Penny Mordaunt

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Penny Mordaunt
Penny Mordaunt2014.jpg
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government
Assumed office
14 July 2014
Prime Minister David Cameron
Preceded by Nick Boles
Member of Parliament
for Portsmouth North
Assumed office
6 May 2010
Preceded by Sarah McCarthy-Fry
Majority 7,289 (16.5%)
Personal details
Born (1973-03-04) 4 March 1973 (age 41)[1]
Torquay, Devon, England
Nationality British
Political party Conservative

Penelope Mary Mordaunt MP[2] (born 4 March 1973) is a British Conservative Party politician who has been the Member of Parliament (MP) for Portsmouth North since winning the seat at the 2010 United Kingdom general election. Mordaunt was appointed as a Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Department for Communities and Local Government in July 2014.[3][4]

Early life[edit]

The daughter of a paratrooper,[5] one of twins born in Torquay, Devon she was named after the Leander-class frigate HMS Penelope.[5] Her family moved to Portsmouth in 1975 when she was aged two, so that her father could retrain as a teacher.[5] She was educated at Oaklands RC Comprehensive School, Waterlooville. When Mordaunt was 15, her mother died of breast cancer.[5] Mordaunt's twin brother left school, whilst she became carer to her younger brother. The following year her father was diagnosed with cancer, and survived.[5]

To pay her way through sixth-form college, she became a magician's assistant to Portsmouth magician Will Ayling, once president of The Magic Circle.[5] Her interest in politics is attributed to her experiences of working in hospitals and orphanages of post-revolutionary Romania in her gap year, after the 1989 revolution.[6] She then read philosophy at the University of Reading,[7] becoming the first of her family to attend University.[8]


After leaving university, Mordaunt began a successful career in business and communications working in the private, public and charitable sectors. She was communications director for Kensington and Chelsea Council - one of the top performing local authorities in the UK at that time delivering excellent services for one of the lowest council taxes in the country,[9] supported British truckers during the French blockades whilst working for the Freight Transport Association[7] and was a director of National Lottery.[5][10] In 2006 Mordaunt became Director of Diabetes UK[11] - the largest patient organisation in Europe, and created the Veterans Reunited programme, enabling servicemen and women to visit the battlefields of World War 2 and take part in commemorative events.

Mordaunt has also worked with several high-profile politicians. Under Prime Minister John Major she was Head of Youth for the Conservative Party, whilst she had a two-year spell as Head of Broadcasting under party leader William Hague.[7] In 2000, she was Head of Foreign Press for George W. Bush's presidential campaign,[12][13] and she worked for the Bush campaign again in 2004.[14] After the 2005 election she worked as a chief of staff for David Willets' leadership campaign.[15]

Mordaunt is a Sub-lieutenant in the Royal Naval Reserve.[16]


In November 2003, Mordaunt was selected as Conservative candidate to contest Portsmouth North in the 2005 general election. She managed to attain a 5.5% swing towards the Conservatives[7] but lost to Labour candidate Sarah McCarthy-Fry by 1,139 votes.[17]

A critic of women only shortlists,[18][19] Mordaunt was re-selected in January 2006 to contest Portsmouth North for the 2010 general election.[7] She proposed standing for Mayor of London as a commuter mayor.[20] In the 2010 general election, she won the seat with an 8.6% swing from Labour, giving her a 7,289 majority.

She was a member of the Public Bill Committee for the Defence Reform Act 2014.[21]

She is a supporter of homeopathy, having signed an early day motion in support of its continued funding on the National Health Service.[22]

In 2014, she became only the second woman in Elizabeth II's reign (the first being Lady Tweedsmuir in 1957) to propose the loyal address in reply to the Queen's speech from the throne.[23]


Mordaunt has lived in Portsmouth since the age of 2. Her father, who was born in Hilsea barracks, was in the Paras before becoming a teacher at Oak Park school and later a youth worker for Hampshire Council. Her mother, who died of breast cancer in 1988, was a special needs teacher at several Purbrook schools, and her stepmother is also a local primary school teacher. Mordaunt has two brothers, Edward and James, who is her twin. She was educated at Oaklands RC Comprehensive School and studied drama at the Victoryland Theatre School.[24]

Mordaunt is a Royal Navy reservist at King Alfred on Whale Island, a Fellow of the Royal Society for Arts, a member of the British Astronomical Association, and she champions many local charities including Southsea Greenhouse, Hilsea Lido, The Patey Centre, and Wymering Manor.

On the Manor, Mordaunt said:

"We wouldn't have embarked on the project if we weren't confident it would be sustainable and could provide a community facility which will be used for many many years.

"Lots of people really see its potential - it could be a wonderful space,"[25]

Media appearances[edit]

Mordaunt participated in a Vanity Fair photo shoot during March 2010.[26]

In 2014, Mordaunt appeared on reality television programme Splash!.[27] Whilst some criticised the media appearance, Mordaunt insists that the response was overwhelmingly positive and defended her appearance,[28] by openly stating that she was donating all of her £10,000 appearance fee plus any additional sponsorship to charity: £7,000 towards the renovation of her local lido; the rest to four Armed Services charities.[5]

Personal life[edit]

Mordaunt has twin brother, James, and a younger brother, Edward.[7] She is a relative of Philip Snowden, who was the first Labour Chancellor of the Exchequer.

Mordaunt lives with her partner, a classical singer and director of an IT company, in Port Solent (Portsmouth, Paulsgrove Ward).[7] The couple breed Burmese cats, and have eight cats themselves.[29]

Mordaunt is a patron of Victoria Cross Trust, as well as an ambassador for Portsmouth Scouts.


  1. ^
  2. ^;to=2010-05-19;all=returned+westminster/
  3. ^ Christopher Hope (15 July 2014). "Pen portraits of the 10 Conservative women ministers who were promoted in the reshuffle". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 15 July 2014. 
  4. ^ Liam Kelly (15 July 2014). "Brandon Lewis promoted to housing and planning minister in reshuffle". The Guardian. Retrieved 15 July 2014. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h Jane Fryer (17 January 2014). "Why our sexiest MP is on Splash! tonight". Daily Mail. Retrieved 26 January 2014. 
  6. ^ "Howard's harem", Joe Murphy, Evening Standard, 18.03.04
  7. ^ a b c d e f g Penny Mordaunt profile
  8. ^
  9. ^ Ken and Chelsea council hires Tory broadcast chief, PR Week, 22 June 2001
  10. ^ "Top Talent in the Tory Party", The Sun, 27 September 2006
  11. ^ Profile: Life of the party – Penny Mordaunt, director of nations, regions and campaigns, Diabetes UK, PR Week, 5 May 2006
  12. ^ The role of Women in McCain's presidential campaign, Woman's Hour, BBC Radio 4, 1 September 2008
  13. ^ "Bush's black spin doctor backs Hague", Benedict Brogan, Daily Telegraph, 14 June 2001
  14. ^ "Tara's top Tories", Tara Hamilton-Miller, New Statesman, 3 January 2008
  15. ^ Tory Leadership Watch: August, BBC, August 2005
  16. ^ "Diary of the week: Penny Mordaunt". 22 October 2010. Retrieved 3 December 2013. 
  17. ^ Portsmouth North Result
  18. ^ Josie Appleton "How will women vote?", Spiked, 20 April 2005
  19. ^ Marie Woolf "Tories face call for positive discrimination", The Independent, 15 January 2005
  20. ^ Penny Mordaunt thinks it's time for a Commuter Mayor, ConservativeHome
  21. ^ "House of Commons Public Bill Committee on the Defence Reform Bill 2013-14". Retrieved 17 September 2013. 
  22. ^ Tredinnick, David (29 June 2010). "Early Day Motion No. 342 British Medical Association Motions on Homeopathy". 
  23. ^
  24. ^
  25. ^
  26. ^ Platell, Amanda (8 April 2010). "Have Cameron's Cuties really got what it takes to transform politics?". Daily Mail (London). 
  27. ^
  28. ^
  29. ^ By Glen Owen (25 January 2014). "News Splash! MP Penny Mordaunt". Daily Mail. Retrieved 26 January 2014. 

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Sarah McCarthy-Fry
Member of Parliament for Portsmouth North