Eleanor lives near Epping with her son, Matthew, who was born one week after the 2001 General Election.
Born in Paisley in 1958, Eleanor graduated BA LLB from Edinburgh University in 1982. She was the first woman to be elected President of Edinburgh University Union. She practised law in Edinburgh, in the City of London and in industry between 1983 and 1989.
Eleanor was elected as Conservative Member of Parliament for the Epping Forest constituency in May 1997 and re-elected with an increased majority in June 2001.
In the 1987 election, Eleanor was the Conservative candidate in the safe Labour seat of Paisley North. She became Special Adviser to the Rt Hon John MacGregor MP in 1989 when he was Secretary of State for Education and remained his Special Adviser when he was Leader of the House of Commons (1990-92) and Secretary of State for Transport (1992-94).
Her particular political interests are education, transport, the economy and the constitution. She served as a member of the Environment, Transport and the Regions Select Committee and the Education and Employment Select Committee.
In February 1999, she was promoted to the post of Opposition Whip and in July 2000 she became a Frontbench Spokesman for Constitutional Affairs.
After the 2001 General Election, she was appointed as Frontbench Spokesman for Education and Skills. From June to November 2003, she was made Shadow Minister for Children. In March 2004, she was appointed as the Shadow Minister for Women and Equality. She has also previously been the Shadow Secretary of State for Scotland.
In July 2007, Eleanor was appointed as a Shadow Minister for Justice.
The constituency of Epping Forest comprises Loughton, Epping, Waltham Abbey, Chigwell, Buckhurst Hill, Theydon Bois, North Weald, the surrounding villages and the ancient Forest itself.