Dame Angela Watkinson: Your local MP since 2001

Dame Angela was born in Leytonstone and had a poor working class upbringing, with a Conservative mother and Socialist father. Her escape route was passing the 11 plus exam and winning a place at Wanstead County High School. Exposed to political debate during childhood and the middle class lifestyle through school friends, she developed a lifelong interest in how and why things happen and a desire to be at the sharp end rather than sit back, leave it to others and complain that they are getting it wrong.

University was unaffordable and Dame Angela worked in a city bank between leaving school and starting her family. After a family career break, she took a job in a special school and then worked for several local authorities, taking a degree in Business Administration on day release.
Dame Angela first moved to Upminster in 1965 and lived in Springfield Gardens for 30 years. Her 3 children attended Upminster schools. She is a member of Trinity Church and was a governor of several local schools until being in Government made it impossible to attend meetings. She is Patron of RAGS – Romford Autistic Group Support, the Havering Branch of Diabetes UK and is an Ambassador for Guiding. She also awards her Musicality Prize at the Havering Young Musician of the Year annually.

She was first elected to Havering Council, then Essex County Council and finally to parliament, representing the then Upminster constituency in 2001, winning back the seat from Labour. She built up her majority from 1,242 to 16,384 over 3 elections.

Following the General Election in May 2010, Dame Angela became one of the Government Whips. However, she asked not to be reconsidered in the reshuffle in September 2012, allowing her to spend more time on constituency affairs and to speak in the chamber once more.

In the New Year Honours List 2013, Angela become a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire for her public and political service.

Dame Angela's interests outside work include family, dining with friends, theatre, ballet, reading, and an addiction to Sudoku (and shoes). She has eclectic tastes in music from classical to heavy metal, with Handel and the Rolling Stones as favourites. She is the non sporty one in the family but makes a good spectator.

If she won the Lottery she would set up a respite home for children on the Autistic Disorder Spectrum, to give their families a regular break.

Dame Angela was again re-elected to parliament with a substantial majority and is pleased to be able to continue to represent the residents of Hornchurch and Upminster.