Karen was born in Barnsley in 1964 and grew up in Rugby with her parents and sister, Sarah. Karen went to Rugby High School for Girls and then onto East Warwickshire College. Her mum was a nurse and her dad a local head teacher. She went to work for Ford Motor Company at the age of 18 as a trainee accountant living in Brentwood in Essex.
Karen married Richard, a geologist, in 1984 and they moved to Wrexham. They have two children, Elizabeth and Christopher.
Karen is company secretary of RKL Geological Services Ltd and also a trainer for the Westminster Foundation for Democracy, for which she has travelled to many countries, mainly in Eastern Europe. Karen has visited Bosnia, Slovakia, Serbia, Mozambique, Moldova and Montenegro. One highlight of the job was working to help elect the new President of the Maldives.
Richard is a consultant geologist. Although Richard spends four nights a week on average in London, Redditch is the Lumley family home and they enjoy entertaining their friends and family there at the weekends.
Karen has a keen interest in education and is Chairman of Governors at Vaynor First School in Redditch, the largest first school in the area, and although it is very time-consuming she enjoys it very much. Karen is very much hands-on and is often seen talking to the students and teachers. She is very proud of the staff at Vaynor. Karen believes that children only get one chance at a good education and no matter where they live in the country they deserve the very best that we can give them.
Karen has been a member of the Conservative Party for nearly 20 years and first helped in the General Election in 1992 in Rugby. Karen has been a councillor both in Redditch and in Wales.
She was a District and County Councillor in Wrexham, where she lived for 17 years, and the youngest Tory group leader in Wrexham. She was also the youngest Deputy Chairman of the Welsh Conservative Party and was appointed by William Hague to speak for the party in Wales on local government in 1997 when there were no elected party representatives.
Karen contested the Welsh Assembly elections in 1999 before moving to Redditch. She moved to Brockhill in 2000 and has contested three general elections.
Karen fought for a third election in Redditch, a sign of the confidence the Conservative Party had in her establishing a strong local base, and working hard for the people of Redditch. Karen was a District Councillor in Redditch before standing down to fight the election.
Immediately after the 2005 election, Karen was re-selected by the Conservative Party to fight the 2010 General Election and was endorsed by a packed meeting of not just Redditch members but also members from the new part of the constituency, Hanbury and the Lenches. Karen said, “I’m not a quitter. I came here to do a job and I want to stay and achieve that pledge to the people of Redditch.”
In 2010 Karen won and became the Member of Parliament for Redditch County. Maiden Speech.
Karen is a passionate believer in an NHS that is free at the point of delivery. She strongly supports the local Alexandra Hospital. It is vital to many people’s daily lives and she sees that Redditch needs to ensure that it remains a full service hospital. We need to have services available here locally in Redditch. The Alex has dedicated staff and we are all grateful to them. Karen knows just how much money has gone into the Health Service but knows that we cannot go on the way we are. What we need to do is let them get on with the brilliant job that they do. Let medical professionals decide what is best and stop trying to either reorganise them at every turn or place unnecessary targets on them.
Karen is a big believer in Fairer Funding for Education and will continue to campaign for our kids here in Worcestershire to receive more money. She has invited Ministers and Shadow Ministers to Redditch, including this year Maria Miller, Shadow Children’s Minister, to highlight the unfairness of year upon year of under-funding. Karen’s children were educated locally in the state system at St Augustine’s High School in Redditch and she believes that we have an obligation to provide a good education for every single child.
Karen enjoys nothing better than spending an afternoon shopping in the Kingfisher Shopping Centre and she can see just how much quieter the centre has become. She can see how hard the economic climate is hurting Redditch. Companies are closing, moving and struggling, and people are losing jobs. She has long had a policy of visiting local companies, listening to their comments and bringing Shadow Ministers to Redditch to hear the problems for themselves.
It is time to get a government that understands the economy and the difficulties of business and job creation and how sustainable public services can only be provided by a healthy and profitable private sector and private workforce.
Karen works with the Conservative-controlled council to make Redditch more business-friendly and to encourage business to relocate here and provide jobs for a skilled workforce.
Karen wants the best for the people and the children of Redditch. She wants to be a hands-on MP. She wants to be able to represent everyone and tries hard to understand the problems they face and will do her best to help them find a solution.
Karen’s interests include travelling, knitting, cooking and listening to music and she is a big fan of Katherine Jenkins.