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).
In September 2021 Victoria was appointed Minister of State at Defra.
Speaking on her appointment, Victoria said:
"I am really delighted to have been appointed Minister of State at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs by the Prime Minister."
"My family have long farmed in Aynho. I am also a passionate environmentalist. It has therefore been a great honour to work in Defra over the past eighteen months. I was very proud to take through the Agriculture and Fisheries Acts in the last Parliament. This landmark legislation sets both industries on their new sustainable course."
"I love representing the constituents of North Oxfordshire. I know first-hand how important the rural economy is but also the difficulties it faces. This is undoubtedly a significant period of change for our rural and coastal communities."
"While the transition is challenging, I strongly believe that it will leave UK agriculture and fisheries in a much stronger place. Our legislation will place farming and fishing on a sustainable footing for future generations, leaving the environment in a better state than we found it. It is difficult but, if we get this right, the prize is enormous."
"I am thrilled to be able to continue supporting UK farming, fisheries and food at this important time."