Personal Life and Early Career
Victoria was born at the Horton General Hospital. She grew up on the mixed family farm in Aynho and has always lived locally.
She attended Royal Holloway, University of London and Downing College, Cambridge from where she has degrees English and Law. It was at Cambridge University that she met her future husband Sebastian.
In 1995 she qualified as a barrister. For seventeen years Victoria worked in the Civil Service as a lawyer, and until November 2014 was head of the Government’s Justice and Security team. This involved providing advice on the military, prisons and national security matters, and representing the Government in court.
Victoria founded the Oxford Hospital Trust’s Benefactors’ Board, which she chaired for over nine years. She has also been involved with a number of other local charities, including Leonard Cheshire, the Northamptonshire Parent Infant Partnership (NorPIP), and her parish church. She has acted as Churchwarden and has been deeply involved in several campaigns about local issues, particularly the fight to retain vital services at the Horton General Hospital.
Victoria loves living in the village of Somerton, right in the centre of the constituency, with her husband and two daughters. The family are active members of the village community and take part in, and host, many events, including May Day and an annual cider making festival.
Every year, Victoria organises the church nativity service, which includes donkeys, sheep, chickens, and, of course, a baby to play the part of Jesus! She is a passionate advocate of buying locally produced goods and has enjoyed raising pigs, sheep and cattle at home. The family are also partial to a pub lunch and can speak with knowledge on many pubs in the constituency.
Victoria was first elected in 2015. In Parliament, Victoria sat on the Justice Select Committee, and made regular appearances in the House of Commons. She helped organise two national campaigns – Singing for Syrians, raising money for charities working in Syria, and the Great British Spring Clean. She was also Vice-Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Baby Loss.
In February 2020 Victoria was appointed Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Environment and Rural Affairs (Defra) and in September 2021 Victoria was appointed Minister of State at Defra.
In September 2022, Victoria was appointed Minister of State at the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).
Speaking on her appointment, Victoria said:
“I am honoured to have been appointed Minister of State at the Department for Work and Pensions by the Prime Minister.”
“We know we will face challenges this winter. Having chaired the cross-government taskforce for feeding the vulnerable during the pandemic, I saw first-hand the importance of targeted support.”
“I look forward to working with the new Secretary of State, Chloe Smith, and colleagues across government to ensure that we deliver support to those who need it.”
“It has been a great privilege to serve in the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. Farming and the environment will always be a major part of my life. I am very proud to have taken through the Agriculture Act & Fisheries Act, and to have launched the first ever Government Food Strategy. I am confident that our agricultural transition will put UK food security on a new sustainable footing.”
“I’d like to thank my dedicated officials and colleagues at Defra for their support over the past two and a half years, and wish them well.”
“I am looking forward to continuing to serve my constituents in North Oxfordshire and getting to grips with my new brief at DWP in the weeks ahead.”