Who is the new Minister for Business and Enterprise?

Anna Soubry has been Minister for Business and Enterprise for the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills since 11 May 2015. She has been Conservative MP for Broxtowe since 2010.

Soubry has had a varied and colourful career, kindling hopes that she will push through the bold reforms needed to empower the UK’s smaller businesses.

She certainly does not have the aristocratic background many would associate with the Tories. Her father owned garages at Worksop and Ranby and her mother worked in the NHS for 40 years as a radiographer. Her father later worked at Bell-Fruit Games in Nottingham.

After attending a comprehensive school in Worksop, Soubry read Law at University of Birmingham, where her interest in politics became evident. Following a short spell as a member of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), she joined the Conservative Party and was elected as the first female Conservative to the National Union of Students Executive.

She went on to train as a barrister, although she initially worked as a broadcast journalist at Grampian TV, North Tonight and Central News East – as well as being the shop steward of the National Union of Journalists. Towards the end of her time in television, she worked on This Morning and other programmes for Channel 4 and BBC 1.

In the mid-1990s, she left the media to work as a criminal barrister in Nottingham, until being elected to serve Broxtowe as Member of Parliament in the 2010 General Election.

Her political career has included appointments as Parliamentary Private Secretary to Health Minister, Simon Burns from November 2010 to September 2012. She was appointed Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State and Minister for Defence Personnel, Welfare and Veterans in October 2013 and appointed Minister of State at the Ministry of Defence on 15 July 2014.

She has proven to be no stranger to controversy, with allegations of bad language over a recorded outburst in the House of Commons and an apology to Nigel Farage over an unusual comment about his facial expression. She also seems to be more flexible and permissive than other Conservatives, with suggestions she may be open to the legalisation of cannabis. Soubry has also been a strong supporter of the Equal Marriage Bill and voted in favour of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013 at both readings.

Outside of politics, she is a single mother of two daughters, suggesting first-hand experience of the work-life balance issues UK SME owners and managers will be all too familiar with.

In her new role as Minister of State for Business and Enterprise she will be responsible for:

  • business sectors (excluding construction, rail, and retail) and advanced manufacturing, including low carbon economy, low emission vehicles, electronics
  • competiveness and economic growth, including economic opportunities and shocks
  • Business Bank and access to finance
  • Green Investment Bank
  • deregulation and better regulation
  • export licensing
  • Royal Mail
  • overseeing Shareholder Executive and its portfolios
  • House of Commons spokesman on trade and investment
  • enterprise
  • Small Business Enterprise and Employment Bill


[Image: Photo: Sgt Pete Mobbs/MOD [OGL (http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/doc/open-government-licence/version/1/)], via Wikimedia Commons]

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