Theresa Villiers

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The Right Honourable
Theresa Villiers
Theresa Villiers Official.jpg
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
Assumed office
4 September 2012
Prime Minister David Cameron
Preceded by Owen Paterson
Minister of State for Transport
In office
13 May 2010 – 4 September 2012
Prime Minister David Cameron
Preceded by Sadiq Khan
Succeeded by Simon Burns
Shadow Secretary of State for Transport
In office
2 July 2007 – 11 May 2010
Leader David Cameron
Preceded by Chris Grayling
Succeeded by The Lord Adonis
Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury
In office
6 December 2005 – 2 July 2007
Leader David Cameron
Preceded by Philip Hammond
Succeeded by Philip Hammond
Member of Parliament
for Chipping Barnet
Assumed office
5 May 2005
Preceded by Sir Sydney Chapman
Majority 11,927 (23.6%)
Member of the European Parliament
for London
In office
15 July 1999 – 5 May 2005
Preceded by Position established
Succeeded by Syed Kamall
Personal details
Born (1968-03-05) 5 March 1968 (age 46)
London, England
Nationality British
Political party Conservative
Alma mater University of Bristol
Jesus College, Oxford
Profession Barrister
Website Theresa Villiers MP

Theresa Anne Villiers (born 5 March 1968) is a British Conservative Party politician, who has been the Member of Parliament (MP) for Chipping Barnet since 2005 and the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland since 2012.[1][2]

Early life[edit]

Villiers was born in London in 1968, the daughter of George Edward Villiers and Anne Virginia (née Threlfall). On her father's side she is a descendant of Edward Ernest Villiers (1806–1843), brother of George Villiers, 4th Earl of Clarendon, Thomas Hyde Villiers, Charles Pelham Villiers and Henry Villiers.[3] She is also a distant relative of the actor James Villiers.

Growing up in North London, she was educated at the independent Francis Holland School. Villiers gained a Bachelor of Laws (LLB) degree with first class honours in 1990 from the University of Bristol, and went on to obtain a Bachelor of Civil Law (BCL) from Jesus College, Oxford, in 1991. After graduating she worked as a barrister and as a lecturer at King's College London from 1994 until 1999.

Member of the European Parliament[edit]

Villiers was elected Member of the European Parliament (MEP) for the London constituency in 1999, and was re-elected in 2004. She stood down after the 2005 general election when she was elected as the Member of Parliament for Chipping Barnet.[4]

As an MEP, her main interests were finance and financial services, the preservation of London's green belt, Cyprus, animal welfare and campaigning against the Euro and the European Constitution. She served as Deputy Leader of the Conservatives in the European Parliament between 2001 and 2002. She also served as a member of the governing board of the Conservative Party during this period.

Member of Parliament[edit]

In 2003, following Sir Sydney Chapman's announcement that he would retire at the following election, Villiers was selected as the Conservative parliamentary candidate for Chipping Barnet. Although Chapman's majority at the 2001 general election was only 2,701, Chipping Barnet was considered a "safe" Conservative seat, and in the 2005 general election she held the seat with an increased majority of 5,960. She resigned her seat as an MEP, which under the list system was filled by, Syed Kamall, the next candidate on the Conservatives' London regional list. She lives in the constituency, in Arkley.

She was appointed as a Privy Counsellor on 9 June 2010.[5]


In December 2005, following the election of David Cameron as Conservative leader, Villiers was promoted to the Cabinet after just seven months in Parliament, as Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury. In July 2007, Cameron promoted her to Secretary of State for Transport.

MPs' Expenses: Second London home[edit]

The Daily Telegraph reported on 11 May 2009 that Theresa Villiers bought a £345,000 property in Kennington. In 2007-08 she claimed a total of £18,181 in parliamentary allowances for this second London home.

She also has a house in Arkley in her north London constituency of Chipping Barnet. The house, a semi-detached property that she bought for £296,500 in May 2004, is an 8 minute drive away from High Barnet tube station, from which commuters can reach Westminster in about 45 minutes.[6]

Political positions[edit]

Villiers supported the temporary suspension of Ken Livingstone by the Adjudication Panel for England, which examined the case after a complaint from the Board of Deputies of British Jews to the Standards Board for England.

Since late September 2008, Villiers has dedicated a considerable proportion of her public announcements to aviation policy, specifically the expansion of airports in the South East of England. There has been considerable debate within Conservative Party grassroots membership about her policies. Many commentators have defended her policies as environmentalist and politically expedient (given the high number of marginal constituencies around London Heathrow Airport), while others have criticised her for putting businesses and even family holidays at risk by undermining Heathrow as a major international hub airport and intentionally supporting higher costs for flights.

Criticism of Villiers's aviation policy was heightened[by whom?] when she spoke out against the Mayor of London's proposals for a new London airport based in the Thames Estuary, and alternative expansions at Gatwick and Stansted airports. Villiers favoured a high speed rail link from London to Birmingham and Manchester as an alternative policy, as well as utilising spare capacity at regional airports such as Manchester Airport to create more airport capacity in South East England.[7]

Northern Ireland Secretary[edit]

At the NI Investment Conference 2013 in Belfast, with Martin McGuinness, David Cameron and Peter Robinson

Villiers was appointed Northern Ireland Secretary in September 2012 but will continue to spend three days a week in her North London constituency of Chipping Barnet.[8]

Personal life[edit]

Villiers married fellow lawyer Sean Wilken in 1997,[3] and the couple wrote an academic legal book.[9] They have since divorced.[10]


  • Theresa Villiers & Sean Wilken (29 April 1998). Law of Estoppel, Variation and Waiver. John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 0-471-96921-4. 


  1. ^ "As it happened: Reshuffle". BBC News. 4 September 2012. 
  2. ^ "Theresa Villiers MP". BBC Democracy Live. Retrieved 17 August 2012. 
  3. ^ a b "Theresa Anne Villiers". The Peerage. Retrieved 12 May 2010. 
  4. ^ "Conservative Diary". The Free Library. 20 May 2003. Retrieved 11 May 2010. 
  5. ^ "Privy Council appointments, 9 June 2010". Privy Council. Retrieved 26 July 2010. 
  6. ^ Theresa Villiers claimed stamp duty on second London home: MPs' expenses Telegraph 11 May 2009
  7. ^ Tighe, Chris (15 July 2012). "UK hopes to boost regional airports". The FT. Retrieved 2012-09-07. 
  8. ^
  9. ^ Theresa Villiers & Sean Wilken (29 April 1998). Law of Estoppel, Variation and Waiver. John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 0-471-96921-4. 
  10. ^ "Theresa Villiers". Westminster Parliamentary Record. Retrieved 12 May 2010. 

External links[edit]

European Parliament
Preceded by
Constituency Created
Member of European Parliament for London
Succeeded by
Syed Kamall
Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Sir Sydney Chapman
Member of Parliament for Chipping Barnet
Political offices
Preceded by
Philip Hammond
Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury
Succeeded by
Philip Hammond
Preceded by
Chris Grayling
Shadow Secretary of State for Transport
Succeeded by
The Lord Adonis
Preceded by
Sadiq Khan
Minister of State for Transport
Succeeded by
Simon Burns
Preceded by
Owen Paterson
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
Succeeded by