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Robert William Henry Seely[1] MBE (born 1 June 1966) is a British Conservative Party politician who has served as the Member of Parliament (MP) for the Isle of Wight since June 2017.[2]

Bob Seely

Bob Seely MP 2019.jpg
Member of Parliament
for Isle of Wight
Assumed office
8 June 2017
Preceded byAndrew Turner
Majority21,069 (28.3%)
Personal details
Born (1966-06-01) 1 June 1966 (age 52)
NationalityBritish
Political partyConservative
ResidenceBrighstone, Isle of Wight
Websitewww.bobseely.org.uk
Military service
Allegiance United Kingdom
Branch/serviceBritish Army
RankCaptain

Contents

Early life and careerEdit

Seely was educated at Arnold House School and Harrow School.

Journalism, policy and mediaEdit

From 1990 to 1994, Seely worked as a foreign correspondent in Eastern Europe as a stringer for The Times newspaper. He first visited what was then the USSR in early 1990, witnessing the first celebrations of Easter in western Ukraine since Soviet occupation after World War II, and also early Chernobyl disaster protests in Kiev that year. He filed an initial batch of reports and was invited by the newspaper to return permanently from 1990 to 1994. During his tenure in the country, Seely reported from most of the republics or new nations: Russia, Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Armenia (including Nagorny Karabakh), Uzbekistan and Tajikistan. During this time, he made visits to the Balkans, including Sarajevo and Kosovo. He also wrote occasional articles for The Spectator and The Sunday Times.[3]

In the final year in the former USSR, Seely became a Special Correspondent for the Washington Post. He then spent a year in the United States writing a book, Deadly Embrace, on Russia's role in the Caucasus. During this time, he was a fellow at Brown University's Watson Institute. He returned to the UK to work for the Associated Press as a London-based reporter.[4]

In 2000 Seely moved briefly into politics. He worked at Conservative Central Office, heading up the foreign affairs team for Francis Maude; and he also worked briefly for Michael Howard and Sir Malcolm Rifkind.

From 2005 to 2008 Seely worked for MTV Networks International.[5]

MilitaryEdit

From 2008 onwards, Seely served in the UK Armed Forces.  He was mobilised or placed on Full Time Reserve Service (FTRS) for nearly a decade until his selection as a parliamentary candidate in the 2017 election, at which time he resigned his full-time service and returned to the Army Reserve. He has served on the four major UK operations: Iraq. Afghanistan, Libya and ISIS.[6]

As a British Army Sergeant, he was awarded a Joint Commanders Commendation in 2009 for his tour of Iraq and a Military MBE in the 2016 Operational Awards and Honours List.[7][8] He has since been commissioned.[9]

AcademiaEdit

Seely has been a research associate at the Changing Character of War Programme at the University of Oxford. His academic writing is available online.[10] He has contributed to the King's College War Studies blog,[11] Oxford Politics Department blog,[12] the Washington Post's social sciences blog,[13] Prospect magazine and RUSI Journal, published by the Royal United Services Institute.[14]

Political careerEdit

Seely's political career began as a personal assistant to Shaun Woodward, until Woodward's defection to the Labour Party in 1999.[15] Following this he worked at Conservative Central Office as an adviser of foreign affairs to Michael Howard, Francis Maude and Sir Malcolm Rifkind.[16]

ElectionsEdit

 
Seely at the 2017 General Election count at his Isle of wight constituency.

In 2005, Seely stood at the Broxtowe constituency but lost to the sitting Labour MP Nick Palmer by 2,296 votes.[17]

In 2013, he was voted to represent Central Wight on the Isle of Wight Council for the Conservatives and retained the seat in 2017. After the decision by sitting Conservative MP Andrew Turner to stand down at the 2017 general election, Seely was selected as the candidate for the Isle of Wight seat and gained 38,190 votes, representing 51.3% of the vote. He previously worked with Turner on the One Wight campaign, acting as campaign co-ordinator, in 2010.[18] During his campaign, he suggested that were he to be elected, he would campaign for improvements to the Island Line rail network.[19] He resigned as a county Councillor in late 2017.[20]

Seely is the sixth member of his paternal family to become a Member of Parliament, and the second to become the Member of Parliament for the Isle of Wight.[21]

In ParliamentEdit

 
A crop of Seely's official House of Commons portrait in June 2017.

Since entering Parliament Seely has spoken in 37 debates - which is average in comparison to other MPs.[22] In his maiden speech, he called for a better deal for the Isle of Wight from Government.[23] Seely’s speeches, in Hansard, are readable by an average 17–18 year old, going by the Flesch-Kincaid Grade Levelscore.[22]

On 12 July 2017 Seely established the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) to promote the interests of islands around the UK to encourage MPs and Peers from all political parties to join together to lobby government for their respective islands. The group has engaged on a number of issues that affect islands, including healthcare, local government funding and supporting Island economies. He has called or participated in three separate Westminster Hall Parliamentary debates focusing on island issues, as part of the UK Islands APPG.[24]

Island ManifestoEdit

Seely's manifesto, A Vision for the Island, was published a year after he entered parliament, in July 2018.[25] In it, Seely sets out how he believes that the Isle of Wight should develop over the coming decades.[26]

He outlines his top-ten major goals as being to:

  • Deliver increased numbers of genuinely affordable housing for Islanders, and especially young Islanders.
  • At the same time, protect the landscape, severely limiting green field development and speculative development outside built-up areas
  • Raise primary and secondary education standards, have fewer but better sixth forms and develop a higher education facility and campus
  • Improve the integration of health and social care, ensure that the NHS on the Island is on a secure footing
  • Use arts to drive inspiration, aspiration, education and regeneration
  • Develop public transport (cycle and rail)
  • Develop the Island's digital infrastructure and economy as part of a drive to attract high-quality jobs
  • Encourage the ferry firms to support the Island better
  • Improve the Island's visitor offer and develop high-quality tourism
  • Extend the land covered by the Area of Outstanding National Beauty designation and look seriously at whether the Island should become a national park

Committees and foreign affairsEdit

In February 2018, he was elected by his Conservative colleagues to sit on the cross-party Foreign Affairs Select Committee, whose remit is to examine the expenditure, administration and policy of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO).[27]

In July 2018 Seely was elected to the Committees on Arms Export Controls.[28]

In June 2018, in a paper for the Henry Jackson Society titled "A Definition of Contemporary Russian Conflict: how does the Kremlin wage war?", Seely outlined the first comprehensive definition of the nature of modern Russian warfare. He proposes the term "Contemporary Russian Conflict" to describe both the overt and covert forms of influence used by the Kremlin.[29] He described modern Russian conflict as "a sophisticated and integrated form of state influence closely linked to political objectives. It has, at its core, the KGB toolkit of 'Active Measures' – political warfare – around which has been wrapped a full spectrum of state tools. Such tools are overt and covert, conventional and non-conventional, and are used in a coordinated, efficient and, often, coercive fashion. It is holistic, opportunistic, and flexible. It is a strategic art, not purely a military art."[30]

In September 2018, in an article for ConservativeHome, Seely outlined the 10 measures the Security Minister Ben Wallace should consider in order to respond to and deter the "subversive activities of Russia". These included: creating a small, permanent multi-agency group to understand and expose foreign subversive activities, introduce a UK Foreign Agents Act to ensure PR agencies, reputation management firms and others who work as agents for foreign states are listed as such, changes to the UK visa regime, strengthen OFCOM powers and a Royal Commission to understand the threat to our electoral system by cyber infiltration and fake news.[31]

In October, Seely hosted a press conference in parliament, in conjunction with the online investigative journalist website Bellingcat, to announce the identity of the second Skripal assassin suspect.[32][33]

He has also written for the Guardian, Telegraph, Times and the online sites ConservativeHome, CapX and the Spectator online on foreign affairs.[34]

Personal lifeEdit

Seely lives in the west of the Isle of Wight near the village of Brighstone.

He was born to an English father and German mother, and was educated at Arnold House School and Harrow.[7] He comes from a long line of family members involved in politics on the Isle of Wight and elsewhere in the country. Seely’s great-great-uncle, General Jack Seely, was MP for the Isle of Wight between 1900 and 1906 and again between 1923 and 1924, in between which time he served in the First World War – including leading one of the last great cavalry charges in history at the Battle of Moreuil Wood on his war horse Warrior.[7]

He is a keen swimmer and has swum the Solent twice for charity, most recently in August 2018 to raise funds for the West Wight Sports and Community Centre.[35]

BibliographyEdit

  • War and Humanitarian Action in Chechnya (Occasional paper) (Thomas J. Watson Jr. Institute for International Studies, 1996) ASIN B0006QNGGS
  • Russo-Chechen Conflict, 1800–2000: A Deadly Embrace (Soviet Russian Military Experience) (Routledge, 2001) ISBN 0714680605

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Declaration of Result of Poll". Isle of Wight Council. Retrieved 9 June 2017.
  2. ^ Wallace, Mark (5 May 2017). "Seely wins Isle of Wight selection". ConservativeHome. Retrieved 8 June 2016.
  3. ^ "About Bob Seely". Bob Seely MP. Retrieved 19 November 2017.
  4. ^ "About Bob Seely". Bob Seely MP. Retrieved 22 February 2019.
  5. ^ "About Bob Seely". Bob Seely MP. Retrieved 17 December 2018.
  6. ^ "About Bob Seely". Bob Seely MP. Retrieved 25 February 2019.
  7. ^ a b c "About Bob Seely". Bob Seely MP. Retrieved 9 June 2017.
  8. ^ Perry, Sally (19 October 2016). "Bob Seely 'interested in standing' as Isle of Wight MP". OnTheWight.
  9. ^ https://www.bobseely.org.uk/about-bob-seely
  10. ^ "Robert W. H. Seely". robertseely.academia.edu. Retrieved 23 November 2017.
  11. ^ Seely, Robert (30 October 2015). "Russia Hybrid War – a response". Defence-In-Depth. Retrieved 23 November 2017.
  12. ^ Seely, Robert (26 January 2017). "Kompromat or not, Russia already has a winner in Trump - OxPol". OxPol. Retrieved 23 November 2017.
  13. ^ Seely, Robert W. H. (22 May 2016). "Ukraine defeated Russia — at Eurovision. Here's why that matters". Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 23 November 2017.
  14. ^ "Robert W. H. Seely". robertseely.academia.edu. Retrieved 23 November 2017.
  15. ^ Wintour, Patrick (19 December 1999). "How Hague lost a rising star". The Guardian. Retrieved 7 October 2018.
  16. ^ "About Bob Seely". Bob Seely MP. Retrieved 7 October 2018.
  17. ^ Perry, Sally (7 May 2017). "Isle of Wight Conservative's pick their MP hopeful". Isle of Wight News from OnTheWight.
  18. ^ "OneWight". www.onewight.org.uk.
  19. ^ Taylor, Haydn (30 May 2017). "Time to look at re-opening Isle of Wight railway routes, says Tory candidate". Isle of Wight County Press. Isle of Wight County Press. Retrieved 12 June 2017.
  20. ^ "MP Bob Seely to quit Isle of Wight Council role". www.iwcp.co.uk. Retrieved 13 February 2018.
  21. ^ "About Bob Seely". Bob Seely MP. Retrieved 7 October 2018.
  22. ^ a b "Bob Seely MP, Isle of Wight". TheyWorkForYou. Retrieved 25 February 2019.
  23. ^ Bob Seely MP (5 July 2017), Bob Seely MP: Maiden Speech, retrieved 24 February 2019
  24. ^ "Bob Seely chairs first meeting of parliamentary group on UK Islands". Bob Seely MP. Retrieved 24 February 2019.
  25. ^ "Isle of Wight MP Bob Seely publishes Island Manifesto". Island Echo. 17 July 2018. Retrieved 24 February 2019.
  26. ^ "My Vision for the Island". Island Manifesto. Retrieved 24 February 2019.
  27. ^ "Bob's Vlog 16: Hampshire and the Foreign Affairs Select Committee". Bob Seely MP. Retrieved 24 February 2019.
  28. ^ "Mr Bob Seely MP". UK Parliament. Retrieved 24 February 2019.
  29. ^ "A Definition of Contemporary Russian Conflict: How Does the Kremlin Wage War?". Henry Jackson Society. Retrieved 24 February 2019.
  30. ^ Seely, Bob. "A Definition of Contemporary Russian Conflict: how does the Kremlin wage war?" (PDF).
  31. ^ "Bob Seely: Ten steps to defend our country against the aggression and subversion of Putin's Russia". Conservative Home. Retrieved 24 February 2019.
  32. ^ "Bellingcat: Announcement of the Identity of Second Skripal Suspect". Eventbrite. Retrieved 24 February 2019.
  33. ^ "Second Skripal attack suspect 'is doctor'". 9 October 2018. Retrieved 24 February 2019.
  34. ^ "Bob Seely: The new emphasis on looking after veterans is one of the most important things to have come out of the Iraq War". Conservative Home. Retrieved 24 February 2019.
  35. ^ "Bob Seely MP joins Solent Swimmers – West Wight Sports and Community Centre". West Wight Sports and Community Centre. 17 June 2018. Retrieved 9 September 2018.

External linksEdit