Greening boosts female Cabinet representation
Saturday 15 October 2011
Justine Greening's appointment as Transport Secretary provides David Cameron with a welcome boost to female representation in his Cabinet.
The Prime Minister has come under fire for failing to promote women, and Ms Greening becomes only the fifth female member of the 23-strong top team.
But it would be wrong to suggest that there is any element of tokenism in the elevation of a minister who has performed strongly in 17 months at the Treasury as economic secretary.
Ms Greening was appointed to her first ministerial job, with responsibility for environmental taxation, North Sea oil levies and tax credits, in Mr Cameron's first government when the coalition was formed in May 2010.
She has earned a reputation as a robust performer, driving home the Government's message that Labour's caution over spending cuts would force interest rates up and endanger the recovery.
Aged 42, she entered Parliament in 2005 as MP for Putney, a traditionally Conservative seat in affluent south-west London which she snatched back from eight years of Labour control and successfully defended last year.
Putney was the first Tory gain announced on election night, and was seen as an indicator that then leader Michael Howard had made inroads into Tony Blair's majority.
Ms Greening was born in William Hague's home-town of Rotherham, South Yorkshire, and attended the local Oakwood Comprehensive School, making her one of a small band of state-educated ministers in the public school-dominated Cameron Cabinet.
She went on to study economics at Southampton University and earn an MBA at the London Business School, before working as an accountant at Price Waterhouse, pharmaceuticals giant GlaxoSmithKline and gas company Centrica.
She served as a Conservative member of Epping Town Council and unsuccessfully contested Ealing, Acton and Shepherd's Bush in the 2001 general election.
Within months of being elected to Parliament in 2005, Ms Greening was appointed as a vice-chairman of the Conservative Party with responsibility for youth.
In July 2007, she was appointed as a shadow Treasury minister, before being moved by Mr Cameron in January 2009 to the post of shadow minister for communities and local government.
Ms Greening was the youngest female Conservative MP until Chloe Smith - who now replaces her as economic secretary - won the Norwich North by-election in 2009 at the age of 27.
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