Cheryl Gillan

Cheryl Gillan
The Right Honourable
Cheryl Gillan
Secretary of State for Wales
Assumed office
12 May 2010
Prime Minister David Cameron
Preceded by Peter Hain
Shadow Secretary of State for Wales
In office
8 December 2005 – 11 May 2010
Leader David Cameron
Preceded by Bill Wiggin
Succeeded by Peter Hain
Member of Parliament
for Chesham and Amersham
Assumed office
9 April 1992
Preceded by Ian Gilmour
Majority 16,710 (31.9%)
Personal details
Born 21 April 1952 (1952-04-21) (age 59)
Cardiff, Glamorgan, Wales
Political party Conservative
Spouse(s) John Coates Leeming[1]
Alma mater The College of Law
Profession Marketing executive

Cheryl Elise Kendall Gillan (born 21 April 1952 in Cardiff, Wales) is a British Conservative Party politician. She is currently the Secretary of State for Wales, and the Member of Parliament (MP) for the constituency of Chesham and Amersham in Buckinghamshire.

Prior to her parliamentary career, Gillan worked as a marketing executive for several companies. She was first elected to the House of Commons in 1992 and was a junior minister for education and employment from 1995-97. After 1997 she served as a Conservative whip and as a spokesperson for trade and industry, foreign affairs, and home affairs. She was the Shadow Welsh Secretary from 2005–10, assuming the cabinet position of Secretary of State for Wales after the 2010 general election.

She was appointed as a Privy Counsellor on 13 May 2010.[2]


Early life

Cheryl Gillan was born in Llandaff, a district of Cardiff, in 1952. Her father was a former British Army officer and a director of a steel company whilst her mother was a Wren.[3] She was brought up in South Wales and her family farms near Usk. She was educated at Elm Tree House and Norfolk House primary schools in Cardiff before her family left Wales when she was aged 11.[4] Gillan attended the independent Cheltenham Ladies' College, the College of Law and is a Member of the Chartered Institute of Marketing.[5]

Business career

Gillan joined the International Management Group in 1977 before becoming a director with the British Film Year in 1984. In 1986 she was appointed senior marketing consultant at Ernst & Young, becoming marketing director with Kidsons Impey 1991–1993.[5] She became a Freeman of the City of London in 1991 and is a member of the Worshipful Company of Marketors.

Political career

Gillan served as the chairman of the right-wing Bow Group in 1987–1988 and unsuccessfully contested the Greater Manchester Central seat in the 1989 European Parliament election.[5] She was elected to the House of Commons in the 1992 general election for the Buckinghamshire seat of Chesham and Amersham. She won the seat with a majority of 22,220 and has remained the MP there since. She made her maiden speech on 25 June 1992.[6]

Gillan was active in her early years in Parliament, serving on the Select Committees for Science and Technology (1992–1995) and for Procedure (1994–1995).[5] She was also the Secretary to the All Party Parliamentary Group on Space and a Board Member of the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology in 1995. In 1994 she was appointed as the Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Leader of the House of Lords and Lord Privy Seal Viscount Cranborne.[5]

In July 1995 Cheryl Gillan joined the government as a Parliamentary Under Secretary of State in the Department for Education and Employment.[5] In this role she expanded the specialist schools programme to include arts and sports colleges, something she considers to be one of her proudest achievements in politics.[3] After the 1997 general election—with the Conservatives now in Opposition—she became a spokesman for Trade and Industry in June 1997 and then, from June 1998, shadow minister for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs and International Development.[7] From September 2001 until June 2003 she served in the whip's office. In December 2003 she became Shadow Minister for Home, Constitutional and Legal Affairs.[7] She was promoted to the Shadow Cabinet in December 2005 as the Shadow Secretary of State for Wales.[8]

Gillan represented the British Islands and the Mediterranean on the Executive Committee of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) from 2000 until 2003 and was later elected treasurer of the CPA from 2003 until 2006.[5]


In 2009, Gillan was criticised in both the Daily Telegraph and local newspaper the Bucks Free Press for her expenses claims. The Telegraph revealed she had claimed for dog food on her second home allowance.[9] Gillan described the claim as a "mistake" and said she would be repaying it.[10] Gillan also claimed £305.50 to cure "noise problems" with her boiler. When questioned, Gillan said the boiler had broken down and that the claim was within the rules.[10] It was also revealed that Gillan had attempted to claim more money for her gas bill than it was actually worth; the Commons Fees Office refused to pay the full amount.[9]

Gillan was also the subject of criticism from the Bucks Free Press, which revealed Gillan had claimed £8,450 for food and £4,335 for cleaning. It was also revealed that Gillan employed her husband as an 'Office Manager/Researcher'.[11] Gillan wrote to the Bucks Free Press to complain that "insinuating language" had been used.[12]

Following a review of MPs expenses by Sir Thomas Legg, Gillan was also found to have claimed £1,884 more than her mortgage bill was actually worth. The mortgage was on a second home in Battersea, despite the fact that her main home in her constituency lies on the London Underground network.[12] Gillan was ordered to repay the money. On 30 March 2010, it was announced that future MPs from Gillan's constituency would not be allowed to claim for a second home after the 2010 election.[11]

Political positions

Gillan is on the moderate right and is a mild eurosceptic.[7] She was initially opposed to the creation of the National Assembly for Wales, saying that there was not a large enough majority in favour of it in the Welsh devolution referendum, 1997.[4] However after becoming Shadow Welsh Secretary, she declared that she supported the Welsh Assembly, and has maintained the possibility of the Conservatives supporting the devolution of further powers. She has admitted, however, that the Conservative Party is divided on the issue of devolution, and criticised the current state of devolution in Wales as being "complex and cumbersome".[13]


  • Miss Cheryl Gillan (1952–1985)
  • Mrs Cheryl Gillan
  • Mrs Cheryl Gillan MP
  • Rt Hon Cheryl Gillan MP (2010)

Personal life

Gillan has been married to John Coates "Jack" Leeming since 1985. Her husband is employed using parliamentary expenses.[4] Her interests include singing (she is a member of the Parliamentary Choir), gardening, golf and keeping chickens.[3] Gillan has an estimated wealth of £1.4 million.[14][15]


  1. ^
  2. ^ "Privy Council appointments, 13 May 2010". Privy Council. Retrieved 26 July 2010. 
  3. ^ a b c "Cheryl Gillan MP". Conservative Party. Retrieved 3 January 2009. 
  4. ^ a b c "Cameron's Welsh woman denies slur". WalesOnline. Retrieved 7 January 2009. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f g "About Cheryl". Retrieved 3 January 2009. 
  6. ^ "House of Commons Hansard Debates for 25 Jun 1992". Hansard. Retrieved 3 January 2009. 
  7. ^ a b c "Cheryl Gillan". BBC News. 18 October 2002. Retrieved 3 January 2009. 
  8. ^ "Gillan handed shadow Welsh role". BBC News. 8 December 2005. Retrieved 3 January 2009. 
  9. ^ a b Cheryl Gillan claimed for dog food: MPs' expenses Daily Telegraph, 11 May 2009
  10. ^ a b MPs' expenses in detail BBC News, 7 September 2009
  11. ^ a b Three Buckinghamshire MPs to lose second homes cash Bucks Free Press, 30 March 2010
  12. ^ a b MP Cheryl Gillan told to repay £1,884 Bucks Free Press, 14 October 2009
  13. ^ "Gillan tries to play down deep Tory divisions over devolution". WalesOnline. Retrieved 7 January 2009. 
  14. ^ MP: I'll reveal my expenses early Bucks Free Press, 11 May 2009
  15. ^ 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 Mail on Sunday 23 May 2010

External links

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Ian Gilmour
Member of Parliament for Chesham and Amersham
Political offices
Preceded by
Tim Boswell
Robin Squire
Parliamentary Undersecretary of State for Education and Employment
Served alongside: Robin Squire
James Paice
Succeeded by
Estelle Morris
Kim Howells
Alan Howarth
Preceded by
Bill Wiggin
Shadow Secretary of State for Wales
Succeeded by
Peter Hain
Preceded by
Peter Hain
Secretary of State for Wales

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