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Perkins

Hon. Andrea Perkins, MP

The Hon. Andrea Perkins, MP (b. September 4, 1956) is a member of the Georgeland House of Commons and a former Deputy Prime Minister of Georgeland. Perkins has had a long and distinguished career in politics and diplomacy, having left Parliament from 2002-2005 to serve as Ambassador to Astoria. In 2008, Perkins was a candidate for the presidency of Georgeland, officially announcing her candidacy on August 21, 2007 to become the Liberal Democratic Party's nominee. She was defeated in the nominating contest by Campbell Rhodes. On June 7, 2008, Perkins announced her resignation from the Liberal Democratic Party and declared she would sit in Parliament as an Independent. A year later, Perkins announced the formation of a new centre-left party, UNITY, with herself as leader and sole MP.

Early Life

Born in Wilton, Capitalia, as Andrea Stewart Perkins moved to Topstad at the age of five when her father, a civil servant, took up a job with the federal government. Perkins attended public schools and developed an interest in politics and government from an early age. Perkins was President of her Student Council at Sheffield High School. In 1974 Perkins was accepted to the prestigious University of Santa Christina where she studied law, graduating in 1977 with a bachelor's degree. She earned her Masters in 1983. After graduation, Perkins travelled extensively and made a number of contacts worldwide. She then began work for a Topstad legal firm, Withers and Hope, before leaving to work for the Democratic Party of the United Islands, her party of choice. In 1985 she was elected the Federal District's party president and representative on the national executive.

Early Political Career

Perkins was elected to the Georgeland House of Commons in 1987, representing the Topstad seat of Sheffield, until that time a fairly safe Labour seat. At that election the Democrats won enough seats to begin a long coalition government, which they entered as the junior partner. Perkins soon became known in government circles as a consensus-builder, working on several parliamentary committees attempting to achieve unanimous results wherever possible. She also gained a reputation as a debater who would listen carefully to all sides before forming an opinion. In 1991, Perkins was appointed Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Health. In 1994 she was elevated to the Ministry as Minister for Transport. In Opposition in 1995, she continued as Transport spokeswoman. In October of that year, she became Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts under Campbell Rhodes. She became Deputy Leader of her party in 1996 following the retirement of John Lessing.

Deputy Prime Minister

In 1997, long-serving Democratic leader, and Deputy Prime Minister Leonard Hand retired, and Perkins was elected his replacement unopposed. As Deputy PM, Perkins became known as the 'government's conscience', always pushing for a progressive social platform and maintaining a strong economy. These views were common to Prime Minister Rhodes, who came to rely on Perkins' support and the support of her party. After she became Deputy PM, a number of pundits began to think of Perkins as a potential Prime Minister. The only way this could have been possible without Perkins defecting to Labour would have been a coalition merger, something Perkins was against.

After the Split

In 1999, the government fell when the Labour Party split over the leadership challenge to Campbell Rhodes by Anthony McDonald. Perkins stayed out of the feud, and her party contested the election as a separate party and not part of the government. The election saw the party win a record total of 46 seats, more than Labour. Perkins agreed to a coalition with the new Liberal Party of the United Islands, again with Rhodes as Prime Minister and Perkins as Deputy. The prospect of a merger loomed again, but Perkins was determined to maintain her party's independence.

Foreign Minister

After Rhodes' resignation in 2000, Perkins became Minister for Foreign Affairs. She became well-respected internationally and was particularly well-praised by European officials, notably British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook, who described her as a 'true international visionary'. Perkins took a multilateral approach to foreign policy and made efforts to build international efforts to combat global problems. She was instrumental in the forging of an international aid effort to combat AIDS in Africa. As Foreign Minister, Perkins had a high profile and was seen as a better leader than PM Elderton. This was one factor behind the successful Rhodes challenge to Elderton in August 2001.

Treasurer

In 2001, at Prime Minister Michael Elderton's request, Perkins swapped portfolios with Rhodes and became Treasurer (Finance minister). In charge of the national economy, Perkins gained even more recognition and respect. Perkins was and is a proponent of 'minimalist economics' - the practice of government only intervening in economic issues when necessary. Her two budgets, brought down in 2001 and 2002, saw the national surplus slightly increase over previous years. After Rhodes became Prime Minister again, tension between them started to show. Perkins was rumoured to be displeased with the PM's style, labelling him 'autocratic' and 'shallow'. Perkins made a number of speeches bemoaning 'the all-too-obvious lack of substance' present in 'many of our national figures', which some saw as an attack on Rhodes. She remained defiant on the issue of a Liberal/Democratic merger, despite the majority of her party being in favour of such a move.

Resignation and Diplomatic Career

In December 2002, Perkins resigned as Deputy PM, Treasurer and as an MP to take up an appointment as Ambassador to Astoria. Some believed the resignation was prompted by frustration with the Rhodes government, others believed it was in protest over the seeming inevitablility of a merger between the two coalition parties. In Asheville, Astoria kept a low profile as Ambassador. She met, however, with a number of world leaders, including U.S. President George W. Bush and French President Jacques Chirac.

Return to Parliament

On 4 August 2004, Perkins resigned as Ambassador and signalled her intention to return to Parliament. This was apparently sparked by continued rumours Rhodes was coming to the end of his premiership and, with the parties newly merged, leaving the top spot potentially open for Perkins. Despite alleged attempts to block her selection by the party's head office, Perkins was selected as the Liberal Democrat candidate for the seat of North Topstad in the House of Commons. At the 2005 election, Perkins won the seat easily. She was denied a Cabinet position by PM Rhodes. When dumped minister Christine Hinkle publicly attacked Rhodes in Parliament, Perkins, while not actually endorsing the comments, gave tacit approval. She did, however, vote to support Rhodes in the no-confidence motion called by the Opposition.

Leadership candidate

Following Rhodes' announcement of his retirement on July 7, 2005, Perkins weighed her options before announcing, on the 10th, that she would stand for the party leadership. Perkins had the endorsement of a number of ministers and high-profile politicians. She also was seen by some anti-Rhodes Liberal Democrats as a good alternative to Zoë Parker, a Rhodes disciple. In the first round of voting, held in the LDP party room, Perkins earned 70 votes out of 180, placing first of four candidates. She then competed for the leadership in a vote held nationally by all LDP members. Perkins won 47% of the vote to Parker's 53. Following the election, Perkins declared she was satisfied with the result and pledged to support the Parker government. She was not offered a cabinet position in Parker's government.
Following the party's devastating election loss in 2007, Perkins declared on July 2 that she would be a candidate to replace Zoe Parker as party leader and become Leader of the Opposition. In the leadership ballot that followed, Perkins was defeated by Robin Sales. Perkins was not offered a shadow ministerial post on Sales' front bench.

Presidential Candidacy

Many believe Perkins would be an excellent candidate for the Presidency, particularly those who do not wish Campbell Rhodes, the presumptive nominee, to have the nomination. Perkins told supports in October 2006 that if she were to run it would be on a platform of national consensus and reconciliation. On April 12, 2007, she announced that she would 'seriously consider' a Presidential run and that she would be setting up an organisation "similar to an exploratory committee" to investigate that possibility.
On August 22, Perkins declared she would seek the LDP's nomination for the upcoming presidential election, and declared she would be "a consensus candidate" who would "refuse to politicise the office". Perkins said she would be a "unifying figure" if elected President. Perkins' candidacy immediately made her the front-runner, with speculation few other Liberal Democrats, Rhodes included, would seek to challenge her nomination.
Rhodes eventually did emerge as a candidate, along with former Capitalian Chief Minister Matthew Buckley. Perkins led Buckley in all polls, but when Rhodes declared his intention to run in October 2007, he overtook Perkins as the LDP front-runner.
At the nominating convention held on January 28, 2008, Perkins garnered roughly 30% of first-round votes, only narrowly beating Buckley for second-place against Rhodes. The second-round result saw Rhodes win 56% to Perkins' 44%. Perkins then endorsed Rhodes as the candidate and urged the party to unite behind him.

Independent Member

On June 7, 2008, Perkins announced she was resigning from the Liberal Democratic Party. She claimed the party had 'deliberately attempted' to sabotage her Presidential campaign and spoke of a 'culture of corruption, factionalism and institutional prejudices' within the party. She declared she would remain in the House of Commons as an Independent MP. A poll released in March 2009 suggested that more voters would be likely to return to the Liberal Democrats if Perkins were leader, despite her having left the party. Some unnamed sources in the LDP were quoted as suggesting that Perkins would be welcomed back if she was seen as a means to regaining power, but that the anti-Perkins camp was still very vocal and active.

UNITY

On June 12, 2009, Perkins announced the formation of a new political party, UNITY, which she would represent as MP and as interim leader pending a national conference at which a leader would be elected. Perkins said that UNITY would stand for social justice and attempt to appeal to dissaffected LDP voters. The party's conference is expected around November. Perkins has announced she will stand for the leadership but that others are welcome to oppose her if they choose.

Personal Life

In 1980 the then Andrea Stewart met John Perkins, a fellow lawyer. They married in 1984. John and Andrea Perkins have three children - Brian (b. 1987), Stuart (b. 1990) and Selina (b. 1983)

Trivia

  • Perkins lists her political heroes as John F. Kennedy, Clement Attlee and the Democrats founder, Tom Garden. She is the author of two books on Clement Attlee.
  • Perkins' materal grandfather was related to the Danish royal family. Perkins is Queen Margarethe's fourth-cousin, twice removed, and is approximately 127th in line for the Danish throne.
  • Supports Topstad Football Club.
  • Is allergic to chocolate.

Published works

Devolution: Britain's Real Wartime Leader, 1992, DDU Press
An Earl and a Knight of the Garter, 1994, DDU Press
The Economic Miracle, 2003, DDU Press

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