Caroline Fiona Ellen Nokes (née Perry; born 26 June 1972) is a politician in the United Kingdom. She was first elected as the Member of Parliament for Romsey and Southampton North in Hampshire in the 2010 general election. From 2014 to 2015 she was Parliamentary Private Secretary at the Department for Work and Pensions. First elected as a Conservative, Nokes had the Conservative whip removed on 3 September 2019 and sat as an independent politician until the whip was restored on 29 October.
|Minister of State for Immigration|
8 January 2018 – 24 July 2019
|Prime Minister||Theresa May|
|Preceded by||Brandon Lewis|
|Succeeded by||Seema Kennedy|
|Minister for Government Resilience and Efficiency|
14 June 2017 – 8 January 2018
|Prime Minister||Theresa May|
|Preceded by||Office established|
|Succeeded by||Oliver Dowden|
|Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Work and Pensions|
17 July 2016 – 14 June 2017
|Prime Minister||Theresa May|
|Preceded by||Shailesh Vara|
|Succeeded by||Caroline Dinenage|
|Chair of the Advisory Committee on Works of Art|
8 July 2015 – 17 July 2016
|Preceded by||Frank Doran|
|Succeeded by||Alison McGovern|
|Member of Parliament |
for Romsey and Southampton North
|Assumed office |
6 May 2010
|Preceded by||Sandra Gidley|
Caroline Fiona Ellen Perry
26 June 1972
Lyndhurst, Hampshire, England
|Political party||Conservative (2010–Sept.5 2019, Oct. 29 2019–present)|
|Independent (Sept. 5 - Oct. 29 2019)|
(m. 1995; div. 2012)
|Alma mater||University of Sussex|
Early life and career
Nokes was born in Lyndhurst Hospital, but raised in West Wellow, a village in Hampshire. The daughter of Roy Perry, former Conservative MEP for the Wight and Hampshire South constituency, she was educated at The Romsey School, La Sagesse Convent in Romsey and then Peter Symonds' College, Winchester, before reading politics at the University of Sussex from 1991 to 1994.
After her graduation Nokes became a policy adviser for her father, then a Member of the European Parliament. Prior to her election, she was chief executive of the National Pony Society, an animal welfare charity promoting and supporting the traditional native breeds of ponies through education, training and competition.
Nokes was a member of Test Valley Borough Council from 1999 until 2010, representing the Romsey Extra Ward, serving as the Leisure Portfolio Holder. She stood down as a councillor when she was elected to Parliament in May 2010.
Nokes was elected at the 2010 general election as the member of parliament (MP) for the new seat of Romsey and Southampton North defeating the former Liberal Democrat MP for the Romsey seat, Sandra Gidley, by 4,165 votes. Nokes made her maiden speech on 17 June 2010 on the subject of a High Skilled Economy.
In June 2014, Nokes was independently assessed as coming first out of the UK's 650 MPs in responding to constituents, with Nokes’ response rate at 100%. The data was analysed by think-tank mySociety, who commended Nokes as the most "responsive MP" in Parliament, based on over 58,000 responses to 96,000 messages sent to MPs.
Nokes is a member of the Armed Forces Parliamentary Scheme, has spoken in 37 separate debates in the twelve months to March 2013, and has an above average voting record. Nokes lists her particular interests as international development, sport, the equine industry, the environment, energy, animal welfare, family law, local government and planning. She has spoken in debates on planning policy, reforming the Child Support Agency Family Based Agreements, Adoption, and the closure of the Ford plant in her constituency. She has also introduced legislation on Dangerous Dogs, and in January 2011, the Consumer Protection Bill.
Parliamentary select committees and all-party groups
Nokes was previously (until March 2015) a member of two parliamentary select committees, the Environmental Audit Select Committee, and the Education Select Committee. Nokes is a member of a Parliamentary group for equine welfare. In October 2012 Nokes became an officer of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Body Image, which campaigns to raise awareness of body image, eating disorders, nutrition and health issues within the advertising industry, the health and fitness sector, media, youth organisations and Government. She gave up the position in 2016.
Parliamentary bill committees
Nokes sat on the Scrap Metal Dealers Bill Committee, and was a member of the Justice and Security Bill Committee. She also sat on the Children and Families Bill Committee which scrutinises a bill designed to improve legislation affecting fostered and adopted children, children in care, children with Special Educational Needs, and the family justice system. Nokes was also a member of the Deregulation Bill Committee and the Modern Slavery Bill Committee, a subject she had previously expressed a constituency interest in and questioned Government on.
In August 2011, Nokes joined a Parliamentary delegation to Equatorial Guinea, an African country criticised for its human rights record. The decision to visit the country was criticised by the Labour MP Paul Flynn. Others commended the delegation for its bravery in going, and for publishing a balanced report which was critical of the regime. Nokes said her decision to go was because Amnesty International were no longer active in the country, and information about Equatorial Guinea was possibly outdated. The delegation had Foreign Office support, and was asked to assess if historic reports of the country were still valid. The delegation met with the country's Prime Minister, whom the delegation challenged about the country's human rights record. Nokes went on to call for the country's President to instigate proper democracy and permit press freedom.
Home Office Minister of State
In January 2018, Nokes was appointed Minister of State for Immigration at the Home Office, a Cabinet position. Accordingly, she was appointed to the Privy Council. Nokes was criticised by the Northern Ireland Affairs Select Committee after admitting she had not read the Good Friday Agreement. Nokes was sacked by new Prime Minister Boris Johnson on 25 July 2019. She found out she had been sacked only when the journalist John Stevens tweeted "Caroline Nokes sacked".
Removal and restoration of whip
On 3 September 2019 Nokes had the Conservative whip removed after she voted against the party to extend the deadline for Britain to exit the European Union and prevent a no deal Brexit, stating that her constituents in Romsey and Southampton North would be worse off under a no-deal Brexit.
Nokes has stated she was 'broadly supportive' of same-sex marriage providing religious organisations are not forced to act against their theology. In February 2013, she cited her support for stable and secure relationships, both gay and straight, but also referenced her previous pledge to Christians, and voted against the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill at Second Reading, saying she was "not convinced the safeguards sought by the Church of England have been guaranteed".
Nokes was a member of the Southern Area Planning Committee on Test Valley Borough Council for ten years and was a critic of a number of developments in the Test Valley area, in particular where plans to develop were not subject to a proper environmental survey. Nokes is a regular speaker on planning issues, advocate for greater planning controls to protect green field spaces, and to better manage planning in rural areas. Nokes criticised the National Planning Policy Framework, saying "communities need to be treated differently. Good quality affordable housing is of course the key issue, but so is sympathetic development and ensuring the rural economy can grow through planning regulations which do not disadvantage rural business". She criticised the Government for "not delivering localism" and said the most important aspect of planning "is the voice of the local resident".
Body image and eating disorder awareness
Nokes is the Chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Body Image, which exists to "monitor on an ongoing basis the causes of body image anxiety. To explore what steps can be taken to promote body confidence, working with advertisers, the media, fashion industry and youth organisations". She also campaigns on the related issues of eating disorders, working closely with charities, researchers, clinicians and others to raise awareness of the dangers posed by eating disorders.
Nokes claims higher expenses than the average MP, having claimed £184,078.71 between 1 April 2015 and 31 March 2016. This is higher than other nearby MPs in Hampshire, such as Southampton Test, and Southampton Itchen.
In April 2010, Fathers4Justice members backed Nokes as the Conservatives had supported their campaign for change to family law, promising legislation if they won the 2010 general election. Following the formation of the coalition, government policy did not fully reflect the position of Fathers4Justice, and the group criticised the new government. In March 2013, Nokes announced she would sit on the committee responsible for scrutinising the Bill, Fathers4Justice called upon her to resign.
Following many abusive tweets directed at Nokes, Twitter shut down the accounts of Fathers4Justice and its leader Matt O'Connor, which F4J saw as "political censorship". The local media reported the group had been engaged in a "witch hunt" against Nokes, who pointed out she had "repeatedly offered to help Fathers4Justice with the tabling of amendments for the Children and Families Bill, but none were forthcoming, just comments, which Twitter agreed constituted abuse and harassment. I am aware other political parties and individuals have also complained to Twitter and indeed to the police". She also stated "I remain committed to improvements to the family justice system, which the Children and Families Bill goes some way towards delivering, and it is a pity F4J chose not to engage constructively with the deliberations of the Bill Committee".
Nokes' office said in 2013 that the harassment of the MP by Fathers4Justice was non-stop. Nokes herself was quoted in The Independent newspaper: "They ignored the warnings and carried on bullying, harassing and sending tweets indicating they were 'looking' for me at my home address at 10.30 at night". Matt O'Connor denied the accusation.
In February 2014, Nokes criticised a House of Lords' amendment to the Children & Families Bill which she said "watered down" the commitment to shared parenting, and spoke against the amendment in the House of Commons, arguing that shared parenting arrangements were in the best interests of children.
In October 2014, The Independent reported allegations the group may have put a tracking device on Nokes' car, and a security consultant claimed he had been approached by Nadine O'Connor about placing the MP under surveillance. Police were said to regard the group as a "fixated threat" which led to security enhancements at Nokes' home. When O'Connor confronted the Hampshire Police and Crime Commissioner making allegations about Nokes, the Commissioner stated O'Connor had "made things up". A person claiming to be a supporter of the group later sent Nokes a Facebook message which stated the wish that Nokes be "violently raped", and stated "there are a lot of people who wish you serious harm, torture and death. Watch your back".
At the Central London County Court at the Royal Courts of Justice in October 2014 the judge refused to grant the injunction because of "a total absence of evidence", with the judge criticising the O'Connors for seeking to prejudice the court by making "generalised assertions" and concluding "there's no sufficient evidence before me to support a finding that there's even an arguable case for a claim for harassment." The O'Connors were ordered to pay costs.
- "Caroline Nokes MP". BBC Democracy Live. BBC. Retrieved 25 July 2010.
- "Nokes, Rt Hon. Caroline". Who's Who. A&C Black. 2011. doi:10.1093/ww/9780199540884.013.U251195.
- "No. 59418". The London Gazette. 13 May 2010. p. 8742.
- "Caroline Nokes". conservatives.com. Conservative Party website. Retrieved 7 May 2010.
- Staff writer (24 July 2014). "MP Caroline Nokes lands first Government job in reshuffle". Daily Echo. Southampton. Retrieved 24 July 2014.
- "The Rt Hon Caroline Nokes MP". GOV.UK.
- Jones, Sarah (7 May 2010). "Gidley goes as Tories win Romsey". Daily Echo. Southampton. Retrieved 7 May 2010.
- "Elected Representatives: Mrs Caroline Nokes, Borough Councillor". Archived from the original on 29 May 2011. Retrieved 7 May 2010.
- Nokes, Caroline. "About Caroline". carolinenokes.com. Caroline Nokes. Archived from the original on 28 May 2013. Retrieved 23 January 2013.
- Staff writer (7 May 2010). "Lib Dem's Sandra Gidley loses seat after 10 years". BBC News. Retrieved 7 May 2010.
- Staff writer (7 May 2010). "Caroline Nokes wins in Romsey". thisishampshire.net. This is Hampshire. Archived from the original on 11 May 2010. Retrieved 14 June 2010.
- Caroline Nokes, Member of Parliament for Romsey and Southampton North (14 October 2010). "Building A High-Skilled Economy". Parliamentary Debates (Hansard). 516. United Kingdom: House of Commons. col. 536–537.
- Staff writer (22 June 2014). "MP tops poll at responsing to constituents". Daily Echo. Southampton. Retrieved 28 March 2015.
- Myfanwy (19 July 2014). "How responsive is your MP?". mysociety.org. mySociety. Archived from the original on 2 December 2014. Retrieved 28 March 2015.
- Nokes, Caroline. "Defence". carolinenokes.com. Caroline Nokes. Archived from the original on 28 May 2013. Retrieved 14 November 2012.
- "Caroline Nokes: Numerology". theyworkforyou.com. TheyWorkForYou.
- Nokes, Caroline. "Caroline In Parliament". carolinenokes.com. Caroline Nokes. Archived from the original on 28 May 2013. Retrieved 14 November 2012.
- Caroline Nokes, Member of Parliament for Romsey and Southampton North (11 July 2012). "Child Support Agency". Parliamentary Debates (Hansard). 548. United Kingdom: Westminster Hall. col. 118WH–121WH.
- Caroline Nokes, Member of Parliament for Romsey and Southampton North (5 July 2012). "Adoption". Parliamentary Debates (Hansard). 547. United Kingdom: Westminster Hall. col. 357WH–359WH.
- Caroline Nokes, Member of Parliament for Romsey and Southampton North (6 November 2012). "Ford Motor Manufacturing". Parliamentary Debates (Hansard). 552. United Kingdom: Westminster Hall. col. 173WH–196WH.
- Caroline Nokes, Member of Parliament for Romsey and Southampton North (6 July 2011). "Dangerous Dogs". Parliamentary Debates (Hansard). 530. United Kingdom: Westminster Hall. col. 463WH–470WH.
- Caroline Nokes, Member of Parliament for Romsey and Southampton North (19 January 2011). "Consumer Protection (Postal Marketing): Motion for leave to bring in a Bill (Standing Order No. 23)". Parliamentary Debates (Hansard). 521. United Kingdom: House of Commons. col. 857–859.
- "Environmental Audit Committee: Attendance at Formal Meetings in Session 2014-15" (PDF). parliament.uk. UK Parliament.
- "Education Committee: Members' attendance at formal Committee meetings: Session 2015-16" (PDF). parliament.uk. UK Parliament.
- "House of Commons - Register Of All-Party Groups as at 30 July 2015 : Horse". parliament.uk. UK Parliament.
- "It's time to Be Real about body image". ymca.co.uk. YMCA. 16 August 2016.
- Reflections on Body Image (report) (PDF). APPG on Body Image and the YMCA. 2012.
- Nokes, Caroline. "All Party Parliamentary Group on Body Image". carolinenokes.com. Caroline Nokes. Archived from the original on 28 May 2013. Retrieved 14 November 2012.
- "Register Of All-Party Parliamentary Groups [as at 31 August 2016] Body Image". parliament.uk. UK Parliament.
- "Register Of All-Party Parliamentary Groups [as at 12 October 2016] Body Image". parliament.uk. UK Parliament.
- "House of Commons Public Bill Committee on the Scrap Metal Dealers Bill 2012-13". parliament.uk. UK Parliament. Retrieved 24 July 2014.
- "House of Commons Public Bill Committee on the Justice and Security Bill [HL] 2012-13". parliament.uk. UK Parliament. Retrieved 24 July 2014.
- "House of Commons Public Bill Committee on the Children and Families Bill 2012-13". parliament.uk. UK Parliament. Retrieved 24 July 2014.
- "Public Bill Committee, Session 2012-13: Children and Families Bill". Parliamentary Debates (Hansard). United Kingdom: House of Commons. 7 March 2013.
- "Children and Families Bill 2013". GOV.UK. 5 February 2013. Retrieved 24 July 2014.
- "House of Commons Public Bill Committee on the Deregulation Bill 2013-14". parliament.uk. UK Parliament. Retrieved 24 July 2014.
- "House of Commons Public Bill Committee on the Modern Slavery Bill 2014-15". parliament.uk. UK Parliament. Retrieved 18 August 2017.
- "Public Bill Committee, Session 2014-15: Modern Slavery Bill". Parliamentary Debates (Hansard). United Kingdom: House of Commons. 21 July 2014.
- Nokes, Caroline (27 June 2014). "Letter from Westminster". carolinenokes.com. Caroline Nokes. Archived from the original on 2 December 2014. Retrieved 24 July 2014.
- Caroline Nokes, Member of Parliament for Romsey and Southampton North (15 October 2013). "Human Trafficking". Parliamentary Debates (Hansard). 568. United Kingdom: House of Commons. col. 598–599.
- Staff writer (7 November 2011). "MP defends trip to African dictatorship". Basingstoke Gazette. Retrieved 14 November 2012.
- Birrell, Ian (23 October 2011). "The strange and evil world of Equatorial Guinea". The Guardian. Retrieved 14 November 2012.
- "Privy Council members". Privy Council. Retrieved 7 September 2019.
- McClafferty, Enda (22 May 2018). "Minister admits she has not read all of Belfast Agreement". BBC News. Retrieved 23 May 2018.
- "Who were the Conservative Brexit rebels?". 5 September 2019. Retrieved 8 September 2019.
- "PM readmits 10 Brexit rebels to Tory party". BBC News. 29 October 2019. Retrieved 29 October 2019.
- Staff writer (14 March 2011). "Nokes backs gay marriage but won't sign Labour petition". Romsey Advertiser. Hampshire. Retrieved 15 March 2011.
- Staff writer (8 February 2013). "Caroline votes 'No' to same sex marriages". Romsey Advertiser. Hampshire. Retrieved 12 February 2013.
- Nokes, Caroline. "Better planning". carolinenokes.com. Caroline Nokes MP. Archived from the original on 29 November 2014. Retrieved 19 July 2014.
- Staff writer (2 July 2009). "No environment survey needed for 350-home development". Romsey Advertiser. Hampshire. Retrieved 19 July 2014.
- Admin. "Caroline Nokes says 'planning single most controversial issue', and Government 'has not delivered localism'". carolinenokes.com. Caroline Nokes MP. Archived from the original on 29 November 2014. Retrieved 19 July 2014.
- "Register Of All-Party Groups: All-Party Parliamentary Group on Body Image". parliament.uk. Parliament UK. Retrieved 19 July 2014.
- Staff writer (29 July 2014). "MP Nokes in research for anorexia plea". Daily Echo. Southampton. Retrieved 16 February 2018.
- Goodenough, Tom (16 February 2016). "Which Tory MPs back Brexit, who doesn't and who is still on the fence?". The Spectator. Retrieved 11 October 2016.
- "Caroline Nokes, Romsey and Southampton North". mpsexpenses.info. MPs Expenses.info. Retrieved 22 May 2017.
- "Alan Whitehead, Southampton, Test". mpsexpenses.info. MPs Expenses.info. Retrieved 22 May 2017.
- "Royston Smith, Southampton, Itchen". mpsexpenses.info. MPs Expenses.info. Retrieved 22 May 2017.
- "Tory backing for family law change". Daily Echo. Southampton.
- "Fathers4Justice protest at MP's 'broken promises'". Romsey Advertiser. 14 June 2013. Retrieved 8 January 2018.
- Dugan, Emily (9 October 2014). "Fathers 4 Justice and the mother of all hate campaigns?". The Independent. Retrieved 8 January 2018.
- Davies, Sian (3 May 2015). "Fathers for Justice face Twitter ban over campaign". Romsey Advertiser. Archived from the original on 2 November 2013.
- Dugan, Emily (6 July 2013). "Fathers4Justice vows to step up attacks on the nation's artworks". The Independent. Retrieved 8 January 2018.
- "MP hits out at Children and Families Bill impact". Daily Echo. Southampton.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 22 February 2014. Retrieved 12 February 2014.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2 December 2014. Retrieved 7 August 2014.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- "I'm sick of living in terror from on-line bullies" says Caroline Nokes, Caroline Nokes MP, 12 October 2014
- Dugan, Emily (10 October 2014). "Fathers 4 Justice couple lose injunction claim". The Independent. Retrieved 8 January 2018.
- "Romsey MP Caroline Nokes and husband divorce". Daily Echo. Southampton. 15 November 2012. Retrieved 13 February 2017.
- Profile at the Conservative Party
- Romsey and Southampton North Conservatives
- Profile at Parliament of the United Kingdom
- Contributions in Parliament at Hansard
- Voting record at Public Whip
- Record in Parliament at TheyWorkForYou
- Profile at Westminster Parliamentary Record
|Parliament of the United Kingdom|
| Member of Parliament for Romsey and Southampton North