting people's heartfelt support for the NHS.[40] In response to a local newspaper article which referenced the Independent article, Soubry reiterated that there had been no complaints from her local GP consortium and claimed that many local GPs couldn't wait for the Bill to be passed.[41] The Bill received Royal Assent on 27 March 2012.
In April 2012, an independent poll carried out on behalf of the BBC by ComRes showed that the number of GPs believing the NHS reforms would noticeably improve patient had fallen from 23% in September 2010 to 12% in March 2012 though there were still around 33% "Don't knows." The chairman of British Medical Association's GPs' committee said GPs were unconvinced by the changes and were worried about being blamed for the consequences of meeting the £20 billion Government savings target.[42]

HS2 (High Speed Rail)[edit]

In January 2013, Soubry welcomed the announcement of the proposed High Speed 2 East Midlands Hub station at Toton Sidings in the constituency stating that it was "a very good news day for Broxtowe". She has held a number of public meetings on the issue.[43]

In May 2013 she took Transport Minister, Simon Burns around the constituency to see the potential impact that the East Midlands hub and the railway line will have on the area.[44]

In August 2013, Soubry voiced criticism over plans to not hold a public consultation meeting in the constituency calling on HS2 Ltd to hold an event in Toton where the proposed East Midlands Hub is to be built .[45]

Admonishment by the Speaker[edit]

In early 2013, after loudly heckling the opposition, the speaker reminded Soubry was that she was not the Government spokesman: he advised her "in all courtesy" to sit there and be quiet or to leave the chamber if she couldn't do so.[46][47]

2015 general election[edit]

In June 2013, Soubry was re-selected by Broxtowe Conservatives to stand as their candidate at the 2015 general election.[48]

Smoking[edit]

In a Westminster Hall debate, Soubry emphasised the role advertising plays in encouraging young people to smoke.[49] She herself took up smoking as a teenager because of the attractive packaging and she compared addiction to nicotine to heroin dependence though she had no direct experience of that.[49] According to the Telegraph, her comments raised questions about why the Coalition dropped plans for plain packaging shortly after David Cameron employed Lynton Crosby who has worked for tobacco companies as an election strategist.[49]

Antipathy to Nigel Farage[edit]

In December 2013 Soubry remarked on The Andrew Marr Show that UKIP leader Nigel Farage looked "like somebody has put their finger up his bottom and he really rather likes it"; words described by Farage as a "foul-mouthed attack". Soubry later gave a two sentence apology, claiming that the comment was "light-hearted".[50] The apology followed a November debate on BBC Question time when Soubry complained that UKIP was distributing leaflets suggesting that up to 29 million people could arrive in the UK from Romania and Bulgaria.[51] Pointing out that this was more than the combined population, Soubry told Farage he didn't talk facts, he talked prejudice and that the 1930s had taught Britain the dangers of xenophobia.[51] The New Statesman credited Soubry's "inspiring words" with reminding people that there are still Conservatives "who trade in facts not prejudices."[52]

Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health[edit]

Following her appointment in September 2012, Soubry gave an interview with the Times in which she stated her support for assisted suicide for terminally ill people.[53] Both the Department of Health and the Ministry of Justice denied there were plans for reform though her Lib Dem colleague Norman Lamb welcomed discussion and said he expected a private members' bill to be introduced by Lord Falconer in 2013.[53] Assisted suicide currently carries a maximum 14-year prison sentence.[53]

On 14 September 2012, speaking at an NHS Leadership Academy conference, Soubry stated that the Coalition had "screwed up" in the way it dealt with the medical profession over the NHS reforms.[54] Soubry later said that she fully supported the reforms but believed the benefits to patients could have been better explained and this would have won more support from health professionals.[54]

As Public Health Minister, Soubry criticised retailers who forced customers to pass "rows of unhealthy foods" on their way to the checkout and said that a new code of practice would urge retailers to stop this and also reduce deals on unhealthy food.[55]

In August 2013, Soubry as Public Health Minister, supported plans for a change in the law to allow HIV home-testing kits.[56]

Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence[edit]

In David Cameron's October 2013 reshuffle, Soubry was appointed Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence, becoming the first elected woman politician to be a Minister in the MoD. Her responsibilities include Defence Personnel, Welfare and Veterans.[3]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "LIST OF MEMBERS RETURNED TO SERVE IN PARLIAMENT AT THE GENERAL ELECTION 2010". London Gazette: Issue Number: 59418 (HM Government of the United Kingdom). 13 May 2011. p. 8747. Retrieved 25 November 2011. 
  2. ^ "Westminster movers and shakers in 2011. 4 January 2011. accessed on 7 March 2011". Independent.co.uk. 4 January 2011. Retrieved 25 November 2011. 
  3. ^ a b "Anna Soubry MP". GOV.UK. 
  4. ^ "Index entry". FreeBMD. ONS. Retrieved 6 September 2014. 
  5. ^ "Anna Soubry MP Member of Parliament for Broxtowepublisher=Anna Soubry MP". Retrieved 6 September 2012. 
  6. ^ That's where you are!, Birmingham University, 1 October 2000. Retrieved 12 March 2007
  7. ^ Profile:Anna Soubry, KCH Barristers
  8. ^ "Kch Garden Sq Barristers:Anna Soubry". Retrieved 10 June 2014. 
  9. ^ a b Dave's dolls revive Tory faith in the elite list, The Times, 22 July 2006. Retrieved 12 March 2007
  10. ^ a b Political battle rages on leaflet, BBC, 15 November 2004. Retrieved 12 March 2008
  11. ^ Anna Soubry selected for Broxtowe, Conservative Home, 18 July 2006. Retrieved 12 March 2008
  12. ^ Notts MP: Make Cannabis Legal, This is Nottingham via The Hempire, 10 September 2006
  13. ^ Nicholas Watt (29 April 2012). "Conservative party's 301 radicals seek to shake up 1922 status quo". The Guardian. Retrieved 5 November 2013. 
  14. ^ Jim Pickard (24 June 2010). "Westminster select committees: Labour & Tory membership". Financial Times. Archived from the original on 1 July 2010. Retrieved 29 June 2010. 
  15. ^ "Justice Committee membership list". Parliament. 18 May 2011. Retrieved 18 May 2011. 
  16. ^ "MP Speaks out in favour of Same-Sex Marriage legislation". Anna Soubry. 11 December 2012. 
  17. ^ "Voting Record – Anna Soubry MP, Broxtowe (24772) – The Public Whip". Publicwhip.org.uk. 
  18. ^ "Anna Soubry MP in bid to halt Nottingham tram extension". BBC. 14 June 2010. Archived from the original on 17 September 2010. Retrieved 10 September 2010. 
  19. ^ "Broxtowe MP in call to halt planned extension of Nottingham's tram system". This is Nottingham. 5 June 2010. Retrieved 10 November 2010. 
  20. ^ "Researchers say Nottingham is least car dependent". BBC News. 14 September 2010. Archived from the original on 16 September 2010. Retrieved 17 September 2010. 
  21. ^ Post, Nottingham (3 August 2013). "Soubry and Collins enter war of words over tram compensation". Nottingham Post. 
  22. ^ Post, Nottingham (13 August 2013). "Soubry and Collins set to meet over tram work complaints". Nottingham Post. 
  23. ^ Post, Nottingham (15 August 2013). "Firms hit by tram works in line for review". Nottingham Post. 
  24. ^ "Students face police probe for waving 'Bring Back Slavery' sign at York University seminar". Daily Mail. 4 September 2008. Retrieved 22 August 2010. 
  25. ^ a b "Broxtowe MP Anna Soubry criticised for employing man involved in slavery row". This is Nottingham. 29 July 2010. 
  26. ^ a b Anna Soubry (15 October 2010). "Between you and me…". Beeston Express. Retrieved 14 November 2010. 
  27. ^ "Postal Services Bill House of Commons debates, 27 October 2010, 1:55 pm". Theyworkforyou.com. 27 October 2010. Retrieved 14 November 2010. 
  28. ^ a b c d e delia monk (9 November 2010). "Postal workers' union writes to Parliament over MP's statement". This is Nottingham. Retrieved 10 November 2010. 
  29. ^ "Nottinghamshire advice service faces funding crisis". BBC News. 3 November 2010. Archived from the original on 7 November 2010. Retrieved 29 November 2010. 
  30. ^ "HC Debate c670". theyworkforyou.com. 15 November 2010. Retrieved 1 December 2010. 
  31. ^ a b BBC Politics show East Midland Broadcast 28 November 2010
  32. ^ "Anna Soubry Newsletter:Yes Minister?". 23 February 2011. Retrieved 9 March 2011. 
  33. ^ a b c "Anonymity (Arrested Persons) Bill 2010–11". parliament.uk. Retrieved 10 February 2011. 
  34. ^ a b "Anonymity (Arrested Persons) Bill:House of Commons debates". theyworkforyou.com. 4 February 2011. Retrieved 10 February 2011. 
  35. ^ "Anonymity (Arrested Persons) Bill:House of Commons debates". theyworkforyou.com. 4 February 2011. Retrieved 10 February 2011. 
  36. ^ "Anonymity (Arrested Persons) Bill:House of Commons debates". theyworkforyou.com. 4 February 2011. Retrieved 10 February 2011. 
  37. ^ "Anonymity (Arrested Persons) Bill:House of Commons debates". 4 February 2011. Retrieved 10 February 2011. 
  38. ^ "Anonymity (Arrested Persons) Bill:House of Commons debates". theyworkforyou.com. 4 February 2011. Retrieved 10 February 2011. 
  39. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "NHS reforms: GPs do not want bill says Clare Gerada". BBC. 23 February 2012. Retrieved 3 April 2012. 
  40. ^ a b Jane Merrick & Brian Brady (18 March 2012). "Doctors bid to unseat 50 MPs in revenge over NHS bill". Independent. Retrieved 3 April 2012. 
  41. ^ "Doctors vow to unseat Notts Anna Soubry MP over health bill backing". This is Nottingham. 19 March 2012. Retrieved 3 April 2012. 
  42. ^ "NHS reforms: GPs losing faith, BBC poll suggests". BBC. 4 April 2012. Retrieved 4 April 2012. 
  43. ^ http://www.annasoubry.org.uk/sites/www.annasoubry.org.uk/files/28th_january_hs2_newsletter.pdf
  44. ^ http://www.annasoubry.org.uk/sites/www.annasoubry.org.uk/files/newsletter_26th_may_2013.pdf
  45. ^ Post, Nottingham (9 August 2013). "MP Soubry protests at lack of local HS2 consultation events | Nottingham Post". Thisisnottingham.co.uk. 
  46. ^ Daniel Boffey (2 February 2012). "Speaker John Bercow tells party leaders: control your rowdy MPs". the Guardian. Retrieved 7 September 2013. 
  47. ^ "MP Anna Soubry told off by Speaker Bercow". YouTube. 
  48. ^ AlexBritton (2 July 2013). "Anna Soubry selected as Tory candidate for Broxtowe at next general election". Nottingham Post. 
  49. ^ a b c Peter Dominiczak (3 September 2013). "Anna Soubry: I took up smoking as a teen because of 'gorgeous' packets". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 4 September 2013. 
  50. ^ Matthew Holehouse (22 December 2013). "Minister apologises for 'crude' Nigel Farage comment". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 28 December 2013. 
  51. ^ a b Patrick Wintour (22 December 2013). "Anna Soubry apologises to Ukip leader for 'finger up bottom' remark". Guardian newspapers. Retrieved 18 January 2014. 
  52. ^ George Eaton (8 November 2013). "Watch: how Tory minister Anna Soubry stood up to Farage's immigration scaremongering". New Statesman. Retrieved 10 August 2014. 
  53. ^ a b c "Right-to-die law appalling, says Health Minister Anna Soubry". BBC news. 8 September 2012. Retrieved 8 September 2012. 
  54. ^ a b James Kirkup (14 September 2012). "'We screwed up' – health minister on NHS reforms". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 15 September 2012. 
  55. ^ Alice Philipson (15 July 2013). "Supermarkets to abolish checkout 'guilt lanes'". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 29 July 2013. 
  56. ^ Press, The (12 August 2013). "Ministers to change law to allow HIV self-testing kits | News". Nursing Times. 

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Nick Palmer
Member of Parliament for Broxtowe
2010–present
Incumbent