Karen was selected as the Parliamentary Spokesman for the Staffordshire Moorlands constituency in July 2006. Karen was born in Staffordshire Moorlands and spent her early years living in Cheddleton. She moved to Buxton, in the neighbouring county of Derbyshire, when her parents took over a pub in the town. She attended the local state comprehensive school, Buxton Girls School, before going on to study Mathematics at Imperial College in London.
After university, Karen trained as a Chartered Accountant and Chartered Tax Adviser. She has advised numerous different businesses, from multi-nationals to local farms. Karen is married to Neil, a transport consultant and they have two sons, Matthew and Thomas.
When she is not campaigning, looking after her children or working, Karen enjoys experimenting with new recipes and reading, particularly detective fiction and Tudor history.
Karen was a relative latecomer to active politics, describing herself as a “couch Conservative” until 2002. Then she was seconded by her employer at the time, KPMG, to work as a technical adviser to the Shadow Treasury Team led by Michael Howard. During this secondment, Karen well and truly caught the politics bug and threw herself into active campaigning with a vengeance.
Karen was the Parliamentary candidate for Manchester Withington at the 2005 General Election. Additionally, prior to the 2005 General Election, Karen worked in the Conservative Policy Unit, helping to develop economic and fiscal policies, particularly those associated with over-regulation and red tape. Karen also advises the Conservative Members who sit on the Finance Bill Standing Committee on the impact of Budget measures.