Rt Hon Dame Cheryl Gillan

MP for Chesham & Amersham


Dame Cheryl Gillan was elected Member of Parliament for Chesham and Amersham in April 1992. Following the General Election of May 2010 Cheryl was appointed Secretary of State for Wales.

Cheryl was born in Llandaff, Cardiff. She was educated at Cheltenham Ladies College and the College of Law. She is married to Jack Leeming.

Her previous occupations include: International Management Group 1977-84; Director of British Film Year 1984-86; Senior Marketing Consultant, Ernst and Young 1986-91 and Marketing Director, Kidsons Impey 1991-1993.

She contested Greater Manchester Central in the European Parliamentary Elections in 1989.

She was Chairman of the Bow Group from 1987-8, a Member of the Select Committee on Science and Technology from 1992 to 1995, and Secretary to the All Party Parliamentary Group on Space. She was also a Member of the Select Committee on Procedures from 1994 to 1995 and a Board Member of the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology in 1995. She represented the British Islands and the Mediterranean from 2000 to 2003 on the Executive Committee of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (the CPA) and was elected Treasurer of the CPA from 2003-06.

Cheryl was Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Lord Privy Seal, Leader of the House of Lords from 1994 until July 1995. In July 1995, she was appointed Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Education and Employment.

She was appointed Frontbench Spokesman for Trade and Industry in June 1997 and in June 1998 she was appointed Frontbench Spokesman for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs. From September 2001 to June 2003, she was an Opposition Whip. In December 2003, she was appointed a Shadow Minister for Home, Constitutional and Legal Affairs.

In December 2005, Cheryl was appointed Shadow Secretary of State for Wales and after the 2010 General Election, she was appointed Secretary of State for Wales. During her tenure she oversaw the referendum to devolve further law-making powers to the Welsh Assembly, as well as the creation of the Silk Commission to consider the future possibilities for devolution in Wales. Her biggest achievement was securing the electrification of the Western Mainline to Swansea, helping improve connectivity and boost business prospects for Wales.

In September 2012 Cheryl left the Cabinet. Now a backbench MP, she has devoted her time fully to representing her Chesham and Amersham constituents, most notably in opposing proposals for the new High Speed Rail line which will cut through the constituency and the Chilterns Area of Oustanding Natural Beauty.

More recently, Cheryl accepted a nomination from the Prime Minister to become one of the United Kingdom’s representatives at the Council of Europe.