Nicola Blackwood was first elected in 2010 with a majority of 176. In 2015, she was re-elected with a landslide majority of 9,852. She was elected Chair of the Science & Technology Select Committee by MPs from all parties from June 2015 – July 2016.
Nicola has now been appointed Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Public Health and Innovation in the Department of Health.
Before the last General Election, Nicola was Parliamentary Private Secretary to Matthew Hancock MP, Minister for Energy and Enterprise (2013-2015) and a key member of the influential Home Affairs Select Committee (2010-2015). She was also previously Vice Chairman of the Conservative Party from 2010-2013.
Nicola was born in Johannesburg in 1979 to a South African nurse and an English cardiologist who were working at Baragwanath Hospital in Soweto but the young family soon returned to the UK. Her parents worked for nearly 30 years in the NHS giving her first hand knowledge of some of the challenges facing our health service.
She trained as a classical musician at Trinity College of Music from the age of 14, and went on to gain a First Class Degree in Music from St Anne’s College, Oxford and an MPhil in Musicology from Emmanuel College, Cambridge. Due to illness, Nicola was home schooled in North Oxford by academics from many of the local colleges and lived in North Oxford from her university days. She now lives in Summertown.
As a Trustee of a Special School Academy near her home and the Patron of several charities, Nicola is recognised as accessible and active on local issues. Recent campaigns include calling for long term flood defences, campaigning for investment for the congested A34; condemning inappropriate development on Port Meadow and demanding ‘infrastructure before expansion’, and championing Oxfordshire’s thriving innovation sector.
Nicola is known for her national campaign against child sexual exploitation, Childhood Lost, which she started in response to the appalling Oxford child grooming case. Nicola secured the backing major Children’s Charities including the NSPCC, Children’s Society, Barnardo’s and Save the Children for her campaign, and since it launched in August 2013 has attracted over 100,000 signatures and successfully amended child protection legislation to enable police to better protect victims of sexual abuse.
Before her election Nicola worked for Andrew Mitchell MP, then Shadow International Development Secretary. Nicola continues this work as Co-Chair of the All Parliamentary Group on Women Peace and Security and a Member of the Department for International Development’s Gender Advisory Group. In these roles, she has worked with Foreign Office and International Development Ministers to developing policy on women and girls in conflict and crisis affected areas and, in particular, on preventing sexual violence. She has been closely involved in the Foreign Secretary’s Preventing Sexual Violence Initiative which was launched at the last G8 summit.