Wendy Chamberlain


Wendy Anne Chamberlain (born 20 December 1976)[2] is a Scottish Liberal Democrat politician serving as Chief Whip of the Liberal Democrats and the Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Scotland and Wales since 2020. Chamberlain has served as the Member of Parliament (MP) for North East Fife since 2019.[3]

Wendy Chamberlain

Chamberlain in 2019
Chief Whip of the Liberal Democrats
Assumed office
1 September 2020
LeaderSir Ed Davey
Preceded byAlistair Carmichael
Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Work & Pensions
Assumed office
1 September 2020
LeaderSir Ed Davey
Preceded byTim Farron
Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Scotland and Wales
Assumed office
6 January 2020
LeaderSir Ed Davey
Preceded byJamie Stone & Willie Rennie (Scotland)
Jane Dodds & Kirsty Williams (Wales)
Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for International Development
In office
6 January 2020  1 September 2020
LeaderSir Ed Davey & Mark Pack (Acting)
Preceded byAngela Smith
Succeeded byLayla Moran
Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Northern Ireland
In office
6 January 2020  1 September 2020
LeaderSir Ed Davey & Mark Pack (Acting)
Preceded byAlistair Carmichael
Succeeded byAlistair Carmichael
Member of Parliament
for North East Fife
Assumed office
12 December 2019
Preceded byStephen Gethins
Majority1,316 (2.9%)
Personal details
Born
Wendy Anne Chamberlain

(1976-12-20) 20 December 1976 (age 44)
Greenock, Inverclyde, Scotland
NationalityBritish
Political partyLiberal Democrats
Alma materUniversity of Edinburgh[1]
Websitewww.wendychamberlain.scot

She was elected to the House of Commons of the United Kingdom as the Member of Parliament (MP) for North East Fife in the 2019 general election.[3] She served as the Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Northern Ireland and International Development from January 2020 to September 2020.

Early life and career


Born in Greenock, Inverclyde,[4] Chamberlain was the older of two daughters.[5] She studied English at the University of Edinburgh, and was a member of the Edinburgh University Footlights, a student-run musical-theatre group, and performed in a show with the group at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.[5] The daughter of a police officer, after finishing university she joined the police force.[5] During her twelve years as a police officer, Chamberlain worked for the Association of Chief Police Officers in Scotland and the Scottish Police College.[6]

After leaving the police, Chamberlain worked as a Communications Lecturer at Fife College, before becoming a Training Manager for the Scottish Resettlement Centre, a Ministry of Defence contractor in Rosyth,[7] and then a Capability Manager for British multinational alcoholic beverages company, Diageo. While working in the private sector, Chamberlain was a Member of the Chartered Management Institute and an Associate Member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development.[8] In 2017, Chamberlain became a member of the board of the Camanachd Association, the world governing body of the Scottish sport of shinty, becoming the first female director of the Association.[9]

Political career


Chamberlain joined the Liberal Democrats after the 2015 United Kingdom general election, which saw the party lose 49 of its 57 MPs. After standing in an "unwinnable" council seat (the ward of Rosyth in Fife Council)[10] in the 2017 Scottish local elections, Chamberlain was asked by Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie to consider putting herself forward to stand in the 2017 general election.[11] Chamberlain stood as a paper candidate in Stirling[11] finishing fourth in the constituency, winning 3.4% of the vote with a small increase in vote share and absolute votes as compared to the result in 2015.[12]

Chamberlain was selected as the prospective Parliamentary candidate for the Liberal Democrat target seat of North East Fife in June 2018,[13] and in March 2019 was appointed as the Scottish Liberal Democrats' spokesperson for Constitutional Relations by Willie Rennie.[14] Chamberlain stood for the party in the 2019 general election, comfortably overturning the Scottish National Party's slim two-vote majority in North East Fife by winning 1,316 more votes than the incumbent, Stephen Gethins.[15]

With the Liberal Democrat contingent in the UK Parliament reduced following the general election, Chamberlain was appointed tan party spokesperson in three areas: Political and Constitutional Reform; Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland; and International Development.[16] In a wide-ranging maiden speech, Chamberlain spoke about her constituency, gender equality, the European Union, and electoral reform, while also paying tribute to her predecessors.[17]

During the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, Chamberlain expressed her belief that "civil liberties mustn’t be curtailed more than necessary, and the powers mustn’t be used disproportionately against minority communities", and called for vigilance "to ensure that those [emergency] powers are used properly and evenhandedly".[18] Chamberlain wrote a letter calling for the resignation of Catherine Calderwood, the then Chief Medical Officer for Scotland, following reports that Calderwood had failed to follow coronavirus guidelines by visiting her second home, which was located in Chamberlain's constituency.[19] In April 2020, following the decision to limit the number of MPs sitting in the House of Commons,[20] Chamberlain led a group of opposition MPs (from Plaid Cymru, the Social Democratic and Labour Party, the Alliance Party of Northern Ireland and the Green Party of England and Wales) in calling for the establishment of a COVID-19 select committee. Chamberlain stated that the creation of such a committee was "the only way to guarantee smaller parties from across the political spectrum the opportunity to scrutinise and ask questions of Ministers at this critical time".[21]

Chamberlain was one of three Liberal Democrat MPs (alongside Jamie Stone and Wera Hobhouse) to endorse Layla Moran in her ultimately unsuccessful campaign to become leader of the party.[22]

Personal life


Though originally from Greenock, Chamberlain has lived in Fife since 2003.[4] She is married, and has two children with her husband,[23] Keith, who is a member of the Scottish National Party.[5] Chamberlain has stated that her father encouraged her to get involved in politics, and recalled his words in an interview with The Herald in 2020: "When I found out you were getting involved in all this politics stuff I thought you were aff yer heid, but then I look at those eejits on the telly and I think you can be just as good as them".[24]

References


  1. "Wendy Chamberlain - Spokesperson for Constitutional Relations". Scottish Liberal Democrats. Archived from the original on 15 December 2019. Retrieved 15 December 2019.
  2. Brunskill, Ian. The Times guide to the House of Commons 2019 : the definitive record of Britain's historic 2019 General Election. p. 199. ISBN 978-0-00-839258-1. OCLC 1129682574.
  3. "Fife North East". BBC News. Archived from the original on 12 December 2019. Retrieved 13 December 2019.
  4. Briggs, Billy (10 December 2019). "The battle for Scotland's Remainers". openDemocracy. Archived from the original on 14 December 2019. Retrieved 29 April 2020.
  5. Beaton, Ailean (10 March 2020). "Getting to know you: Wendy Chamberlain". Holyrood (magazine). Archived from the original on 21 March 2020. Retrieved 29 April 2020.
  6. Carter, Gus (18 December 2019). "Ones to watch: The most promising new MPs of 2019". The Spectator. Archived from the original on 8 April 2020. Retrieved 29 April 2020.
  7. "Wendy Chamberlain". Stirling Observer. 17 May 2017. p. 16. Archived from the original on 28 May 2021. Retrieved 29 April 2020 via PressReader.
  8. "Wendy Chamberlain". Camanachd Association. 22 June 2017. Archived from the original on 28 May 2021. Retrieved 29 April 2020.
  9. McKerracher, Lesley (29 November 2017). "Camanachd Association holds annual general meeting". The Oban Times. Archived from the original on 29 November 2017. Retrieved 29 April 2020.
  10. Watson, Jonathan (5 May 2017). "Fife Council election results — Another Tory gain in Ward 5: Rosyth". The Courier. Archived from the original on 6 October 2019. Retrieved 29 April 2020.
  11. Bailey, Georgina (29 March 2020). "Wendy Chamberlain: 'I've been described as the Lib Dem who picks up all the bits and pieces'". PoliticsHome. Archived from the original on 21 April 2020. Retrieved 29 April 2020.
  12. "General Election Results 2017 - Seat: Stirling". The Scotsman. 7 June 2017. Archived from the original on 28 May 2021. Retrieved 29 April 2020.
  13. Gordon, Tom (7 December 2019). "Constituency profile: North East Fife". The Herald. p. 6. Archived from the original on 28 May 2021. Retrieved 29 April 2020 via PressReader.
  14. "Rennie unveils new gender-balanced spokesperson team". Scottish Liberal Democrats. 4 March 2019. Archived from the original on 27 January 2020. Retrieved 29 April 2020.
  15. "Election 2019: SNP's Stephen Gethins loses to Lib Dems in UK's narrowest marginal". BBC News. 13 December 2019. Archived from the original on 15 December 2019. Retrieved 29 April 2020.
  16. Pack, Mark (6 January 2020). "Ed Davey announces new Lib Dem team in the House of Commons/". Lib Dem Newswire. Archived from the original on 25 March 2020. Retrieved 29 April 2020.
  17. "Wendy Chamberlain's maiden speech". Liberal Democrat Voice. 15 January 2020. Archived from the original on 21 October 2020. Retrieved 29 April 2020.
  18. Chamberlain, Wendy (10 April 2020). "I used to be a police officer – now I worry about them being given more power". Metro. Archived from the original on 6 May 2020. Retrieved 29 April 2020.
  19. "Scotland's chief medical officer 'truly sorry' for visiting second home after she was given police warning". ITV News. 5 April 2020. Archived from the original on 29 April 2020. Retrieved 29 April 2020.
  20. Jarvis, Jacob (21 April 2020). "MPs approve 'hybrid proceedings' in House of Commons amid coronavirus lockdown with some to appear via video link". Evening Standard. Archived from the original on 29 April 2020. Retrieved 29 April 2020.
  21. Maguire, Patrick (28 April 2020). "Opposition parties fear lack of scrutiny in digital parliament". New Statesman. Archived from the original on 3 May 2020. Retrieved 29 April 2020.
  22. Walker, Will (28 June 2020). "More support for Layla Moran Liberal Democrat leadership bid". Oxford Mail. Archived from the original on 7 July 2020. Retrieved 7 July 2020.
  23. "Council Election 2017: Rosyth". The Courier and Advertiser (Fife Edition). 10 April 2017. p. 10. Archived from the original on 28 May 2021. Retrieved 29 April 2020 via PressReader.
  24. Rodger, Hannah (8 March 2020). "Wendy Chamberlain: 'My dad said if eejits on the telly could be politicians then I could too...and he had a point'". The Herald. Archived from the original on 19 March 2020. Retrieved 29 April 2020.