Gillian Keegan Biography
Gillian Keegan is a British politician and businesswoman who now holds the position of Secretary of State for Education. She was born on March 13, 1968. In the past, she has held the positions of Minister of State for Care and Mental Health during the years 2021 and 2022, as well as Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Africa in 2022. Since 2017, she has served as the representative for Chichester in the House of Commons in her capacity as a member of the Conservative Party.
Knowsley, which is located in Merseyside, was Keegan’s childhood home. Both Liverpool John Moores University and London Business School were among her educational institutions of choice. She was a prominent executive in a number of different company areas, including serving as the chief marketing officer at Travelport.
Between the years 2014 and 2018, Keegan served as a councillor on the Chichester District Council. During the general election in 2017, she won the Chichester seat for the House of Representatives. During the second Johnson ministry, which began in February 2020, she was given the position of Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Apprenticeships and Skills. She was given the position of Minister of State for Care and Mental Health after the cabinet reshuffle that took place in 2021.
On October 25, 2022, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak honored her by appointing her to the position of Secretary of State for Education.
Keegan was born in the town of Leigh, Lancashire, to a father who worked as an office manager and a mother who worked as a secretary. She received her primary education in the county of Yorkshire. She attended St. Augustine of Canterbury Secondary School in Huyton while she was growing up in Knowsley, which is located in Merseyside. She was the only student at her school to get a perfect score of 10 O-Levels. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Business Studies from Liverpool John Moores University in 2011, after having previously earned a master’s degree in Strategy and Leadership (Sloan Fellowship) from London Business School.
After beginning her professional life at the age of 16 as an apprentice at a car factory in Kirkby, Keegan went on to have a business career that spanned over 27 years, during which she held positions at Delco Electronics (part of the General Motors Group), NatWest Bank (senior buyer), MasterCard International (commercial director), Amadeus IT Group (group vice president of Multinational Customer Group based in Madrid), and Travelport (chief marketing officer).
Keegan has stated that the experiences she had working in Kirkby in the 1980s, at which time the trade union movement was prevalent there and the Liverpool City Council was controlled by the Militant Party, were the factors that drove her to support the Conservative Party. On the other hand, she did not start getting involved in politics until 2014. She encountered Justine Greening by chance at a London Business School (LBS) reunion in 2015, and she offered her advice on how to achieve her goal of becoming a member of parliament. According to her, this exemplified the power of the LBS network. She received this advice in 2015. During the general election in 2015, she ran as a candidate for the constituency of St. Helens South and Whiston but was ultimately unsuccessful. 2015 saw her assume the role of director for Women2Win, an organization that had been established in 2005 by Theresa May and Anne Jenkin, Baroness Jenkin of Kennington, with the goal of assisting in the election of a greater number of female Conservative MPs. By September of 2017, she had resigned from her position.
In 2014, Keegan was successful in his bid to become a councillor for the Rogate ward on the Chichester District Council.
In May of 2015, she was given a position as a cabinet member responsible for commercial services. In February of 2018, she resigned from her position as a councillor, and in the election that followed in April of that same year, the seat was won by the candidate for the Liberal Democrat party, Kate O’Kelly.  In the end, Keegan was victorious over O’Kelly in the general election of 2019, winning by a margin of 21,490 votes.
Keegan was chosen to represent the Conservative party in the parliamentary election for Chichester in May of 2017, and he went on to win a seat in the House of Commons in the general election the same year.
She is the first woman to ever be elected to represent the constituency.
She was given the position of member of the Public Accounts Committee in September of 2017.
Anne Milton appointed Keegan to the position of MP Apprenticeship Ambassador in February 2019, with the responsibility to support and promote apprenticeship schemes both within Parliament and to businesses within the UK, working alongside the Apprenticeship Ambassador Network, which is comprised of various advocates of apprenticeship schemes. Keegan’s appointment came as a result of Anne Milton’s efforts.
According to the register of MPs’ interests, Keegan has been given free membership to the Chichester Yacht Club, free theater tickets with dinner worth £536, and free tickets for Goodwood Racecourse with hospitality worth £1,200. In addition, the register states that Keegan has received free tickets for Goodwood Racecourse with hospitality worth £1,200.
Keegan allegedly claims expenditures for a full-time Chief of Staff, Senior Parliamentary Assistant, Parliamentary Assistant, and Senior Communications Advisor, in addition to a fixed-term full-time member of staff for whom no job title is provided. This information comes from IPSA. The price tag for these positions in 2020-21 was a total of 205,000 pounds.
In September 2018, Keegan was given the position of Parliamentary Private Secretary (PPS) to HM Treasury. This came 15 months after she had been elected to the British Parliament. She was appointed as the Personal Private Secretary to the Secretary of State for Defence in January of 2019.  In May of 2019, Keegan was promoted to the position of PPS to the Home Secretary.  During the 2019 election for the leadership of the Conservative Party, Keegan gave his support to Rory Stewart.  In September of 2019, she was promoted to the position of PPS to the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care.
She became the first person who has ever worked as an apprentice to be appointed to the position of Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Apprenticeships and Skills in February of 2020. This was a junior ministerial function that was housed inside the Department of Education.
When I was the minister of education, I cast a vote against providing free meals to students during school breaks in October of 2020.
In the cabinet reshuffle that took place in September 2021, Keegan was given the position of Minister of State for Care and Mental Health.
During the crisis that befell the government of the United Kingdom in July 2022, Keegan did not respond to a press inquiry made by the Chichester Observer to remark on her decision to remain in office rather than resign. Keegan issued a statement shortly after Boris Johnson disclosed his intention to step down as the head of the Conservative Party. In the statement, Keegan lauded the Prime Minister’s leadership and stated that she will continue to serve as a minister in his administration.
Keegan supported Rishi Sunak in the Conservative Party leadership election that took place between July and September 2022. As a result of this support, Keegan was demoted when Liz Truss became Prime Minister in September 2022 and was given the position of Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Africa in the Truss ministry. After giving Sunak his support once more in the Conservative Party leadership election held in October 2022, Keegan was given the position of Secretary of State for Education in Sunak’s first Cabinet.
Keegan came under fire in August 2020 for taking a vacation during the scandal surrounding the grading of GCSE and A-Level exams. She defended herself by saying that she was not the minister responsible for GCSE and A-Level qualifications. She said this to show that she was not the minister. She explained that although though she had been the duty minister for the first two weeks of summer recess, she had been able to secure special clearance to carry her government computer with her so that she could continue working during this period of time. She was also called out for posting multiple images from her vacation on Instagram during this time period, which drew criticism.
During the month of May 2021, Baroness Hayter posed the following question to the House of Lords: “Will Keegan’s husband, a former CEO of Fujitsu who was then engaged as a crown representative in the Cabinet Office, be involved in the renewal of Fujitsu’s Post Office contract?”
“Secondly, there is the major issue of the lack of accountability of those who were deeply implicated in the lies and lack of openness that led to the prosecutions and the delay in dealing with the results. Michael Keegan was Fujitsu’s chief executive when the company was telling the Post Office that Horizon was fine and when its staff were even appearing in court as prosecution witnesses against the sub-postmasters. He does not appear to have suffered any penalty and indeed is now a Crown representative at the Cabinet Office, where he oversees the Government’s relationships with suppliers. Given that Fujitsu continues to work with the Post Office, a £42 million extension to the Horizon contract having been agreed with the Post Office last month, can the Minister assure the House that Mr Keegan would have had no role in any such decision?”
Fujitsu was responsible for developing Horizon, the defective information technology system of the Post Office that led to the erroneous accusations of fraud against subpostmasters. Prior to becoming CEO of Fujitsu, Keegan’s husband oversaw Fujitsu’s Technology Products Group (IT hardware; unrelated to Horizon) for the United Kingdom and Ireland from 2010 to 2014. Before that, he had held a top IT leadership post at the Royal Mail Group/Post Office Ltd. The contract between the Post Office and Fujitsu was extended to April 2022.
Keegan came under fire in October 2021 for voting against proposals to control the release of raw sewage by wastewater treatment firms. The history of recurrent releases by Southern Water into Chichester Harbour, which has been declared as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, has contributed to the perception that this is a controversial subject in her district.
Despite having a positive test result for COVID-19, Keegan issued an apology to the bereaved parents in February of 2022 for continuing a face-to-face meeting with them.
Keegan, her husband Michael, and their two stepsons all make their home in Petworth, which is located in West Sussex. After beginning his career with the company in 2006, Michael served as CEO of Fujitsu UK and Ireland from April 2014 until June 2015, and then as head of products business for Europe, Middle East, India, and Africa from June 2015 until his departure in 2018. Michael left the company in 2018. Denis Keegan, Keegan’s father-in-law, served as the Conservative Member of Parliament for Nottingham South. A family home in France, two properties in Spain, and a flat in London are some of the real estate that Keegan owns.