AFTER nearly 20 years at the top of the Conservative Party, Caroline Spelman has been honoured with a Damehood.
The Meriden MP was named alongside 46 other former colleagues and allies of out-going Prime Minister David Cameron’s resignation honours list in June.
Mrs Spelman, who has served as an MP for over 19 years was invested with the honourary title of ‘Dame Commander of The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire’ – the second most senior grade of the British Orders of Chivalry – in a ceremony led by HRH The Prince of Wales at Buckingham Palace.
Caroline received the honour for political and public service.
In a statement Dame Spelman said: “I am deeply honoured and humbled to have been presented with a DBE in a ceremony led by HRH The Prince of Wales at Buckingham Palace.
“Having served as MP for Meriden for over 19 years, I extend my very sincere and heartfelt thanks to the residents of Meriden constituency who continue to put their faith and trust in me to represent them in Parliament.
“I would also like to thank the members of my local association – not least my excellent team of local councillors who have supported me since day one.”
Born in Bishop’s Stortford, Hertfordshire, in 1958, Caroline was educated at Herts and Essex Grammar School before studying European Studies at Queen Mary College, University of London and graduating with first-class honours.
Looking back over her career, she left behind six years of working for the sugar beet industry in Paris to be first elected as an MP in 1997.
Throughout her time as Meriden MP, Caroline has campaigned against development of the Green Belt and fought to improve end-of-life care with a palliative care bill in 2009.
She has helped to set up two charities in the Meriden constituency, one which helps rehabilitate people with drug addictions through training and employment opportunities, and another which provides a refuge and support facility for victims of domestic abuse.
In opposition she has held a number of posts, including shadow Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government from January 2009 until May 2010, shadow Secretary of State for International Development from July 2001 until November 2003, and Spokesperson for Health.
She was also Chairman of the Conservative Party.
And in the Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition Government, from 2010 to 2012 she was Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.
During her time as shadow International Development Secretary, Caroline worked alongisde the Limbless Association, a charity which supports UK amputees and those who have lost limbs, to bring a 12-year-old Iraqi boy over to the UK for treatment.
Ali Ismail Abbas suffered 60 per cent burn and lost both his arms in a missile attack that destroyed his home and killed his father, pregnant mother, brother and 13 other family members.
Caroline has consistently described Ali’s relocation to the UK as one of her ‘proudest moments in her Parliamentary career’.
Caroline is currently the Second Church Estates Commissioner, a role which sees her act as a link between Government at the Church of England – answering questions from MPs about Church matters and steering Church of England legislation through the House of Commons.