Caroline Nokes

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Caroline Nokes
MP
Caroline-nokes.jpg
Minister for Government Resilience and Efficiency
Assumed office
14 June 2017
Preceded by Position created
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State
at the Department for Work and Pensions
In office
17 July 2016 – 14 June 2017
Preceded by Shailesh Vara
Succeeded by Caroline Dinenage
Chair
of the Advisory Committee on Works of Art
In office
8 July 2015 – 17 July 2016
Preceded by Frank Doran
Succeeded by Alison McGovern
Member of Parliament
for Romsey and Southampton North
Assumed office
6 May 2010
Preceded by Sandra Gidley
Majority 18,006 (35.8%)
Personal details
Born Caroline Fiona Ellen Perry
(1972-06-26) 26 June 1972 (age 45)[1]
Lyndhurst, Hampshire, England[2]
Nationality British
Political party Conservative
Spouse(s) Marc Nokes (m. 1995; div. 2012)
Children 1 daughter
Alma mater University of Sussex
Website www.carolinenokes.com

Caroline Fiona Ellen Nokes[3] (née Perry;[4] born 26 June 1972) is a Conservative Party politician in the United Kingdom. She is the Member of Parliament for Romsey and Southampton North in Hampshire and has been since 2010. From 2014–2015 she was Parliamentary Private Secretary at the Department for Work and Pensions.[5] In July 2016, Nokes was appointed Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the DWP.

Early life and career[edit]

Nokes was born in Lyndhurst Hospital, but raised in West Wellow, the Hampshire village in which she still lives, and represents in Parliament. The daughter of Roy Perry, former Conservative MEP for the Wight and Hampshire South constituency,[4] she was educated at The Romsey School, La Sagesse Convent in Romsey and then Peter Symonds' College, Winchester, before reading politics at the University of Sussex from 1991 to 1994.[6]

After her graduation, Nokes became a policy adviser for her father, then a Member of the European Parliament.[4] Prior to her election, she was Chief Executive of the National Pony Society, an animal welfare charity promoting and supporting the traditional native breeds of ponies through education, training and competition.

Nokes was a member of Test Valley Borough Council from 1999 until 2010, when she was elected as a Councillor for the Romsey Extra Ward, serving as the Leisure Portfolio Holder. She stood down as a Councillor when she was elected to Parliament in May 2010.[7]

Parliamentary career[edit]

Nokes was the Conservative Parliamentary Candidate for the Southampton Itchen constituency in the 2001 general election; and Romsey constituency in the 2005 general election.[8] She was elected MP for the new seat of Romsey and Southampton North having defeated the former Liberal Democrat MP for the Romsey seat, Sandra Gidley, by 4,165 votes in the 2010 election.[9][10] Nokes made her maiden speech on 17 June 2010 on the subject of a High Skilled Economy.[11]

In June 2014, Nokes was independently and secretly assessed as coming first out of the UK's 650 MPs in responding to constituents, with Nokes’ response rate at 100%. The data was analysed by Think-Tank mySociety, who commended Nokes as the most "responsive MP" in Parliament.[12] based on over 58,000 responses to 96,000 messages sent to MPs.[13]

In July 2014, Nokes became a Parliamentary Private Secretary at the Department for Work and Pensions, as an aide to the Minister with responsibility for disabled people [5] During this time, she consistently voted for reducing benefits for those out of work with long-term sicknesses or disabilities.[14]

Nokes is a member of the Armed Forces Parliamentary Scheme,[15] has spoken in 37 separate debates in the twelve months to March 2013, and has an above average voting record.[16] Nokes lists her particular interests as international development, sport, the equine industry, the environment, energy, animal welfare, family law, local government and planning.[17] She has spoken in debates on planning policy, reforming the Child Support Agency Family Based Agreements,[18] Adoption,[19] and the closure of the Ford plant in her constituency.[20] She has also introduced legislation on Dangerous Dogs,[21] and in January 2011, the Consumer Protection Bill.[22]

Parliamentary Select Committees, and All Party Groups[edit]

Nokes was previously (until March 2015) a member of two Parliamentary Select Committees, the Environmental Audit Select Committee,[23] and the Education Select Committee.[24] Nokes is a member of a Parliamentary group for equine welfare.[25] In October 2012 Nokes became an officer of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Body Image,[26][27] which campaigns to raise awareness of body image, eating disorders, nutrition and health issues within the advertising industry, the health and fitness sector, media, youth organisations and Government.[28] She gave up the position in 2016.[29][30]

Parliamentary Bill Committees[edit]

Nokes sat on the Scrap Metal Dealers Bill Committee,[31] and was a member of the Justice and Security Bill Committee.[32] She also sat on the Children and Families Bill Committee[33][34] which scrutinises a bill designed to improve legislation affecting fostered and adopted children, children in care, children with Special Educational Needs, and the family justice system.[35] Nokes was also a member of the Deregulation Bill Committee[36] and the Modern Slavery Bill Committee,[37][38] a subject she had previously expressed a constituency interest in[39] and questioned Government on.[40]

Equatorial Guinea[edit]

In August 2011, Nokes joined a Parliamentary delegation to Equatorial Guinea, an African country criticised for its human rights record. The decision to visit the country was criticised by the Labour MP Paul Flynn.[41] Others commended the delegation for its bravery in going, and for publishing a balanced report which was critical of the regime.[42] Nokes said her decision to go was because Amnesty International were no longer active in the country, and information about Equatorial Guinea was possibly outdated.[41] The delegation had Foreign Office support, and was asked to assess if historic reports of the country were still valid. The delegation met with the country's Prime Minister, whom the delegation challenged about the country's human rights record. Nokes went on to call for the country's President to instigate proper democracy and permit press freedom.[41][42]

Positions[edit]

EU Referendum[edit]

Nokes was opposed to Brexit prior to the 2016 referendum.[43]

Iraq War[edit]

Nokes voted against investigations into the legality of the Iraq War

Environmental Issues[edit]

Nokes is both pro hunting with dogs, and Fracking [44]

Religious Issues[edit]

Nokes was reported to be one of the parliamentary candidates who signed a pledge to "respect, uphold and protect the right of Christians to hold and express Christian beliefs and act according to Christian conscience".[45] She has also stated she was 'broadly supportive' of same-sex marriage providing religious organisations are not forced to act against their theology.[46] In February 2013, she cited her support for stable and secure relationships, both gay and straight, but also referenced her previous pledge to Christians, and voted against the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill at Second Reading, saying she was "not convinced the safeguards sought by the Church of England have been guaranteed".[47]

Planning Policy[edit]

Nokes was a member of the Southern Area Planning Committee on Test Valley Borough Council for ten years[48] and was a critic of a number of developments in the Test Valley area, in particular where plans to develop were not subject to a proper environmental survey.[49] Nokes is a regular speaker on planning issues, advocate for greater planning controls to protect green field spaces, and to better manage planning in rural areas. Nokes criticised the National Planning Policy Framework, saying "communities need to be treated differently. Good quality affordable housing is of course the key issue, but so is sympathetic development and ensuring the rural economy can grow through planning regulations which do not disadvantage rural business".[48] She criticised the Government for "not delivering localism"[50] and said the most important aspect of planning "is the voice of the local resident".[51]

Body Image & Eating Disorder Awareness[edit]

Nokes is the Chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Body Image, which exists to "monitor on an ongoing basis the causes of body image anxiety. To explore what steps can be taken to promote body confidence, working with advertisers, the media, fashion industry and youth organisations".[52] Nokes also campaigns on the related issues of eating disorders, working closely with charities, researchers, clinicians and others to raise awareness of the dangers posed by eating disorders.[53]

Parliamentary Expenses[edit]

Nokes claims higher expenses than the average MP. Claiming £52,333.18 between 1 May 2015 — 30 Apr 2016. This is significantly higher than other nearby MPs in Hampshire, such as Southampton Test, and Southampton Itchen

Conflict with Fathers4Justice[edit]

In April 2010, Fathers4Justice members backed Caroline Nokes as her party had supported its campaign for change to family law, promising legislation if they won the 2010 General election.[54] However, although after the election, the Conservatives formed a coalition with the Liberal Democrats,[55] the parties Coalition Agreement[56] included aspects of the Fathers4Justice agenda. In accordance with this arrangement, the Government initiated a number of reviews, including the Family Justice Review (The Norgrove Report)[57] and the Co-operative Parenting Consultation.[58] After the consultations, the Government brought forward the Children & Families Bill.[59] Whilst legal experts agreed these proposals were a considerable improvement on the previous situation[60] it did not fully reflect the position of Fathers4Justice, and the group criticised the Coalition. In March 2013, Nokes announced she would sit on the committee responsible for scrutinising the Bill, Fathers4Justice called upon her to resign and organised a demonstration in Nokes' constituency.[61]

Caroline Nokes stated that Fathers4Justice were encouraging their members to visit Nokes' family home at night, post late-night Tweets saying they were driving around her village 'looking for' her, asking members to send the MP their dirty underwear, demanding to see a Court Order outlining her daughter's living and contact arrangements, and falsely alleged her ex-husband was having difficulty having contact with his daughter. Fathers4Justice denies these allegations[62]

Nokes commented in her local newspaper;

"I have been accused of...being an obstructive mother who denies her ex-husband access to our child. This is a completely baseless fabrication which nevertheless they repeat ad nauseam. I have even had to involve the police over concerns for my daughter's safety. If F4J really want to deliver for their members, bullying, vandalising portraits of HM the Queen and harassing my constituents will not deliver it. They should have engaged with the legislative process when they were asked, and are now in danger of losing what little credibility they have left as a campaign group. The only people betrayed are F4J members who have been let down by the O'Connors."[61]

Following a barrage of abusive tweets directed at Nokes, Twitter shut down the accounts of Fathers4Justice and Matt O'Conner, which F4J referred to as "political censorship"[63] The local media reported the group had been engaged in a 'witch hunt' against Nokes, who pointed out she had "repeatedly offered to help Fathers 4 Justice with the tabling of amendments for the Children and Families Bill, but none were forthcoming, just comments, which Twitter agreed constituted abuse and harassment. I am aware other political parties and individuals have also complained to Twitter and indeed to the police". She also stated "I remain committed to improvements to the family justice system, which the Children and Families Bill goes some way towards delivering, and it is a pity F4J chose not to engage constructively with the deliberations of the Bill Committee.".[64][65]

In February 2014, Nokes criticised a House of Lords' amendment to the Children & Families Bill which she said "watered down" the commitment to shared parenting,[66] and spoke against the amendment in the House of Commons, arguing strongly in favour of shared parenting, saying shared parenting arrangements were in the best interests of children.[67][68]

In October 2014, The Independent newspaper reported allegations the group may have put a tracking device on Nokes' car, and a security consultant claimed he had been approached by Nadine O'Connor about placing the MP under surveillance.[63] Police were said to regard the group as a "fixated threat" which led to security enhancements at Nokes' home. When O'Connor confronted the Hampshire Police & Crime Commissioner making allegations about Nokes, the Commissioner stated O'Connor had "made things up".[63] A person claiming to be a supporter of the group later sent Nokes a Facebook message which stated the wish that Nokes be "violently raped", and stated "there are a lot of people who wish you serious harm, torture and death. Watch your back".[69]

Another national newspaper later published an article in which Nokes said the harassment was causing her to consider leaving Parliament on a weekly basis due to the impact it was having on her and her daughter. In return, the O'Connors claimed Nokes was waging a campaign of harassment against them, and took her and a friend whom they also claimed was harassing them to court to seek an injunction.[70][better source needed] However, at court the judge refused to grant the injunction because of "a total absence of evidence", with the judge criticising the O'Connors for seeking to prejudice the court by making "generalised assertions" and concluding "there's no sufficient evidence before me to support a finding that there's even an arguable case for a claim for harassment." The O'Connors were ordered to pay costs.[71]

Personal life[edit]

Nokes is divorced, and lives with her daughter.[72]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Caroline Nokes MP". BBC Democracy Live. BBC. Retrieved 25 July 2010. 
  2. ^ Staff writer (2011), "NOKES, Caroline Who's Who 2011. A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc.   (subscription may be required or content may be available in libraries that are in the U.K.)
  3. ^ "No. 59418". The London Gazette. 13 May 2010. p. 8742. 
  4. ^ a b c "Caroline Nokes". conservatives.com. Conservative Party website. Retrieved 7 May 2010. 
  5. ^ a b Staff writer (24 July 2014). "MP Caroline Nokes lands first Government job in reshuffle". Daily Echo. Southampton. Retrieved 24 July 2014. 
  6. ^ Jones, Sarah (7 May 2010). "Gidley goes as Tories win Romsey". Daily Echo. Southampton. Retrieved 7 May 2010. 
  7. ^ "Elected Representatives: Mrs Caroline Nokes, Borough Councillor". Archived from the original on 29 May 2011. Retrieved 7 May 2010. 
  8. ^ Nokes, Caroline. "About Caroline". carolinenokes.com. Caroline Nokes. Archived from the original on 28 May 2013. Retrieved 23 January 2013. 
  9. ^ Staff writer (7 May 2010). "Lib Dem's Sandra Gidley loses seat after 10 years". BBC News. Retrieved 7 May 2010. 
  10. ^ Staff writer (7 May 2010). "Caroline Nokes wins in Romsey". thisishampshire.net. This is Hampshire. Archived from the original on 11 May 2010. Retrieved 14 June 2010. 
  11. ^ Caroline Nokes, Member of Parliament for Romsey and Southampton North (14 October 2010). "Building A High-Skilled Economy". Parliamentary Debates (Hansard). 516. United Kingdom: House of Commons. col. 536–537. 
  12. ^ Staff writer (22 June 2014). "MP tops poll at responsing to constituents". Daily Echo. Southampton. Retrieved 28 March 2015. 
  13. ^ Myfanwy (19 July 2014). "How responsive is your MP?". mysociety.org. mySociety. Archived from the original on 2 December 2014. Retrieved 28 March 2015. 
  14. ^ "Caroline Nokes Voting Record: Benefits for Those Unemployed Due to Illness or Disability". theyworkforyou.com. TheyWorkForYou. 
  15. ^ Nokes, Caroline. "Defence". carolinenokes.com. Caroline Nokes. Archived from the original on 28 May 2013. Retrieved 14 November 2012. 
  16. ^ "Caroline Nokes: Numerology". theyworkforyou.com. TheyWorkForYou. 
  17. ^ Nokes, Caroline. "Caroline In Parliament". carolinenokes.com. Caroline Nokes. Archived from the original on 28 May 2013. Retrieved 14 November 2012. 
  18. ^ Caroline Nokes, Member of Parliament for Romsey and Southampton North (11 July 2012). "Child Support Agency". Parliamentary Debates (Hansard). 548. United Kingdom: Westminster Hall. col. 118WH–121WH. 
  19. ^ Caroline Nokes, Member of Parliament for Romsey and Southampton North (5 July 2012). "Adoption". Parliamentary Debates (Hansard). 547. United Kingdom: Westminster Hall. col. 357WH–359WH. 
  20. ^ Caroline Nokes, Member of Parliament for Romsey and Southampton North (6 November 2012). "Ford Motor Manufacturing". Parliamentary Debates (Hansard). 552. United Kingdom: Westminster Hall. col. 173WH–196WH. 
  21. ^ Caroline Nokes, Member of Parliament for Romsey and Southampton North (6 July 2011). "Dangerous Dogs". Parliamentary Debates (Hansard). 530. United Kingdom: Westminster Hall. col. 463WH–470WH. 
  22. ^ Caroline Nokes, Member of Parliament for Romsey and Southampton North (19 January 2011). "Consumer Protection (Postal Marketing): Motion for leave to bring in a Bill (Standing Order No. 23)". Parliamentary Debates (Hansard). 521. United Kingdom: House of Commons. col. 857–859. 
  23. ^ "Environmental Audit Committee: Attendance at Formal Meetings in Session 2014-15" (PDF). parliament.uk. UK Parliament. 
  24. ^ "Education Committee: Members' attendance at formal Committee meetings: Session 2015-16" (PDF). parliament.uk. UK Parliament. 
  25. ^ "House of Commons - Register Of All-Party Groups as at 30 July 2015 : Horse". parliament.uk. UK Parliament. 
  26. ^ "It's time to Be Real about body image". ymca.co.uk. YMCA. 16 August 2016. 
  27. ^ Reflections on Body Image (report) (PDF). APPG on Body Image and the YMCA. 2012. 
  28. ^ Nokes, Caroline. "All Party Parliamentary Group on Body Image". carolinenokes.com. Caroline Nokes. Archived from the original on 28 May 2013. Retrieved 14 November 2012. 
  29. ^ "Register Of All-Party Parliamentary Groups [as at 31 August 2016] Body Image". parliament.uk. UK Parliament. 
  30. ^ "Register Of All-Party Parliamentary Groups [as at 12 October 2016] Body Image". parliament.uk. UK Parliament. 
  31. ^ "House of Commons Public Bill Committee on the Scrap Metal Dealers Bill 2012-13". parliament.uk. UK Parliament. Retrieved 24 July 2014. 
  32. ^ "House of Commons Public Bill Committee on the Justice and Security Bill [HL] 2012-13". parliament.uk. UK Parliament. Retrieved 24 July 2014. 
  33. ^ "House of Commons Public Bill Committee on the Children and Families Bill 2012-13". parliament.uk. UK Parliament. Retrieved 24 July 2014. 
  34. ^ "Public Bill Committee, Session 2012-13: Children and Families Bill". Parliamentary Debates (Hansard). United Kingdom: House of Commons. 7 March 2013. 
  35. ^ "Children and Families Bill 2013". GOV.UK. 5 February 2013. Retrieved 24 July 2014. 
  36. ^ "House of Commons Public Bill Committee on the Deregulation Bill 2013-14". parliament.uk. UK Parliament. Retrieved 24 July 2014. 
  37. ^ "House of Commons Public Bill Committee on the Modern Slavery Bill 2014-15". parliament.uk. UK Parliament. Retrieved 18 August 2017. 
  38. ^ "Public Bill Committee, Session 2014-15: Modern Slavery Bill". Parliamentary Debates (Hansard). United Kingdom: House of Commons. 21 July 2014. 
  39. ^ Nokes, Caroline (27 June 2014). "Letter from Westminster". carolinenokes.com. Caroline Nokes. Archived from the original on 2 December 2014. Retrieved 24 July 2014. 
  40. ^ Caroline Nokes, Member of Parliament for Romsey and Southampton North (15 October 2013). "Human Trafficking". Parliamentary Debates (Hansard). 568. United Kingdom: House of Commons. col. 598–599. 
  41. ^ a b c "MP defends trip to African dictatorship". Basingstoke Gazette. 7 November 2011. 
  42. ^ a b The strange and evil world of Equatorial Guinea, Ian Birrell, The Guardian, 23 October 2011
  43. ^ Goodenough, Tom (16 February 2016). "Which Tory MPs back Brexit, who doesn't and who is still on the fence?". The Spectator. Retrieved 11 October 2016. 
  44. ^ "Caroline Nokes's voting in Parliament". TheyWorkForYou. 11 October 2016. Retrieved 19 April 2017. 
  45. ^ name=DMail1286264
  46. ^ "Nokes backs gay marriage but won't sign Labour petition". Romsey Advertiser. 14 March 2011. Retrieved 15 March 2011. 
  47. ^ "Caroline votes 'No' to same sex marriages". Romsey Advertiser. 
  48. ^ a b /"Archived copy". Archived from the original on 29 November 2014. Retrieved 2014-07-19. 
  49. ^ "No environment survey needed for 350-home development". Romsey Advertiser. 
  50. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 29 November 2014. Retrieved 2014-07-19. 
  51. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 29 November 2014. Retrieved 2014-07-19. 
  52. ^ "House of Commons - Register Of All-Party Groups as at 30 July 2015 : Body Image". parliament.uk. 
  53. ^ http://www.carolinenokes.com/press/caroline-asks-anorexia-sufferers-to-give-dna-to-help-find-a-cure/[permanent dead link]
  54. ^ "Tory backing for family law change". Daily Echo. Southampton. 
  55. ^ United Kingdom general election, 2010
  56. ^ https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/78977/coalition_programme_for_government.pdf
  57. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2 November 2013. Retrieved 2014-01-21. 
  58. ^ Default author name. "Cooperative parenting following family separation: proposed legislation on the involvement of parents in a child's life". nationalarchives.gov.uk. Archived from the original on 2013-04-01. 
  59. ^ http://media.education.gov.uk/assets/files/pdf/c/children%20and%20families%20bill%20factsheet.pdf
  60. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 22 November 2013. Retrieved 2014-01-10. 
  61. ^ a b "Fathers4Justice protest at MP's 'broken promises'". Romsey Advertiser. 
  62. ^ http://www.fathers-4-justice.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/CAROLINE-NOKES-JUL10D3D573.jpg
  63. ^ a b c Dugan, Emily (9 Oct 2014). "Fathers 4 Justice and the mother of all hate campaigns?". The Independent. Retrieved 28 March 2015. 
  64. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2 November 2013. Retrieved 2014-01-10. 
  65. ^ Davies, Sian (3 May 2013). "Fathers for Justice face Twitter ban over campaign". Romney Advertiser. Archived from the original on 29 November 2014. Retrieved 28 March 2015. 
  66. ^ "MP hits out at Children and Families Bill impact". Daily Echo. Southampton. 
  67. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 22 February 2014. Retrieved 2014-02-12. 
  68. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2 December 2014. Retrieved 2014-08-07. 
  69. ^ "I'm sick of living in terror from on-line bullies" says Caroline Nokes, Caroline Nokes MP, October 12, 2014
  70. ^ "Caroline Nokes in court over case of lobbyist accused of harassment". Mail Online. 5 October 2014. 
  71. ^ Dugan, Emily (10 October 2014). "Fathers 4 Justice couple lose injunction claim". The Independent. 
  72. ^ "Romsey MP Caroline Nokes and husband divorce". Daily Echo. Southampton. 15 November 2012. Retrieved 13 February 2017. 

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Sandra Gidley
Member of Parliament for Romsey and Southampton North
2010–present
Incumbent