|The Right Honourable
The Baroness Bottomley of Nettlestone
|Shadow Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport|
2 May 1997 – 11 June 1997
|Preceded by||Chris Smith (National Heritage)|
|Succeeded by||Francis Maude|
|Secretary of State for National Heritage|
5 July 1995 – 2 May 1997
|Prime Minister||John Major|
|Preceded by||Stephen Dorrell|
|Succeeded by||Chris Smith (Culture, Media and Sport)|
|Secretary of State for Health|
9 April 1992 – 5 July 1995
|Prime Minister||John Major|
|Preceded by||William Waldegrave|
|Succeeded by||Stephen Dorrell|
|Minister of State for Health|
28 October 1989 – 9 April 1992
|Prime Minister||Margaret Thatcher
|Preceded by||Anthony Trafford|
|Succeeded by||Brian Mawhinney|
|Member of Parliament
for South West Surrey
3 May 1984 – 5 May 2005
|Preceded by||Maurice Macmillan|
|Succeeded by||Jeremy Hunt|
12 March 1948 |
|Alma mater||University of Essex
London School of Economics
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Virginia Hilda Brunette Maxwell Bottomley, Baroness Bottomley of Nettlestone, PC, DL (née Garnett, born 12 March 1948) is a British Conservative Party politician. She was a Member of Parliament (MP) in the House of Commons from 1984 to 2005. She was raised to the peerage in 2005. Considered to be a "One Nation Conservative", Bottomley is a Life Member of the Tory Reform Group.
She was a member of the Supervisory Board of Akzo Nobel NV from 2000–12, an NED on BUPA 2007–2013 and currently Smith and Nephew and a Trustee of The Economist Newspaper. As part of her pro-bono activities, Virginia is Chancellor of the University of Hull and Governor of the London School of Economics. She is a member of the UK Advisory Council of the International Chamber of Commerce. She has been Chair of the Board Practice at executive head-hunting firm Odgers Berndtson since 2000.
Early life and career
Virginia Hilda Brunette Maxwell Garnett was born in Dunoon, Scotland to W. John Garnett, former director of what was then called The Industrial Society, and Barbara Rutherford-Smith, a teacher and elected Conservative member of the Inner London Education Authority. Her paternal aunt was Labour Greater London Council Member Margaret (Peggy) Jay. She first met Peter Bottomley, her future husband, when she was 12 years old; they wed in 1967.
Bottomley was educated at Putney High School, an independent school for girls in Putney in south-west London, before going up to the University of Essex (BA). She later graduated from the London School of Economics with the degree of Master of Arts (MA). She began her working life as a social scientist, researcher for Child Poverty Action Group, social worker, magistrate (Justice of the Peace), and Chairman of the Inner London Juvenile Court.
Member of Parliament and in government
After unsuccessfully contesting the Isle of Wight in the 1983 General Election (34,904 votes), she was elected to Parliament with 21,545 votes in a by-election in 1984 (filling the seat left vacant by the death of Maurice Macmillan, son of former prime minister Harold Macmillan), as the Member for South West Surrey, was PPS to Chris Patten and then to Foreign Secretary Sir Geoffrey Howe, received her first ministerial position in 1988 as a Parliamentary Under-Secretary at the Department of the Environment and was appointed Minister of State at the Department of Health in 1989. She was appointed a member of the Privy Council (PC) upon joining John Major's Cabinet as Secretary of State for Health in 1992 and served until 1995.
She then served as Secretary of State for National Heritage from 1995 to 1997. After the 1997 general election, she returned to the backbenches, also becoming a headhunter in the charity and public sectors, now also leading the Odgers Board practice.
She stepped down from the House of Commons when the 2005 General Election was called. On 24 June 2005 she was created a Life Peer with the title Baroness Bottomley of Nettlestone, of St Helens in the County of Isle of Wight, the parish where she was baptised and celebrated her marriage.
Bottomley is involved with charitable and academic bodies in addition to business. She is a Governor of the London School of Economics and a Pro-Chancellor of the University of Surrey. She was on the founding Council of the University of the Arts, London. She is also a Council Member of the Ditchley Foundation and President of Farnham Castle Centre for International Briefing. From 2000 until May 2012 she has sat on the Supervisory Board of Akzo Nobel. She is a non-executive director of Bupa. She is on the Advisory Council of the International Chamber of Commerce UK (ICC UK) and the Judge School of Management, Cambridge. Bottomley has been a trustee and is a fellow of the Industry and Parliament Trust. She was National President of the Abbeyfield Society and a Vice-Patron of Carers and of Cruse Bereavement Care. She is a lay Canon of Guildford Cathedral, and a Freeman of the City of London. In 2006, she was elected and installed as Chancellor of the University of Hull, succeeding Lord Armstrong of Ilminster in April 2006. She was also appointed a Deputy Lieutenant of Surrey in March of that year and Sheriff of Hull in 2013.
Virginia Garnett married Sir Peter Bottomley in 1967, after the birth of their eldest child; since 1975 he has been an MP. They live in Milford, Surrey; they have three children, Cecilia, Adela and Joshua.
Bottomley's family includes many figures in politics and public life. Her brother, Christopher Garnett, is a former chief executive of the GNER railway, and Peter Jay, the former British Ambassador to the United States and son-in-law to James Callaghan, is a cousin, as are Lord Hunt of Chesterton (Labour), Lord Oakshott of Seagrove Bay (Lib Dem), and Baron Jay of Ewelme, former British Ambassador to France. Her stepmother is Dame Julia Cleverdon who married Bottomley's father, John. Her niece is Kitty Ussher (former Labour minister) and another cousin is Labour MP and historian Tristram Hunt.
- "Virginia Bottomley". Front Row. 25 April 2013. BBC Radio 4. Retrieved 18 January 2014.
- "Looking back on 21 years as an MP". BBC. 27 April 2005. Retrieved 22 February 2010.
- Geoffrey Parkhouse (26 July 1988). "Thatcher surprise shake-up for Health". The Glasgow Herald. p. 1. Retrieved 22 February 2010.
- "Baroness Bottomley of Nettlestone". www.parliament.uk. Retrieved 4 March 2012.
- William E. Schmidt (12 April 1992). "In London's Shock, A Cabinet Is Named". New York Times. Retrieved 22 February 2010.
- "University of Hull announces next chancellor – Baroness Bottomley". University of Hull. 26 January 2006. Retrieved 22 February 2010.
- Abbeyfield Society: Patrons
- BBC Lord Mandelson picked for High Steward of Hull post, 7 February 2013; accessed 21 March 2014.
- Durham, Michael (12 July 1992). "Virginia's early summer of love, books and a baby". The Independent (London, UK).
- Biography at John Major site
- Davidson, Andrew (2007) "The MT interview: Julia Cleverdon", Management Today, 28 September 2007; retrieved 3 January 2011.
|Parliament of the United Kingdom|
|Member of Parliament for South West Surrey
|Secretary of State for Health
|Secretary of State for National Heritage
as Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport