Pauline was elected as the first ever Member of Parliament for Mid Derbyshire in 2010. She has lived in Derbyshire since 1970 and was actively involved in local politics for much of this time. She was first elected as councillor for Breadsall Ward, later renamed as Oakwood on Derbyshire County Council in 1987, then as a member of Derby City Council, and was the Mayor of Derby from 2007-8. She also held the post of Governor for The Ecclesbourne School. Pauline’s campaign to save the sixth form at Ecclesbourne School was the issue which drove her to enter national politics as a Member of Parliament.
In Parliament, Pauline sits on the International Development Select Committee. As a member of this committee she has been fighting to ensure investigations into the Sexual Exploitation and Abuse in the Aid sector and calling for sustainable, meaningful change in the sector to stop the abuse from occurring. Pauline is also a member of the Administration Committee, which looks at, amongst other things, the restoration and renewal of Parliament. Pauline was previously a member of the Committee on Arms and Export Controls.
In 2022, Pauline's Marriage and Civil Partnership (Minimum Age) Act was passed into law, protecting all children in England and Wales from the scourge of child marriage, and criminalising those who seek to arrange child marriages. This was the culmination of over five years of work on this project. With the success of this project, Pauline became the first Derbyshire MP for 20 years to successful lead a Private Member's Bill through all of its legislative stages, and is currently the only Derbyshire MP this century with a Private Member's Bill on the statute book.
Pauline has also worked on a number of campaigns in Mid Derbyshire and in Westminster including: successfully campaigning to save Derby County Football Club; supporting a ban on the import of hunting trophies to protect the world’s endangered and threatened species; successfully advocating for Derby to be the Head Quarters of Great British Railways; and campaigning to raise the awareness of aortic dissection - sitting on the board of trustees for The Aortic Dissection Charitable Trust working to improve the diagnosis and treatment for patients with aortic dissection.
Pauline has also been a Parliamentary Private Secretary in the Foreign Office to successive Ministers of State, and the Prime Minister's Trade Envoy for Kenya.