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OBE Honour for Conservative Councillor Julie Iles For Helping Women Make Their Mark

Published on: 14 Oct, 2020
Updated on: 16 Oct, 2020

Cllr Julie Iles OBE

The Surrey-based national president of the Conservative Women’s Organisation has been appointed OBE in the Queen’s birthday honours.

See below for other Guildford recipients.

Julie Iles, also a county councillor for the Horsleys division where she lives, was honoured for helping get more women on to the green benches.

She was told of the honour six months ago and admits she has not found it easy to keep the secret.

“Now I’m making my husband call me OBE all the time,” she said, smiling.

Before Mrs Iles sat on Surrey County Council she volunteered for 10 years to preside at South East Surrey Magistrates’ Court in Redhill, specialising in youth court.

She chaired a working group evaluating case outcomes to seek more effective solutions to short-term imprisonment, in a pilot later adopted across the county.

“In that role, I saw how people’s life chances were shaped by where they’d come from, their backgrounds and their role models,” she said.

In 2012, Mrs Iles lost her election bid as Conservative candidate for Police and Crime Commissioner.

She feels she is now definitely in a “good fit” role as cabinet member for all-age learning and paid tribute to her colleagues. “You don’t get anywhere without the people you work with, it’s never about one individual.”

Her daughter is a teacher in Hampshire and her son, who has dyspraxia and “didn’t utter a single intelligible word until he was four-and-a-half” has just graduated with an economics degree.

But she is most proud of being president of the Conservative Women’s Organisation. “The women we’ve helped to prove their own worth and have gone on and made a difference, the number of MPs who wouldn’t be where they are without the organisation showing them they can do it.”

She added: “I know political representation does not look like society.”

Still, only one third of MPs are women (24% Conservative, 51% Labour and 64% Liberal Democrat). Surrey County Council is slightly more representative than the Commons, with 40% women.

Mrs Iles, 59, said: “Women are impacted more by Covid redundancies and I would imagine when working from home childcare will still fall to the women. There’s still some way to go.

“Women need more encouragement than do men to put themselves forward and consider themselves worthy, they discount their experiences.”

Perhaps reflecting her own observations, Mrs Iles said when she read the email about her pending honour: “I thought I was being asked for an opinion on someone else, I was confused.

“When I realised it was for me, I was quite taken aback.”

Here is the list of Guildford recipients in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list 2020:

Order of the Companions of Honour

Knight Commander (KCMG)

Graham WRIGLEY. Chair, CDC Group Plc. For services to International Development (Guildford) See: Dragon Interview: Sir Graham Wrigley – Everest Experience Inspired Third World Journey Leading to Honour

Order of the British Empire, Civil

Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE)

Dr Grahaeme Henderson. For services to the international shipping industry (Guildford)

Medallist of the Order of the British Empire (BEM)

Christopher Robert Britton. For voluntary service to young people and the community in Guildford, Surrey (Cranleigh)

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Responses to OBE Honour for Conservative Councillor Julie Iles For Helping Women Make Their Mark

  1. Sue Reeve Reply

    October 15, 2020 at 7:07 pm

    A well-deserved award to someone who is also an excellent county councillor for our division.

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