Karen Lumley MP

5 Dec 2012 11:09:15

70 Tory MPs vote to repeal the Human Rights Act

By Matthew Barrett
Follow Matthew on Twitter.

BACON RICHARDYesterday in Parliament, Richard Bacon, a Conservative backbencher, tried to introduce a Bill which would repeal the Human Rights Act 1998. One of Mr Bacon's lines of argument was that the legal requirement for Ministers to amend legislation - without a vote in Parliament - in order to comply with European human rights legislation - is "fundamentally undemocratic":

"Under section 10, a Minister of the Crown may make such amendments to primary legislation as are considered necessary to enable the incompatibility to be removed by the simple expedient of making an order. In effect, because the accepted practice is that the United Kingdom observes its international obligations, a supranational court can impose its will against ours. In my view this is fundamentally undemocratic."

Mr Bacon also compellingly argued that the controversial social issues that judges often like to get involved in should be decided by "elected representatives and not by unelected judges":

"[T]here is no point in belonging to a club if one is not prepared to obey its rules. The solution is therefore not to defy judgments of the Court, but rather to remove the power of the Court over us. ... Judges do not have access to a tablet of stone not available to the rest of us which enables them to discern what our people need better than we can possibly do as their elected, fallible, corrigible representatives. There is no set of values that are so universally agreed that we can appeal to them as a useful final arbiter. In the end they will always be shown up as either uselessly vague or controversially specific. Questions of major social policy, whether on abortion, capital punishment, the right to bear firearms or workers rights, should ultimately be decided by elected representatives and not by unelected judges."

Continue reading "70 Tory MPs vote to repeal the Human Rights Act" »

24 Oct 2012 18:40:54

New 1922 Committee and Select Committee members elected

By Matthew Barrett
Follow Matthew on Twitter.

After today's 1922 Committee elections, Robert Buckland has been elected Joint-Secretary (replacing Karen Bradley, an Assistant Whip) and Simon Hart and Karl McCartney have also been elected to the Executive, replacing George Hollingbery (now PPS to Theresa May) and Simon Kirby (now PPS to Hugh Robertson).

A few results of the Select Committee elections have trickled through, and this post will be updated with a full list of newly elected committee members in due course.

7pm Update: 

The following MPs have been elected to Select Committee vacancies:

Business, Innovation and Skills Committee

Caroline Dinenage and Robin Walker

Culture, Media and Sport Committee

Continue reading "New 1922 Committee and Select Committee members elected" »

22 Oct 2012 15:31:06

Conservative Select Committee appointments announced

By Matthew Barrett
Follow Matthew on Twitter.

SelectCommittesGuido Fawkes has a list of new Conservative members of Select Committees, from Graham Brady's office. Mr Brady explains: "For the following committees I have received the same number of nominations as there are vacancies, the following are therefore elected". The appointments are:

Communities and Local Government

John Stevenson (Carlisle), replacing George Hollingbery (Meon Valley), who became PPS to Theresa May at the reshuffle.


Chris Skidmore (Kingswood), replacing Damian Hinds (East Hampshire), who became PPS to Mark Francois, the Minister of State for Defence Personnel, Welfare and Veterans.


Andrew Percy (Brigg and Goole), replacing Dr Daniel Poulter (Central Suffolk and North Ipswich), who was made the Parliamentary Undersecretary of State for Health Services.

Continue reading "Conservative Select Committee appointments announced" »

28 May 2012 06:23:29

What is the Fresh Start Project? Matthew Barrett profiles the Tory MPs trying to forge a new UK-EU relationship

By Matthew Barrett
Follow Matthew on Twitter

My series profiling the backbench groups of Tory MPs has usually featured groups with general ideological goals. Groups representing the traditional right or Thatcherite wing of the Party cannot be said to focus on a single area of political life. Nor can newer groups like the Free Enterprise Group, or the 2020 Conservatives. However, Fresh Start, the subject of this profile, is focused on one big area of politics: Europe.

Origins of Fresh Start

Fresh Start was formed before the summer recess in 2011, and formally launched in September last year, at an event to which all Conservative MPs were invited. Anthony Browne, in his ConservativeHome column, reported on the launch of Fresh Start at the time:

"By one count there were 104 Conservative MPs; another put it at 120 – twice the total number of Liberal Democrats in the House of Commons. Either way, it was standing room only in the Thatcher Room in Portcullis House last night, as much of the parliamentary Conservative party (and the odd hanger-on like me) met to discuss Britain’s way forward with the European Union."


The founders are Andrea Leadsom, Chris Heaton-Harris, and George Eustice, all 2010 intake members:

  • Leadsom, the Member of Parliament for South Northamptonshire, had a career in the City prior to entering politics, having been Financial Institutions Director at Barclays Bank, Managing Director of a London hedge fund and then, Head of Corporate Governance for Invesco Perpetual. Leadsom runs Fresh Start and the All-Party Parliamentary Group for European Reform (see below) from her office, and has regular co-ordinating messages with Heaton-Harris and Eustice.
  • Heaton-Harris, from Daventry, which neighbours Leadsom's constituency, was a Member of the European Parliament for the East Midlands region from 1999 until 2009. He was an advocate of reform and helped found the Campaign for Parliamentary Reform (CPR). Heaton-Harris also helped publicise the case of Marta Andreasen, now a UKIP MEP, who, as the European Commission's Chief Accountant, complained about fraud and waste in the European institutions in 2002. 
  • Eustice is the Member of Parliament for Camborne and Redruth, and was a UKIP candidate for the South West of England region at the 1999 European Parliament elections. He has also been Campaign Director for the cross-party campaign against the €uro in 2000, Head of Press for Michael Howard during the 2005 election, and Press Secretary for David Cameron from when Cameron launched his leadership campaign until he was well established as leader, at the end of 2008. Eustice also played a key role in the Conservative effort to win a "no" vote in the AV referendum.

Continue reading "What is the Fresh Start Project? Matthew Barrett profiles the Tory MPs trying to forge a new UK-EU relationship" »

11 Sep 2010 06:59:41

Karen Lumley MP answers ConHome's Twenty Questions for the Class of 2010

Here is the latest in our series of Twenty Questions with members of the Class of 2010...

Karen Lumley 2 Karen Lumley was elected MP for Redditch with a majority of 5,821.

1. What is your earliest political memory? It would have been the miners' strike in the 1970s when we had to sit at home and play cards at night by candlelight and wear our coats in school as there wasn’t any heating.

2. Complete the sentence: “I’m a Conservative because… I believe that individuals know best how to run their lives and not the state. I think that we as politicians should be enablers for our communities and those who aspire to provide a better life for themselves and their families”

3. Who is your political hero and why? It will have to be Margaret Thatcher. I met her at a rally in the Midlands when I was 18 and was inspired by her. To be able to be an MP and later the PM and still manage to bring up a family is a challenge in itself but to change our country too is inspirational.

4. When did you decide you wanted to become an MP? It was when I lost my council seat in 1995 in Wrexham. I had got a taste of local politics and was at that time the youngest group leader in Wales and thought I’d like to carry on to the next level.

5. What is your reading material of choice? I love all sorts of books from political biographies to thrillers, romantic comedies and of course the Redditch Advertiser and Standard. The time to read them is another matter.

6. Who is your favourite political interviewer/presenter on TV or radio? I really like Carolyn Quinn. She came to Redditch to interview me in the 2005 election and was tough but fair and a really genuine person.

7. If you could run any government department, which would it be and why? Education. I was really surprised when I came to live in Redditch just how much of a postcode lottery funding was. Both of my children were educated in the state system and although received a great education could have had more resources if we had lived 7 miles up the road. I also believe strongly in a more vocational approach to education for some of our young people.

8. Which non-Conservative politician do you most admire? Mohamed Nashid, the President of the Maldives for standing up for his principles even though it led to him being tortured and jailed many times.

9. Who would you least want to get stuck with in a House of Commons lift? Gordon Brown, as I wouldn’t know what to say to him and I’m not sure he would be able to calm me down as I would be hysterical by then.

10. If you were in the US, would you be a Republican or a Democrat? A very reluctant Republican,

11. What do you enjoy doing to unwind and relax? Watching Holby City and spending quality time with my family.

12. What is your favourite book? The House of Cards by Michael Dobbs.

13. What is your favourite film? The Bodyguard.

14. What is your favourite music? Abba.

15. What would be your ideal meal and where would you eat it? A roast dinner cooked by me on a Sunday in my own kitchen in Redditch with my family.

16. What is your favourite holiday destination? Lanzarote.

17. What do you most want to achieve during your first term in Parliament? – I want to be able to say I’ve been able to make a difference to my constituents' lives Whether that is by helping bring jobs to the area, raising education standards or providing a great NHS, anything I can do to help is my priority.

18. Tell us one interesting, unusual or surprising fact about yourself. Before the election it was my 25th wedding anniversary so I had purple highlights added to match my dress and liked them so much I had more after the election.

19. Tell us one interesting, unusual or surprising fact about your constituency. Redditch is renowned for its trees and roundabouts. Most people who visit me get lost.

20. Share with us your most amusing story or favourite anecdote from the campaign trail. During the campaign one of the debates was in a factory where we all had to wear white coats, hair nets, protective glasses and shoes! We were all of us trying not be photographed!

> Previously: Christopher Pincher MP

23 Jun 2010 16:40:29

Oliver Colvile and Karen Lumley make the maiden speeches they have been waiting a decade to deliver

Two more of the Class of 2010 who stood twice in the same seat before successfully being elected made their maiden speeches on Monday.

Colvile Oliver Oliver Colvile, the new MP for Plymouth Sutton and Devonport, began his maiden by paying a personal tribute to Dame Angela Rumbold:

“I came into politics as a Conservative party agent. For 10 years I was Angela Rumbold's agent, who I am very sad to say died on Saturday evening. I am very sorry about that, because she was an incredibly good friend and I am grateful for all the advice that she gave me - I am thinking about the speech that I am making now as well.”

He then went on to highlight the issue of combat stress:

“The big issue that I feel is going to be important in this debate on the strategic defence and security review is that of combat stress and the facilities that we need, including in Plymouth. I realise that a number of colleagues have spoken about this issue, but I very much hope that my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State takes on board the ticking time bomb that is lurking in Plymouth as well. Coming from a service family whose father entered the Navy at the age of 14, I was brought up with an understanding of some of the mental health issues that went with his colleagues and friends. Recently, the Royal British Legion made it clear to me that it can take up to 14 and a half years for issues to do with combat stress to become apparent.

“Plymouth has a serious drug and alcohol problem. Unless we take action now, I am afraid that we will be putting greater pressure on our health service, police, prisons and housing, so I would say that this is a case of "Action stations now". If I do nothing else in my time in this House but raise the issue of mental health and combat stress, I feel that I will have made as significant a contribution as those other Members, including Dame Joan Vickers, who was a pre-eminent Member of Parliament.”

Lumley Karen Meanwhile, Monday also saw Karen Lumley make her Commons debut after beating Jacqui Smith in Redditch at her third attempt.

She told the Commons:

“Jacqui Smith and I have three things in common. We are both mothers with two children, we both have sisters called Sarah, and we both have husbands called Richard. But I think we will leave that one there.”

She went on to speak with pride about the constituency she has fought so long and hard to represent in Parliament:

“Redditch county is a mixture of rural and urban communities and in that there are many challenges to face. The town of Redditch has suffered the loss of many manufacturing jobs over the years, especially with the demise of the car industry. However, in their place, there are many small and medium-sized businesses that will be looking to us to try and build the economy and ensure direct investment into our country and into Redditch… I am so proud to be here, standing up for the people of Redditch county, and fighting on their behalf. It has taken me 10 years, but it has been worth it.”

Jonathan Isaby