Maria has been Member of Parliament for Basingstoke since the 2005 General Election.  Before entering Parliament, Maria was the Director of an advertising agency.

On becoming a Member of Parliament Maria was appointed to the Trade and Industry Select Committee. She became Shadow Minister for Education in December 2005 the
n Shadow Minister for Family Welfare in the Department for Work and Pensions in November 2006.

Maria moved back to the Education team as Shadow Minister for the Family in July 2007 and remained in post until the 2010 General Election.

Maria became Minister for Disabled People in the Coalition Government in May 2010 and  Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, and Minister for Women and Equalities from September 2012 to April 2014.

Following the 2015 Election, Maria was appointed Chair of the Women & Equalities Select Committee.