Kelly: Rapid rise led to eventful career

Ruth Kelly's decision to stand down as Transport Secretary at the next reshuffle heralds the imminent end of a short but eventful Cabinet career.

Now 40, she was the youngest Cabinet minister by a decade when she entered the cabinet at 36 and the promotion raised eyebrows, and envy, among more experienced colleagues.

Since then she has held three cabinet posts as Secretary of State for Education and Skills, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government and most recently Secretary of State for Transport.

The rapid rise came despite giving birth to a record for a sitting MP of four children since she was first elected in 1997.

She also came under scrutiny with revelations of her links to Opus Dei, the Roman Catholic prelature made famous in Dan Brown's blockbuster novel The Da Vinci Code.

Ms Kelly rejected calls to break off her links with the group or quit, saying: "It is a private spiritual life and I don't think it is relevant to my job. I am here as a Catholic."

That row, when she was Education Secretary, was swiftly followed by condemnation from teaching unions after she rejected Government adviser Sir Mike Tomlinson's proposals to replace GCSEs and A-levels with a new diploma.

She also came under pressure during her tenure at the Department of Education when it emerged some sex offenders were working in schools.

Ms Kelly's majority in what is now a marginal Bolton West constituency was halved at the 2005 election but she survived only to suffer fresh embarrassment in the subsequent "botched" reshuffle.

Tony Blair wanted to parachute his leading education adviser Andrew, now Lord, Adonis into the department.

Knowing she would be undermined, Ms Kelly opposed the decision only to be offered a return to the Treasury as then Chancellor Gordon Brown's deputy.

In the end, despite reports that she had seen him off which are thought to have angered No 10, the peer was installed as her junior minister.

Ms Kelly was born on May 6, 1968, in Limavady, Northern Ireland, and educated at Sutton High School, Westminster School, Queen's College, Oxford, and the London School of Economics.

She married Derek Gadd, a local government officer, in 1996, and he reportedly changed his job to help Ms Kelly's career.

Ms Kelly gave birth to her first child just 11 days after being returned to Westminster.

That did not stop her swiftly being appointed parliamentary private secretary to then Agriculture Secretary Nick Brown.

However, three more children in the course of the four-year Parliament did partly stall her promotion.

After the 2001 election she was able to put her previous experience into practice when she was appointed economic secretary to the Treasury. Promotion to financial secretary followed a year later.

She was moved to Cabinet Office minister in the September 2004 reshuffle to co-ordinate Labour's election strategy in a key role under arch Blairite Alan Milburn.

It was David Blunkett's first Cabinet departure that prompted her promotion to the top team.

When Charles Clarke took over as Home Secretary she moved to the Education brief.

Earlier this year, Ms Kelly refused to vote with the Government for the legalisation of hybrid human-animal embryos and "saviour siblings" because of her religious beliefs.

While Ms Kelly's busy home life will doubtless take up much of her time, as a backbencher she will have freedom to air her views on subjects such as abortion and stem cell research.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
News
people
Life and Style
Upright, everything’s all right (to a point): remaining on one’s feet has its health benefits – though in moderation
HealthIf sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
News
Kristen Stewart and Rupert Sanders were pictured embracing in 2012
people
News
President Obama, one of the more enthusiastic users of the fist bump
scienceBumping fists rather than shaking hands could reduce the spread of infectious diseases, it is claimed
Sport
Mario Balotelli posed for this selfie during AC Milan's 5-1 defeat to Manchester City
sport
Sport
Laura Trott with her gold
Commonwealth Games
Arts and Entertainment
Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman
arts + ents
News
Bryan had a bracelet given to him by his late father stolen during the raid
people
Sport
France striker Loic Remy
sportThe QPR striker flew to Boston earlier in the week to complete deal
Extras
indybestSpice up your knife with our selection of delicious toppings
Sport
sport
News
Orville and Keith Harris. He covered up his condition by getting people to read out scripts to him
People
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

ERP Business/ Implementation Analyst

£40000 - £45000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: This is an e...

M&E Construction Planner Solihull

£45000 - £55000 per annum + Car, Healthcare, Pensions: Progressive Recruitment...

Senior Java Developer

£45000 - £60000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: Leading Sof...

Chemistry Teacher

£90 - £162 per day: Randstad Education Hull: Randstad Education are looking fo...

Day In a Page

A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

A new Russian revolution

Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

Standing my ground

If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
The man who dared to go on holiday

The man who dared to go on holiday

New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

The Guest List 2014

Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on
It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

Voted for by the British public, the artworks on Art Everywhere posters may be the only place where they can be seen
Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

Blanche Marvin reveals how Tennessee Williams used her name and an off-the-cuff remark to create an iconic character
Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

Websites offering your ebooks for nothing is only the latest disrespect the modern writer is subjected to, says DJ Taylor
Edinburgh Fringe 2014: The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee

Edinburgh Fringe 2014

The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee
Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

The woman stepping down as chair of the Heritage Lottery Fund is worried