Dame Eleanor Laing has been the MP for Epping Forest since 1997. She was elected Deputy Speaker of the House of Commons in 2013, appointed a Privy Counsellor in 2017 and became the first ever woman to be elected to the position of Chairman of Ways and Means in 2020. Eleanor was awarded her Damehood in Her Majesty The Queen’s Birthday Honours in 2018.
Before becoming Deputy Speaker, she was a member of the influential Political and Constitutional Reform Select Committee and Chairman of the 1922 Home and Constitutional Affairs Committee. Always deeply involved in parliamentary reform, Eleanor was a member of the controversial Joint Committee on the House of Lords, the Joint Committee on Parliamentary Privilege and the Speaker’s Committee on the Electoral Commission.
She has also been Shadow Minister for Justice, Shadow Secretary of State for Scotland, Shadow Minister for Women, Shadow Minister for Children an Education and Skills spokesman and Opposition Whip.
During the Thatcher and Major governments, Eleanor was Special Adviser to John MacGregor while he was serving in the Cabinet as Secretary of State for Education, Leader of the House of Commons and Secretary of State for Transport.
A graduate of Edinburgh University, where she was the first woman to be elected President of the Union, Eleanor worked as a solicitor in Edinburgh, in the City and then in industry. She was also Chairman of the Society of Conservative Lawyers.
The Epping Forest constituency comprises Loughton, Epping, Theydon Bois, Buckhurst Hill, Chigwell, Waltham Abbey and the surrounding villages. Eleanor has lived in the constituency for well over 20 years. She enjoys walking in the Forest, shopping locally and very occasionally playing golf.