By Humphrey Carter
NEXT month the Conservative Party's high-flying husband and wife team of MPs, Andrew MacKay and Julie Kirkbride, will be coming here to Majorca to meet and address British Conservatives Abroad. The Right Honourable Andrew MacKay is the MP for Bracknell and was key to David Cameron's leadership campaign victory as his senior parliamentary and political adviser. MacKay, who was elected MP for Bracknell in 1997, continues to work out of the Leader's Office as adviser to the new leader and attends all key meetings including the Shadow Cabinet. MacKay has represented the Conservative Party in parliament since 1977, when he was first elected as MP for Birmingham Stetchford. He then represented East Berkshire from 1983 to 1997. During his illustrious political career to date he has served as Parliamentary Private Secretary to Tom King MP when he was Secretary of State for Northern Ireland and later Secretary of State for Defence. From 1997 to 2001 he was Shadow Secretary of State for Northern Ireland and in 2004, was appointed Deputy Chairman of the Conservative Party. His wife Julie Kirkbride was elected MP for Bromsgrove in 1997, the same district in which she and Andrew married, and from 2003 to 2004 was the Shadow Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, a choice position considering her career as a leading television and newspaper political journalist. However, she first became interested in politics while reading economics and history at Cambridge University where she was vice-president of the Cambridge Union Society and very active with the Conservative Party. Upon leaving university she worked for the House magazine in Parliament before studying journalism at the University of California. Between 1986 and 1989 Kirkbride worked as a BBC News and Current Affairs researcher/producer in London and then moved in to ITN's parliamentary unit for which she worked as a producer/reporter until 1992 when she became a political correspondent for The Daily Telegraph and then Social editor for the Sunday Telegraph in 1996, the very year she was selected to fight the Bromsgrove seat she won the following year. The husband and wife team, which is very much part of the future of the Cameron-led Conservative Party, will be addressing members and non-members alike at a Conservatives Abroad dinner to be held at the Santa Ponsa Country Club on February 18.

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