Theodore Agnew, Baron Agnew of Oulton

(Redirected from Baron Agnew of Oulton)

Theodore Thomas More Agnew, Baron Agnew of Oulton, DL (born 17 January 1961) is a British businessman, Conservative life peer and former Minister of State at the Cabinet Office and HM Treasury. He also founded the Inspiration Trust, and is the Trust's former chairman.

The Lord Agnew of Oulton
Studio portrait, c. 2017
Minister of State for Efficiency and Transformation
In office
14 February 2020 – 24 January 2022
Prime MinisterBoris Johnson
Preceded byPhil Woolas[a]
Succeeded byJacob Rees-Mogg[b]
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for School System
In office
28 September 2017 – 14 February 2020
Prime MinisterTheresa May
Boris Johnson
Preceded byThe Lord Nash
Succeeded byThe Baroness Berridge
Member of the House of Lords
Lord Temporal
Assumed office
23 October 2017
Life Peerage
Personal details
Born (1961-01-17) 17 January 1961 (age 62)
Norfolk, England
Political partyConservative
EducationBeeston Hall School
Rugby School

Early life edit

He was born in Norfolk, brought up in Oulton near Aylsham and educated at Beeston Hall School and Rugby School. After school, he worked in Canada and Australia, initially in farming but later buying and selling a variety of businesses.[1]

Career edit

After working in Australia, he returned to the UK, founded Town & Country Assistance in 1989, and grew the business to annual gross revenues of £40 million. Selling it to Warburg Pincus in 2002, he became co-founder of WNS Global Services. He resigned as a non-executive director of Jubilee Managing Agency Ltd in 2011, a Lloyd's insurance business managing £130 million of premiums.

In 2006, he founded the Public Interest Foundation, a grant giving charity primarily focused on education and communities.[2]

He has a financial interest in the artificial intelligence company Faculty.[3]

He is a past trustee of Policy Exchange, a Westminster-based think tank. He served as chairman of the Norfolk Community Foundation in 2013 but remains a vice patron.[4]

Agnew is the founder and chairman of the Inspiration Trust, a multi-academy trust that runs seventeen schools in East Anglia. The Trust was founded as the East Norfolk Academy Trust on 14 August 2012, changing its name to the Inspiration Trust on 27 January 2013.[5][6] Nine of these were taken over as failing schools and are all now rated Good by Ofsted.[7]

Agnew was a non-executive board member of the Department for Education and chairman of its Academies Board from 2013 to 2015. He was appointed lead non-executive board member of the Ministry of Justice in July 2015.[8]

Agnew is a board member of the Education Policy Institute, a Westminster-based research institute.[9]

He was appointed a director of National Institute of Teaching in 2022.[10][11] The aim of NIOT is to boost the quality of teaching and school leadership by carrying out research applying these insights to its professional development programmes, and sharing findings with the sector.

1997 General Election edit

Theodore Agnew joined James Goldsmith's Referendum Party some time before the 1997 General Election and was selected as their Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for the Ipswich constituency.

In the ensuing poll he garnered 1,637 votes (3.4%), coming fourth after Nigel Roberts (5881, 12.2%). The seat was held by Labour's Jamie Cann (25,484, 52.7%) – a 10.4% swing to Labour.

Education minister edit

Agnew was appointed as Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the School System, in the Department for Education, on 28 September 2017.[12][13] He had an interest in improving the cost base of schools.[14] He was created Baron Agnew of Oulton, of Oulton in the county of Norfolk, on 19 October 2017,[15] sitting with the Conservative Party group in the House of Lords.[16]

In this role, Agnew had an interest in improving the cost base of schools and was responsible for the academies and free schools programmes.[17]

Treasury/Cabinet Office Minister edit

Agnew became Minister of State for Efficiency and Transformation jointly at the Cabinet Office and HM Treasury on 14 February 2020.

Agnew had a senior role in the UK's vaccination effort during the COVID-19 pandemic. He referred two companies to the PPE fast or VIP lane: Worldlink Resources, advised by former MP Brooks Newmark, which gained contracts for £258 million, and Uniserve, which gained an additional contract for £304 million.[18][19] In April 2021 he was accused of a conflict of interest over his shares in Public Group, a firm helping companies bid for government contracts.[20]

Resignation edit

On 24 January 2022, Agnew resigned as Minister of State for Efficiency and Transformation after strongly criticising the government's failure to tackle billions of pounds worth of fraud in the Coronavirus Bounce Back Loan Scheme.[21] Agnew said "a combination of arrogance, indolence and ignorance" was "freezing the government machine". Agnew accused the government of making "schoolboy errors" through giving loans to more than 1,000 companies which were not trading when the pandemic happened.[22]

Post ministerial career edit

He endorsed Kemi Badenoch in the July 2022 Conservative Party leadership election.[23]

Personal life edit

Agnew donated a total of £134,000 to the Conservative Party between 2007 and 2009.[24]

Honours edit

Agnew was appointed a deputy lieutenant (DL) of Norfolk in 2013.[25] He was made a Knight Bachelor in the 2015 New Year Honours "for services to education".[26][27][28]

Notes edit

  1. ^ As Minister of State for the Treasury, 2010.
  2. ^ As Minister of State for Brexit Opportunities and Government Efficiency.

References edit

  1. ^ George, Martin (9 August 2013). "Theodore Agnew from 11 plus misery and brothel cleaning to business success and a top job at the department for education". Eastern Daily Press. Retrieved 9 August 2013.
  2. ^ "THE PUBLIC INTEREST FOUNDATION - Charity 1114949". Retrieved 16 October 2023.
  3. ^ Evans, Rob; Pegg, David (4 May 2020). "Vote Leave AI firm wins seven government contracts in 18 months". The Guardian.
  4. ^ "Patrons | Norfolk Community Foundation". Retrieved 18 July 2016.
  5. ^ "About us – our trustees – Inspiration Trust". Retrieved 18 July 2016.
  6. ^ "INSPIRATION TRUST – Overview (free company information from Companies House)". Retrieved 18 July 2016.
  7. ^ "Ofsted Reports - Inspiration Trust". Retrieved 16 October 2023.
  8. ^ "Sir Theodore Agnew – GOV.UK". Retrieved 18 July 2016.
  9. ^ "Sir Theodore Agnew – Education Policy Institute". Retrieved 5 September 2016.
  10. ^ "Trustees - Inspiration Trust". Retrieved 16 October 2023.
  11. ^ "Our Board of Directors". Retrieved 16 October 2023.
  12. ^ "Lord Theodore Agnew". HM Government. Retrieved 10 December 2017.
  13. ^ "New ministerial appointments September 2017: DfE and DIT". Retrieved 28 September 2017.
  14. ^ Staufenberg, Jess (8 October 2019). "Introducing... Lord Agnew". FE Week.
  15. ^ "No. 62088". The London Gazette. 24 October 2017. p. 19606.
  16. ^ "Lord Agnew of Oulton". House of Lords. Parliament of the United Kingdom. Retrieved 10 December 2017.
  17. ^ "7 facts about new academies minister Theodore Agnew". 28 September 2017. Retrieved 16 October 2023.
  18. ^ "LEAKED: The Conservative politicians who referred companies to the PPE 'VIP lane'". Good Law Project. 16 November 2021.
  19. ^ O'Neill, Sean; Waterfield, Bruno (29 January 2021). "Coronavirus: UK's nimble vaccine task force has left rivals trailing in its wake". The Times.
  20. ^ Hurley, James; Wright, Oliver (2 April 2021). "Minister Lord Agnew accused in conflict of interest row". The Times. Retrieved 4 April 2021.
  21. ^ Payne, Sebastian; Thomas, Daniel (24 January 2022). "UK anti-fraud minister suits over 'lamentable' covid loan oversight". Financial Times. Retrieved 24 January 2022.
  22. ^ "Conservative minister resigns in anger over Covid fraud". BBC News. 24 January 2022. Retrieved 26 January 2022.
  23. ^ McFadden, Brendan (10 July 2022). "Michael Gove backs Kemi Badenoch to be the next Prime Minister". i. Retrieved 12 July 2022.
  24. ^ Kleinman, Mark (13 June 2015). "Gove Sparks Row Over Tory Donor Appointment". Sky News. Retrieved 14 June 2015.
  25. ^ "Lieutenancy of Norfolk". The Gazette. Retrieved 18 July 2016.
  26. ^ "No. 61092". The London Gazette (Supplement). 31 December 2014. p. N2.
  27. ^ "2015 New Year Honours List" (PDF). Retrieved 18 July 2016.
  28. ^ "No. 61320". The London Gazette. 11 August 2015. p. 14934.
Political offices
Preceded by Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the School System
Succeeded by
Title last held by
Phil Woolas
as Minister of State for Borders and Immigration
Minister of State for Efficiency and Transformation
Succeeded byas Minister of State for Brexit Opportunities and Government Efficiency
Orders of precedence in the United Kingdom
Preceded by Gentlemen
Baron Agnew of Oulton
Followed by
The Lord Geidt