Shephard, Gillian (1940–)

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Shephard, Gillian (1940–)

British politician. Born Gillian Watts, Jan 22, 1940, in Norfolk, England; grew up in a rural area of eastern England; dau. of Reginald Watts (cattle farmer) and Bertha Watts; St. Hilda's College, Oxford, MA, 1961; m. Thomas Shephard, 1975.

As a member of Conservative Party, was elected to Norfolk County Council (West Norfolk, 1977), and became chair of the council's social services committee; appointed deputy leader of the council (1981); became chair of Norwich Health Authority (1985); elected to Parliament (1987); during 1st years in Parliament, was a member of the Select Committee on Social Services, and appointed under-secretary of state in the Department of Social Security (1989); was named minister of state at the Treasury (1990) and deputy chair of the Conservative Party (1991); joined Cabinet as secretary of state for unemployment (1992); became minister of agriculture, food and fisheries (1993); appointed secretary of state for education (1994), then named secretary of state for education and employment (1995); despite sweeping defeat at polls for Conservative Party (1997), won reelection and was named shadow leader of the House of Commons; served as shadow secretary of state for environment, transport, and the regions (1998–99); while still a member of Parliament, published Shephard's Watch: Illusions of Power in British Politics (2000).