News Mrs Gillian Keegan has been appointed Secretary of State for Education

Mrs Gillian Keegan has been appointed Secretary of State for Education

A local councillor and businesswoman, Gillian Keegan defended the seat of former Chair of the Treasury Select Committee Andrew Tyrie, for the Conservatives. In the process, she became the first female MP for the constituency in its history.

Keegan attended a comprehensive school in Knowsley, Merseyside and studied for a degree in Business Studies at Liverpool John Moores University whilst completing an apprenticeship at a subsidiary of General Motors. In 2010, she spent a year studying for a master’s degree in strategy and leadership at London Business School.

Keegan’s career has been varied, encompassing the manufacturing, banking and IT industries. Her most recent role was as Chief Marketing Officer for a global travel technology company, and she has also worked in Madrid for eight years.

She was elected to Chichester District Council in 2014 and served as cabinet member for commercial services. She stood down from the council in February 2018. She is also a Governor of Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Trust.

Keegan is married to Michael and has two stepsons who were studying at university when she was elected. She is the godmother to two of John Bercow’s children.

Political Career
In the 2015 election, she stood as a parliamentary candidate in St Helens South and Whiston, Merseyside, losing to Labour candidate Marie Rimmer. Keegan gained second place for the Conservatives for the first time in the constituency, but reduced the Conservative’s share of the vote by 1.9 per cent from the 2010 election.

In 2017 she won the safe seat of Chichester with a majority of 22,621.

Keegan is also a director of Women2Win, the organisation promoting the selection of female Conservative candidates, which was co-founded by Theresa May.

She said she will be a champion for hospital services and has a particular interest in high quality apprenticeships, trade and business, stemming from her own career background.

18 months after election she joined the frontbench as a PPS to the Secretary of State for Defence.

She supported Rory Stewart in the 2019 leadership contest.

In February 2020 she became Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State in the Department for Education. She was promoted to Minister of State for Care and Mental Health in the Department of Health and Social Care during the September 2021 reshuffle.

In February 2022 she admitted to staying at a meeting despite having been informed that she had tested positive for Covid. She apologised in a series of Tweets.

She supported Rishi Sunak in the 2022 Conservative Leadership election.

She was appointed as Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Africa in the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office during Liz Truss’ first reshuffle as Prime Minister in September 2022.

She was promoted to the Cabinet as Secretary of State for Education by Rishi Sunak in October 2022.

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