|Prime Minister David Cameron|
Succeeded by Owen Paterson
Spouse Mark Spelman (m. 1987)
Preceded by Hilary Benn
|Prime Minister David Cameron|
Name Caroline Spelman
Preceded by Tony Baldry
Leader David Cameron
Party Conservative Party
|Children David Spelman, Eleanor Spelman, Jonathan Spelman|
Education The Hertfordshire and Essex High School, Queen Mary University of London
Rt hon caroline spelman mp at the 2017 wwl launch in parliament
Dame Caroline Alice Spelman DBE (née Cormack; born 4 May 1958) is a Conservative Party politician in the United Kingdom who has served as the Member of Parliament (MP) for Meriden in the West Midlands since 1997. From May 2010 to September 2012 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.
- Rt hon caroline spelman mp at the 2017 wwl launch in parliament
- Caroline spelman defends all tory defra team
- Early career
- Parliamentary career
- Nannygate controversy
- Privacy injunction
- Personal life
Caroline spelman defends all tory defra team
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.
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.
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. In 2009 she 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. 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 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.
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. 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.
Senior Conservative colleagues including former Shadow Home Secretary David Davis stated their support for Spelman.
New revelations were exposed on the BBC'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.
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.
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". On 2 March 2012, the Spelmans decided not to appeal against the decision, which permitted the publication of a story about her son. 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.
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, Her wealth is estimated as £1.5m.
She is a Patron of the Conservative Christian Fellowship.
Spelman was made a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire as part of the Resignation Honours of the outgoing Prime Minister David Cameron.