Jackie Ballard

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Jackie Ballard
Member of Parliament
for Taunton
In office
1 May 1997 – 7 June 2001
Preceded by David Nicholson
Succeeded by Adrian Flook
Personal details
Born Jacqueline Margaret Mackenzie
(1953-01-04) 4 January 1953 (age 61)
Dunoon, Scotland
Nationality British
Political party Liberal Democrat
Spouse(s) Derek Ballard
Alma mater London School of Economics

Jacqueline Margaret (Jackie) Ballard (born 4 January 1953) has been a charity senior manager, politician and journalist in the United Kingdom. Her former roles include Director General of the RSPCA, Chief Executive of RNID and Chief Executive of Womankind Worldwide.

Early career[edit]

Jackie Ballard was born, Jacqueline Margaret Mackenzie, in Dunoon, Scotland. Her family moved, when she was 10, to South Wales, where she studied at Haberdashers' Monmouth School for Girls. She then read social psychology at the London School of Economics. She was recruited into the then Liberal Party by Paddy Ashdown and was elected a Councillor for both the South Somerset District Council (1987–1991) and Somerset County Council (1993–1997).

She stood as the Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidate in Taunton in the 1992 General Election, coming second, before winning the seat in 1997.

MP for Taunton[edit]

Ballard was elected the Liberal Democrat Member of Parliament for Taunton, at the 1997 general election, beating the sitting MP David Nicholson (Conservative) by 2,443 votes.

During her time as an MP, Jackie was a very vocal and prominent campaigner against blood sports, in particular fox hunting and stag hunting. Taunton is often seen as the centre of stag hunting in the United Kingdom and Jackie Ballard came under considerable pressure due to her stance, once having to receive police protection during a constituency surgery which was lobbied by hunt supporters. It has been suggested that her work with regards to this ban contributed to her losing her seat[1] and prepared the way for her role as CEO of the RSPCA.[2]

In Parliament, she was spokesperson on Women's Issues and on Local Government from 1997 to 1999 and from 1999 to 2001 was Deputy Home Affairs Spokesman. She was also co-sponsor of the first bill which attempted to ban fox hunting, which is widely seen as an important factor in her defeat at the 2001 election. She also stood for the post of leader of the Liberal Democrats in 1999, but was defeated by Charles Kennedy, and came fourth out of five candidates.

Ballard lost her seat at the 2001 general election by 235 votes, to the Conservative candidate Adrian Flook.

Iran[edit]

After losing her seat in 2001, Ballard spent some time studying in Iran.

"I was lucky enough to have £25,000 redundancy money and no dependants and I realised that for the first time in my life, at the age of 48, I was free. I am divorced, my daughter had just graduated and started work and my mother, although not always in the best of health, did not need me to look after her. I decided to combine two of my passions and to pursue something completely different....I am now on my fifth visit to the country [Iran], researching and writing my thesis while learning the language, Farsi (referring to Persian)."[3]

She wrote about her experience of the chador as a western woman in Iran.

"I wonder how the media might have treated Ann Widdecombe or Blair's so called 'babes' if all women MPs here wore the uniform of the chador. Perhaps then the women in Parliament would be taken more seriously as professional politicians doing a job, not as fat or thin women in grey or pink suits. Maybe then I would not have been described by some witty journalist as having 'a good face for radio' or be told by the late Auberon Waugh that I was 'too fat to be an MP'."[4]

Career after Westminter[edit]

In September 2002, she was appointed Director General of the RSPCA. Her appointment was criticised[by whom?] as she was seen as too inexperienced. The controversy continued as, to solve the financial problems the RSPCA was facing, she made substantial changes, including 300 job cuts. However, by 2004 the RSPCA had balanced its books and made £7 million savings, seeming to vindicate Ballard's approach.

Ballard was appointed Chief Executive of the RNID in October 2007.[5]

She was appointed as the Chief Executive of Womankind Worldwide in September 2012 but stepped down from the role after only ten months in June 2013. [6]

In December 2009, Ballard was appointed to the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority which supervises MPs' expenses. [7] She was one of four members of IPSA who announced in December 2012 that they would not seek reappointment. [8]

Personal life[edit]

She was married to Derek Ballard between 1975 and 1989.

She is said to relax by "going to live music concerts, travelling abroad and feeding her addiction to medical soap operas".[9]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Simon Hoggart (2002-09-28). "Simon Hoggart: A grain of truth within the royal chaff | Politics". The Guardian. Retrieved 2012-02-05. 
  2. ^ David Batty (2002-10-21). "Ballard takes top job at RSPCA | Society | Society". Guardian. Retrieved 2012-02-05. 
  3. ^ Jackie Ballard (2002-01-07). "Another kind of freedom | World news". The Guardian. Retrieved 2012-02-05. 
  4. ^ "Jackie Ballard: Do women have more freedom in Iran or Britain? - Commentators - Opinion". The Independent. 2001-08-13. Retrieved 2012-02-05. 
  5. ^ "New RNID CEO: Jackie Ballard, Acting CEO Brian Lamb". [Grumpy Old Deafies]. July 30, 2007. 
  6. ^ "Jackie Ballard to step down as Womankind CEO". Womankind International. 2013-05-06. Retrieved 2013-08-27. 
  7. ^ "MPs approve expenses panel amid row over Jackie Ballard". BBC News. 2009-12-02. Retrieved 2012-02-05. 
  8. ^ "Bercow forced us out, claim watchdogs for MPs’ expenses". 2012-11-13. Retrieved 2013-08-27. 
  9. ^ "Who we are - Action On Hearing Loss: RNID". Action On Hearing Loss. Retrieved 2012-02-05. 

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
David Nicholson
Member of Parliament for Taunton
19972001
Succeeded by
Adrian Flook