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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 2018,[1] and has served as Member of Parliament (MP) for Great Yarmouth since 2010.


Brandon Lewis

Official portrait of Brandon Lewis crop 2.jpg
Chairman of the Conservative Party
Assumed office
8 January 2018
DeputyJames Cleverly
LeaderTheresa May
Preceded byPatrick McLoughlin
Minister without Portfolio (Cabinet Office)
Assumed office
8 January 2018
Prime MinisterTheresa May
MinisterDavid Lidington
Preceded byRobert Halfon (2016)
Minister of State for Immigration
In office
11 June 2017 – 8 January 2018
Prime MinisterTheresa May
Home SecretaryAmber Rudd
Preceded byRobert Goodwill
Succeeded byCaroline Nokes
Minister of State for Policing and the Fire Services
In office
16 July 2016 – 11 June 2017
Prime MinisterTheresa May
Home SecretaryAmber Rudd
Preceded byMike Penning (Policing, Fire and Criminal Justice)
Succeeded byNick Hurd
Minister of State for Housing and Planning
In office
15 July 2014 – 16 July 2016
Prime MinisterDavid Cameron
Preceded byKris Hopkins
Succeeded byGavin Barwell
Member of Parliament
for Great Yarmouth
Assumed office
6 May 2010
Preceded byTony Wright
Majority7,973 (18.0%)
Personal details
Born (1971-06-20) 20 June 1971 (age 47)
Harold Wood, London, England, UK
Political partyConservative
Spouse(s)Justine Rappolt (m. 1999)
Children2
Alma materUniversity 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 in London. He was privately 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 was first elected as a representative of the Conservative Party when he became a Borough Councillor for Hutton South on Brentwood Borough Council. He was re-elected in 2002 and 2006 with an increased vote share.[5] He later became Conservative Group leader in 2002 and leader of the council in 2004, after his party took control of the local authority. He remained in this position until 2009, when he resigned as a councillor in Essex to focus on seeking election as an MP in Norfolk.[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.[6]

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", but campaigners argued the Council were just being asked to meet their proportion of national requirements.[7]

Parliamentary careerEdit

Lewis stood unsuccessfully as the Conservative Party candidate for election in the Sherwood constituency in the 2001 general election, losing to Paddy Tipping the Labour party candidate with a 34% share of the vote.[8][9] 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.[10][11]

Lewis served on the Work and Pensions Select Committee and the Regulatory Reform Select Committee from his election until 2012.[12] 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".[13][14]

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.[15] 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".[16][17][18] He has also criticised the Local Government Association for producing proposals to give local councils more freedom over their levels of council tax in the future.[19]

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 and Planning together for the first time under his premiership.[20] 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.[21] This related to the new National Planning Policy Framework, the primary framework for town planning in the country, which some argued made it substantially easier for developers to build on greenfield land.

In January 2016, a Labour-proposed amendment that would have required private landlords to make their homes "fit for human habitation" was rejected by 312 votes to 219. According to Parliament's register of interests, Lewis was one of 72 MPs who voted against the amendment who derived an income from a property. Communities minister Marcus Jones said the Government believed homes should be fit for human habitation but did not want to pass the new law that would explicitly require it.[22]

In July 2016, Lewis was promoted to be the Minister of State for the Home Office with a portfolio including Police and Fire services, as well as Europol and Interpol:[23]

On 29 September 2016, he was appointed to the Privy Council of the United Kingdom and may therefore use the title "The Right Honourable".[24]

Following the Grenfell Disaster, Lewis was criticised for having rejected calls to increase fire safety regulations in his former role as housing minister. He had argued adding extra safety requirements, such as sprinklers in high rise buildings, should not be taken forward as the extra costs could discourage house building.[25]

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.[26]

In the House of Commons he has previously sat on the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, the Work and Pensions Committee and the Regulatory Reform Committee.[27]

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,[28] cutting fuel duty,[29] protecting Norfolk bus services,[30] and improving Great Yarmouth railway station.[31]

As the local MP, Lewis declined initially to support local campaigners who were fighting against the Conservative run County Council's controversial plans for the proposed King's Lynn Incinerator. By 2012 he had joined all fellow local MPs in expressing concern with the proposal and, after a change in leadership of the County Council, the plans for the incinerator were dropped in 2014.[32][33][34]

ExpensesEdit

Lewis ran for Parliament in 2010 on a "clean expenses pledge", pledging to be "completely open about my expenses".[35] 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.[36] 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.[37]

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.[38] 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 were worth at least £3.5m in 2015, according to The Sunday Times.[39]

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.[40] 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. Michael Heseltine said that breaking House of Commons voting conventions has "appalling consequences for the management of government."[41]

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][42] He is a member of the Carlton Club.[2]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Lewis made Tory chairman in reshuffle". BBC News. 2018. Retrieved 8 January 2018.
  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. ^ "Brentwood Council Election Results 1973-2012" (PDF). Plymouth University. Retrieved 24 October 2018.
  6. ^ 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.
  7. ^ Travellers trapped by press and politics, The Guardian, 18 March 2005. Retrieved 28 May 2013
  8. ^ Brandon Lewis: Electoral history and profile The Guardian. Retrieved 28 May 2013
  9. ^ "Vote 2001: Sherwood". BBC News Online. British Broadcasting Corporation. 2001. Retrieved 14 January 2010.
  10. ^ Election rivals fight for support in Great Yarmouth, BBC Election 2010, 29 April 2010. Retrieved 28 May 2013.
  11. ^ Great Yarmouth, BBC Election 2010. Retrieved 28 May 2013.
  12. ^ Brandon Lewis, www.parliament.uk. Retrieved 28 May 2012.
  13. ^ Impartiality of local enterprise partnerships 'at risk', Daily Telegraph, 11 September 2012. Retrieved 28 May 2013.
  14. ^ 'Unco-ordinated' government is a barrier to business engagement, Guardian - Local government network, 13 September 2012. Retrieved 28 May 2013.
  15. ^ Chair responds to comments on Councillors on the Frontline report, Communities and Local Government Committee, www.parliament.uk, 13 January 2013. Retrieved 28 May 2013.
  16. ^ Defiant councils planning tax rises, Daily Telegraph, 14 February 2013. Retrieved 28 May 2013.
  17. ^ One in three town halls to defy Eric Pickles and hike council tax in April, The Daily Telegraph, 14 February 2013. Retrieved 28 May 2013.
  18. ^ Council tax revolt forces up bills, The Daily Telegraph, 28 February 2013. Retrieved 28 May 2013.
  19. ^ Minister attacks councils for pushing for tax hikes, The Daily Telegraph, 9 May 2013. Retrieved 28 May 2013.
  20. ^ Kelly, Liam (15 July 2014). "Brandon Lewis promoted to housing and planning minister in reshuffle". The Guardian. Retrieved 20 August 2014.
  21. ^ Hope, Christopher (25 July 2014). "New planning minister suggests Nimbys have had their day". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 27 July 2014.
  22. ^ "Tories vote down law requiring landlords make their homes fit for human habitation". Independent. 9 November 2012. Retrieved 24 October 2018.
  23. ^ "The Rt Hon Brandon Lewis MP - GOV.UK". www.gov.uk.
  24. ^ "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.
  25. ^ "Grenfell Tower: Tory minister urged against including sprinklers in fire safety rules as it could discourage house building". Independent. 15 June 2017. Retrieved 24 October 2018.
  26. ^ "Lewis promoted in reshuffle".
  27. ^ "Brandon Lewis". Parliament UK. Retrieved 24 October 2018.
  28. ^ "Belton Burgh Castle School Bus Services". Brandon Lewis. Archived from the original on 5 November 2013. Retrieved 15 June 2017.
  29. ^ "Fair Fuel UK". Brandon Lewis. Archived from the original on 5 November 2013. Retrieved 15 June 2017.
  30. ^ "Fair Fares Protecting our buses". Brandon Lewis. Archived from the original on 5 November 2013. Retrieved 15 June 2017.
  31. ^ "Fix Great Yarmouth Station". Brandon Lewis. Archived from the original on 5 November 2013. Retrieved 15 June 2017.
  32. ^ "Six Norfolk MPs urge communities secretary Eric Pickles to call in King's Lynn incinerator plan". Eastern Daily Press. 22 May 2012. Retrieved 24 October 2018.
  33. ^ "All nine Norfolk MPs back King's Lynn incinerator call-in". Eastern Daily Press. 28 June 2012. Retrieved 24 October 2018.
  34. ^ "King's Lynn incinerator: Plans for £500m scheme abandoned". BBC News. BBC. Retrieved 24 October 2018.
  35. ^ About my Parliamentary expenses Archived 4 May 2013 at the Wayback Machine, Brandon Lewis. Retrieved 28 May 2013.[dead link]
  36. ^ Brandon Lewis, Conservative, Great Yarmouth CC, Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority. Retrieved 28 May 2013.[dead link]
  37. ^ Fisher, Lucy (10 March 2015). "Row over £37,000 expenses engulfs housing minister". The Times. Retrieved 7 May 2015.
  38. ^ Sinclair, Andrew (24 August 2015). "Housing Minister Brandon Lewis defends £31,000 hotel claims". BBC News. Retrieved 25 August 2015.
  39. ^ Dowling, Kevin (23 August 2015). "'Three Gaffs' Lewis claims for hotels". The Sunday Times. Retrieved 25 August 2015.
  40. ^ "Conservative Party chairman Brandon Lewis in Brexit votes 'pairing' row with new mum Jo Swinson MP". Sky News.
  41. ^ Dan Sabbagh and Jessica Elgot (19 July 2018). "Jo Swinson pairing row: Tory whip under pressure to quit over breach". The Guardian.
  42. ^ Brandon Lewis, Biography, politics.co.uk. Retrieved 28 May 2013.

External linksEdit