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Margot Cathleen James (born 28 August 1957)[1] is a British politician who was elected the Member of Parliament (MP) for Stourbridge at the 2010 General Election.

Margot James

Official portrait of Margot James crop 2.jpg
Minister of State for
Digital and Creative Industries
In office
9 January 2018 – 18 July 2019
Prime MinisterTheresa May
Preceded byMatthew Hancock
Succeeded byNigel Adams
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Small Business, Consumers and Corporate Responsibility
In office
17 July 2016 – 9 January 2018
Prime MinisterTheresa May
Preceded byAnna Soubry
Succeeded byAndrew Griffiths
Member of Parliament
for Stourbridge
Assumed office
6 May 2010
Preceded byLynda Waltho
Personal details
Born (1957-08-28) 28 August 1957 (age 62)
Coventry, England, UK
Political partyConservative (2010–2019)
Independent (2019–present)
Domestic partnerJay Hunt
Alma materLondon School of Economics
WebsiteOfficial website

She was the Minister of State for Digital and the Creative Industries from 9 January 2018,[2] resigning on 18 July 2019 to vote against the Government on an amendment seeking to prevent prorogation of Parliament to force through a ‘no-deal’ Brexit.[3] First elected as a Conservative, James had the Conservative whip removed on 3 September 2019 and currently sits as an independent politician.[4][5]

Early lifeEdit

The younger daughter of a self-made businessman, James was born in Coventry.[6] Educated privately in Leamington Spa, she was in the sixth form at Millfield School.[7] James is a graduate of the London School of Economics (LSE) with a degree in Economics and Government.[8]

James joined the Conservative Party aged 17, and chaired the LSE Conservative Association.[6] During her studies, she acted as a researcher for MP Sir Anthony Durant, and after graduation spent a gap year working in the press office of Conservative Central Office.[6]

Professional careerEdit

James worked in sales and marketing for her father's business, Maurice James Industries (MJI), a haulage, waste management, and property group based around Birmingham.[9][10] After working for a consulting firm, in 1986 she co-founded Shire Health Group, a public relations and clinical trials organisation.[11] Shire Health was voted "Consultancy of the Year" three times in the Communiqué Awards for 1998, 1999 and 2001, while James was voted Communicator of the Year in 1997.[12] The company was sold to WPP Group in 2004, with James appointed Head of European Healthcare for WPP subsidiary Ogilvy & Mather.[13]

Political careerEdit

James had resigned from the Conservative Party after Margaret Thatcher was ousted as Prime Minister. She rejoined the Conservative Party in 2004.[7]

At the May 2005 general election, she was the Conservative candidate for the Holborn and St. Pancras constituency.[7] She came third behind the sitting MP, Labour's Frank Dobson, and the Liberal Democrat candidate Jill Fraser.[14]

In May 2006, James was elected a local councillor for the Brompton ward of Kensington & Chelsea,[15] becoming one of the Conservative Party's few "out" lesbian office holders.[16] She resigned from the council in 2008.[17]

James was placed on the "A-List" of Conservative Party parliamentary candidates ahead of the 2010 general election,[18] and was selected as the candidate for the marginal Labour-held constituency of Stourbridge,[19] from where she was elected.[20] This made her the first openly lesbian MP in the Conservative Party,[21] second "out" lesbian in the House of Commons, after Angela Eagle, and the first to have come out before her election.[16] In her maiden speech she paid tribute to Stourbridge's history of glass making.[22]

In January 2016, the Labour Party unsuccessfully proposed an amendment in Parliament that would have required private landlords to make their homes "fit for human habitation".[23] According to Parliament's register of interests, James was one of 72 Conservative MPs who voted against the amendment who personally derived an income from renting out property.[24][25] The Conservative Government had responded to the amendment that they believed homes should be fit for human habitation but did not want to pass the new law that would explicitly require it.[26][27]

James was opposed to leaving the European Union prior to the 2016 referendum.[28]

She was the Parliamentary Private Secretary to Stephen Green, Baron Green of Hurstpierpoint, during his period as Minister for Trade and Investment.[29]

James endorsed Rory Stewart during the 2019 Conservative leadership election.[30]

She resigned from Government on 18 July 2019 after rebelling in an attempt to block the prorogation of Parliament.[3]

Other activitiesEdit

James served on the board of Parkside NHS Trust, and worked as a Mental Health Manager.[31] She spent ten years as a trustee of ABANTU, an African women's charity, during which time she trained women from more than 40 different African countries in communications and lobbying skills.[32] She has also worked as a mentor for The Prince's Trust and Young Enterprise.[6] She sits on the Court of Governors at LSE.[33]

She is a vice-president of the Debating Group.[34] and in 2019, was named the 50th 'Most Influential Woman in UK Tech' by Computer Weekly magazine.[35]

Personal lifeEdit

James lives in South Kensington and Stourbridge with her partner, Jay Hunt, previously a producer and presenter with the BBC and now managing director of a video production company, Violet Productions.[36][37][38] She ranked in the top 50 on The Independent's "Pink List" of the 101 most influential British gay men and women in 2009.[39]


  1. ^ "Violet Productions Limited". Dellam Corporate Information. 16 July 2012. Retrieved 21 November 2012.
  2. ^ "Ministerial appointments: January 2018". GOV.UK. Retrieved 1 October 2019.
  3. ^ a b Speare-Cole, Rebecca (18 July 2019). "Margot James resigns as minister after voting against Government". Evening Standard. Retrieved 4 September 2019.
  4. ^ (4 September 2019). "Twenty-one Tory rebels lose party whip after backing bid to block no-deal Brexit". Retrieved 1 October 2019.
  5. ^ Madeley, Pete (4 September 2019). "Rebel MP Margot James: Tories 'not fit to govern' after morphing into Brexit Party". Retrieved 1 October 2019.
  6. ^ a b c d "Margot James – About". Margot James. Retrieved 15 July 2009.
  7. ^ a b c Saner, Emine (4 March 2004). "I can't be 'outed'". London Evening Standard. Archived from the original on 5 May 2013. Retrieved 15 July 2009.
  8. ^ "The Conservative women on the rise in Cameron's reshuffle". BBC. 15 July 2014. Retrieved 1 October 2019.
  9. ^ "Margot James". Stourbridge Conservatives. Retrieved 1 October 2019.
  10. ^ Live, Coventry (18 September 2006). "Margot the new face of Toryism". coventrytelegraph. Retrieved 1 October 2019.
  11. ^ "Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy Annual Report and Accounts 2016-17" (PDF). Government Publications. 19 July 2017. Retrieved 1 October 2019.
  12. ^ "The Communiqué Awards at 20: Sarah Matthew". PMLive. 11 May 2017. Retrieved 1 October 2019.
  13. ^ Farey, Daniel (3 September 2004). "WPP merges divisions to form Ogilvy Healthworld". PR Week. Retrieved 5 December 2013.
  14. ^ "BBC NEWS | Election 2005 | Results | Holborn & St Pancras". 6 May 2005. Retrieved 1 October 2019.
  15. ^ "Brompton ward: local election results". Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. 4 May 2006. Retrieved 21 November 2012.
  16. ^ a b Hoggard, Liz (22 January 2006). "Cameron's girl". The Guardian. Retrieved 29 June 2013.
  17. ^ Boothroyd, David (31 March 2008). "Forthcoming byelections |". Retrieved 1 October 2019.
  18. ^ "Who is on the A-list?". ConservativeHome. May 2006. Retrieved 2 July 2009.
  19. ^ "Election spending row breaks out in Stourbridge". BBC News. 29 November 2009. Retrieved 1 October 2019.
  20. ^ "BBC News | Election 2010 | Constituency | Stourbridge". Retrieved 1 October 2019.
  21. ^ Staff writer (7 May 2010). "Margot James becomes the second out lesbian in parliament". Pink News. Retrieved 29 June 2013.
  22. ^ Margot James, MP for Stourbridge (7 June 2010). "Constitution and Home Affairs". Parliamentary Debates (Hansard). House of Commons. col. 60–62.
  23. ^ "House of Commons Hansard Debates for 12 Jan 2016". 12 January 2016. Retrieved 1 October 2019.
  24. ^ "Register of Members' Financial Interests as at 14 December 2015" (PDF). Parliament Publications. Retrieved 1 October 2019.
  25. ^ Renshaw, Rosalind (15 January 2016). "Tory MP landlords named after voting down proposal to outlaw unfit homes". Property Industry Eye. Retrieved 1 October 2019.
  26. ^ Stone, Jon (13 January 2016). "Tories vote down law requiring landlords make their homes fit for human habitation". The Independent. Retrieved 1 March 2018.
  27. ^ "Did MPs vote against forcing homes to be made fit to live in?". Full Fact. Retrieved 14 September 2018.
  28. ^ Goodenough, Tom (16 February 2016). "Which Tory MPs back Brexit, who doesn't and who is still on the fence?". The Spectator. Retrieved 11 October 2016.
  29. ^ Featherstone, Emma (29 July 2016). "Margot James appointed as minister for small business". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 1 October 2019.
  30. ^ "Margot James on Twitter: "Cheered by the thoughtful and positive #C4Debate @RoryStewartUK had the edge for me, energetic, determined and embracing the centre ground, I will support him for next PM"". @margot_james_mp. 16 June 2019.
  31. ^ "Question Time: This week's panel". BBC News. 15 July 2009. Retrieved 1 October 2019.
  32. ^ "Margot James: Tories to 'nudge' change in NHS". 5 July 2010. Retrieved 1 October 2019.
  33. ^ "Court of Governors". Archived from the original on 1 October 2019. Retrieved 1 October 2019.
  34. ^ "Debating Group". Debating Group. Retrieved 5 December 2013.
  35. ^ "Computer Weekly announces the Most Influential Women in UK Tech 2019". Retrieved 19 October 2019.
  36. ^ Edwardes, Charlotte (17 July 2018). "DCMS minister Margot James on promoting diversity in tech". Evening Standard. Retrieved 1 October 2019.
  37. ^ "Margot James becomes the second out lesbian in parliament". PinkNews. 7 May 2010. Retrieved 1 October 2019.
  38. ^ "MP "brushes off" link to sex videos". Stourbridge News. 6 October 2010. Retrieved 1 October 2019.
  39. ^ Tuck, Andrew (2 July 2009). "Gay Power: The Pink List 2009". The Independent. Retrieved 2 July 2009.

External linksEdit

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Lynda Waltho
Member of Parliament
for Stourbridge

Political offices
Preceded by
Anna Soubry
as Minister of State for Small Business
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State
for Small Business, Consumers and Corporate Responsibility