About Cheryl

The Right Honourable Dame Cheryl Gillan DBE FCIM DipM was first elected Member of Parliament for Chesham and Amersham at the 1992 General Election. She is the longest serving Conservative female MP in Parliament. 

Cheryl was born in Llandaff, Cardiff and educated at Cheltenham Ladies College, the University of Law and the Chartered Institute of Marketing. In 1985 she married Jack Leeming; Jack died earlier this year. 

Her business career has included working for Mark McCormack at the International Management Group 1977-84; Director of British Film Year 1984-86; Senior Marketing Consultant, Ernst and Young 1986-91, Marketing Director, Kidsons Impey 1991-1994 and other individual consultancy work.

Joining the Young Conservatives in 1968, she has held several offices in Conservative organisations, eventually becoming Chairman of the Bow Group 1987-8 (only the second woman to be elected to the Chair). In 1989 she contested Greater Manchester Central in the European Parliamentary Elections.

Among others, Cheryl has held the positions of:

  • Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for schools, employment, women and equal opportunities at the Department for Education and Employment 1995-1997.
  • Shadow Minister  Department of Trade and Industry 1997 – 1998
  • Shadow Minister for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs and International Development 1998 – 2001 
  • International Treasurer of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) 2003 – 2006
  • Opposition Whip, 2001 – 2003
  • Shadow Minister for Home, Constitutional and Legal Affairs, 2002 – 2005
  • Shadow Secretary of State for Wales, 2005 – 2010
  • Secretary of State for Wales, 2010 – 2012
  • Assistant Chairman of the International Democratic Union


  • Member of the Political Administration and Constitutional Affairs Select Committee (PACAC)
  • Vice Chairman of the 1922 Committee; Acting Co-Chairman from May to September 2019 
  • Chair of All Party Parliamentary Group on Autism
  • Vice-Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Epilepsy 
  • Vice-Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Sepsis 
  • Vice-Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Rare, Genetic and Undiagnosed Diseases 
  • Vice Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Eye Health and Visual Impairment 
  • Vice-Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Electric Vehicles 
  • Vice-Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on National Parks 
  • Representative of the UK on the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe 2012-present; Vice President of the Political Affairs and Democracy Committee 2014-2015 and Rapporteur on the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development 2014 – 2016; Vice President of the European Conservatives in the Council of Europe 
  • Member of the Conservative Party Board and Unionist Party 
  • President of Buckinghamshire CPRE (Campaign to Protect Rural England)