Theresa Anne Villiers (born 5 March 1968) is a British politician serving as Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs since 2019. A member of the Conservative Party, she has been the Member of Parliament (MP) for Chipping Barnet since 2005. Villiers was Minister of State for Transport from 2010 to 2012 and Secretary of State for Northern Ireland from 2012 until 2016.
|Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs|
|Assumed office |
24 July 2019
|Prime Minister||Boris Johnson|
|Preceded by||Michael Gove|
|Secretary of State for Northern Ireland|
4 September 2012 – 14 July 2016
|Prime Minister||David Cameron|
|Preceded by||Owen Paterson|
|Succeeded by||James Brokenshire|
|Minister of State for Transport|
13 May 2010 – 4 September 2012
|Prime Minister||David Cameron|
|Preceded by||Sadiq Khan|
|Succeeded by||Simon Burns|
|Member of Parliament|
for Chipping Barnet
6 May 2005 – 6 November 2019
|Preceded by||Sydney Chapman|
|Succeeded by||Election in progress|
|Member of the European Parliament|
15 July 1999 – 5 May 2005
|Preceded by||Constituency established|
|Succeeded by||Syed Kamall|
Theresa Anne Villiers
5 March 1968
Hunstanton, Norfolk, England
|Spouse(s)||Sid Wilken (divorced)|
|Alma mater||University of Bristol|
Jesus College, Oxford
City Law School
Villiers was born in Hunstanton in 1968, the third child of George Edward Villiers by his marriage to Anne Virginia Threlfall; she has two elder brothers, Edward and Henry. On her father's side, she is a descendant of Edward Ernest Villiers (1806–1843), brother of George Villiers, 4th Earl of Clarendon, Thomas Hyde Villiers, Charles Pelham Villiers, Henry Montagu Villiers and a direct descendant of Edward II.
Growing up in North London, she was educated at the independent Francis Holland School. Villiers gained a Bachelor of Laws (LLB) degree with first-class honours in 1990 from the University of Bristol, and a year later the postgraduate degree of Bachelor of Civil Law (BCL) from Jesus College, Oxford. After university, she qualified for the bar at the Inner Temple, and worked as a lecturer at King's College London from 1994 until 1999.
Member of the European ParliamentEdit
Villiers was elected as a Member of the European Parliament (MEP) for the London constituency in 1999, and was re-elected in 2004. She stood down after the 2005 general election when she was elected as the Member of Parliament (UK) (MP) for Chipping Barnet.
She served as Deputy Leader of the Conservatives in the European Parliament between 2001 and 2002. She also served as a member of the governing board of the Conservative Party during this period.
Member of ParliamentEdit
In 2003, following Sir Sydney Chapman's announcement that he would retire at the following election, Villiers was selected as the Conservative prospective parliamentary candidate for Chipping Barnet. Although Chapman's majority at the 2001 general election had only been 2,701 votes, the party viewed Chipping Barnet to be quite a "safe" Conservative seat, and Villiers held it at the 2005 general election with an increased majority of 5,960 votes, which she increased again to 11,927 in 2010. Her majority dropped to 7,656 in 2015, and was reduced to just 353 in 2017. Upon her election to the House of Commons, she resigned from her seat in the European Parliament; it went to Syed Kamall, the next candidate on the Conservatives' regional list for London. Villiers now lives at Arkley in her constituency, and formerly lived at Hillsborough Castle.
In December 2005, following the election of David Cameron as Conservative Party Leader, Villiers was promoted to the Shadow Cabinet after just seven months in the UK Parliament, as Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury. In July 2007, Cameron promoted her to Shadow Secretary of State for Transport.
Following the 2010 general election, the Conservatives, short of an overall majority, formed a coalition government with the Liberal Democrats. This required positions in Cabinet to be awarded to Lib Dem MPs, so Villiers did not become Secretary of State for Transport as might have been expected in the event of a majority Conservative government taking office. That role went instead to Philip Hammond, who had shadowed the post of Chief Secretary to the Treasury. Villiers instead became a Minister of State at the Department for Transport.
Villiers was appointed Secretary of State for Northern Ireland in September 2012, but continued to spend three days a week in her North London constituency of Chipping Barnet. Her time in Northern Ireland gained mixed reviews. She made a speech in February 2016 defending the Royal Ulster Constabulary and the British Army, which had been accused of colluding with loyalist murderers in the Loughinisland massacre. The Police Ombudsman who investigated the murders, Dr. Michael Maguire, later stated with regard to law enforcement authorities colluding with the murderers: "I have no hesitation in unambiguously determining that collusion is a significant feature of the Loughinisland murders".
Villiers had said that "a pernicious counter-narrative" of the Troubles was emerging whereby responsibility for acts of terrorism was being shifted onto the security forces "through allegations of collusion, misuse of agents and informers or other forms of unlawful activity".
Villiers was one of the six cabinet ministers who came out in support of Brexit during the 2016 United Kingdom European Union membership referendum. Following the referendum, on 14 July 2016, Villiers resigned from her position as Northern Ireland Secretary after stating that new Prime Minister Theresa May had offered her a post outside the Cabinet which was "not one which I felt I could take on". During the referendum, 62.2% of voters in her constituency (based on a 72.1% turnout), voted to remain in the European Union. After the referendum, Villiers has continued to support efforts to leave the EU.
Queen's Portraits ControversyEdit
Villiers came under the spotlight on July 2019 after Lord Maginnis claimed that she had signed off a £10,000 settlement with a Northern Ireland Office's civil servant, Lee Hegarty, who claimed that under human rights legislation it was unfair to him to have to work where he was offended by portraits of the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh.
Lord Maginnis also claimed in the House of Lords that, following the settlement, Villiers went on removing portraits and substituted them with Northern Irish landscapes. Villiers did not consider Hegarty's suggestion of replacing the said portraits of the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh with photographs of the Queen meeting people during engagements in Northern Ireland.
Following the reports on media, her successor as Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Julian Smith, requested an internal review into the decision to take down portraits of the Queen from Stormont House, while Arlene Foster, DUP's leader, went on Twitter declaring that "It is beyond parody that there is a dispute over a portrait of Her Majesty the Queen, our head of state".
Parliamentary expenses and second homeEdit
She also has a house in Arkley in her North London constituency of Chipping Barnet. The house, a semi-detached property that she bought for £296,500 in May 2004, is an eight-minute drive away from High Barnet tube station, from which commuters can reach Westminster in about forty-five minutes.
Villiers supported the temporary suspension of Ken Livingstone, then-Mayor of London, by the Adjudication Panel for England, which examined the case after a complaint from the Board of Deputies of British Jews to the Standards Board for England.
On 19 July 2018 she was the only MP of any party to attend a rally of about 200–300 Jewish and other persons called by the "Campaign Against Antisemitism" (CAA) in Parliament Square, London, to protest against Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party. She has, on previous occasions, attended CAA protests similar to that of 19 July 2018 against anti-semitism within Labour.
She has spoken out publicly in support of Iranian resistance to the Iranian regime at an event in Paris in 2017, organised by the National Council of Resistance of Iran. The NCRI is considered by some analysts to be a front organisation for the Mojahedin-e-Khalq (MEK), which was once listed by the US as a terror organisation.
Since September 2008, Villiers has dedicated a considerable proportion of her public announcements to aviation policy, specifically the expansion of airports in the South East of England. Villiers underlined that despite differences of opinion, the Coalition government's policy was opposed to a third runway at Heathrow airport.
She has also spoken out against Boris Johnson's favoured proposal for a new London airport to be built in the Thames Estuary, and alternative expansions at Gatwick and Stansted airports, arguing that airlines should make greater use of the UK's regional airports, though some regional airports themselves have expressed concern about being adversely affected by capacity shortages in the South East. Villiers favours construction of a high-speed rail link from London to Birmingham and Manchester, arguing that flyers could use capacity at airports such as Birmingham International and Manchester International Airport.
Villiers married fellow barrister Sean Wilken QC in 1997, and the following year they co-wrote a book on matters of contract and quasi-contract law, which was published by a major publishing house. They are now divorced.
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- "Theresa May's cabinet: Who's in and who's out?". BBC News. 14 July 2016. Retrieved 14 July 2016.
- "Index entry". FreeBMD. ONS. Retrieved 12 October 2017.
- Mosley, Charles, ed. (19 December 2003). Burke's Peerage & Baronetage, 107th Edition. London: Burke's Peerage. p. 799. ISBN 0971196621.
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- "Conservative Diary". The Free Library. 20 May 2003. Retrieved 11 May 2010.
- "Privy Council appointments, 9 June 2010". Privy Council. Archived from the original on 2 December 2010. Retrieved 26 July 2010.
- Foundation, Internet Memory. "[ARCHIVED CONTENT] UK Government Web Archive – The National Archives". Archived from the original on 1 August 2011.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
- "Theresa Villiers still in constituency three days a week".
- , 15 July 2016, Sam McBride, Belfast Newsletter, retrieved at 15 July 2016.
- NI Police colluded with Loyalist killers of six Catholics watching World Cup Irish Central, 11 June 2016
- "Villiers: A way forward for legacy of the past in Northern Ireland – GOV.UK". www.gov.uk.
- "Theresa Villiers to be replaced as Northern Ireland secretary". BBC News. 14 July 2016. Retrieved 14 July 2016.
- "EU Referendum local results - B - BBC News". www.bbc.com.
- "Theresa Villiers MP, Chipping Barnet - TheyWorkForYou". www.theyworkforyou.com.
- correspondent, Rory Carroll Ireland (12 July 2019). "£10k for NI civil servant offended by royal portraits". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 1 August 2019.
- "NIO 'must clarify civil servant's £10,000 payout over Queen pic'". www.newsletter.co.uk. Retrieved 1 August 2019.
- Simpson, Claire (1 August 2019). "Portraits of Queen Elizabeth 'removed from NIO headquarters'". The Irish News. Retrieved 1 August 2019.
- "Northern Ireland Secretary orders 'internal review' into why Queen's portrait was removed". BelfastTelegraph.co.uk. ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 5 August 2019.
- Theresa Villiers claimed stamp duty on second London home: MPs' expenses Telegraph 11 May 2009
- "Conservative parliamentarians meet Israeli Women Directors delegation ahead of International Women's Day". CFI. Retrieved 20 July 2018.
- Sloan, Alaistair. "Ed Miliband will back Israel". Middle East Monitor. Archived from the original on 5 July 2015. Retrieved 13 April 2015.
- "Protesters to return to Parliament Square over Labour anti-Semitism code". Retrieved 20 July 2018.
- "Villiers backs #EnoughIsEnough protest on anti-Semitism in Labour". Theresa Villiers. Retrieved 20 July 2018.
- Oborne, Peter. "British MPs should be ashamed of supporting regime change in Tehran". Middle East Eye. Retrieved 10 December 2018.
- Thomas, Natalie. "Theresa Villiers shuts door on third runway at Heathrow". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 23 March 2015.
- Tighe, Chris (15 July 2012). "UK hopes to boost regional airports". Financial Times. Retrieved 7 September 2012.
- "Why I'm backing the hunting ban". Theresa Villiers.
- Theresa Villiers & Sean Wilken (29 April 1998). Law of Estoppel, Variation and Waiver. John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 0-471-96921-4.
- "Theresa Villiers". Westminster Parliamentary Record. Archived from the original on 20 March 2012. Retrieved 12 May 2010.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Theresa Villiers.|
- Official website
- Profile at Parliament of the United Kingdom
- Contributions in Parliament at Hansard
- Contributions in Parliament at Hansard 1803–2005
- Voting record at Public Whip
- Record in Parliament at TheyWorkForYou
- Profile at Westminster Parliamentary Record
- Articles authored at Journalisted
- Theresa Villiers on IMDb
- Question Time February 2006 BBC (RealPlayer)
|New constituency|| Member of the European Parliament
|Parliament of the United Kingdom|
| Member of Parliament
for Chipping Barnet
Election in progress
| Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury
| Shadow Secretary of State for Transport
The Lord Adonis
| Minister of State for Transport
| Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
| Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs