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Sandra Gidley MP

Assumed office 
March 2006
Leader Nick Clegg

Member of Parliament
for Romsey
Assumed office 
4 May 2000
Preceded by Michael Colvin
Majority 125 (0.2%)

Born 26 March 1957 (1957-03-26) (age 52)
Rosset, Denbighshire
Nationality British
Political party Liberal Democrat
Spouse(s) Bill
Children 1 son, 1 daughter
Alma mater University of Bath
Profession Pharmacist

Sandra Julia Gidley (born 26 March 1957) is a Liberal Democrat politician in the United Kingdom. She is the Member of Parliament (MP) for Romsey in Hampshire.



Born Sandra Julia Rawson in Rosset, Denbighshire in Wales, she was educated widely at the Eggar's Grammar School (now Eggar's School) on London Road in Alton, Hampshire; the Afcent International School in Brunssum (now the AFNORTH International School), Netherlands; and the Windsor Girls' School in Hamm, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. She finished her education at the University of Bath where she was awarded a BPharm degree in 1978. She became a MRPharmS in 1979.

In 1979 she joined Badham Chemists as a pharmacist in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, until she was appointed as a pharmacy manager with GK Chemists in Gloucester in 1980. She became a locum pharmacist in 1982 before joining Safeway as a supermarket pharmacy manager in 1992, and joined Tesco in the same position in 1999 where she remained until her election to the House of Commons.

Parliamentary career

She joined the Liberal Democrats in 1994, was elected as a councillor to the Test Valley Borough Council in 1995, and in 1997 became the youngest ever female Mayor of Romsey. After Romsey's Conservative MP Michael Colvin died in a fire at his home in Tangley on February 24, 2000,[1] Gidley was selected as the Liberal Democrat candidate for the resulting by-election. She won the by-election, on May 4, with a majority of 3,311 votes[2] and has held the seat there since, winning in the 2001 and 2005 general elections. However in 2005 her majority was reduced to only 125 votes,[3] the smallest of any Liberal Democrat MP.

She was appointed to the frontbench by Charles Kennedy after the 2001 General Election as the party's spokeswoman on women's issues and older people from 2001, with a seat in the Liberal Democrat Frontbench Team. In January 2006, as Kennedy's faced allegations of a drink problem, Gidley was one of 11 members of the Shadow Cabinet to write to Kennedy asking him to resign.[4]

She is currently a Lib Dem shadow Minister for health working with Norman Lamb and John Pugh and a member of the House of Commons Health Select Committee.

Sandra has chaired her party's Gender Balance Task Force,[5] an initiative to get more women into politics. She chairs the All Party Parliamentary Group on Eye Health. Sandra is vice-chair of the All Party Parliamentary groups on Men's Health, AIDS, Cancer and Domestic Violence as well as co-chair of the All Parliamentary Party Group on Mental Health.

on 22nd June 2009 Sandra was a public supporter of John Bercow for Speaker of the House of Commons, Sandra made history by being the first Liberal Democrat to 'drag' the speaker to his chair. Traditionally, the winning candidate for Speaker is pulled ‘reluctantly’ to the chair as soon as their victory is announced. In a clear break with the past, Sandra was chosen by new Speaker John Bercow over a Labour MP

Personal life

Sandra and her husband Bill, an electronics engineer, married in 1979 and have lived in Romsey since 1986. They have a daughter, Gemma, and a son, Nick, who both attended local state schools. Sandra was for many years a voluntary antenatal teacher with the National Childbirth Trust and has been involved with many charitable organisations.

She enjoys badminton, and lists reading, cookery and the theatre amongst her hobbies, and is a supporter of Macmillan Cancer Relief.

See also


External links

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Michael Colvin
Member of Parliament for Romsey


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