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Caroline Spelman MP

Assumed office 
19th January 2009
Leader David Cameron
Preceded by Eric Pickles

In office
2nd July 2007 – 19th January 2009
Preceded by Francis Maude
Succeeded by Eric Pickles

Member of Parliament
for Meriden
Assumed office 
1 May 1997
Preceded by Iain Mills
Majority 7,009 (15.1%)

Born 4 May 1958 (1958-05-04) (age 51)
Bishop's Stortford, Hertfordshire
Nationality British
Political party Conservative
Spouse(s) Mark Spelman
Alma mater Queen Mary, University of London
Profession Politician
Religion Christian - Anglican [1]

Caroline Alice Spelman MP, (born 4 May 1958, Bishop's Stortford, Hertfordshire as Caroline Alice Cormack) is a Conservative politician in the United Kingdom who has served as Member of Parliament (MP) for Meriden in the West Midlands since 1997. In January 2009 she replaced Eric Pickles as Shadow Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government in a Shadow Cabinet reshuffle by David Cameron.


Early life

Born the same day as fellow current female MP Jane Kennedy, Spelman attended Herts and Essex High School for Girls (now called The Hertfordshire and Essex High School), in Warwick Road, Bishop's Stortford, Hertfordshire, and received a BA First Class in European Studies from the University of London's Queen Mary College.

She was Sugar Beet commodity secretary for the National Farmer's Union from 1981-4. She was deputy director of the International Confederation of European Beet Growers (officially known as La Confédération Internationale des Betteraviers Européens - CIBE) in Paris from 1984-9, then a research fellow for the Centre for European Agricultural Studies (part of the University of Kent and since 2000 known as the Centre for European Agri-Environmental Economics) from 1989-3. She co-owns Spelman, Cormack & Associates, a food and biotechnology business, with her husband.[1] Based in Dorridge (her constituency is in the borough of Solihull).

Parliamentary career

Before entering Parliament in 1997, she stood unsuccessfully in the Bassetlaw constituency in Nottinghamshire at the 1992 general election.

In 2001, Iain Duncan Smith appointed Spelman Shadow Secretary of State for International Development, a post she maintained until Duncan Smith's departure as Conservative Party leader. Duncan Smith's successor, Michael Howard, opted for a streamlined Shadow Cabinet and omitted Spelman; however, he later appointed her as a front bench spokeswoman on Environmental Affairs working for Theresa May. In March 2004, Spelman re-entered the Shadow Cabinet as Shadow Secretary of State for Local and Devolved Government Affairs, succeeding David Curry. Under David Cameron's leadership of the Conservative Party, in 2007 she was promoted further to become Conservative Party Chairman, and in 2009 she was moved sideways in another reshuffle to the role of Shadow Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government.


"Nannygate" controversy

On 6 June 2008, Spelman was the subject of controversy when it was suggested that for around twelve months from May 1997 she paid her child's nanny, Tina Haynes, from her parliamentary staffing allowance, contrary to the rule governing such allowances and fears of the misuse of them. Spelman claims that her nanny also acted as her constituency secretary and was paid from the public taxpayers' purse for this aspect of her further employment. Haynes confirms that occasionally she would answer phonecalls and post documents but initially she denied such happenings when interviewed on the BBC's Newsnight via telephone. The accusations came at a time when Conservative Party leader David Cameron had tasked Spelman with reviewing the use of parliamentary allowances by Conservative MPs and MEPs in the wake of the Derek Conway affair.[2] The claim against Spelman came shortly after two Conservative MEPs, Giles Chichester (Leader of the Conservatives in the EU Parliament) and Den Dover (Conservative Chief Whip in the EU Parliament), were forced to resign amid claims they misused their parliamentary allowances. Spelman has not been urged to resign by party leader, David Cameron, and of her own accord has referred the matter pertaining to herself, her nanny and parliamentary funds to the Parliamentary Standards Commissioner, who is currently John Lyon CB.[3] Senior Conservative colleagues including former Shadow Home Secretary David Davis have confederated support for Spelman in a bid to dispel the allegation that she abused her parliamentary allowance. [4]

New revelations were exposed on BBC Two's Newsnight programme that nine years previously Mrs Spelman's secretary, Sally Hammond, complained to the Conservative Party leadership that she was using Parliamentary allowances to pay her nanny and that the arrangement with the nanny was over a two year period and not one. [5]

In March 2009, the Commons Standards and Privileges Committee ruled Mrs Spelman had misused her allowances to pay for nannying work in 1997 and 1998.


In 2009, during the expenses crisis it was reported that Spelman had received £40,000 for cleaning and bills for her constituency home, this was despite her husband claiming it was their main home, and in 2008 she reportedly over-claimed hundreds of pounds towards her council tax.[6]

Personal life

She married Mark Spelman, a senior partner at Accenture, on 25 April 1987 in south-east Kent. They have two sons (born October 1992 and December 1994) and a daughter (born May 1991). Her husband stood as a Conservative candidate in the 2009 European elections for the West Midlands region.

The couple own three properties in total, speculated to be worth £5million: a £2million constituency home; a £2million four-storey Georgian townhouse in London; and a £700,000 villa in Algarve, Portugal, called Casa do Perfeito, or Perfect House.[7] Another estimate is £1.5m.[8]

She is a trustee of the Conservative Christian Fellowship.

See also


External links

Audio clips

Video clips

Offices held

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Iain Mills
Member of Parliament for Meriden
1997 – present
Political offices
Preceded by
David Curry
Shadow Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government
2004 – 2007
Succeeded by
Eric Pickles
Preceded by
Eric Pickles
Shadow Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government
2009 – present
Party political offices
Preceded by
Francis Maude
Chairman of the Conservative Party
2007 – 2009
Succeeded by
Eric Pickles

Simple English

Caroline Alice Spelman (born May 4, 1958) is an English politician. She is the Meriden constituency in the United Kingdom. She was first elected in the 1997 general election.

In May 2010 she became Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs in David Cameron's coalition cabinet, and was sworn as a Privy Counsellor on 13 May 2010.[1]

She is a member of the Conservative Party.



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