Caroline has drawn on her own experience of running a successful local business to support economic growth, and has forged a reputation for championing SMEs, UK industry, and skills training in Parliament. As a previous member of the Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) Select Committee, she brought a wealth of knowledge and experience to the table.

In 2013, Caroline was appointed Small Business Ambassador for the South by the Prime Minister, becoming part of a team of MPs hearing from business owners about how changes to government legislation could help them to flourish; this information helped to inform the Small Business Enterprise and Employment Bill announced in the Queen's Speech in 2014.

Caroline showed her commitment to supporting the manufacturing industry as Vice Chair of the Parliamentary Group for manufacturing. In this role, she worked hard to ensure that we put growth, innovation and high-end skills training at the heart of Government policy.

Gosport's proud military heritage underpins Caroline's commitment to the Armed Forces. As a member of the Armed Forces Parliamentary Scheme, she witnessed first-hand the day-to-day work and challenges faced by our service personnel. Her visits to the Falklands and Afghanistan, along with UK military sites, have helped her to stand up for the Forces in Parliament– over the Covenant, war widows' pensions, R&R time and a host of other welfare issues. Caroline spent 4 years as Vice-Chairman (Navy) of the APPG for the Armed Forces, where she took steps to highlight the particular challenges faced by the Naval Service.

Caroline welcomed the 2015 Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR), which clearly committed to investing over £178 billion in buying and maintaining military equipment over the next decade. This includes a new squadron of 24 F35 Joint Striker aircraft, which will be available on our two new Queen Elizabeth class aircraft carriers by 2023. Both of the new carriers will be brought into operation, ensuring that a carrier is available at all times. Caroline believes that this excellent news for the Solent region and will help protect local jobs because Portsmouth Naval Base will be home to the two aircraft carriers. But most importantly, Caroline knows that the 2015 SDSR will ensure our Armed Forces and security services have the versatility and means to keep Britain safe in an increasingly uncertain world.

Caroline has long been a vocal campaigner for voters to have the right to decide on our what form our future relationship with Europe should take, backing the vote calling for a referendum on our membership of the EU in 2011 and opposing the previous rise in the EU budget in 2010.

She was therefore delighted that the Government delivered on the 2015 Conservative Manifesto promise to hold an in/out Referendum on Britain's continued membership of the European Union. Caroline believes it was fundamentally right that the British people had a vote to decide whether we stayed in or left the EU on 23 June 2016.

Following the results, Caroline released a statement here.

You can read what Caroline said following the High Court judgement against Government on Article 50 here.

Caroline is a firm believer in the principle of English votes for English issues. During the last Parliament she set up an online petition calling for the people of England to be able to decide its own priorities on issues such as health, education and local government, just as the people of more devolved parts of the UK are able to do. Almost 400 local people signed the petition, which Caroline then formally delivered to the Speaker in the Chamber of the House of Commons.

The hard work paid off and on 21 October 2015, the Government's proposals to address the West Lothian Question became law. The changes provide a fair balance by giving England more control over decisions which it alone is affected by, while ensuring that Westminster continues to be a place where those from across the UK govern in the best interests of those living within the Union.

For almost a decade, Caroline campaigned to secure a medal for the veterans of the Arctic Convoys. While these heroic men endured dangerous and freezing conditions in WWII to keep the supply lines with Russia open, for over 70 years it remained the only major sea campaign of the war to not have received a specific medal. Caroline's campaign saw her lobby the Prime Minister, the Defence Secretary and various Defence Ministers, while also leading a debate on this issue in Parliament and contributing to Sir John Holmes' Military Medals Review.

Caroline was delighted when the Government announced the award of the Arctic Convoy Star medal, during PMQs on 19th December 2012 - bringing a triumphant end to her fight for recognition on behalf of the veterans. Surviving veterans received their medals at the beginning of 2013 and widows and family members are receiving medals on a rolling basis.

Caroline wants all children get the best possible start in life. She fought to protect Sure Start in Parliament so it's there for the people it was designed to help – the most vulnerable in society. As Caroline understands that children are often held back by a lack of aspiration, she has campaigned to raise self-belief among young people. She participated in a debate on confidence for girls in school, and took part in the campaign to keep children safe online as a member of the Parliamentary Inquiry into Child Safety Online.

In July 2016, Caroline was appointed Minister for Women, Equalities and Early Years at the Department for Education. Caroline was the Minister responsible for the implementation of 30 hours free childcare.

Through her engagement with Gosport based reading programme 'We Can Read', Caroline developed a passion for boosting basic skills among the adult population. She led a landmark debate in the House of Commons on the importance of literacy and numeracy and played a key role in securing a BIS Select Committee Inquiry into literacy and numeracy issues. She also formed an All Party Parliamentary Group for Maths and Numeracy with cross party support and stood as Co-Chair of the group.

Caroline has always been a committed champion of women's issues. In particular, she has strived to inspire more women and girls to become business and career women and keenly encourages girls to take up STEM subjects in school. She recently hosted an event at Bridgemary School, designed to inspire and encourage schoolgirls to become Enterprising Women. In 2013 she stood up in the House of Commons to celebrate the success of the so-called 'Mumpreneurs' who work from home and contribute approximately £7 billion a year to the economy.

In 2014 Caroline called on the Government to do their utmost to support victims of sexual abuse.

In April 2014, Caroline was appointed Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Rt Hon Nicky Morgan MP, who was Minister for Women and Equalities at the time. This enabled Caroline to play an important role in championing women's issues in the run up to the 2015 General Election.

In May 2015, in the post-election reshuffle, Caroline herself was appointed Minister for Women and Equalities. Caroline was the implementer of the gender pay gap reporting regulation.

Caroline is involved in a number of marine issues, inspired by Gosport's peninsula location and the potential for the wider Portsmouth Harbour area for driving jobs, skills and economic prosperity through marine expansion. She welcomed the news that Sir Ben Ainslie's £90m Americas Cup Race Team HQ would be based in the area. She has taken part in the influential Marine Sector Advisory Group, and was instrumental in the formation of the Gosport Marine Scene group, which seeks to highlight Gosport's status as a world class destination for sailing & yachting.

Caroline has met with the Transport Minister to make the case for necessary improvements to legislation governing the use of Personal Water Craft (PWC), such as jet skis and RIBs. Existing legislation fails to protect the users of PWCs and other water users, as was clearly demonstrated by the death of Ryan McKinlay, a Gosport resident tragically killed in a PWC collision in the Solent, in 2015. The driver of the PWC involved was found not guilty of manslaughter by gross negligence, despite admitting to having consumed alcohol.

This underlines the difficulties in mounting a successful prosecution under current laws, which do not enable police to breathalyse after an incident. As well as rules enabling police to breathalyse, Caroline urged the Minister to consider model legislation recommended by the Personal Watercraft Industry Association, which would include mandatory education for all operators. She also emphasised the potential security risks posed by PWCs approaching large vessels, including warships. Many countries require a distance to be observed between both PWCs and other vessels, and PWCs and the shore.

Caroline works to support and improve policing, meets regularly with both Gosport's Chief Inspector and the Chief Constable of Hampshire Constabulary, has been out on patrol with local Police and took part in the parliamentary debate on elected Police Commissioners. She has met with the Home Secretary on a number of occasions to raise issues surrounding policing reform and action on immigration and has campaigned for tougher measures on drug and alcohol abuse, recognising the harm this causes to local people and communities.

Caroline has previously raised concerns about the maximum sentence for death by dangerous driving, urging the Secretary of State for justice to review the existing limit. The Secretary of State listened to her concerns and in January 2016 announced that he was launching a full review of sentencing policy across all offences in the criminal justice system with a special focus on driving offences. In October 2017 the government announced, confirmation on plans to introduce tougher sentences for those whose irresponsible driving devastates lives. For more information about this please click here.

From May 2015 – July 2016 Caroline was Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Family Justice. Her responsibilities included family justice and mediation, female offenders, mental health, mental capacity, criminal offences gateway, coroners, burials, cremation and inquiries policy.

Caroline has been hugely concerned about the high energy and fuel prices that are hitting individuals and businesses hard. She has met with major energy companies and lobbied ministers for action to tackle rising prices, standing up in the House of Commons on a number of occasions to express her opposition to fuel duty increases. She supported the 'Fair Fuel' campaign, which successfully secured a freeze on the fuel duty increase, to ensure that the fuel prices harming families and companies are kept under control.

As a committed supporter of animal welfare, Caroline served as an honorary Vice-Chairman of the RSPCA. This enabled her to work with them on a number of national campaigns and join the local inspector on her rounds in Gosport. Caroline actively backs the Hunting Ban and is committed to opposing any amendments that would weaken the ban. As a supporter of the League Against Cruel Sports and Conservatives Against Fox Hunting, she has worked hard to ensure this cruel practice remains outlawed, and was even chosen as rockstar Brian May's 'Hero of 2010' for her work in this area.

In addition to working closely alongside local GPs and healthcare professionals to improve healthcare in Gosport, Caroline has taken part in a number of valuable national initiatives to improve public health.

With the launch of British Heart Foundation's Public Access Defibrillators scheme in October 2015, Caroline called on local groups to take advantage of the defibrillator kits and CPR training on offer. The campaign garnered significant public attention locally and as a result, life-saving equipment is due to be installed at a number of new locations including Gosport Borough Football Club.

Caroline has actively raised awareness on behalf of diabetes and cancer charities both locally and nationally in recognition of their valuable work to tackle these dreadful diseases and support those affected. She joined in the WearAHatDay event with children from Alverstoke Infant School to help raise the profile of the Brain Tumour Research charity.

In May 2014, Caroline abseiled down the Spinnaker Tower and has also completed a parachute jump to raise funds for the Gosport & Fareham branch of the MS Society.

Contact Caroline directly

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