Daphne Barbara Follett (nÃ©e
Hubbard, born 25 December 1942) is a British
Labour politician, who has been
the Member of Parliament for
Stevenage since 1997.
married to author Ken Follett
currently a junior minister at the Department for Communities and Local
Government, having for a short term filled the role of
Margaret Hodge, as Tourism Minister.
Follett and her husband have been referred to as champagne socialists
in the media due to
the contrast between their political views and their extravagant
Follett was born Daphne Barbara Hubbard in Kingston, Jamaica 25 December
1942 where her father was an insurance executive.
the family returned, first to Jersey then in 1947
to Billericay, Essex. In 1952 the family
moved to Ethiopia.
after an unfortunate incident involving her alcoholic father, a
toast and a drinks trolley, the family were asked to leave the
country and went to Cape
Town in South Africa.
She began a University
degree in Art, but in 1962 had to give it up and started work with
She married Richard Turner in 1963 and they went to Paris where she
worked for the Berlitz
School of Languages
. They returned to South Africa in 1966 to run
his mother's fruit farm in Stellenbosch.
In 1969 she started working for Kupugani
, an organisation that provided cheap food
for the poor.
In 1970, on the breakdown of her marriage, she became acting
Regional Secretary at the Institute of Race Relations
worked again for Kupugani from 1971 to 1978. After a brief marriage
to Gerald Stonestreet, she married architect Les Broer.
shortly after her ex-husband Richard was assassinated, the
family fled back to England, living at Farnham in Surrey, where she
worked for the Centre
for International Briefing, and joined the Labour Party.
stood unsuccessfully as Labour candidate for Woking in the 1983 general
In 1985 she married author Ken Follett
. From 1984 to 1992 she was a freelance
lecturer and consultant, contesting Epsom and
Ewell for Labour in 1987.
She joined the Fawcett Society
and the National Alliance of
and jointly founded the Labour Women's Network
obtained a BSc (Econ) from the London
School of Economics, and was Visiting Fellow at the Institute for Public Policy
Research 1993 to 1997.
She became a patron of Action on Pre-Eclampsia
The 1997 General Election saw Follett elected as MP
for Stevenage. She has served on
many groups and committees, and is a member of the Fabian Society
. In November 2005, she became
to Tessa Jowell
2007 she was promoted to become Minister for the East of
England and Parliamentary
Under-Secretary of State in the Government
Equalities Office supporting the Minister for Women and
Equality Harriet Harman.
Following Gordon Brown's cabinet reshuffle of 3 October 2008,
Follett was made Minister of Culture, Creative Industries and
Tourism at the Department for Culture,
Media and Sport
who went on compassionate leave caring for her ill
husband, Mr Justice Hodge
. In the
reshuffle of June 2009 Follett lost her responsibility for Creative
Industries, which passed to the new Parliamentary Under
Secretary of State
in the department, Sion Simon
. As of 22 September 2009, Follett has
been demoted to a junior minister at the Department for Communities
and Local Government, after Margaret Hodge returned to government
to take the portfolio back as Tourism Minister after her
compassionate leave of absence to look after her ill husband, who
later died mid-2009.
Follett announced her decision to stand down at the next general election
on 1 October 2009.
In 2001 Follett appeared in the television satire programme
which satirised media hysteria
towards the issue of paedophilia. In the programme she was duped
into giving fake warnings about an online game called Pantu the
dog, claiming on camera that a paedophile had converted the dogs
eye into a webcam in order to see the child player. Follett went on
to demonstrate how the paedophile would wear a t-shirt with a small
illustration of a child's body on it, in order to disguise
themselves as another child and how the paedophiles get children to
press their faces against the screen and then use special gloves to
feel the child. Follett complained to the BSC and ITC about being duped into appearing into the
programme. The BSC noted that the programme makers had deliberately
given warning signals to suggest the material might be dubious and
thus rejected Follett's complaints against the show as it
successfully revealed the dangers of how public figures were
willing to speak "with apparent authority about matters they do not
In May 2009 following the release of details of MPs expenses it
emerged that the taxpayer had paid in excess of Â£1,600 for window
cleaning of Follett's London flat in a single year. Further still,
the invoices for the work were addressed to her husband.In a
different article, the same paper alleged that she claimed more
than Â£25,000 for security patrols at her London home after she was
mugged. Her previous husband - a prominent anti-apartheid activist
- was assassinated in their daughters' bedroom in 1978.
Follett was also criticised for claiming Â£120,000 in expenses from
the taxpayer over 6 years to pay for a London flat when she already
owned one property in the capital. Further still, commuting to
London from her main home in Stevenage takes less than 30 minutes
She is married to Ken Follett
. They own
two properties in London, one in Hertfordshire, a property in Cape
Town and a holiday home in Antigua.