Victoria Atkins

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Victoria Atkins

Official portrait of Victoria Atkins MP crop 2.jpg
Atkins in 2020
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Safeguarding
Assumed office
9 November 2017
Prime MinisterTheresa May
Boris Johnson
Preceded bySarah Newton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Women
In office
8 January 2018 – 13 February 2020
Prime MinisterTheresa May
Boris Johnson
Preceded byAnne Milton
Succeeded byThe Baroness Berridge
Member of Parliament
for Louth and Horncastle
Assumed office
7 May 2015
Preceded bySir Peter Tapsell
Majority28,868 (55.2%)
Personal details
Born (1976-03-22) 22 March 1976 (age 44)
London, England
Political partyConservative
Spouse(s)Paul Kenward[1]
Children1[2][3]
Alma materCorpus Christi College,
Cambridge
Websitevictoriaatkins.org.uk

Victoria Mary Atkins (born 22 March 1976)[4] is a British Conservative Party politician. She was first elected as the Member of Parliament (MP) for Louth and Horncastle in the May 2015 general election.[5] Prior to her political career, she worked as a barrister specialising in the field of fraud.

Early life and legal career[edit]

Victoria Mary Atkins was born on 22 March 1976 in London. She is the daughter of Sir Robert Atkins, a former Conservative MP and MEP and Lady Dulcie Atkins, a Conservative councillor. She was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at the age of three. Atkins was privately educated at the Arnold School, a co-educational independent school in Blackpool in Lancashire.

Atkins read Law at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge.[6]

Atkins was called to the bar (Middle Temple) in 1998.[7][8] She worked as a barrister in the field of fraud in London.[7][9]

Political career[edit]

In November 2012, Atkins stood unsuccessfully in the first ever Police and Crime Commissioner elections for the Gloucestershire Constabulary area. Although she won on first preference votes, she was beaten by Martin Surl (independent) on second preferences.[10][11] She was also shortlisted for the safe seat of Salisbury in 2010.[12]

Parliamentary career[edit]

Atkins was selected over three others in July 2014 as the Conservative candidate for Louth and Horncastle, at a meeting (referred to as an "Open Primary" by the party)[13] of around 200 local party members in Spilsby. It is a safe Conservative seat: all areas of it have been continuously held by the party since 1924.[14][15] Former Prime Minister John Major, who supported her first parliamentary election campaign, has known her "since she was born".[16]

After becoming the MP for Louth and Horncastle at the 2015 general election, Atkins was appointed as a member of the Home Affairs Select Committee in July 2015.[17]

In January 2016, the Labour Party unsuccessfully proposed an amendment in Parliament that would have required private landlords to make their homes "fit for human habitation". According to Parliament's register of interests, Atkins was one of 72 Conservative MPs who voted against the amendment who personally derived an income from renting out property. The Conservative Government had responded to the amendment that they believed homes should be fit for human habitation but did not want to pass the new law that would explicitly require it.[18]

Atkins was opposed to Brexit prior to the 2016 EU membership referendum but consistently voted in favour of a referendum being held.[19][20] After the referendum, she voted in favour of triggering Article 50 in February 2017.[21][22] In the 2017 general election, she retained the seat with 63.9% of the votes and an increased majority.[23]

In June 2017, Atkins was appointed as a Junior Minister.[24] Following Priti Patel's resignation as International Development Secretary, she replaced Sarah Newton as Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Vulnerability, Safeguarding and Countering Extremism in the Home Office.[25]

In the House of Commons she has sat on the Draft Investigatory Powers Bill (Joint Committee) and the Home Affairs Committee.[26]

In April 2018, Atkins admitted she did not know the number of police officers in the country, despite being a Home Office Minister, during an 'awkward' interview on the LBC radio station. This followed the leak of a Home Office report that had concluded cuts to police numbers have “likely contributed” to a rise in serious violent crime.[27] The following month, she voluntarily recused herself from speaking on drug policy in relation to cannabis after it was reported that her husband's company, British Sugar, grows cannabis under permit.[28]

In June 2019, Atkins vetoed the appointment of Niamh Eastwood, the director of Release, to the independent advisory NGO Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD)'s council. She did so as Eastwood had previously been critical of the Home Office's drug policy on social media including criticising a letter by Atkins in which she opposed the introduction of drug consumption rooms. Eastwood had previously been approved by a Home Office advisory assessment panel. A subject access request by Eastwood revealed that ministers vetted social media profiles of appointments to public bodies including references to "Windrush", "the government", "Brexit", and "anything diversity-related".[29] In October, Professor Alex Stevens, a criminal justice expert, resigned from the ACMD over alleged "political vetting" of panel members by the government.[30] Kit Malthouse, the Minister for Policing replaced Atkins as the minister responsible for the government's drug policy on 7 October.[31] In the 2019 general election, she was re-elected for Louth and Horncastle with an increased majority, obtaining 72.7% of the vote[32] from a turnout of 65.7%.[33]

Personal life[edit]

Atkins is married to Paul Kenward,[1] the managing director of British Sugar.[28] They have one son.[2][3]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Mr P.R. Kenward and Miss V.M. Atkins - Engagements Announcements". Telegraph Announcements. Telegraph Media Group. 2007. Retrieved 28 April 2020.
  2. ^ a b "About Victoria". Victoria Atkins MP. Retrieved 15 September 2016.
  3. ^ a b Goodman, Paul (1 May 2015). "Cameron's Children: The next generation of Conservative MPs". ConservativeHome. Retrieved 28 April 2020. Family: Married to Paul, the Managing Director of a food company and has one son, Monty
  4. ^ Jamieson, Sophie (29 April 2015). "Female MPs: Parliament's future front bench stars". The Telegraph. Telegraph Media Group. Retrieved 28 April 2020.
  5. ^ "Louth & Horncastle". Election 2015. BBC News. 7 May 2015. Retrieved 28 April 2020.
  6. ^ "Victoria Atkins follows in her political parents' footsteps". Lancashire Post. JPI Media. 16 November 2017. Retrieved 28 April 2020.
  7. ^ a b "Profile". The Telegraph. Retrieved 10 May 2015.
  8. ^ "Victoria Mary Atkins | Barrister | Barrister & Expert Witness". The Bar Directory. Archived from the original on 4 April 2017. Retrieved 3 April 2017.
  9. ^ Simmons, Richard, Meet the lawyers standing for Parliament Lawyer 2B, 10 April 2015
  10. ^ "Gloucestershire PCC vote: Independent Martin Surl elected". BBC News. 16 November 2012. Retrieved 28 April 2020.
  11. ^ "Police and Crime Commissioner for Gloucestershire election". BBC News. 16 November 2012. Retrieved 28 April 2020.
  12. ^ Carr, Tim (18 May 2015). The Politicos Guide to the New House of Commons 2015: Profiles of the New MPs and Analysis of the 2015 General Election Results. Biteback Publishing. ISBN 9781849549240. Retrieved 18 June 2017 – via Google Books.
  13. ^ Wallace, Mark (30 July 2014). "Victoria Atkins wins hard-fought Louth and Horncastle Open Primary". ConservativeHome. Retrieved 28 April 2020.
  14. ^ "Victoria Atkins named Conservative Parliamentary candidate for Louth and Horncastle after hard fought primary". Grimsby Telegraph. Local World. 29 July 2014. Archived from the original on 25 May 2015. Retrieved 25 May 2015.
  15. ^ "Victoria Atkin selected as Conservative Party Primary candidate to succeed Sir Peter Tapsell". Louth Leader. JPI Media. 28 July 2014. Archived from the original on 19 August 2014. Retrieved 25 May 2015.
  16. ^ "Sir John Major visits to back Victoria Atkins in fight against UKIP's Colin Mair". Louth Leader. JPI Media. 5 February 2015. Archived from the original on 6 February 2015. Retrieved 25 May 2015.
  17. ^ "Home Affairs Committee: Committee membership announced". UK Parliament. 8 July 2015. Retrieved 28 April 2020.
  18. ^ Stone, Jon (13 January 2016). "Tories vote down law requiring landlords make their homes fit for human habitation". The Independent. Retrieved 28 April 2020.
  19. ^ "Victoria Atkins MP, Louth and Horncastle". TheyWorkForYou. Retrieved 28 April 2020.
  20. ^ 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.
  21. ^ "MP confirms she will vote in favour of triggering Article 50 if the issue comes before Parliament". Victoria Atkins. 4 November 2016. Retrieved 28 April 2020.
  22. ^ Daly, Patrick (1 February 2017). "North Lincolnshire MPs help Article 50 vote to pass overwhelmingly". Grimsby Telegraph. Archived from the original on 1 February 2017. Retrieved 3 April 2017.
  23. ^ "Louth & Horncastle parliamentary constituency". Election 2017. BBC News. 9 June 2017. Retrieved 28 April 2020.
  24. ^ Bolger, Hope. "Lincolnshire MP becomes junior minister". BBC News. Retrieved 28 April 2020.
  25. ^ "Victoria Atkins MP becomes Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Home Office". Louth Leader. JPI Media. 12 November 2017. Retrieved 28 April 2020.
  26. ^ "Victoria Atkins MP". UK Parliament. Retrieved 28 April 2020.
  27. ^ Simons, Ned (9 April 2018). "Tory Home Office Minister Victoria Atkins Admits She Does Not Know How Many Police Officers There Are". HuffPost UK. Retrieved 28 April 2020.
  28. ^ a b Khan, Shehan (17 May 2018). "Drugs minister accused of 'hypocrisy on a grand scale' over husband's involvement in legal cannabis farm". The Independent. Retrieved 28 April 2020.
  29. ^ Busby, Mattha (11 June 2019). "Drugs expert barred from policy panel after criticising Home Office". The Guardian. Retrieved 28 April 2020.
  30. ^ Busby, Mattha (6 October 2019). "Expert quits Home Office drug panel over 'political vetting'". The Guardian.
  31. ^ Busby, Mattha (7 October 2019). "Britain's minister responsible for drug policy replaced". The Guardian. Retrieved 28 April 2020.
  32. ^ "Victoria Atkins 'honoured and delighted' after election victory". Louth Leader. JPI Media. 13 December 2019. Retrieved 28 April 2020.
  33. ^ Hennessy, Peter (13 December 2020). "Victoria Atkins elected MP for Louth and Horncastle in emphatic victory". LincolnshireLive. Reach. Retrieved 28 April 2020.

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Peter Tapsell
Member of Parliament
for Louth and Horncastle

2015–present
Incumbent