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Sat, 15 August 2020

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Who is Anne-Marie Trevelyan? Meet the eurosceptic MP who has seized the reins at DFID

Who is Anne-Marie Trevelyan? Meet the eurosceptic MP who has seized the reins at DFID
3 min read

Anne-Marie Trevelyan has soared from the backbenches to International Development Secretary in just over six months, but what has she achieved in Parliament and what is behind her meteoric rise?


The Cabinet appointee is the latest Boris-backing MP to move through the ranks since Mr Johnson was made Prime Minister in July last year.

Privately educated and with a degree in mathematics from Oxford Polytechnic, Ms Trevelyan had a successful career as a qualified accountant for professional services firm, PWC, before entering the world of politics.

Her first attempt to enter the political scene began in 1999 when she unsuccesfully stood for a seat on Morpeth Council in Northumberland coming last with less than 5% of the vote.

After another failed candidacy for a council seat in 2003, Ms Trevelyan finally got her first shot at becoming an MP in 2010 when she was chosen to contest the long-held Liberal Democrat seat of Berwick-upon-Tweed.

An impressive campaign saw her slash the majority of incumbent MP Sir Alan Beith by almost 9% before she returned in 2015 to finish the job, scooping an impressive 41% of the vote.

In her first term as an MP, Ms Trevelyan brought her professional expertise to the powerful Public Affairs Committee which she served on from July 2015 until May 2017.

A committed eurosceptic, she sat on the board of Vote Leave in the run-up to the 2016 referendum, and was also active as one of the founding members of the pro-Brexit Conservatives for Britain pressure group between 2015 and 2016.

During her first years in Parliament she frequently called on the Government to provide better support for the military and their families, specifically urging ministers to do more to help soldiers suffering with mental health problems.

In the run up to the 2017 general election campaign, the Tory MP made headlines when she claimed she did not believe her son would vote for her due to her party's failure to win over younger voters.

She told the BBC: "My son is 18, he missed being able to vote in the election this year by five days - which is probably just as well because he might not have voted for his mother.”

Despite her comments, Ms Trevelyan bucked the trend and was returned by a whopping 52% of her constituents.

In late 2017 she was appointed as a Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Ministry of Defence before also being appointed as a PPS to the Department of Education in January 2018.

But in November that year, the committed Brexiteer joined a raft of other Tory MPs in resigning from the Government in oppostion to then-Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit deal.

In her resignation letter to Mrs May, she branded the draft deal a "real threat to the stability and integrity of the Union".

She added: "Some would say well just agree the treaty as it is now then bin it later. But I don't believe in that way of doing business - if we sign a treaty I want us to stand by it."

After returning to the backbenches, Ms Trevelyan announced her support for Boris Johnson in the 2019 Conservative leadership contest triggered by Theresa May's resignation.

She claimed her support for Mr Johnson was based on his commitment to leave the EU, adding he was "ambitious about Britain, and confident about our future."

Her loyalty was rewarded shortly after Mr Johnson's success in the leadership contest, when she was appointed as Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State in the Ministry of Defence.

Five months later, following the December 2019 general election, she was promoted further in the department to become Minister of State for the Armed Forices.

Having served in the role for just three months she was handed her first role in the Cabinet, taking over the role of Secretary of State for International Development from Alok Sharma.

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