FORMER Oxford West and Abingdon MP Nicola Blackwood has said representing the seat was a ‘constant joy’ as she gave her maiden speech in the House of Lords.

Baroness Blackwood was the constituency’s MP between 2010 and 2017, when she lost to the Liberal Democrats’ Layla Moran.

She was ennobled as Baroness Blackwood of North Oxford yesterday and this afternoon made her maiden speech, which included details on healthcare following Brexit.

She said: “I remain very proud to have been elected by the constituents of Oxford West and Abingdon and the outcome of the 2017 general election was a great sadness for me.

“It was, of course, my home seat. My father was a cardiologist; he met my mother – then a scrub nurse – in an operating theatre in the Radcliffe Infirmary in Oxford in 1973.

“On many a doorstep, constituents would tell me how fondly they remembered my father, who had treated or taught them before proceeding to tell me in no uncertain terms that that didn’t mean they’d be voting for me.”


She added: “It was a constant joy to represent such a research-intensive seat, where constituents were so informed and engaged and unsparingly direct.

“I used to say that I was not only the MP to get footnoted letters but that I had to spend constituency days constantly at the ready for impromptu tutorials from world experts.”  

Baroness Blackwood said: “On one trip to Rutherford Appleton Laboratory [in Didcot] a particularly keen particle physicist sequestered me in his office for a full 45-minute lecture on the nature of the muon and, naturally, why funding for his project should be maintained.

“It is for this reason when Garter Principal King of Arms asked me to choose a title that I had no hesitation in selecting North Oxford – the place where I have grown up physically and intellectually all these years.”

She will now serve as a Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department of Health and Social Care.

And she added: “However varied our views may be on the future relationship with Europe, who can all agree that access to healthcare is essential, both for British nationals living in European countries and for EU citizens living in the UK.

She said the Government currently funds healthcare for 180,000 pensioners and their dependents in the EU, principally in France, Spain, Cyprus and Ireland.

Baroness Blackwood said while current conditions would not continue in the ‘unlikely event’ of a no-deal Brexit, the ‘responsible’ Government would continue to plan for contingencies in the event of one.