Anna Soubry

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The Right Honourable
Anna Soubry
Anna Soubry MP MOD 45156137.jpg
Minister of State for Small Business, Industry and Enterprise
In office
11 May 2015 – 15 July 2016
Prime Minister David Cameron
Preceded by Matt Hancock (Business and Enterprise)
Succeeded by Margot James (Minister for Small Business, Consumers and Corporate Responsibility)
Minister of State for Defence Personnel, Welfare and Veterans
In office
14 July 2014 – 11 May 2015
Prime Minister David Cameron
Sec. of State Michael Fallon
Preceded by Andrew Murrison
Succeeded by Mark Lancaster
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Defence Personnel, Welfare and Veterans
In office
7 October 2013 – 14 July 2014
Prime Minister David Cameron
Preceded by Mark Francois
Succeeded by Mark Lancaster
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Public Health
In office
4 September 2012 – 7 October 2013
Prime Minister David Cameron
Preceded by Anne Milton
Succeeded by Jane Ellison
Member of Parliament
for Broxtowe
In office
6 May 2010 – 3 May 2017
Preceded by Nick Palmer
Succeeded by Election in progress
Majority 4,287 (8.0%)
Personal details
Born (1956-12-07) 7 December 1956 (age 60)
Lincoln, England
Political party Conservative
Children 2
Alma mater University of Birmingham
Website Official website

Anna Mary Soubry[1] (/ˈsbri/; born 7 December 1956) is a British Conservative Party politician. She has been the Member of Parliament (MP) for Broxtowe in Nottinghamshire since the 2010 general election.

Soubry was Minister for Small Business from the 2015 general election, also attending meetings of the Cabinet, but returned to the backbenches in July 2016. She previously served as a junior minister at the Ministry of Defence (from 2013 to 2015) and the Department of Health (2012 to 2013). The Independent's Simon Carr has stated that "she has a record of unusually free speech".[2]

Early life[edit]

Soubry was born, the daughter of David Soubry,[3] a Nottinghamshire garage-owner, in Lincoln Hospital, Lincolnshire (where her mother, Frances Coward/Soubry, worked) and was brought up in Dunham-on-Trent and Clumber Park, Nottinghamshire.[4] Soubry attended the Henry Hartland Grammar school from 1968 to 1970. In 1970 it became the Hartland Comprehensive and she stayed there until 1975. She graduated in law from the University of Birmingham in 1979.[5]

Soubry was involved in student politics in the 1970s, becoming the only Conservative member of the National Union of Students' executive committee.[6]

Early career[edit]

Soubry was a journalist from 1981 until 1995 and also reported on and presented several regional and networked TV programmes, including Grampian Television's North Tonight in the North of Scotland and the East Midlands regional news programme, Central News East. Soubry also presented and reported Granada Television's This Morning in the late 1980s. She returned to Liverpool's Albert Dock in October 2013 for the This Morning 25-year anniversary party.[7] She was called to the bar in 1995 and is a member of the Criminal Bar Association.[8]

Soubry was the Conservative Party candidate for the Gedling constituency in the United Kingdom general election of 2005. During the campaign she said she was "ashamed" of living in Nottingham because it had a bad reputation for crime.[9] She said she wasn't ashamed of the people of Nottingham, but was ashamed of what had happened to the city.[9]

Soubry was chosen as an "A-List candidate" and in 2006 was selected for the nearby Broxtowe Parliamentary seat.[10] In a debate in front of sixth formers in 2006, she said an honest debate was needed to stop people taking Class A drugs and she supported the legalisation of cannabis.[11]

Parliamentary career[edit]

Soubry was elected to Parliament at the 2010 general election. She was considered "one of the most formidable communicators of the new intake" by Nicholas Watt of The Guardian, but not a 'Thatcherite'.[12]

In June 2010, Soubry was elected as a Conservative member of the Justice Select Committee.[13]

Soubry sponsored a private member's bill in June 2010 to provide anonymity to a person who has been arrested but not charged.[14] The second reading took place in February 2011.[14] Soubry withdrew the bill after its second reading, when Justice Minister Crispin Blunt promised the Attorney General would examine the area of concern.[14][15]

Soubry was a strong supporter of the Equal Marriage Bill stating at the time that she was "very much in favour of legalising Same Sex Marriage".[16] She voted in favour of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013 at both readings.[17]

In February 2016, Soubry spoke in favour of fracking.[18]

In November 2016, Soubry joined the Scottish Affairs Committee.[19]

Constituency issues[edit]

Tram system[edit]

In June 2010, Soubry met the transport minister Norman Baker and called for the £400m extension to the Nottingham Express Transit tram system to be scrapped, saying the money would be better spent on the A453 road. David Thornhill of the Campaign for Better Transport expressed astonishment at her opinion and said the tram was definitely better value for money.[20] Soubry said she was pro-tram, but that the tram route through her constituency was "fundamentally flawed".[21]

In July 2013, Soubry criticised Nottingham City Council leader Jon Collins over his refusal to meet her and others to discuss compensation for shops and businesses in the constituency which faced closure due to the tram works.[22] Collins subsequently agreed to meet her,[23] and the outcome was a review into the compensation packages available for affected businesses.[24]

Royal Mail privatisation[edit]

In October 2010, Soubry wrote in her monthly column in the Beeston Express that on returning to Parliament she met a "somewhat shell-shocked Parliamentary Assistant bearing a pile of some 300 cards from constituents urging me to oppose the proposed sell-off of the Royal Mail."[25]

She expressed dismay at the time and cost of replying to each constituent when she had already discussed the issue with the Communication Workers' Union (CWU).[25] Twelve days later she announced in Parliament that of the 700 postal workers in her constituency, to her knowledge, none had written to her opposing privatisation of Royal Mail and only two had come down to London.[26]

After complaints from the CWU, Soubry agreed she was wrong, but said that some of the letters had been misfiled and others had arrived late or were sent to the wrong MP and that the CWU had been inefficient. She claimed she genuinely believed she was telling the truth and that the bill protected Royal Mail, its workers and the universal postal service and that was the only reason she supported it.[27]

Support for Citizens' Advice Bureau[edit]

On 28 November 2010, Soubry appeared on the East Midlands version of The Politics Show to discuss her efforts to help the Citizens' Advice Bureau. The programme reviewed the current state of Nottinghamshire's CAB which was facing a 30% increase in enquiries plus cuts in its budget from local councils and the Ministry of Justice.[28] Soubry said she had asked the leader of Nottingham County Council and Ken Clarke to reconsider. Soubry later organised a meeting between the CAB, Midlands Women's Aid and charities minister Nick Hurd to make him aware of the effects of the proposed cuts in funding to these organisations.[29]

HS2 (High Speed Rail)[edit]

In January 2013, Soubry welcomed the announcement of the proposed High Speed 2 East Midlands Hub station at Toton Sidings in the constituency, stating that it was "a very good news day for Broxtowe". She has held a number of public meetings on the issue.[30]

Soubry voiced criticism in August 2013 over plans to not hold a public consultation meeting in the constituency, calling on HS2 Ltd to hold an event in Toton where the proposed East Midlands Hub is to be built.[31]

Support for NHS reforms[edit]

In an interview on the Daily Politics show in February 2012, Soubry as public health minister defended the NHS reforms.[32]

In March 2012 a group of 240 doctors wrote to The Independent describing the reforms as an "embarrassment to democracy" which had no support from professional healthcare organisations.[33] They pledged to stand as candidates against MPs who backed it and Soubry was mentioned as a likely target.[33] In response Soubry stated there had been no complaints from her local GP consortium and claimed that many local GPs couldn't wait for the Bill to be passed.[34]


In a Westminster Hall debate, Soubry emphasised the role advertising plays in encouraging young people to smoke.[35] She herself took up smoking as a teenager because of the attractive packaging and she compared addiction to nicotine to heroin dependence though she had no direct experience of that.[35] According to The Daily Telegraph, her comments raised questions about why the Coalition dropped plans for plain packaging shortly after David Cameron employed Lynton Crosby, who has worked for tobacco companies as an election strategist.[35]

Antipathy to Nigel Farage[edit]

Soubry remarked on The Andrew Marr Show in December 2013 that UKIP leader Nigel Farage looked "like somebody has put their finger up his bottom and he really rather likes it"; words described by Farage as a "foul-mouthed attack". Soubry later gave a two-sentence apology, claiming that the comment was "light-hearted".[36] The apology followed a November debate on the BBC's Question Time when Soubry complained that UKIP was distributing leaflets suggesting that up to 29 million people could arrive in the UK from Romania and Bulgaria.[37] Pointing out that this was more than the combined population, Soubry told Farage he didn't talk facts, he talked prejudice and that the 1930s had taught Britain the dangers of xenophobia.[37] The New Statesman credited Soubry's "inspiring words" with reminding people that there are still Conservatives "who trade in facts not prejudices."[38]

Ministerial career[edit]

Following her appointment as Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Public Health in September 2012, Soubry gave an interview with The Times in which she stated her support for assisted suicide for terminally ill people.[39] Both the Department of Health and the Ministry of Justice denied there were plans for reform, though her Liberal Democrat colleague Norman Lamb welcomed discussion and said he expected a private members' bill to be introduced by Lord Falconer in 2013.[39] Assisted suicide currently carries a maximum 14-year prison sentence.[39]

On 14 September 2012, speaking at an NHS Leadership Academy conference, Soubry stated that the Coalition had "screwed up" in the way it dealt with the medical profession over the NHS reforms.[40] Soubry later said that she fully supported the reforms but believed the benefits to patients could have been better explained and this would have won more support from health professionals.[40]

As Public Health Minister, Soubry criticised retailers who forced customers to pass "rows of unhealthy foods" on their way to the checkout and said that a new code of practice would urge retailers to stop this and also reduce deals on unhealthy food.[41]

In August 2013, as Public Health Minister, Soubry supported plans for a change in the law to allow HIV home-testing kits.[42]

Soubry was appointed Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence in David Cameron's October 2013 reshuffle, becoming the first elected woman politician to be a Minister in the MoD. In the July 2014 reshuffle, Soubry was appointed Minister of State for Defence Personnel, Welfare and Veterans.[43]

Following the 2015 general election, Soubry became Minister of State at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills until 15 July 2016. Her partner, Neil Davidson is a director at Morrisons leading her opponents to note a potential conflict of interest when she introduced new Sunday trading laws.[44]

European Union referendum[edit]

Soubry is a strong supporter of Britain remaining in the European Union, and backed the Remain campaign during the 2016 EU membership referendum. Following the referendum's outcome, she criticised former Mayor of London Boris Johnson, who led the Leave campaign, accusing him of backing Britain's exit from the EU because he wanted to be prime minister: "My anger with Boris is that I don't honestly believe that he believed what he was saying to people".[45] Soubry was a guest on a special edition of BBC One's Question Time that aired on 27 June, warning that some people who voted to leave the EU had disregarded tolerance, and describing it as "[not] our country's finest hour". She urged the UK to put "hope over hatred" following the result.[46]

Addressing a Brexit protest outside Parliament on 28 June[47] she described how her 84-year-old mother, and her daughters, had "wept" on the morning that the result was announced. In an emotional and impromptu speech she told the gathering "We made a terrible, terrible mistake on Friday" and urged those wanting to stay in the European Union to continue fighting for that cause.

On BBC Radio 4's Today programme on Wednesday 31 August 2016[citation needed], Soubry stated she was in favour of immigration and the free movement of peoples, not just from the EU but from across the world.

Soubry voted to implement Article 50 stating that she had 'promised them [her constituents] that if they voted leave, they would get leave, and that is what drove me through the Lobbies last week with a heavy heart and against my conscience'[citation needed]

In September 2016, Soubry criticised members of Vote Leave when it became clear that the pledge "at the heart … of their message" of £350 million a week of extra funding for the NHS was being dropped from post-Brexit plans.[48] Following a leaked treasury report that the estimated annual cost to the UK Treasury would be around £66 billion she referenced the loss of money for schools and hospitals and insisted that Parliament should be involved in the principles guiding Brexit negotiations.[49]

Personal life[edit]

She is a single mother of two children.[6]


  1. ^ "No. 59418". The London Gazette. 13 May 2010. p. 8744. 
  2. ^ "Westminster movers and shakers in 2011. 4 January 2011. accessed on 7 March 2011". The Independent. 4 January 2011. Retrieved 25 November 2011. 
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  5. ^ That's where you are!, Birmingham University, 1 October 2000. Retrieved 12 March 2007
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  7. ^ Profile:Anna Soubry Archived 8 July 2007 at the Wayback Machine., KCH Barristers
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  9. ^ a b Political battle rages on leaflet, BBC, 15 November 2004. Retrieved 12 March 2008
  10. ^ Anna Soubry selected for Broxtowe, Conservative Home, 18 July 2006. Retrieved 12 March 2008
  11. ^ Notts MP: Make Cannabis Legal, This is Nottingham via The Hempire, 10 September 2006
  12. ^ Watt, Nicholas (29 April 2012). "Conservative party's 301 radicals seek to shake up 1922 status quo". The Guardian. Retrieved 5 November 2013. 
  13. ^ Pickard, Jim (24 June 2010). "Westminster select committees: Labour & Tory membership". Financial Times. Archived from the original on 1 July 2010. Retrieved 29 June 2010. 
  14. ^ a b c "Anonymity (Arrested Persons) Bill 2010–11". Archived from the original on 10 July 2010. Retrieved 10 February 2011. 
  15. ^ "Anonymity (Arrested Persons) Bill:House of Commons debates". 4 February 2011. Retrieved 10 February 2011. 
  16. ^ "MP Speaks out in favour of Same-Sex Marriage legislation". Anna Soubry. 11 December 2012. 
  17. ^ "Voting Record – Anna Soubry MP, Broxtowe (24772) – The Public Whip". 
  18. ^ "Anna Soubry MP says fracking is 'a good idea'". BBC News. 2 February 2016. Retrieved 2 February 2016. 
  19. ^ "Scottish Affairs: 28 Nov 2016: House of Commons debates - TheyWorkForYou". TheyWorkForYou. Retrieved 2017-04-09. 
  20. ^ "Anna Soubry MP in bid to halt Nottingham tram extension". BBC News. 14 June 2010. Archived from the original on 17 September 2010. Retrieved 10 September 2010. 
  21. ^ "Broxtowe MP in call to halt planned extension of Nottingham's tram system". This is Nottingham. 5 June 2010. Retrieved 10 November 2010. 
  22. ^ "Soubry and Collins enter war of words over tram compensation". Nottingham Post. 3 August 2013. 
  23. ^ "Soubry and Collins set to meet over tram work complaints". Nottingham Post. 13 August 2013. 
  24. ^ "Firms hit by tram works in line for review". Nottingham Post. 15 August 2013. 
  25. ^ a b Soubry, Anna (15 October 2010). "Between you and me…" (PDF). Beeston Express. Archived from the original (PDF) on 20 July 2011. Retrieved 14 November 2010. 
  26. ^ "Postal Services Bill House of Commons debates, 27 October 2010, 1:55 pm". 27 October 2010. Retrieved 14 November 2010. 
  27. ^ Monk, Delia (9 November 2010). "Postal workers' union writes to Parliament over MP's statement". This is Nottingham. Retrieved 10 November 2010. 
  28. ^ "Nottinghamshire advice service faces funding crisis". BBC News. 3 November 2010. Archived from the original on 7 November 2010. Retrieved 29 November 2010. 
  29. ^ "Anna Soubry Newsletter:Yes Minister?" (PDF). 23 February 2011. Retrieved 9 March 2011. [permanent dead link]
  30. ^
  31. ^ "MP Soubry protests at lack of local HS2 consultation events". Nottingham Post. 9 August 2013. 
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  33. ^ a b Merrick, Jane; Brady, Brian (18 March 2012). "Doctors bid to unseat 50 MPs in revenge over NHS bill". The Independent. London. Retrieved 3 April 2012. 
  34. ^ "Doctors vow to unseat Notts Anna Soubry MP over health bill backing". This is Nottingham. 19 March 2012. Retrieved 3 April 2012. 
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  36. ^ Holehouse, Matthew (22 December 2013). "Minister apologises for 'crude' Nigel Farage comment". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 28 December 2013. 
  37. ^ a b Wintour, Patrick (22 December 2013). "Anna Soubry apologises to Ukip leader for 'finger up bottom' remark". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 18 January 2014. 
  38. ^ Eaton, George (8 November 2013). "Watch: how Tory minister Anna Soubry stood up to Farage's immigration scaremongering". New Statesman. London. Retrieved 10 August 2014. 
  39. ^ a b c "Right-to-die law appalling, says Health Minister Anna Soubry". BBC News. 8 September 2012. Retrieved 8 September 2012. 
  40. ^ a b Kirkup, James (14 September 2012). "'We screwed up' – health minister on NHS reforms". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 15 September 2012. 
  41. ^ Philipson, Alice (15 July 2013). "Supermarkets to abolish checkout 'guilt lanes'". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 29 July 2013. 
  42. ^ "Ministers to change law to allow HIV self-testing kits". Nursing Times. Press Association. 12 August 2013. 
  43. ^ "Anna Soubry MP". Retrieved 12 November 2014. 
  44. ^ Christopher Hope (14 February 2016). "Partner of minister who wants to relax Sunday trading laws is on board of Morrisons". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 18 October 2016. 
  45. ^ Worley, Will (25 June 2016). "Boris Johnson attacked by Tory Minister Anna Soubry for placing 'leadership ambitions ahead of our children's future'". The Independent. London. Retrieved 6 July 2016. 
  46. ^ Agerholm, Harriet (27 June 2016). "Brexit: Conservative MP Anna Soubry warns UK must put 'hope over hatred' with immigration". The Independent. London. Retrieved 6 July 2016. 
  47. ^ "Thousands In London Anti-Brexit Protest". Sky News. 28 June 2017. Retrieved 29 March 2017. 
  48. ^ Helm, Toby (10 September 2016). "Brexit camp abandons £350M a week NHS funding pledge". The Observer. London. Retrieved 11 September 2016. 
  49. ^ Michael Wilkinson (11 October 2016). "'Hard Brexit' will cost Britain £66 billion per year, claims controversial leaked Treasury report". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 11 October 2016. 

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Nick Palmer
Member of Parliament
for Broxtowe

Succeeded by
Election in progress
Political offices
Preceded by
Matt Hancock
as Minister of State for Business and Enterprise
Minister of State for Small Business
Succeeded by