Elected at a by-election following the death of sitting Conservative MP Michael Colvin. Gidley spoke for the party on wonen’s issues and later served as Shadow Health Minister. A strong supported of a gradualist approach to getting more women elected to public office, Gidley chaired the Liberal Democrat Gender Balanced Task Force with some success. Although re-elected in 2001 and 2005 by 2005 her majority had shrunk to 125. Faced with the abolition of her constituency Gidley fought the new seat of Romsey and Southampton North at the 2010 general election but was defeated by Conservative Caroline Nokes by 4,165 votes.