Nicola Blackwood

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Nicola Blackwood
Member of Parliament
for Oxford West and Abingdon
Assumed office
6 May 2010
Preceded by Evan Harris
Majority 176 (0.3%)
Personal details
Born (1979-10-16) 16 October 1979 (age 35)
Johannesburg, South Africa
Nationality British
Political party Conservative
Alma mater St Anne's College, Oxford and Emmanuel College, Cambridge
Religion Church of England

Nicola Claire Blackwood[1] (born 16 October 1979,[2] Johannesburg, South Africa) is a Conservative Party politician. She was elected as Member of Parliament (MP) for Oxford West and Abingdon in the 2010 election.

Political career[edit]

Blackwood was chosen as the Conservative candidate for Oxford West and Abingdon at an open primary on 13 November 2006.[3] The seat had been held by the Conservatives since creation in 1983 until 1997, when it was won by Dr Evan Harris for the Liberal Democrats. He held the seat comfortably in 2001 and 2005. Boundary changes reduced Liberal Democrat support, with 8,000 students moved to the Oxford East constituency and more rural voters added.[4] Blackwood won the seat at the 2010 general election by 176 votes on a 6.9% swing from the Liberal Democrats to the Conservative party.

In late 2010, Blackwood was elected to serve on the Home Affairs Select Committee and is secretary of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Overseas Development.[5] Before her election to parliament, Blackwood worked as a volunteer on human rights and aid projects in the Middle East, Mozambique, Rwanda and Bangladesh, and has also worked as a volunteer among the disadvantaged in Birmingham and Blackpool. Prior to running for office, Blackwood worked with the Conservative Party Human Rights Group which was set up to find ways for the UK to combat human rights abuses in places like Burma and the Democratic Republic of the Congo and as an adviser to the then Shadow International Development Secretary, Andrew Mitchell. She is a member of the Conservative Party Human Rights Commission,[6] as well as holding a position on the Council of Advisors for ZANE, a charity which seeks to support pensioners in Zimbabwe.[7]

Blackwood voted against the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill in 2013 after intimating to students that she would support the measure, for which she was criticised by Oxford University Student Union.[8] Blackwood said she had voted against the final draft of the Bill because she was not satisfied the protections of religious freedoms were sufficient. She has also been criticized by student activists for her support of fox-hunting and her wish to have the ban on fox-hunting repealed.[9]

Blackwood criticised the handling of Work Capability Assessments by ATOS after an Oxfordshire man starved to death in 2013 after his Incapacity Benefit was wrongly stopped,[10] and later said that she had spoken personally "on numerous occasions" with her colleague Mark Harper at the Department of Work and Pensions to complain about the length of time it has taken the DWP to finalise the report into his death".

Personal life[edit]

Blackwood was born in 1979 in Johannesburg but raised in Oxford after her family returned to the United Kingdom two months after her birth.[11] As a child she suffered from asthma, and was diagnosed with ME when she was 15, which meant that she was home schooled for her GCSE and A-Level exams.[12] She trained as a classical singer at Trinity College of Music from the age of 14, and went to St Anne's College, Oxford where she obtained a First in music. She later obtained an M.Phil. in musicology from Emmanuel College, Cambridge.[11] She has been a member of the Conservative Christian Fellowship since 2005, and attends the Church of England St Aldate's Church in Oxford.[7]

In March 2015, she announced that she had been diagnosed with the genetic condition Ehlers–Danlos syndrome in 2013, and later diagnosed with the associated secondary condition of postural tachycardia syndrome, which causes chronic migraines for which she is treated by having 32 injections in the head every 10–12 weeks.[12] She stated that her medical conditions had not affected her performance as an MP, and she vowed to continue in front line politics.[12]


External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Evan Harris
Member of Parliament for Oxford West and Abingdon