Susan Kramer, Baroness Kramer

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Right Honourable
The Baroness Kramer
PC
Susan Kramer 01.jpg
Minister of State for Transport
Incumbent
Assumed office
7 October 2013
Prime Minister David Cameron
Preceded by Norman Baker
Member of Parliament
for Richmond Park
In office
5 May 2005 – 6 May 2010
Preceded by Jenny Tonge
Succeeded by Zac Goldsmith
Personal details
Born Susan Veronica Richards[1]
(1950-07-22) 22 July 1950 (age 64)
Holborn, London, England, UK
Political party Liberal Democrats
Spouse(s) John Davis Kramer (1972-2006, his death); 2 children[1]
Alma mater Oxford University
Profession Politician
Religion Judaism
Website Susan Kramer

Susan Veronica Kramer, Baroness Kramer, PC (née Richards; born 22 July 1950) is a British Liberal Democrat politician. She was Member of Parliament (MP) for Richmond Park from 2005 to 2010, prior to that having a successful career in infrastructure finance and in 2000 having been a candidate in the London mayoral election.

Early life and Education[edit]

Susan Veronica Richards was born in Holborn, London, on 22 July 1950. She was educated at St Paul's Girls' School, an independent school in London. She then attended St Hilda's College, University of Oxford, where she read Philosophy, Politics and Economics. She served as the President of the Oxford Union in 1971. She then earned her MBA at the University of Illinois in the United States.

Business career[edit]

Kramer began her career in finance, and rose to become a Vice-President of Citibank in Chicago. She and her husband then set up Infrastructure Capital Partners, a firm which advises on infrastructure projects, primarily in Central and Eastern Europe. She remains a director of the firm.[citation needed]

Political career[edit]

Early candidacies[edit]

In 1974 Kramer was twice the Parliamentary candidate for Twickenham, both in the February and October Elections. She lost both times.

In 1999, Kramer was on the Liberal Democrat party list for the London constituency at the European Parliament elections, though she was not elected. The following year, she stood as the Liberal Democrat candidate in the election for Mayor of London against Ken Livingstone, and other candidates. She finished fourth with 11.9% of the vote. In March 2003, she again sought the party's nomination for Mayor of London, but was beaten in a three-way race for the candidacy by Simon Hughes.[citation needed]

Member of Parliament[edit]

In September 2003, Kramer was selected as the prospective parliamentary candidate for the constituency of Richmond Park in South West London, following the decision of the sitting Liberal Democrat MP, Jenny Tonge, to stand down at the next election. Kramer was then elected as the MP for the constituency at the May 2005 general election. Kramer was appointed Liberal Democrat Shadow International Development Secretary by the new party leader, Sir Menzies Campbell, in March 2006. She succeeded Ed Davey as Shadow Trade & Industry Secretary nine months later. In 2007 she became the party's Shadow Transport Secretary. When Nick Clegg was appointed as Liberal Democrat Leader, Kramer received a demotion to Shadow Minister for the Cabinet Office. She later regained the Transport post in a subsequent reshuffle. In January 2009, she resigned from the party's front bench to defend her seat from a renewed Conservative campaign to regain Richmond. Kramer was one of the contributors to the Orange Book (2004).[citation needed]

Kramer was involved in a breach of electoral rules when her son made four monthly donations of £332 between December 2008 and March 2009 to her campaign while not on the electoral register. A Liberal Democrat spokeswoman said to the press Jonathan Kramer was unaware his name had fallen off the register, and that the money was paid back once the error was pointed out.[2]

Voting record and positions[edit]

Kramer at a reusable bag launch at Kew Gardens station

Kramer rarely rebelled against Liberal Democrat policy in terms of voting. She has voted against the introduction of national ID cards, against the renewal of the Trident defence system, and for an elected House of Lords.[3]

Kramer took a keen interest in London transport, in particular regarding high-speed rail and the Thameslink Programme. Despite her initial enthusiasm about the opening of High Speed 1, she became more mixed on the issue, citing in 2007 during a debate with a number of Labour MPs that "significant numbers of business customers in south-west London have been happy to make the easy journey by train to Waterloo, but that they simply jump in a cab to go to Gatwick or Heathrow. It is unfortunate, but their passenger business will largely be lost, as the journey to St. Pancras will be more than an hour longer than the current journey to Waterloo."[4] Kramer's district of Richmond Park is situated in an area served by South West Trains which provides service into Waterloo station rather than the newly opened St Pancras International station which replaced the former as the London terminus for Eurostar; she later argued for possible use of both stations.[4]

In addition, she echoed her discontent with the management of the Thameslink Programme, originally meant to improve cross-Thames rail travel, claiming it failed to meet set targets and that its cash flow has been poorly managed.[4] She consistently supported Crossrail and was a member of the Crossrail Bill Committee.[5] Kramer voiced her opposition to the expansion of Heathrow Airport and submitted an early day motion that gained support from 54 MPs, 38 from her own party and 16 from the Labour Party.[6] As early as her maiden speech, she opposed the airport's expansion. This opposition was one of her key goals as a Member of Parliament.[7]

On civil rights, Kramer voted for amendments to the Equality Act 2006 that would ban discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender reassignment.[8] Along with all other Liberal Democrat MPs, she voted to allow Gurkhas permanent settlement rights in the United Kingdom, overriding previous legislation which denied such rights.[8]

Local issues[edit]

In early January 2009, Kramer stepped down from the Liberal Democrat Front Bench to focus on local issues impacting her constituency.[9] The principal cause stated was to coordinate opposition to further development of Heathrow Airport, whose incoming aircraft routinely overfly the constituency on their landing approach to the airport.

After 2010[edit]

In 2010, Kramer faced a challenge from Conservative Zac Goldsmith. With a notional majority of 3,649 (7.2%), it was one of the most marginal seats in London,[10] with Goldsmith emerging victorious by 4,091 votes.[11] In November 2010, she lost the election to become President of the Liberal Democrats to Tim Farron by 47% of votes to Farron's 53%.[12]

Later in the month, it was announced that she would be made a life peer,[13] and was created Baroness Kramer, of Richmond Park in the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames on 22 December 2010.[14] In October 2013, Kramer was appointed Minister of State at the Department for Transport.[15]

Personal life[edit]

She married an American banker, John Davis Kramer, in 1972, while working in Citibank. He died in September 2006. She has 2 children and 3 grandchildren.[16] Lady Kramer is a patron of the Friends of Richmond Park, as well as Home Start, the Suzy Lamplugh Trust, the Three Wings Trust and the Environment Trust.[17]

She lives in Barnes, London.[17]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b John Kramer obituary, The Independent; accessed 7 April 2014.
  2. ^ "Son of Richmond Park MP Susan Kramer breached donation rules", Richmond & Twickenham Times; 20 August 2009.
  3. ^ "Susan Kramer: details of key votes", The Guardian; retrieved 16 June 2009.
  4. ^ a b c House of Commons Hansard Debates for 20 November 2007 part 9, UK Parliament website; retrieved 16 June 2009.
  5. ^ Susan Kramer MP, Richmond Park profile, They Work for You; retrieved 20 June 2009.
  6. ^ EDM 350: Heathrow expansion UK Parliament Retrieved 16 June 2009
  7. ^ House of Commons Hansard Debates for 23 May 2005 part 25, UK Parliament; retrieved 20 June 2009.
  8. ^ a b Susan Kramer voting record The Public Whip; retrieved 20 June 2009.
  9. ^ "MP Susan Kramer steps down from Lib Dem front bench to lead Heathrow fight", This is Local London; retrieved 22 March 2010.
  10. ^ Seat profiles: Richmond UK Polling Report; retrieved 22 March 2010
  11. ^ BBC News: General Election 2010 - Richmond Park, bbc.co.uk; accessed 7 April 2014
  12. ^ "Tim Farron elected as Lib Dem president". BBC News. 13 November 2010. Retrieved 13 November 2010. 
  13. ^ Sweeney, Mark (19 November 2010). "Susan Kramer to become life peer". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 19 November 2010. 
  14. ^ The London Gazette: no. 59644. p. 24690. 24 December 2010.
  15. ^ "Airport Watch website". 
  16. ^ "Baroness Kramer - Peers Detail". Liberal Democrats. Retrieved 4 October 2013. 
  17. ^ a b Fleming, Christine (3 April 2011). "Sir David Attenborough steps up as Friends of Richmond Park marks golden anniversary". This is Local London (Newsquest). Retrieved 20 July 2012. 

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Jenny Tonge
Member of Parliament for Richmond Park
20052010
Succeeded by
Zac Goldsmith