Margot James was elected as the Conservative Member of Parliament for the constituency of Stourbridge in 2010, and currently holds the position of Parliamentary Private Secretary to Lord Livingston, Minister for Trade and Investment. She was PPS to Lord Green, then Minister for Trade and Investment 2012-13. Margot has had a varied political career as well as a successful business career.
Margot was born and brought up in Coventry, around where many of her family and friends still reside. She went to school in Leamington Spa and Somerset before attending the London School of Economics where she read Economics and Government. As a student, Margot chaired the Conservative Association, was elected to the Student Union Executive, and continues to support the institution through her role as a governor. During her studies Margot worked as a researcher for Sir Anthony Durant MP and after graduating spent a gap year in the press office of Conservative Central Office.
Margot started work for Maurice James Industries (MJI), a business started by her father in the 1930s. Working in sales and marketing, she gained valuable experience in business across the West Midlands. In 1986, she co-founded her own company, Shire Health; a PR and medical education business. Shire Health was voted ‘Consultancy of the Year’ three times and Margot was voted Communicator of the Year in 1997. After twelve years of running the business Margot sold Shire Health to the WPP Group, and was appointed Head of European Healthcare for their advertising agency Ogilvy & Mather.
For many years Margot has been involved with the NHS beyond her business interests. She served on the board of Parkside NHS Trust for four years, and also worked as a Mental Health Manager. She has also been involved with various charities, and spent ten years as a trustee of Abantu, an African women’s charity, where she trained women from more than forty different African countries in communication and lobbying skills. She has also worked as a mentor for the Prince’s Trust and Young Enterprise.
Margot stood as the Conservative Party's Parliamentary candidate in Holborn & St Pancras at the 2005 General Election. Whilst coming third, she succeeded in expanding the Conservative Party’s share of the vote and gained an above average swing of 2%.
At the end of 2005, David Cameron appointed Margot to the position of Vice Chairman of the Conservative Party for women's issues, a position which she held until 2010. During this time she formed the Women's Policy Group under the chairmanship of Eleanor Laing MP and contributed to the policy review process underway in the Conservative Party.
In 2006 Margot was elected as a Councillor in Kensington & Chelsea and selected as the Conservative Party Candidate for the constituency of Stourbridge. In 2008 she stood down as Councillor in Kensington & Chelsea to concentrate on her work in Stourbridge. The 2010 general election saw Margot elected as the Member of Parliament for Stourbridge, thirty miles from where she was born. The victory constituted a gain from Labour, with a swing of 6.9% and a majority of over 5,000.
Since entering Parliament, Margot has been very active. Between 2010 and 2012, she sat on the Business, Innovation, and Skills Select Committee, and the Committee on Arms Export Controls. She also sat on the Joint Committee on the Draft Care and Support Bill in 2012/13, which scrutinised the reforms the Government proposed to social care in Britain.
During the 2012 reshuffle Margot was promoted to Parliamentary Private Secretary to Lord Green, the Minister for Trade and Investment. She now enjoys working with officials from the Business, Innovation, and Skills Department and the Foreign Commonwealth Office to raise awareness of the important work that the Government is doing to support British exporters. In support of this Margot set up the All Party Parliamentary Group for Trade & Investment, which she chairs, a forum for businesses, trade organisations, and politicians to meet and discuss trade issues.
Margot’s latest appointment was to the No. 10 Policy Advisory Board, under the chairmanship of Jo Johnson MP. In this role Margot will be focusing on the economy, business and trade.