Jenny Willott

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Jenny Willott
MP
Jenny Willott, September 2009 1 cropped.jpg
Willott during the 2009 Liberal Democrat Party Conference
Assistant Government Whip
Incumbent
Assumed office
3 February 2012
Prime Minister David Cameron
Preceded by Norman Lamb
Member of Parliament
for Cardiff Central
Incumbent
Assumed office
5 May 2005
Preceded by Jon Owen Jones
Majority 4,576 (12.7%)
Personal details
Born (1974-05-29) 29 May 1974 (age 40)
Wimbledon, Merton, London, England
Nationality British
Political party Welsh Liberal Democrats
Spouse(s) Andrew Poole
Children 1 son
Alma mater Durham University
London School of Economics
Website www.jennywillott.org.uk

Jennifer Nancy Willott (born 29 May 1974, Wimbledon, London[1]) is a British politician and the Liberal Democrat Member of Parliament for Cardiff Central since the 2005 general election and a junior whip since February 2012. From December 2013, she was a minister in the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills whilst Jo Swinson was on maternity leave and in 2014 she attended the Cabinet in her capacity as Minister for Women. She is the first woman and first Liberal Democrat to represent her seat. Willott has a history of work with charitable organisations such as OXFAM and a women's organisation in north India. She supports the movement of trade justice and has interests in human rights. She was a councillor in the London Borough of Merton from 1998 to 2000.

Education[edit]

Willott was educated at Uppingham School and then studied Classics at St Mary's College, Durham University.[1] She then attended the London School of Economics obtaining an MSc in Development Studies.

Political career[edit]

For a while after university she was chief researcher for Lembit Opik.

Willott's 2005 campaign was closely linked to specific local and national issues and her support was widespread across all wards.

In her maiden speech, Willott pledged to "make Cardiff proud" and celebrated the cultural diversity of her constituency. She declared her priorities in parliament would be local health services, tuition and top-up fees, and council tax.[2] She supported Sir Menzies Campbell in the leadership election in 2006, and was later appointed Shadow Minister for Youth Affairs, Whip, and Deputy Chief Whip. In 2008 she was appointed as Shadow Minister for Justice and later Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions. In January 2009 she was appointed Shadow Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster.[3] In December 2010 she resigned her post as parliamentary aide to Chris Huhne shortly before a vote to increase tuition fees as recommended by the Browne Review, in order to keep her pledge to constituents that she would vote against any increase in fees.[4]

In a mini-reshuffle of the Coalition Government on 3 February 2012 caused by Huhne's prosecution and subsequent resignation, Willott was appointed an Assistant Whip.[5]

In May 2014 Willott complained about the hostile atmosphere of prime minister's questions and the low number of female ministers. She called for all-female shortlists for MPs, something which is not party policy.[6]

Personal life[edit]

She is married to Andrew Poole and they have two children;[7] the birth of her second child in February 2013 notably necessitated her absence from a vote on the Marriage (Same-Sex Couples) Bill.[8]

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Jon Owen Jones
Member of Parliament for Cardiff Central
2005–present
Incumbent