Caroline Spelman

Dame Caroline Alice Spelman DBE (née Cormack; born 4 May 1958) is a British Conservative Party politician who has served as the Member of Parliament (MP) for Meriden in the West Midlands since 1997. From May 2010 to September 2012[1] she was the 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.[2]

Dame Caroline Spelman

Official portrait of Dame Caroline Spelman crop 2
Second Church Estates Commissioner
Assumed office
21 May 2015
Prime MinisterDavid Cameron
Theresa May
Preceded byTony Baldry
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
In office
12 May 2010 – 4 September 2012
Prime MinisterDavid Cameron
Preceded byHilary Benn
Succeeded byOwen Paterson
Shadow Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government
In office
19 January 2009 – 12 May 2010
LeaderDavid Cameron
Preceded byEric Pickles
Succeeded byJohn Denham
In office
15 March 2004 – 2 July 2007
LeaderMichael Howard
David Cameron
Preceded byDavid Curry (Local and Devolved Government Affairs)
Succeeded byEric Pickles
Chairwoman of the Conservative Party
In office
2 July 2007 – 19 January 2009
LeaderDavid Cameron
Preceded byFrancis Maude
Succeeded byEric Pickles
Shadow Secretary of State for the Environment
In office
10 November 2003 – 15 March 2004
LeaderMichael Howard
Preceded byDavid Lidington (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
Succeeded byRichard Ottaway
Shadow Minister for Women
In office
14 September 2001 – 15 March 2004
LeaderIain Duncan Smith
Michael Howard
Preceded byTheresa May
Succeeded byEleanor Laing
Shadow Secretary of State for International Development
In office
18 September 2001 – 10 November 2003
LeaderIain Duncan Smith
Preceded byGary Streeter
Succeeded byJohn Bercow
Member of Parliament
for Meriden
Assumed office
1 May 1997
Preceded byIain Mills
Majority19,198 (35.1%)
Personal details
Caroline Alice Cormack

4 May 1958 (age 60)
Bishop's Stortford, Hertfordshire, England
Political partyConservative
Mark Spelman (m. 1987)
Alma materQueen Mary College, University of London
WebsiteOfficial website


Born in Bishop's Stortford, Hertfordshire, Spelman attended the Hertfordshire and Essex High School for Girls (now called The Hertfordshire and Essex High School), in Bishop's Stortford, and received a BA First Class in European Studies from Queen Mary College, University of London.

Early career

She was Sugar Beet commodity secretary for the National Farmer's Union from 1981 to 1984. 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 to 1993. She co-owns Spelman, Cormack & Associates, a lobbying firm for the food and biotechnology industry, with her husband.[3]

Parliamentary career

Before entering Parliament in 1997, she stood unsuccessfully in the Bassetlaw constituency in Nottinghamshire at the 1992 general election.[4]

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.

In 2009, Spelman was moved in another reshuffle to the role of Shadow Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, replacing Eric Pickles. Since the reshuffle, Spelman has returned to the Commons backbenches. Spelman was opposed to Brexit prior to the 2016 referendum.[5] In January 2016, Spelman became a Founding MP of Conservatives For Reform In Europe, the campaign to remain in the EU, subject to the Prime Minister's renegotiations, alongside Nick Herbert and Eric Pickles.

In January 2019 MPs approved symbolic, non-binding amendment, tabled by Spelman, to prevent a no-deal Brexit, by 318 votes to 310.[6][7]


In 2009, during the expenses scandal 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. In 2008 she reportedly over-claimed hundreds of pounds towards her council tax.[3]

"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 phone calls and post documents but initially she denied such happenings when interviewed on BBC Two'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.[8]

The allegation 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. However, Spelman was not urged to resign by party leader, David Cameron. She referred the matter pertaining to herself, her nanny and parliamentary funds to John Lyon, the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards.[9] Senior Conservative colleagues including former Shadow Home Secretary David Davis stated their support for Spelman.[10]

New allegations were reported on the BBC's Newsnight programme that nine years previously 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.[11]

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

Privacy injunction

On 24 February 2012, the High Court in London refused to continue a privacy injunction previously granted to prevent the publication of a news item in the Daily Star Sunday involving her son. Judge Michael Tugendhat said that the injunction was "not necessary or proportionate".[12] On 2 March 2012, the Spelmans decided not to appeal against the decision, which permitted the publication of a story about her son.[13] The Spelman family was required to pay the legal costs of the Daily Star Sunday, in addition to their own legal costs of £60,994.[14][15]

Personal life

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

The couple own a constituency home, a London townhouse and a villa in Algarve, Portugal,[16] Her wealth is estimated as £1.5m.[17]

She is a Patron of the Conservative Christian Fellowship.[18]

Spelman was made a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire for political and public service as part of the Resignation Honours of the outgoing Prime Minister David Cameron.[19]


  1. ^ "Green groups' concern over Owen Paterson record". BBC News. 4 September 2012. Archived from the original on 4 September 2012. Retrieved 4 September 2012.
  2. ^ "Privy Council appointments, 13 May 2010". Privy Council. Archived from the original on 11 June 2011. Retrieved 26 July 2010.
  3. ^ a b "The new ruling class". NewStatesman. Archived from the original on 4 October 2009. Retrieved 11 October 2009.
  4. ^ ""Election Results: Overnight declarations nationwide"". The Guardian. 10 April 1992. p. 7. Retrieved 8 October 2018 – via ProQuest. (Subscription required (help)).
  5. ^ Goodenough, Tom (16 February 2016). "Which Tory MPs back Brexit, who doesn't and who is still on the fence?". The Spectator. Archived from the original on 22 October 2016. Retrieved 11 October 2016.
  6. ^ "MPs approve Dame Caroline Spelman's amendment to prevent no-deal Brexit". Retrieved 29 January 2019.
  7. ^ Sparrow, Andrew; Elliott, Larry (29 January 2019). "Brexit: MPs vote for Brady amendment to renegotiate Irish backstop – Politics live". Retrieved 29 January 2019 – via
  8. ^ Tory MP paid nanny from expenses Archived 18 May 2009 at the Wayback Machine, BBC
  9. ^ Tory chairman Caroline Spelman to meet standards commissioner over nanny expenses, Daily Telegraph 7 June 2008
  10. ^ Tories rally round Spelman Yahoo! News 8 June 2008 Archived 10 June 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  11. ^ "MPs call for Spelman to be sacked". BBC News. 26 June 2008. Archived from the original on 18 May 2009. Retrieved 28 April 2010.
  12. ^ "Caroline Spelman's son loses privacy injunction bid". BBC News. 24 February 2012. Archived from the original on 1 March 2012. Retrieved 24 February 2012.
  13. ^ "Caroline Spelman's son 'took drugs after sports injury'". BBC News. 2 March 2012. Archived from the original on 2 March 2012. Retrieved 2 March 2012.
  14. ^ "Cabinet Minister's Son Sorry Over Drug Use". Sky News. 2 March 2012. Archived from the original on 4 March 2012.
  15. ^ Savage, Tom (26 February 2012). "Court Win for the Daily Star Sunday". (The Daily Star Sunday was party to the legal action)
  16. ^ Worden, Tom (15 March 2009). ""Nannygate" Tory Caroline Spelman's properties worth nearly £5million". Sunday Mirror. Archived from the original on 29 October 2010. Retrieved 22 January 2010.
  17. ^ Glen Owen The coalition of millionaires: 23 of the 29 member of the new cabinet are worth more than £1m... and the Lib Dems are just as wealthy as the Tories Archived 27 May 2012 at Mail on Sunday 23 May 2010
  18. ^ "CCF Patrons". Conservative Christian Fellowship. Archived from the original on 28 June 2014. Retrieved 15 June 2014.
  19. ^ "No. 61678". The London Gazette (Supplement). 16 August 2016. p. RH3.

External links

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Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Iain Mills
Member of Parliament
for Meriden

Political offices
Preceded by
Gary Streeter
Shadow Secretary of State for International Development
Succeeded by
John Bercow
Preceded by
Theresa May
Shadow Minister for Women
Succeeded by
Eleanor Laing
Preceded by
David Lidington
as Shadow Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Shadow Secretary of State for the Environment
Succeeded by
Richard Ottaway
Preceded by
David Curry
as Shadow Secretary of State for Local and Devolved Government Affairs
Shadow Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government
Succeeded by
Eric Pickles
Preceded by
Eric Pickles
Shadow Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government
Succeeded by
John Denham
Preceded by
Hilary Benn
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Succeeded by
Owen Paterson
Party political offices
Preceded by
Francis Maude
Chair of the Conservative Party
Succeeded by
Eric Pickles
Chairman of the Conservative Party

The Chairman of the Conservative Party in the United Kingdom is responsible for party administration, overseeing the Conservative Campaign Headquarters (formerly Conservative Central Office). When the Conservatives are in government, the Chairman is usually a member of the Cabinet holding a sinecure position such as Minister without Portfolio. Deputy or vice-chairmen may also be appointed, with responsibility for specific aspects of the Conservative Party (for example, local government, women or youth). When a woman holds the office, such as Theresa May and Dame Caroline Spelman, the office is titled Chairwoman of the Conservative Party. The Conservative Party is currently chaired by Brandon Lewis, who was appointed January 8th, 2018, with James Cleverly who served as his deputy from 2018 to 2019.

The role was created in 1911 in response to the Conservative party's defeat in the second 1910 general election. The position is not subject to election, and is given by the party leader.

Church Commissioners

The Church Commissioners is a body managing the historic property assets of the Church of England. It was set up in 1948 combining the assets of Queen Anne's Bounty, a fund dating from 1704 for the relief of poor clergy, and of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners formed in 1836. The Church Commissioners are a registered charity regulated by the Charity Commission for England and Wales, and are liable for the payment of pensions to retired clergy whose pensions were accrued before 1998 (subsequent pensions are the responsibility of the Church of England Pensions Board.

The Secretary (and chief executive) of the Church Commissioners is Andrew Brown.

Commission for Rural Communities

The Commission for Rural Communities (CRC) was established as a division of England's Countryside Agency on 1 April 2005, and became a non-departmental public body on 1 October 2006, following the enactment of the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006. The chairman of the commission was Stuart Burgess.

On 29 June 2010, Defra secretary Caroline Spelman announced the abolition of the Commission as part of the 2010 UK quango reforms. It was formally abolished on 31 March 2013.

David Curry

David Maurice Curry (born 13 June 1944) is a British Conservative Party politician. He was the Member of Parliament (MP) for Skipton and Ripon from 1987 to 2010.

Ecclesiastical Committee

The Ecclesiastical Committee is a body created by the Church of England Assembly (Powers) Act 1919 that comprises 30 members of the United Kingdom Parliament. Its purpose is to review Church of England measures submitted to Parliament by the Legislative Committee of the General Synod. The Lord Speaker appoints 15 members from the House of Lords, and the Speaker of the House of Commons appoints 15 MPs to serve on the committee. Members are appointed to serve for the duration of a parliament.

Eric Pickles

Eric Jack Pickles, Baron Pickles, Kt PC (born 20 April 1952) is a British Conservative Party politician who was the Member of Parliament for Brentwood and Ongar from the 1992 general election to the 2017 general election and was the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government until May 2015. He was previously the Chairman of the Conservative Party from 2009 to 2010 and is currently the chairman of Conservative Friends of Israel. He is the United Kingdom Special Envoy for post-Holocaust issues, being appointed in 2015.Pickles stood down at the 2017 general election, but continued in his role as Special Envoy, and Anti Corruption Champion.

Francis Maude

Francis Anthony Aylmer Maude, Baron Maude of Horsham (born 4 July 1953) is a British Conservative politician, who served over 25 years on the front bench in the House of Commons, including posts as Minister for the Cabinet Office and Paymaster-General, as well as Member of Parliament representing Horsham in Sussex, and then as Baron Maude of Horsham as Minister of State for Trade and Investment until April 2016.

Gary Streeter

Sir Gary Nicholas Streeter (born 2 October 1955 in Gosport) is a Conservative Party politician in the United Kingdom.

Since 1997 he has been Member of Parliament (MP) for South West Devon, having previously been the Member of Parliament for Plymouth Sutton between 1992 and 1997. He was re-elected as MP in 2017.

Iain Mills

Iain Campbell Mills (21 April 1940 in Glasgow – 13 January 1997 in London) was a Conservative Party politician in the United Kingdom.

Mills was educated in southern Africa and subsequently worked as a Market Planning Executive for Dunlop. He served as a councillor on Lichfield District Council from 1974 until 1976.

He entered the House of Commons at the 1979 general election as Member of Parliament (MP) for the constituency of Meriden, and held the constituency until his death shortly before the general election of 1997. His successor was Caroline Spelman.

The death of Mills from alcohol poisoning at Dolphin Square, London, caused the government of John Major to lose its parliamentary majority. This, along with the Wirral South by-election held a month later, resulted in Major announcing the 1997 general election less than 4 months later.

Jeremy Wright

Jeremy Paul Wright (born 24 October 1972) is an English Conservative Party politician and lawyer who was Attorney General for England and Wales and Advocate General for Northern Ireland from 2014 to 2018, and has served as Culture Secretary since July 2018. He is Member of Parliament (MP) for Kenilworth and Southam, and from 2005 to 2010 was MP for Rugby and Kenilworth, which was abolished in boundary changes at the 2010 general election.

List of MPs elected in the 1997 United Kingdom general election

This is a list of Members of Parliament (MPs) elected to the House of Commons of the 52nd Parliament of the United Kingdom at the 1997 general election, held on 1 May 1997.

The list is arranged by constituency. New MPs elected since the general election are noted at the bottom of the page.

Notable newcomers to the House of Commons included Alan Johnson, Derek Twigg, Hazel Blears, Charles Clarke, Yvette Cooper, Ruth Kelly, Jacqui Smith, Damian Green, Theresa May, Vince Cable, Martin Bell, John Bercow, Oona King, Owen Paterson, Maria Eagle, Ben Bradshaw, Lindsay Hoyle, Philip Hammond, Dominic Grieve, Caroline Spelman, Kelvin Hopkins, John Hayes, Chris Ruane, Oliver Letwin, Eleanor Laing, Andrew Lansley, Shaun Woodward, Michael Moore, Tim Loughton, Jim Murphy, Lembit Opik, David Drew, John Cryer, Barry Gardiner, Sir Desmond Swayne, and John McDonnell. Martin McGuinness was also elected; however, he did not take his seat.

During the 1997–2001 Parliament, Betty Boothroyd and Michael Martin served as Speaker, Tony Blair served as Prime Minister, and John Major and William Hague served as Leader of the Opposition. Dissolution of the 52nd Parliament was on 14 May 2001.

Meriden (UK Parliament constituency)

Meriden is a constituency represented in the House of Commons of the UK Parliament since 1997 by Caroline Spelman, a Conservative. It is named after the village of Meriden which lies around halfway between the urban fringe of Solihull and Coventry.

Owen Paterson

Owen William Paterson (born 24 June 1956) is a British Conservative Party politician who was the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs from 2012 to 2014. He was first elected as the Member of Parliament for North Shropshire at the 1997 general election.

Paterson was appointed to the Shadow Cabinet of David Cameron in 2007 as Shadow Secretary of State for Northern Ireland. During the formation of the Coalition Government in 2010, he was appointed to the Cabinet as Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, where he remained until being moved to DEFRA in 2012. He has since been more widely known as a leading supporter of Brexit and an outspoken critic of the European Union.

In 2014, he established and became the Chairman of UK 2020, a right-wing think tank based in Westminster. In 2016, Paterson became part of Leave Means Leave's political advisory board.

Shadow Cabinet of David Cameron

The list that follows are the Shadow Cabinets led by David Cameron from 2005 to 2010, before he became Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.

Shadow Cabinet of Iain Duncan Smith

The UK Shadow Cabinet (see also Official Opposition Shadow Cabinet (UK)) was appointed by Conservative Party leader Iain Duncan Smith. Following his initial appointments in September 2001 Smith managed three reshuffles before his resignation as leader in November 2003.

Shadow Cabinet of Michael Howard

The Shadow Cabinets appointed by Michael Howard, a Conservative, are listed below.

Shadow Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government

Shadow Secretary of State for Communities, and Local Government is a position with the UK Opposition's Shadow Cabinet; if elected, the designated person is a likely choice to become the new Communities Secretary.

The position has existed in many iterations, first as Environment, Transport and the Regions in 1997 after the Government's reorganisation. The portfolio shifted among government departments for many years until resting on its current name in 2006.

Under Michael Howard, the arrangement was slightly different. There was a Shadow Secretary of State for Local and Devolved Government Affairs in Shadow Cabinet who supervised a Shadow Local Government Secretary and a Shadow Regions Secretary outside of it.The current Shadow Communities Secretary, as of June 2017, is Andrew Gwynne. Following the 2018 British cabinet reshuffle, Theresa May added Housing in England to the portfolio. However, the Shadow Cabinet of Jeremy Corbyn, has a Shadow Communities Secretary, along with a separate Shadow Secretary of State for Housing, as Corbyn has indicated that if Labour form the next government, they will create a separate government department for housing.


Spelman is a surname, and may refer to:

Caroline Spelman, British politician

David Spelman (born 1966), American music producer

Edward Spelman (died 1767), English translator

Henry Spelman, British antiquarian

Henry Spelman of Jamestown (1595–1623), English adventurer, soldier, and author

John Spelman (1594–1643), British writer

John Spelman (MP) (1606-1663), English politician

Laura Spelman Rockefeller (1839–1915), American philanthropist

Mick Spelman, English footballer

Taffy Spelman (1914–?), English footballer

Timothy Mather Spelman (1891-1970), American composer

Cabinet of David Cameron (2010–2016)
Secretaries of State for Environment
Secretaries of State for the Environment,
Transport and the Regions
Secretaries of State for Environment,
Food and Rural Affairs

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