Anna Soubry

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The Right Honourable
Anna Soubry
MP
Official portrait of Anna Soubry crop 2.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
Assumed office
6 May 2010
Preceded by Nick Palmer
Majority 839 (1.5%)
Personal details
Born Anna Mary Soubry
(1956-12-07) 7 December 1956 (age 61)
Lincoln, Lincolnshire, England
Political party Conservative (1975–present)[1]
Children 2
Alma mater University of Birmingham
Website Official website

Anna Mary Soubry[2] (/ˈsbri/; born 7 December 1956) is a British Conservative Party politician, barrister and journalist. She has been the Member of Parliament (MP) for Broxtowe in Nottinghamshire since the 2010 general election.

Soubry was Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Public Health (2012–2013), Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Defence Personnel, Welfare and Veterans (2013–2014), Minister of State for Defence Personnel, Welfare and Veterans (2014–2015) and Minister for Small Business, Industry and Enterprise from the 2015 general election, also attending meetings of the Cabinet, but she returned to the backbenches in July 2016. The Independent's Simon Carr has stated that "she has a record of unusually free speech".[3]

Early life[edit]

Soubry was born in Lincoln Hospital, Lincolnshire; where her mother, Frances Soubry (née Coward) worked, while her father was David Soubry,[4] a Nottinghamshire garage owner. She was brought up in Dunham-on-Trent and Clumber Park in Nottinghamshire.[5] Soubry attended the Henry Hartland Grammar School from 1968–70. In 1970 it became the Hartland Comprehensive and she stayed there until 1975. She graduated with a degree in Law from the University of Birmingham in 1979.[6]

Soubry was involved in student politics in the 1970s, becoming the only Conservative member of the National Union of Students' executive committee.[7] She joined the Conservative Party in 1975.

Early career[edit]

Soubry was a journalist from 1981 until 1995 and also reported on and presented several regional and networked TV programmes, including Central Television's Central Weekend, 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.[8] She was called to the bar in 1995 and is a member of the Criminal Bar Association.[9]

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.[10] She said she wasn't ashamed of the people of Nottingham, but was ashamed of what had happened to the city.[10]

Soubry was chosen as an "A-List candidate" and in 2006 was selected for the nearby Broxtowe Parliamentary seat.[11] 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.[12]

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.[13] In June 2010, Soubry was elected as a Conservative member of the Justice Select Committee.[14]

Soubry sponsored a private member's bill in June 2010 to provide anonymity to a person who has been arrested but not charged.[15] The second reading took place in February 2011.[15] Soubry withdrew the bill after its second reading, when Justice Minister Crispin Blunt promised the Attorney General would examine the area of concern.[15][16]

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".[17] She voted in favour of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013 at both readings.[18]

In February 2016, Soubry spoke in favour of fracking.[19]

In November 2016, Soubry joined the Scottish Affairs Committee.[20] At the 2017 snap election, Soubry retained her seat with a reduced majority on a record turnout of 75%, despite receiving the highest percentage share and number of votes for a Conservative Party candidate in Broxtowe since the 1992 general election.[21]

Constituency issues[edit]

Tram system[edit]

In June 2010, Soubry met the transport minister Norman Baker and called for the £400,000,000 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.[22] Soubry said she was pro-tram, but that the tram route through her constituency was "fundamentally flawed".[23]

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.[24] Collins subsequently agreed to meet her,[25] and the outcome was a review into the compensation packages available for affected businesses.[26]

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."[27]

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).[27] Twelve days later, Soubry announced in the House of Commons 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 came down to London.[28]

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.[29]

Support for Citizens' Advice Bureau[edit]

In 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.[30] Soubry said she had asked the leader of Nottingham County Council and Kenneth 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.[31]

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.[32]

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.[33]

National issues[edit]

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.[34]

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.[35] They pledged to stand as candidates against MPs who backed them and Soubry was mentioned as a likely target.[35] 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.[36]

Smoking[edit]

In a Westminster Hall debate, Soubry emphasised the role advertising plays in encouraging young people to smoke.[37] 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.[37] 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.[37]

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.[38] 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.[38] Assisted suicide currently carries a maximum 14-year prison sentence.[38]

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.[39] 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.[39]

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.[40]

In August 2013, as Public Health Minister, Soubry supported plans for a change in the law to allow HIV home-testing kits.[41]

Soubry was appointed Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence in David Cameron's October 2013 reshuffle, becoming the first elected female 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.[42]

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.[43]

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.

In November 2013, on a debate on the BBC's Question Time Soubry complained to Nigel Farage that UKIP was distributing leaflets suggesting that up to 29 million people could arrive in the UK from Romania and Bulgaria.[44] 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.[44] The New Statesman credited Soubry's "inspiring words" with reminding people that there are still Conservatives "who trade in facts not prejudices."[45]

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".[46] 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.[47]

Addressing a Brexit protest outside Parliament on 28 June[48] 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.

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 £350,000,000 a week of extra funding for the NHS was being dropped from post-Brexit plans.[49] Following a leaked Treasury report which claimed that the estimated annual cost to the UK Treasury of a "hard Brexit" would be between £38bn and £66bn per year after 15 years, Soubry referenced the loss of money for schools and hospitals and insisted that Parliament should be involved in the principles guiding Brexit negotiations.[50]

In December 2017, Soubry was one of 11 Conservative rebels who voted in favour of Parliament being guaranteed a vote on the final Brexit deal, despite the government's reluctance, with enough Conservatives rebelling that the measure was forced through.[51][52]

In January 2018, following calls from hard-line Brexiteers for the Chancellor to be sacked after he claimed Brexit would result in only modest change, Soubry said the Prime Minister should not let the 35 MPs concerned dictate the terms of Brexit.[53] Early the following month, Soubry threatened to leave the Conservatives saying she was not going to stay in a party which has been taken over by Jacob Rees-Mogg and Boris Johnson.

On 15 April 2018 Soubry attended the launch event of the People's Vote, a campaign group calling for a public vote on the final Brexit deal between the UK and the European Union.[54]

Personal life[edit]

She is a single mother of two children [7] and lives in Woodhouse Eaves, Leicestershire, twenty five miles outside of the constituency she represents.[citation needed]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Anna Soubry". Twitter. 4 January 2011. Archived from the original on 24 November 2017. Retrieved 30 March 2017. 
  2. ^ "No. 59418". The London Gazette. 13 May 2010. p. 8744. 
  3. ^ "Westminster movers and shakers in 2011". The Independent. 4 January 2011. Archived from the original on 7 January 2011. Retrieved 25 November 2011. 
  4. ^ "Index entry". FreeBMD. ONS. Retrieved 6 September 2014. 
  5. ^ "Anna Soubry MP Member of Parliament for Broxtowe". Anna Soubry MP. Archived from the original on 17 September 2012. Retrieved 6 September 2012. 
  6. ^ "That's where you are!". The Birmingham Magazine. Birmingham University. 1 October 2000. Archived from the original on 9 April 2008. Retrieved 12 March 2007. 
  7. ^ a b Bennett, Rosemary (22 July 2006). "Dave's dolls revive Tory faith in the elite list". The Times. Retrieved 26 February 2017. (Subscription required (help)). 
  8. ^ "Profile: Anna Soubry". KCH Barristers. Archived from the original on 8 July 2007. 
  9. ^ "Barristers: Anna Soubry". KCH Garden Square. Archived from the original on 14 July 2014. Retrieved 10 June 2014. 
  10. ^ a b "Political battle rages on leaflet". BBC News. 15 November 2004. Retrieved 12 March 2008. 
  11. ^ "Anna Soubry selected for Broxtowe". ConservativeHome. 18 July 2006. Archived from the original on 18 July 2008. Retrieved 12 March 2008. 
  12. ^ "Notts MP: Make Cannabis Legal". This is Nottingham. 10 September 2006. Archived from the original on 20 February 2008 – via The Hempire. 
  13. ^ Watt, Nicholas (29 April 2012). "Conservative party's 301 radicals seek to shake up 1922 status quo". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 6 November 2013. Retrieved 5 November 2013. 
  14. ^ 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. 
  15. ^ a b c "Anonymity (Arrested Persons) Bill 2010–11". Parliament.uk. Archived from the original on 10 July 2010. Retrieved 10 February 2011. 
  16. ^ "Anonymity (Arrested Persons) Bill: House of Commons debates". TheyWorkForYou. 4 February 2011. Archived from the original on 29 June 2011. Retrieved 10 February 2011. 
  17. ^ "MP Speaks out in favour of Same-Sex Marriage legislation". Anna Soubry MP. 11 December 2012. Archived from the original on 21 January 2014. 
  18. ^ "Voting Record – Anna Soubry MP, Broxtowe (24772)". The Public Whip. Archived from the original on 1 February 2014. 
  19. ^ "Anna Soubry MP says fracking is 'a good idea'". BBC News. 2 February 2016. Archived from the original on 4 February 2016. Retrieved 2 February 2016. 
  20. ^ "Scottish Affairs: 28 November 2016: House of Commons debates". TheyWorkForYou. Archived from the original on 10 April 2017. Retrieved 9 April 2017. 
  21. ^ "Election 2017: Broxtowe". BBC News. 9 June 2017. Archived from the original on 20 May 2017. Retrieved 9 June 2017. 
  22. ^ "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. 
  23. ^ "Broxtowe MP in call to halt planned extension of Nottingham's tram system". This is Nottingham. 5 June 2010. Archived from the original on 8 June 2010. Retrieved 10 November 2010. 
  24. ^ Blackburn, Peter (3 August 2013). "Soubry and Collins enter war of words over tram compensation". Nottingham Post. Archived from the original on 23 February 2014. 
  25. ^ "Soubry and Collins set to meet over tram work complaints". Nottingham Post. 13 August 2013. Archived from the original on 23 February 2014. 
  26. ^ "Firms hit by tram works in line for review". Nottingham Post. 15 August 2013. Archived from the original on 23 February 2014. 
  27. ^ 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. 
  28. ^ "Postal Services Bill House of Commons debates, 27 October 2010, 1:55 pm". TheyWorkForYou. 27 October 2010. Archived from the original on 24 October 2012. Retrieved 14 November 2010. 
  29. ^ Monk, Delia (9 November 2010). "Postal workers' union writes to Parliament over MP's statement". This is Nottingham. Archived from the original on 5 May 2013. Retrieved 10 November 2010. 
  30. ^ "Nottinghamshire advice service faces funding crisis". BBC News. 3 November 2010. Archived from the original on 7 November 2010. Retrieved 29 November 2010. 
  31. ^ "Newsletter: Yes Minister?" (PDF). Anna Soubry MP. 23 February 2011. Archived from the original (PDF) on 3 January 2013. Retrieved 9 March 2011. 
  32. ^ Soubry, Anna (28 January 2013). "Newsletter: HS2 – investing in Broxtowe" (PDF). Anna Soubry MP. Archived from the original (PDF) on 11 June 2017. Retrieved 11 November 2017. 
  33. ^ "MP Soubry protests at lack of local HS2 consultation events". Nottingham Post. 9 August 2013. Archived from the original on 28 May 2014. 
  34. ^ "NHS reforms: GPs do not want bill says Clare Gerada". BBC News. 23 February 2012. Archived from the original on 25 April 2012. Retrieved 3 April 2012. 
  35. ^ a b Merrick, Jane; Brady, Brian (18 March 2012). "Doctors bid to unseat 50 MPs in revenge over NHS bill". The Independent. London. Archived from the original on 2 April 2012. Retrieved 3 April 2012. 
  36. ^ "Doctors vow to unseat Notts Anna Soubry MP over health bill backing". This is Nottingham. 19 March 2012. Archived from the original on 6 March 2014. Retrieved 3 April 2012. 
  37. ^ a b c Dominiczak, Peter (3 September 2013). "Anna Soubry: I took up smoking as a teen because of 'gorgeous' packets". The Daily Telegraph. London. Archived from the original on 7 September 2013. Retrieved 4 September 2013. 
  38. ^ a b c "Right-to-die law appalling, says Health Minister Anna Soubry". BBC News. 8 September 2012. Archived from the original on 10 September 2012. Retrieved 8 September 2012. 
  39. ^ a b Kirkup, James (14 September 2012). "'We screwed up' – health minister on NHS reforms". The Daily Telegraph. London. Archived from the original on 15 September 2012. Retrieved 15 September 2012. 
  40. ^ Philipson, Alice (15 July 2013). "Supermarkets to abolish checkout 'guilt lanes'". The Daily Telegraph. Archived from the original on 2 August 2013. Retrieved 29 July 2013. 
  41. ^ "Ministers to change law to allow HIV self-testing kits". Nursing Times. Press Association. 12 August 2013. Archived from the original on 1 February 2014. 
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  43. ^ Hope, Christopher (14 February 2016). "Partner of minister who wants to relax Sunday trading laws is on board of Morrisons". The Daily Telegraph. London. Archived from the original on 12 August 2016. Retrieved 18 October 2016. 
  44. ^ 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. 
  45. ^ 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. 
  46. ^ 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. Archived from the original on 7 July 2016. Retrieved 6 July 2016. 
  47. ^ Agerholm, Harriet (27 June 2016). "Brexit: Conservative MP Anna Soubry warns UK must put 'hope over hatred' with immigration". The Independent. London. Archived from the original on 30 June 2016. Retrieved 6 July 2016. 
  48. ^ "Thousands In London Anti-Brexit Protest". Sky News. 28 June 2017. Archived from the original on 30 March 2017. Retrieved 29 March 2017. 
  49. ^ Helm, Toby (10 September 2016). "Brexit camp abandons £350M a week NHS funding pledge". The Observer. London. Archived from the original on 11 September 2016. Retrieved 11 September 2016. 
  50. ^ Wilkinson, Michael (11 October 2016). "'Hard Brexit' will cost Britain £66 billion per year, claims controversial leaked Treasury report". Daily Telegraph. Archived from the original on 11 October 2016. Retrieved 11 October 2016. 
  51. ^ "Theresa May: We're on course to deliver Brexit despite vote". BBC News. 14 December 2017. Retrieved 19 June 2018. 
  52. ^ Austin, Henry (13 December 2017). "Brexit vote: The 11 Tory rebel MPs who defeated the Government". The Independent. Retrieved 19 June 2018. 
  53. ^ "PM urged to 'see off' hard Brexiteers as Tory divisions continue". BBC News. 29 January 2018. Archived from the original on 30 January 2018. Retrieved 30 January 2018. 
  54. ^ "Brexit: 'People's Vote' campaign group launched". BBC News. 15 April 2018. Retrieved 17 April 2018. 

External links[edit]

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

2010–present
Succeeded by
Incumbent
Political offices
Preceded by
Matt Hancock
as Minister of State for Business and Enterprise
Minister of State for Small Business
2015–2016
Succeeded by
Margot James
as Minister for Small Business, Consumers and Corporate Responsibility