Caroline Dinenage

Caroline Julia Dinenage, Baroness Lancaster of Kimbolton[1] (born 28 October 1971) is a British Conservative Party politician who has served as Member of Parliament (MP) for Gosport since the 2010 general election.

The Lady Lancaster of Kimbolton

Dinenage in 2019
Minister of State for Digital and Culture
Assumed office
13 February 2020
Prime MinisterBoris Johnson
Preceded byNigel Adams
Minister of State for Social Care
In office
9 January 2018  13 February 2020
Prime MinisterTheresa May
Boris Johnson
Preceded byPhilip Dunne
Succeeded byHelen Whately
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Family Support, Housing and Child Maintenance
In office
14 June 2017  9 January 2018
Prime MinisterTheresa May
Preceded byCaroline Nokes
Succeeded byKit Malthouse
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Women, Equalities and Early Years
In office
8 May 2015  14 June 2017
Prime MinisterDavid Cameron
Theresa May
Preceded byPosition Established
Succeeded byPosition Abolished
Member of Parliament
for Gosport
Assumed office
6 May 2010
Preceded byPeter Viggers
Majority23,278 (48.0%)
Personal details
Caroline Julia Dinenage

(1971-10-28) 28 October 1971 (age 49)
Portsmouth, Hampshire, England
Political partyConservative
Spouse(s)Carlos E Garreta (2002-?) (divorced)
Mark Lancaster (m. 2014)
ParentsBeverley Summers
Fred Dinenage
Alma materSwansea University

A former Parliamentary Private Secretary (PPS) to the Minister for Women and Equalities, Nicky Morgan, Dinenage has served in Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State roles at the Ministry of Justice, Department for Education[2] and Department for Work and Pensions,.[2] Dinenage was on 9 January 2018 appointed as a Minister of State at the Department of Health and Social Care in the Second May ministry, before being appointed by Boris Johnson as Minister of State at Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport on 13 February 2020 in the 2020 British cabinet reshuffle.[2]

Early life and career

Dinenage was born on 28 October 1971,[3] the daughter of television presenter Fred Dinenage and Beverley Summers. She has lived in South Hampshire for most of her life.[4]

She attended Wykeham House private school for girls, Oaklands RC Comprehensive School, Waterlooville, and then studied Politics and English at Swansea University.[5]

Dinenage was a director/company secretary of Dinenages Ltd, a private limited company which under a former franchise contract still trades as Recognition Express, a distributor and supplier of corporate identity products.[6] In 2010, Dinenage announced that she would sell her quarter share in the business,[7] but instead reduced her shareholding to 15%.[8] In June 2015, Dinenage gave up her remaining share in the business.[9]

Dinenage began her political career in Winchester, where she was a member of the local council for five years, resigning in 2003.[10] She stood as the Conservative Party candidate for Portsmouth South in the 2005 general election, finishing second with 33.9% of the vote.[11]

Parliamentary career

In 2010, after the retirement of Sir Peter Viggers was announced following the United Kingdom Parliamentary expenses scandal, Gosport Constituency Conservative Association held an open primary pre-election, inviting all constituents, of whatever political affiliation, to complete a postal ballot to select a candidate. Dinenage won the Gosport primary.[12]

Dinenage was elected to the House of Commons as Member of Parliament for Gosport in the 2010 general election.[13]

Dinenage sat on the Business, Innovation and Skills Select Committee between November 2012 and March 2015.[14] In June 2013, she was appointed one of 12 small business ambassadors by the prime minister.[15]

Dinenage has taken an interest in defence issues, and has successfully campaigned in particular for a medal for the veterans of the Arctic convoys of World War II.[16] She served as the vice-chair (Royal Navy) of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Armed Forces for four years between 2010 and 2014.[17]

She was selected by the foreign secretary's office as a member of the UK's NATO delegation, and elected as vice-chairman of a NATO Science and Technology Sub-Committee.[18]

In October 2013, Dinenage led a Parliamentary debate on adult literacy and numeracy.[19] In 2014, she formed the All Party Parliamentary Group for Maths and Numeracy of which she is Co-Chair.[20]

In July 2014, she was appointed as Parliamentary Private Secretary (PPS) to the Minister for Women and Equalities, Nicky Morgan.[21]

In May 2015, Dinenage was appointed to the dual roles of Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Ministry of Justice and Minister for Women and Equalities at the Department for Education.[2] During her time as justice minister, campaign group Action 4 Ashes praised Dinenage for her swift action in introducing important changes to cremation law following the baby ashes scandal in Shrewsbury.[22] In her role as Minister for Women and Equalities, Dinenage championed the work to get more women on boards, promoted flexible working & shared parental leave and implemented the gender pay gap reporting regulations which came into force in April 2017.[23]

In July 2016, Dinenage was appointed Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Women, Equalities and Early Years at the Department for Education until she was removed from office in the Second May ministry.[2] There she was appointed as Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Work & Pensions with a responsibility about family support and welfare.[24]

Minister for Care

In January 2018, Dinenage was appointed as Minister of State for Care at the Department for Health & Social Care. Dinenage was the first Minister since Alistair Burt to hold the social care portfolio at Minister of State level, after Theresa May handed the portfolio to a Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State under David Mowat and Jackie Doyle-Price.[25] Dinenage's appointment was welcomed by learning disabilities charity Hft, who had campaigned for the restoration of the Minister of State role during the snap election of 2017.[26][27]

As Minister of State for Care, Dinenage launched a consultation on Changing Places toilets. This sought views on how to increase provision of Changing Places toilets in specific new, large buildings commonly used by the public, as well as those undergoing building works.[28] From this consultation, the Government decided to change building rules in England to help add larger accessible toilets to more than 150 buildings a year. It was estimated that more than 250,000 severely disabled people would have greater access to public places from these changes.[29]

In June 2018 Dinenage launched the Carers Action Plan. This outlined a cross-government programme of work to support carers in England, building on the National Carers Strategy.[30]

In November 2019 Dinenage introduced plans for making learning disability and autism training mandatory for Health and Social Care professionals. She said these changes were needed following tragic cases such as the death of Oliver McGowan and the campaign by his mother Paula.[31]

Minister for Digital and Culture

In January 2020, Dinenage was appointed Minister of State at the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.[32]

Following the outbreak of COVID-19 in the UK, Dinenage helped secure a £1.57 billion rescue package for cultural and heritage institutions hit hardest by the pandemic.[33] The first tranche of this funding saved 135 grassroots music venues across England.[34]

Views on same-sex marriage

In 2013, PinkNews reported that Dinenage, in a private letter to one of its readers, had written that the state has no right to redefine the meaning of marriage, and that "under current law same-sex couples can have a civil partnership but not a civil marriage and I believe that there is no legitimate reason to change this. Preventing same-sex couples from being allowed to 'marry' takes nothing away from their relationship."[35]

On 5 February 2013, Dinenage voted against the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill in the second reading debate.[36] However, she did not vote against the Bill in subsequent votes.[37] She was appointed Minister for Equalities at the Department for Education, in May 2015.[38]

Since then, Dinenage has said she is fully committed to advancing the cause of LGBT equality and supports the law on same sex marriage.[23] She attends local Pride events with her family and celebrates Pride Month on social media.[39][40]

Constituency work

Dinenage worked with the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership, Gosport Borough Council and Fareham Borough Council to secure ‘Enterprise Zone’ status for the airfield Lee-on-the-Solent (EGHF) in 2010.[41] The Enterprise Zone focuses on advanced manufacturing within the marine, aerospace and aviation sectors.[42] It is expected that 3,500 jobs could be created by 2026.[43] In September 2014, the CEMAST skills centre opened on the site, specialising in automotive, manufacturing and engineering courses for 900 students.[44]

Work on a Business Innovation Centre was completed in Spring 2015 and the target of it being a quarter full by the end of the year was exceeded within the first couple of months.[45] The Fareham Innovation Centre is now full, two years ahead of schedule.[46]

Dinenage campaigned successfully against the Defence Training Review which would have seen the Royal Navy School of Engineering at HMS Sultan moved to South Wales. In November 2016, the Defence Estate Review announced that HMS Sultan would be disposed of by 2026. Dinenage vocally urged the Government to reconsider its decision and in February 2019 it was announced that the closure of HMS Sultan would be indefinitely delayed.[47]

Since being elected, Dinenage has campaigned for local road improvements, bringing Secretary of State for Transport, Patrick McLoughlin and then transport minister, Norman Baker to the area in 2013.[48][49] Her interventions have helped to secure a combined investment of over £90m since 2010 for highway improvement projects for the Gosport peninsula.[50]

Dinenage has lobbied since her election for the Stubbington Bypass and held meetings with the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government. This helped secure the £25.7m Government funding to complete the project. This new access route to the peninsula is essential for reducing journey times and congestion on and off the Gosport peninsula, removing barriers to growth and investment.[51]

Dinenage has been outspoken in her opposition to housing proposals on the strategic gap between Gosport, Fareham and Stubbington. She believes it is vital that the land is protected as a stretch of countryside that keeps communities distinct and prevents urban sprawl, whilst providing valuable green space to the local community.[52]

Personal life

Dinenage has two children with her first husband Carlos Garreta, a Royal Navy officer whom she married in Portsmouth in 2002.[53][better source needed] In February 2014, she married Mark Lancaster, a former Member of the House of Commons and now a member of the House of Lords, and as such is entitled to use the title Lady Lancaster.[54] She is a lifetime supporter of Portsmouth F.C.[12]


  1. "No. 59418". The London Gazette. 13 May 2010. p. 8742.
  2. "Caroline Dinenage MP - GOV.UK".
  3. "Caroline Dinenage MP". BBC News. Retrieved 25 July 2010.
  4. "Caroline Dinenage profile". The Conservative Party. Archived from the original on 3 January 2013. Retrieved 11 May 2010.
  5. "Caroline Dinenage, Conservative, Gosport". Daily Echo. Retrieved 11 May 2010.
  6. "House of Commons - The Register of Members' Financial Interests (24th February 2014) - Part 1: DINENAGE, Caroline".
  7. "Caroline Dinenage MP | About Caroline". Archived from the original on 14 September 2011. Retrieved 9 May 2015.
  8. Companies House Records, Dinenages Ltd; Registered No: 03852824; Access date: 5 March 2014
  9. "Caroline Dinenage MP, Gosport". TheyWorkForYou.
  10. "Archive | Archive of stories uploaded to the Daily Echo website". Daily Echo. 8 April 2003. Retrieved 9 May 2015.
  11. "Portsmouth South". The Guardian. Retrieved 11 May 2010.
  12. Parkinson, Justin (27 July 2011). "MP Caroline Dinenage on duck islands, dads and the Krays". BBC News. Retrieved 27 July 2011.
  13. "Gosport". BBC News. Retrieved 11 May 2010.
  14. "Select Committee Membership - UK Parliament". Retrieved 9 May 2015.
  15. "'Cameron cutie' Caroline Dinenage dumps husband to date Tory MP Mark Lancaster who walked out on baby". 30 June 2013. Retrieved 5 March 2015.
  16. "Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage pushes for medals for Arctic Convoy vets". Daily Echo. Retrieved 3 September 2012.
  17. "Caroline Dinenage MP | About Caroline". Archived from the original on 17 July 2011. Retrieved 9 May 2015.
  18. "Caroline Dinenage". 28 October 1971. Retrieved 9 May 2015.
  19. "House of Commons Hansard Debates for 10 Oct 2013 (pt 0001)". Retrieved 9 May 2015.
  20. "APPG FOR MATHS & NUMERACY". Archived from the original on 17 February 2015. Retrieved 5 March 2015.
  21. "Women in Business with Caroline Dinenage MP, PPS to The Rt Hon Nicky Morgan MP on 29th January 2015, Westminster". 29 January 2015. Retrieved 9 May 2015.
  22. "Baby ashes scandal: Shropshire campaigners hail Caroline Dinenage MP for work".
  23. "Women & Equalities". Caroline Dinenage. Retrieved 28 August 2020.
  24. "Early years minister Dinenage moves to DWP | Nursery World". Retrieved 7 September 2017.
  25. Dhillon, Aran (7 April 2017). "How David Mowat made the move from MP to minister". Warrington Guardian. Retrieved 14 February 2020.
  26. Davis, Billy (26 May 2017). "Remedying a sector in crisis: The case for reinstating a Social Care Minister". PoliticsHome. Retrieved 14 February 2020.
  27. "Charity wants '˜stability' after Gosport MP takes on social care minister job". The News. 24 January 2018. Retrieved 14 February 2020.
  28. "Government launches Changing Places consultation - Muscular Dystrophy UK". Retrieved 28 August 2020.
  29. "Changing Places toilets for severely disabled people to be compulsory in new public buildings". GOV.UK. Retrieved 28 August 2020.
  30. "Carers Action Plan" (PDF).
  31. "Mandatory Learning Disability Autism Training". Retrieved 28 August 2020.
  32. Mann, Colin (14 February 2020). "Dinenage, Huddleston in at DCMS". Advanced Television. Retrieved 14 February 2020.
  33. "'Caroline celebrates culture lifeline'". Caroline Dinenage. Retrieved 28 August 2020.
  34. "Culture Recovery Fund saves 135 grassroots music venues with emergency grants". GOV.UK. Retrieved 28 August 2020.
  35. Tory MP Caroline Dinenage: Banning gay couples from marrying ‘takes nothing away from their relationship’. Scott Roberts, PinkNews, 4 February 2013. Retrieved 18 May 2015.
  36. "The House of Commons.2013.Marriage (Same Sex Couples)Bill 2012-2013". Retrieved 9 May 2015.
  37. "Caroline Dinenage MP, Gosport". TheyWorkForYou.
  38. Cameron appoints second gay-marriage opponent to Equalities Office. Rowena Mason, The Guardian, 12 May 2015. Retrieved 18 May 2015.
  39. "Caroline Dinenage: Pride in our progress - Education in the media". Retrieved 28 August 2020.
  40. "Pride Month". Twitter. Retrieved 28 August 2020.
  41. "Gosport's HMS Daedalus site to become an Enterprise Zone". 17 August 2011. Retrieved 9 May 2015.
  42. "A place for investment and growth". Retrieved 9 May 2015.
  43. "This development has the potential to make Gosport a major destination - Portsmouth News". 30 September 2014. Retrieved 9 May 2015.
  44. "Celebration of Enterprise Zone college completion". Retrieved 9 May 2015.
  45. "Gosport MP praises Daedalus success".
  46. "Hub for growth calls full house years ahead of schedule". Daily Echo.
  47. "Gosport Royal Navy base HMS Sultan safe from closure until 2029, says MoD in estates U-turn". Retrieved 28 August 2020.
  48. "Transport secretary is stuck in traffic on visit to Gosport - Portsmouth News". 12 November 2013. Retrieved 9 May 2015.
  49. "Campaign starts to get new bypass built before 2026 - Portsmouth News". 16 April 2013. Retrieved 9 May 2015.
  50. "Transport and peninsular access". Caroline Dinenage. Retrieved 28 August 2020.
  51. "'Critical' bypass wins government approval". BBC News. 21 May 2019. Retrieved 28 August 2020.
  52. "Hampshire MP speaks out against controversial homes plans". Daily Echo. Retrieved 28 August 2020.
  53. Matthew Drake (30 June 2013). "Caroline Dinenage dumps husband to date Tory MP Mark Lancaster". Daily Mirror. Retrieved 5 March 2014.
  54. "Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage weds fellow politician at House of Commons chapel". Portsmouth News. 17 February 2014. Archived from the original on 12 September 2017. Retrieved 5 March 2014.