Michelle Donelan

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Michelle Donelan
Official portrait of Michelle Donelan MP crop 2.jpg
Official portrait, 2019
Secretary of State for Education
In office
5 July 2022 – 7 July 2022
Prime MinisterBoris Johnson
Preceded byNadhim Zahawi
Succeeded byJames Cleverly
Minister of State for Higher and Further Education[a]
In office
13 February 2020 – 5 July 2022
Prime MinisterBoris Johnson
Preceded byChris Skidmore
Succeeded byAndrea Jenkyns
Lord Commissioner of the Treasury
In office
24 July 2019 – 13 February 2020
Prime MinisterBoris Johnson
Preceded byJeremy Quin
Succeeded byJames Morris
Member of Parliament
for Chippenham
Assumed office
7 May 2015
Preceded byDuncan Hames
Majority11,288 (19.8%)
Personal details
Michelle Emma May Elizabeth Donelan

(1984-04-08) 8 April 1984 (age 38)[1]
Whitley, Cheshire, England
Political partyConservative
EducationThe County High School, Leftwich[2]
Alma materUniversity of York (BA)[1]
Websitemichelledonelan.co.uk Edit this at Wikidata

Michelle Emma May Elizabeth Donelan (born 8 April 1984) is a British politician who served as Minister of State for Higher and Further Education from 2020 to 2022,[a] and Secretary of State for Education for two days, from 5 July to 7 July 2022. A member of the Conservative Party, she has been Member of Parliament (MP) for Chippenham since 2015.

Education and early life[edit]

Michelle Emma May Elizabeth Donelan was born in April 1984.[3][4] She grew up in Whitley, Cheshire, and at the age of 15 spoke at the Conservative Party Conference in Blackpool in 1999,[2] having decided to be a politician at the age of six.[5] She was educated at The County High School, Leftwich,[2] and was awarded a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree in history and politics from the University of York.[when?][1] During her undergraduate study she was involved in York Student Television.[2]


Before the election of 2015, Donelan's career outside politics was in marketing, including a time working on Marie Claire magazine and World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE).[1][6] She subsequently stood for parliament at the 2010 general election in the safe Labour seat of Wentworth and Dearne in South Yorkshire, taking 7,396 votes (17.6%) to Labour MP John Healey's 21,316 (50.6%). She was then selected as the prospective parliamentary candidate for Chippenham in February 2013.[6] In Wiltshire, the constituency includes the market towns of Bradford on Avon, Chippenham, Corsham and Melksham, and the surrounding rural areas.[1][7]

After her selection at Chippenham, she became a Trustee of Help Victims of Domestic Violence, a charitable organisation based in the town and a member of the Steering Group of Wiltshire Carers. In 2013 she bought her first house, in the Chippenham town centre.[8] She defeated incumbent Liberal Democrat member Duncan Hames with 26,354 votes (47.6%) to 16,278 (29.4%).[9]

In July 2015, Donelan was elected (by fellow MPs) onto the Education Select Committee, where she became part of the Sub-Committee on Education, Skills and the Economy in November 2015.

Before the 2016 referendum, Donelan was opposed to the UK leaving the European Union,[10] but since then has consistently voted against UK membership of the EU in Parliament.[11]

In June 2017, Donelan was re-elected as MP for Chippenham with 31,267 votes (54.7%), a majority of 16,630 over the 14,637 Liberal Democrat votes (25.6%).[9]

Donelan was appointed an assistant whip in 2018[12] and a government whip in July 2019. In September 2019, she was appointed parliamentary under-secretary for children to cover maternity leave for Kemi Badenoch.[13]

In the December 2019 general election, Donelan was re-elected with 30,994 votes (54.3%), a majority of 11,288 over the 19,706 Liberal Democrat votes (34.5%).[14]

In the February 2020 cabinet reshuffle, she became Minister of State for Universities.[7][15][16] As of May 2020, her responsibilities included universities[2] and co-chairing the Family Justice Board, which oversees the performance of the family justice system and is advised by the Family Justice Council.[17]

In the 2021 cabinet reshuffle, her role was renamed Minister of State for Higher and Further Education, with the added right to attend cabinet. She was also sworn of the Privy Council.

Secretary of State for Education[edit]

On 5 July 2022, in the wake of a large number of resignations from the second Johnson ministry over Boris Johnson's handling of the Chris Pincher scandal, Donelan was promoted to Secretary of State for Education after the previous Secretary, Nadhim Zahawi, was appointed Chancellor of the Exchequer.[18]

On 7 July 2022, after less than 36 hours in the role, Donelan resigned as Secretary of State following over 50 other ministerial resignations, writing that Johnson had "put us in an impossible position".[19] She was the shortest-serving cabinet member in British history, her two-day tenure being shorter than Earl Temple's four-day tenure as Foreign Secretary.[20] Following reports she would receive severance pay at Secretary of State level despite her short tenure, Donelan pledged to donate any such payment in full to a local charity.[21][22]

Personal life[edit]

Donelan is a practising Christian.[8] In 2021 she was reported to be in a relationship with Tom Turner, Head of Commercial at Stronghold Global, a company which supplies government bodies including the Department of Health and Social Care.[23][24]


She was sworn in as a member of the Privy Council of the United Kingdom on 20 September 2021 at Balmoral Castle.[25] This gave her the honorific prefix "The Right Honourable".


  1. ^ a b Known as Minister of State for Universities from 2020 to 2021


  1. ^ a b c d e Anon (2017). "Donelan, Michelle Emma May Elizabeth". Who's Who. ukwhoswho.com (online Oxford University Press ed.). A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc. doi:10.1093/ww/9780199540884.013.U283877. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  2. ^ a b c d e Kernohan, David (2020). "Who is new universities minister Michelle Donelan?". wonkhe.com. Retrieved 15 June 2020.
  3. ^ "No. 61230". The London Gazette. 18 May 2015. p. 9126.
  4. ^ "Michelle Donelan MP". myparliament.info. MyParliament. Retrieved 11 August 2017.
  5. ^ Rea, Ailbhe (21 August 2020). "Paranoid Androids". New Statesman. p. 14.
  6. ^ a b "Tories select Michelle Donelan as prospective parliamentary candidate for Chippenham". Bath Chronicle. 4 March 2013.
  7. ^ a b Baker, John (17 February 2020). "Michelle Donelan, the MP for Chippenham, is the new Minister of State for Universities". wiltshiretimes.co.uk. Wiltshire Times. Retrieved 28 May 2020.
  8. ^ a b Donelan, Michelle (2019). "About Michelle". michelledonelan.co.uk. Retrieved 11 August 2017.
  9. ^ a b "Election 2017: Chippenham parliamentary constituency". bbc.co.uk. BBC News. 9 June 2017. Retrieved 29 June 2017.
  10. ^ Goodenough, Tom (2016). "Which Tory MPs back Brexit, who doesn't and who is still on the fence?". spectator.co.uk. The Spectator. Retrieved 11 October 2016.
  11. ^ TheyWorkForYou: Michelle Donelan (retrieved 9 February 2021)
  12. ^ "Michelle Donelan MP". gov.uk. Retrieved 21 September 2019.
  13. ^ "Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Minister for Children and Families) (maternity cover)". gov.uk. Retrieved 8 September 2019.
  14. ^ "Chippenham Parliamentary constituency". bbc.com. Retrieved 13 December 2019.
  15. ^ "University students and COVID-19 FAQ – Education in the media". dfemedia.blog.gov.uk.
  16. ^ "Michelle Donelan named universities minister as science split off". timeshighereducation.com. Times Higher Education. 13 February 2020.
  17. ^ "Family Justice Board". gov.uk. Retrieved 28 May 2020.
  18. ^ "Who is new Education Secretary and Chippenham MP Michelle Donelan?". ITV News. 6 July 2022. Retrieved 6 July 2022.
  19. ^ Scott, Jennifer (7 July 2022). "New Education Secretary Michelle Donelan quits as Nadhim Zahawi tells Boris Johnson 'go now"'". Sky News. Retrieved 7 July 2022.
  20. ^ Gutteridge, Nick (7 July 2022). "Minister who quit after 35 hours is in line for £17,000 payout". The Telegraph. Retrieved 8 July 2022.
  21. ^ Coates, Sam (7 July 2022). "Donelan entitled to Secretary of State level payoff despite only being in the job for 36 hours". Sky News. Retrieved 7 July 2022.
  22. ^ Michelle Donelan MP [@michelledonelan] (7 July 2022). "If this is the case I shall be donating it in full to a local charity" (Tweet). Retrieved 7 July 2022 – via Twitter.
  23. ^ Baker, John (25 September 2021). "MP 'feeling sore' as she resumes trek". Gazette and Herald. Retrieved 26 April 2022.
  24. ^ "REVEALED: Minister's partner's firm awarded lucrative Covid contracts". The Good Law Project. 4 November 2021. Retrieved 26 April 2022.

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by Member of Parliament
for Chippenham

Political offices
Preceded by Lord Commissioner of the Treasury
Succeeded by
Preceded by Minister of State for Higher and Further Education

(Known as Minister of State for Universities 2020–2021)

Succeeded by
Preceded by Secretary of State for Education
Succeeded by