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Rising through ranks to premier

Bitterly disappointed: Paula Cox, back, was rejected as a candidate for Devonshire North West in favour of Wayne Caines, front

For decades, her name was synonymous with the Progressive Labour Party.

The daughter of Eugene Cox, a leading MP from the 1970s, Ms Cox was at the heart of PLP politics from a young age, rising through the ministerial ranks to what many regarded as her coronation as premier in 2010.

Over the years, Ms Cox has kept close associations with many highly respected PLP figures, serving as an aide to leader Frederick Wade, as well as being a protégé of iconic leaders Dame Lois Browne-Evans and Dame Jennifer Smith.

She first ran for the House of Assembly while still a student in 1985 but, after being defeated, returned to her studies and became a lawyer.

When Mr Wade died in 1996, Ms Cox won the resulting by-election in Devonshire North and joined the Shadow Cabinet.

Two years later, she ran successfully alongside Dame Lois as the PLP secured its historic first General Election victory.

Still in her thirties, Ms Cox was given the important labour and home affairs ministry, where she brought forward legislation granting greater rights to hundreds of non-Bermudians but also restricting work permit stays.

She also tackled a succession of crises at Westgate prison and began the drafting of the Employment Act.

She moved to the education ministry in late 2001 and, following the 2003 election, had the Attorney-General portfolio added to her responsibilities.

Ms Cox replaced her father as finance minister when he died in January 2004, becoming deputy premier as well in 2006 when Ewart Brown defeated then premier Alex Scott for the leadership of the PLP.

For the next four years, she was regarded as the PLP’s premier-in-waiting, although she faced criticism for describing herself as a “cog in the wheel” during difficult financial times for the island.

She defeated Terry Lister and Dale Butler to replace Dr Brown as party leader and premier in 2010, and briefly enjoyed a soaring popularity from voters across the political spectrum.

However, her 16-year spell in the House of Assembly ended with a shock defeat to Glen Smith at the 2012 General Election, a key moment as the PLP lost to the One Bermuda Alliance.

Since then, Ms Cox has frequently attended PLP functions and until this month had retained hopes of reclaiming her Devonshire North West seat for the party at the upcoming General Election.

She has maintained the support of the branch, whose secretary is Nadine Henry, the daughter of Dame Lois.

After being rejected in favour of Wayne Caines, she will now run as an independent.