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Brandon Kenneth Lewis (born 20 June 1971) is a British Conservative Party politician serving as Chairman of the Conservative Party and Minister without Portfolio since the January 2018 Cabinet reshuffle.[1]. He is also a member of Parliament for Great Yarmouth and was first elected at the 2010 general election.

The Right Honourable
Brandon Lewis
MP
Official portrait of Brandon Lewis crop 2.jpg
Chairman of the Conservative Party
Assumed office
8 January 2018
Deputy James Cleverly
Leader Theresa May
Preceded by Sir Patrick McLoughlin
Minister without Portfolio
Assumed office
8 January 2018
Prime Minister Theresa May
Preceded by Robert Halfon (2016)
Minister of State for Immigration
In office
11 June 2017 – 8 January 2018
Prime Minister Theresa May
Preceded by Robert Goodwill
Succeeded by Caroline Nokes
Minister of State for Policing and the Fire Services
In office
16 July 2016 – 11 June 2017
Prime Minister Theresa May
Preceded by Mike Penning (Policing, Fire and Criminal Justice)
Succeeded by Nick Hurd
Minister of State for Housing and Planning
In office
15 July 2014 – 16 July 2016
Prime Minister David Cameron
Preceded by Kris Hopkins
Succeeded by Gavin Barwell
Member of Parliament
for Great Yarmouth
Assumed office
6 May 2010
Preceded by Tony Wright
Majority 7,973 (18.0%)
Personal details
Born (1971-06-20) 20 June 1971 (age 47)
Harold Wood, London, England, UK
Political party Conservative
Spouse(s) Justine Rappolt (m. 1999)
Children 2
Alma mater University of Buckingham
King's College London
Inns of Court School of Law

Contents

Early lifeEdit

Lewis was born on 20 June 1971 in Harold Wood, and educated at Forest School in Walthamstow.[2] He received a degree in economics from the University of Buckingham, an LLB in Law from Buckingham,[3] and an LLM in commercial law from King's College London.[2] He was called to the bar by the Inner Temple.

He was a director of Woodlands Schools Limited, a provider of private primary schools based in Hutton, Essex until September 2012 when he resigned his position.[4]

Local governmentEdit

In May 1998 Lewis became a borough councillor for Hutton South on Brentwood Borough Council, and later became Conservative Group leader in 2002. He was leader of the council from 2004 to 2009 before resigning as a councillor.[2] During his time as leader of the council he co-hosted The Eric and Brandon Show with local MP Eric Pickles on Phoenix FM, a local radio station in Brentwood.[5]

Under Lewis's leadership the council refused to identify land for additional traveller sites when required to by the government, citing greenbelt classification. Lewis claimed that the council was being "victimised".[6]

Parliamentary careerEdit

Lewis stood for election in the Sherwood constituency in 2001, losing to Paddy Tipping the Labour party candidate with a 34% share of the vote.[7][8] He was selected to represent the Conservative party in the Great Yarmouth in 2006 and was elected at the 2010 general election, defeating sitting Labour MP Tony Wright with a majority of just over 4000 - a swing to the Conservatives of 8.7% in the seat which was number 66 on their list of target seats.[9][10]

Lewis served on the Work and Pensions Select Committee and the Regulatory Reform Select Committee from his election until 2012.[11] He has been a member of a number of All Party Parliamentary Groups, including time as the chair of the Local Growth group and co-chair of a group discussing coastal erosion. A report by the Local Growth group in September 2012, when it was chaired by Lewis, criticised the government for an "uncoordinated" approach to its Local Enterprise Partnership policy which, according to Lewis, left "gaps and weaknesses".[12][13]

In January 2013 Lewis was criticised for comments he had made about local councillors' allowances by Clive Betts, the Chair of the Communities and Local Government Select Committee.[14] Later in 2013 Lewis was critical of local councils, including many Conservative run councils, planning council tax rises in 2013 against the wishes of the government, saying that there was "still massive scope" for councils to cut "waste and inefficiency".[15][16][17] He has also attacked the Local Government Association for producing proposals to give local councils more freedom over their levels of council tax in the future.[18]

Ministerial careerEdit

In September 2012 Lewis was appointed Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Communities and Local Government, working under Eric Pickles. In July 2014, Lewis was promoted to Minister of State for Housing and Planning, when the Prime Minister brought the portfolios of Housing & Planning together for the first time under his premiership.[19] He claimed that there had been a "dramatic swing" in public opinion - with almost half of people now in favour of new housing in their area.[20] This related to the controversial National Planning Policy Framework, which made it substantially easier for developers to build on greenfield land.

In 2015 Lewis endorsed the regeneration of the historic townscape of Bacup in Rossendale, East Lancashire which aims to reposition the town as a commuter town for Greater Manchester as well as a cultural destination.[21]

In July 2016, Lewis was promoted to be the Minister of State for the Home Office with a portfolio including Police & Fire services, as well as Europol & Interpol:[22]

On 29 September 2016, he was appointed to the Privy Council of the United Kingdom and may therefore use the title The Right Honourable.[23]

In a January 2018 cabinet reshuffle, Lewis was promoted to Chairman of the Conservative Party succeeding long-time cabinet member Patrick McLoughlin. Lewis was also appointed Minister without portfolio.[24]

CampaignsEdit

Lewis has run a variety of campaigns as Member of Parliament for Great Yarmouth. Campaigns have included opposing the removal of free bus passes for school children in Belton & Burgh Castle,[25] cutting fuel duty,[26] protecting Norfolk bus services,[27] and improving Great Yarmouth railway station.[28]

ExpensesEdit

Lewis ran for Parliament in 2010 on a "clean expenses pledge", pledging to be "completely open about my expenses".[29] In 2010-2011 Lewis claimed just over £15,000 in accommodation expenses and in 2011-12 and 2012-13 he claimed just under £21,500 for accommodation.[30] Labour MPs called upon IPSA to investigate whether Lewis was using taxpayer funds for inappropriate political purposes after it was revealed that he had claimed £37,000 for “research briefing and other parliamentary associated assistance” to a political campaign consultancy.[31]

In August 2015, it was revealed that Lewis, claimed £31,000 of hotel expenses following stays at the Park Plaza hotel in London despite owning two homes both less than an hour from Westminster by train.[32] Aside from his constituency home, Lewis owns two additional homes, one in Shenfield, and the other in Chelmsford, both less than an hour by train from Westminster. Between them, they are worth at least £3.5m.[33]

Breaking of pairing agreementEdit

On 17 July 2018, Lewis was paired with Liberal Democrat Jo Swinson (who was on maternity leave) during "key House of Commons votes" on the Trade Bill. Despite this, Lewis voted with the government on two votes. Lewis initially claimed that this had been an honest mistake, but it was revealed that while Lewis had in fact abstained on some votes during the day's proceedings, he had broken the agreement to vote on these two "crunch" issues[34]. In response to suggestions that this was just a mistake, fellow Conservative Andrew Bridgen said that the careful selection of the important votes allowed people to deduce what was happening. Breaking House of Commons voting conventions has “appalling consequences for the management of government” warned Michael Heseltine.[35]

Personal lifeEdit

Lewis married Justine Rappolt in 1999; the couple have two children.[2] He completed the London Marathon in 2005 and 2008 and lists triathlon as an interest.[2][36] He is a member of the Carlton Club.[2]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Lewis made Tory chairman in reshuffle". BBC News. 2018. Retrieved 2018-01-08.
  2. ^ a b c d e f ‘LEWIS, Brandon’, Who's Who 2013, A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc, 2013; online edn, Oxford University Press, Dec 2012 ; online edn, Nov 2012 accessed 2013-05-28.
  3. ^ "The Rt Hon Brandon Lewis MP". Government UK. Retrieved 8 January 2018.
  4. ^ Lewis, Brandon (Great Yarmouth), Register of Members' Financial Interests: Part 1. As of 7 May 2013, www.parliament.uk. Retrieved 28 May 2013.
  5. ^ Walker, Tim (2 November 2009). "The Couch Surfer: 'If political parties insist on invading pop culture, they won't re-engage anybody'". The Independent. Independent News and Media Limited. Retrieved 14 January 2010.
  6. ^ Travellers trapped by press and politics, The Guardian, 18 March 2005. Retrieved 28 May 2013
  7. ^ Brandon Lewis: Electoral history and profile The Guardian. Retrieved 28 May 2013
  8. ^ "Vote 2001: Sherwood". BBC News Online. British Broadcasting Corporation. 2001. Retrieved 14 January 2010.
  9. ^ Election rivals fight for support in Great Yarmouth, BBC Election 2010, 29 April 2010. Retrieved 2013-05-28.
  10. ^ Great Yarmouth, BBC Election 2010. Retrieved 28 May 2013.
  11. ^ Brandon Lewis, www.parliament.uk. Retrieved 28 May 2012.
  12. ^ Impartiality of local enterprise partnerships 'at risk', Daily Telegraph, 11 September 2012. Retrieved 2013-05-28.
  13. ^ 'Unco-ordinated' government is a barrier to business engagement, Guardian - Local government network, 13 September 2012. Retrieved 2013-05-28.
  14. ^ Chair responds to comments on Councillors on the Frontline report, Communities and Local Government Committee, www.parliament.uk, 13 January 2013. Retrieved 2013-05-28.
  15. ^ Defiant councils planning tax rises, Daily Telegraph, 14 February 2013. Retrieved 2013-05-28.
  16. ^ One in three town halls to defy Eric Pickles and hike council tax in April, Daily Telegraph, 14 February 2013. Retrieved 2013-05-28.
  17. ^ Council tax revolt forces up bills, Daily Telegraph, 28 February 2013. Retrieved 2013-05-28.
  18. ^ Minister attacks councils for pushing for tax hikes, Daily Telegraph, 9 May 2013. Retrieved 2013-05-28.
  19. ^ Kelly, Liam (15 July 2014). "Brandon Lewis promoted to housing and planning minister in reshuffle". The Guardian. Retrieved 20 August 2014.
  20. ^ Hope, Christopher (25 July 2014). "New planning minister suggests Nimbys have had their day". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 27 July 2014.
  21. ^ "Housing and Planning Minister Reviews £2m Bacup Regeneration Scheme". OBAS Group.
  22. ^ "The Rt Hon Brandon Lewis MP - GOV.UK". www.gov.uk.
  23. ^ "Privy Council appointments: Oliver Heald, Brandon Lewis and John McDonnell". GOV.UK. Prime Minister's Office, 10 Downing Street. 29 September 2016. Retrieved 29 September 2016.
  24. ^ "Lewis promoted in reshuffle".
  25. ^ "Belton Burgh Castle School Bus Services". Brandon Lewis. Archived from the original on 2013-11-05. Retrieved 2017-06-15.
  26. ^ "Fair Fuel UK". Brandon Lewis. Archived from the original on 2013-11-05. Retrieved 2017-06-15.
  27. ^ "Fair Fares Protecting our buses". Brandon Lewis. Archived from the original on 2013-11-05. Retrieved 2017-06-15.
  28. ^ "Fix Great Yarmouth Station". Brandon Lewis. Archived from the original on 2013-11-05. Retrieved 2017-06-15.
  29. ^ About my Parliamentary expenses Archived 4 May 2013 at the Wayback Machine., Brandon Lewis. Retrieved 28 May 2013.[dead link]
  30. ^ Brandon Lewis, Conservative, Great Yarmouth CC, Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority. Retrieved 28 May 2013.[dead link]
  31. ^ Fisher, Lucy (10 March 2015). "Row over £37,000 expenses engulfs housing minister". Times. Retrieved 7 May 2015.
  32. ^ Sinclair, Andrew (24 August 2015). "Housing Minister Brandon Lewis defends £31,000 hotel claims". BBC. Retrieved 25 August 2015.
  33. ^ Dowling, Kevin (23 August 2015). "'Three Gaffs' Lewis claims for hotels". Sunday Times. Retrieved 25 August 2015.
  34. ^ "Conservative Party chairman Brandon Lewis in Brexit votes 'pairing' row with new mum Jo Swinson MP".
  35. ^ Dan Sabbagh and Jessica Elgot (19 July 2018). "Jo Swinson pairing row: Tory whip under pressure to quit over breach". The Guardian.
  36. ^ Brandon Lewis, Biography, politics.co.uk. Retrieved 28 May 2013.

External linksEdit