University of Hull graduate Dehenna Davison, who has described herself as a “muscle car, baseball and fluffy animal enthusiast”, is used to making the headlines.
Most recently it has been about her sexuality – Dehenna, 28, revealed she is bisexual during an interview in which she also said she was in the process of divorcing her husband, Hull Conservative councillor John Fareham.
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During the run-up to the General Election in November 2019, the national papers were following Dehenna’s friendship with the Prime Minister’s wife, Carrie Johnson, with whom she bonded over their love of dogs, as closely as they were her campaign trail.
But exactly who is Dehenna Davison, the first Tory MP to represent Bishop Auckland since the constituency was created in 1885?
Dehenna Sheridan Davison, to give her her full name, was born in Sheffield, South Yorkshire, on July 27, 1993, where she grew up on a council estate. Her father was a stonemason, and her mother was a nursery nurse.
Dehenna (her Twitter biog says it is pronounced the same as Vienna) was educated at the independent Sheffield High School, on a scholarship.
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When she was 13 years old, her father, Dominic, was attacked and killed by a single punch at a Sheffield pub, his assailant being imprisoned for manslaughter.
Three years later, the teenager represented the family at a criminal injuries compensation tribunal.
'I wanted to make a difference'
“Having learnt early about injustice, I didn’t want other young people to have to go through the same experiences,” she said. “I wanted to make a difference and try and do some good.
"But, at such a young age, I wasn’t sure how best to do that. Then, totally by accident, at age 16, I discovered politics.
“I realised that going into politics would provide an opportunity to shape the future of our society. To fix injustices. To make life better for people.”
Earlier this year, the MP set up the All Party Parliamentary Group for One-Punch Assaults (APPG) to look at sentencing in such attacks – her father’s attacker was released after just 18 months.
Pizza Hut worker
During her late teens and early 20s, Dehenna had a variety of jobs including working for a video games retailer, a casino, a betting shop, and a branch of Pizza Hut.
Dehenna studied British Politics and Legislative Studies at the University of Hull and during her time in the city, she spent a year working as a parliamentary aide for Jacob Rees-Mogg.
She was also a National Union of Students delegate and played for the university's lacrosse team.
Dehenna led a successful campaign to disaffiliate the university's student union from the NUS in 2016, the same year she stood as the Conservative candidate for the Kings Park ward in the Hull City Council election.
Marriage to John Fareham
In 2018, she again contested a city council seat in the Kingswood ward and also married Cllr John Fareham.
There was a 35-year age gap between the couple, who appeared together on the Channel 4 documentary series Bride and Prejudice, which showed their wedding at the Guildhall.
As part of Mental Health Awareness Week 2019, Dehenna discussed her personal experience of depression and suicidal ideation while working in London as a parliamentary aide, after her grandmother had been diagnosed with cancer.
Dehenna and her husband separated before the 2019 General Election, which delivered 140 new MPs to Parliament, among them five newcomers including Dehenna, who took the former Labour stronghold of Bishop Auckland.
Helping her on the Conservative campaign trail was Carrie Symonds, now Carrie Johnson, the women bonding over their love of their rescue dogs and Dehenna calling them #ToryGirlSquad on her Instagram account.
Carrie’s adopted dog Dilyn, rescued by Carrie and Boris from Friends of Animals Wales, was introduced to fellow rescue pup Carter, belonging to Dehenna, who acquired him from the Dog's Trust.
The dogs were seen playing together in a Bishop Auckland pub and Dehenna exclaimed in a video shared to her Instagram stories: “I'm sitting here with Carrie, Dilyn and my little boy Carter, and they're getting on like a house on fire.”
First bisexual female Tory MP
The friends later posed with their dogs and Rishi Sunak, who was campaigning as the Conservative candidate for Richmond, North Yorkshire.
This year, Dehenna began co-hosting The Political Correction on GB News on Sunday mornings, alongside Nigel Farage.
In a recent interview with Christopher Hope for The Telegraph, Davison came out as bisexual and later said she has been "overwhelmed by the outpouring of love" after the public revelation.
Dehenna said her sexuality was not a big deal and “just part of who I am”.
Conservative colleagues were among those offering their support to Dehenna, with Peterborough MP Paul Bristow tweeting “Good for @DehennaDavison. Spot on.
"It’s not a big deal but by saying this – in a wide ranging interview – will undoubtedly still help others.”
The LGBT+ Conservatives Twitter account wrote: “We’re so proud of our friend @DehennaDavison!
“We welcome her to our community with open arms and are so excited to continue working with her as she enters this new chapter in her life.”
Dehenna took to Twitter on Friday after the death of Sir David Amess, who was stabbed at his local constituency surgery.
She shared an image and said: “Heartbroken by the news about Sir David Amess. Pic from the first time we met in 2018 at the Durham Union. We were on the winning team for the debate.
"I knew then I had met a total gentleman and dedicated public servant. Thoughts and prayers with his family and loved ones.”
Outside of politics, Dehenna, who lives in the village of Coundon in County Durham, said she loves spending time with her dog, taking him for walks at Hedleyhope Fell and out across Teesdale.
“I also go running, and try and tie that into charity fundraising - I completed the Great North Run for the first time to raise funds for Butterwick Hospice.
“I’m also a bit of a tech-head, and am very geeky when it comes to virtual reality and video gaming.”
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