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Virginia Bottomley: Wikis


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The Right Honourable
 The Baroness Bottomley of Nettlestone 

In office
5 July 1995 – 2 May 1997
Prime Minister John Major
Preceded by Stephen Dorrell
Succeeded by Chris Smith

In office
9 April 1992 – 5 July 1995
Preceded by William Waldegrave
Succeeded by Stephen Dorrell

Born 12 March 1948 (1948-03-12) (age 61)
Dunoon, Scotland, UK
Political party Conservative
Religion Anglican

Virginia Hilda Brunette Maxwell Bottomley, Baroness Bottomley of Nettlestone PC, DL, née Virginia Garnett (born 12 March 1948, Dunoon, Scotland), is a British Conservative Party politician. She was a Member of Parliament (MP) in the House of Commons from 1984 to 2005. Considered to be a "One Nation Conservative", Bottomley is a Life Member of the Tory Reform Group.


Early life

Virginia was born to W. John Garnett, former director of what was then called The Industrial Society, and Barbara Rutherford-Smith, teacher and elected member of the Inner London Education Authority. Virginia's aunt on her father's side was Peggy Jay, of the Labour dynasty. Virginia was educated at Putney High School, and later graduated from the University of Essex before her Master's at the London School of Economics. She was a social scientist, researcher for Child Poverty Action Group, social worker, magistrate (Justice of the Peace), and chairman of the Inner London Juvenile Court.

Member of Parliament and In government

She was elected to Parliament in a by-election in 1984, as the Member for South West Surrey, received her first ministerial position in 1988 as junior Environment minister and was appointed Minister of Health in 1989. She become a member of the Privy Council, and joined John Major's cabinet, serving as Secretary of State for Health from 1992 to 1995, and then Secretary of State for National Heritage from 1995 to 1997. After the 1997 general election, she returned to the backbenches also becoming a headhunter in the charity and public sectors, now also leading the Odgers Board practice.



She stepped down from the House of Commons when the 2005 general election was called. On 24 June 2005 she became a life peer with the title Baroness Bottomley of Nettlestone, of St Helens in the County of Isle of Wight, the parish where she was baptised and celebrated her marriage.

Personal life

She is also involved with charitable and academic bodies in addition to business. She is a Governor of the London School of Economics and a Pro Chancellor of the University of Surrey. She was on the founding Council of the University of the Arts, London. She is also a Council Member of the Ditchley Foundation and President of Farnham Castle Centre for International Briefing. Since 2000 she has sat on the Supervisory Board of Akzo Nobel. She is a non-executive director of Bupa. She is on the Advisory Council of the International Chamber of Commerce UK and the Judge School of Management, Cambridge. Bottomley has been a trustee and is a fellow of the Industry and Parliament Trust. She is National President of the Abbeyfield Society[1] and a Vice-Patron of Carers and of Cruse Bereavement Care. She is a lay Canon of Guildford Cathedral, and a Freeman of the City of London. In 2006, she was elected and installed as Chancellor of the University of Hull, succeeding Lord Armstrong of Ilminster in April 2006. She was also appointed a Deputy Lieutenant of Surrey in March of that year.

Virginia Garnett married Peter Bottomley in 1967, six years after they met; since 1975 he has been an MP. They live in Milford, Surrey.

Her brother, Christopher Garnett, is a former chief executive of the GNER railway, and Peter Jay, the former British Ambassador to the United States, is a cousin, as are Lord Hunt of Chesterton (Labour), Lord Oakshott of Seagrove Bay (Liberal) and Baron Jay of Ewelme, former British Ambassador to France. Her stepmother is Dame Julia Cleverdon.

In 2007 she was a signatory to a letter supporting former BP Chief Executive Lord Browne.


External links

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Maurice Macmillan
Member of Parliament for South West Surrey
Succeeded by
Jeremy Hunt
Political offices
Preceded by
William Waldegrave
Secretary of State for Health
Succeeded by
Stephen Dorrell
Preceded by
Stephen Dorrell
Secretary of State for National Heritage
Succeeded by
Chris Smith
Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport


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