Claire grew up in North Somerset and was educated at her local school, Nailsea Comprehensive. She took a BA in Geography from Brasenose College, Oxford in 1985 and earned two rowing Blues. After University she worked in infrastructure project finance then went to Harvard Business School where she received a Masters degree in Business Administration in 1990. She then had a business career in the United States and Britain and started her own small company offering financial advice for women.
She moved with her family to Wiltshire in 2000 when she stopped paid work to bring up her (then) small children but remained actively involved in fundraising for local schools, theatres and hospitals. From 2007 to 2010 she worked as a Policy adviser for Shadow Chancellor George Osborne and was elected as the MP for the Devizes Constituency in 2010 with a majority of more than 13,000 and more than 55 per cent of the vote, increased to a majority of 20,751 and 58 per cent of the vote when she was re-elected in 2015.
As an MP, Claire has been elected to the Justice Select Committee, represented Britain at the Council of Europe and been the Parliamentary Aide to the Secretary of State for Defence. She set up and led a cross-party Parliamentary Inquiry into Online Child Protection in 2012 and was made Special Advisor to the Prime Minister for preventing the commercialisation and sexualisation of Childhood. She became a Government Whip in 2013 and in July 2014 she was appointed to become Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State in Department for Transport with responsibility for railways, a role in which she served until July 2016.
Locally, Claire is currently focused on delivering her six major priorities for those she represents:
- Helping our brilliant NHS to deliver local services especially a new Urgent Care Centre in Devizes (currently in planning)
- Protecting and improving our local train services,
- Accelerating the rollout of Superfast Broadband
- Backing local jobs and thriving local businesses
- Seeing all local children taught in ‘Good’ or ‘Outstanding’ schools
- Support local Armed Forces families and ensuring sufficient resources are provided for the substantial Army 2020 rebasing.
Claire lives with her three children and her partner Professor Bill O’Neill in the heart of the beautiful Pewsey Vale. In her free time, she enjoys reading, walking and cycling and has ambitions to learn to play the ukulele.
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