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Gregory William Hands (born 14 November 1965) is a British Conservative Party politician who served as Chief Secretary to the Treasury from 2015 until 2016, and has served as Member of Parliament (MP) for Chelsea and Fulham since 2010.


Greg Hands
Official portrait of Greg Hands crop 2.jpg
Minister of State for Trade and Investment
In office
15 July 2016 – 21 June 2018
Prime MinisterTheresa May
Preceded byOffice established
Succeeded byGeorge Hollingbery
Minister for London
In office
13 June 2017 – 9 January 2018
Prime MinisterTheresa May
Preceded byGavin Barwell
Succeeded byJo Johnson
Chief Secretary to the Treasury
In office
11 May 2015 – 14 July 2016
Prime MinisterDavid Cameron
Preceded byDanny Alexander
Succeeded byDavid Gauke
Government Deputy Chief Whip in the House of Commons
Treasurer of the Household
In office
7 October 2013 – 11 May 2015
Prime MinisterDavid Cameron
Preceded byJohn Randall
Succeeded byAnne Milton
Member of Parliament
for Chelsea and Fulham
Hammersmith and Fulham (2005–2010)
In office
6 May 2005 – 6 November 2019
Preceded byIain Coleman
Succeeded byElection in progress
Majority8,188 (19.4%)
Personal details
Born (1965-11-14) 14 November 1965 (age 53)
New York City, New York, U.S.
Political partyConservative
Spouse(s)Irina Hundt
Children2
Alma materRobinson College, Cambridge

Hands voted for the UK to Remain in the EU during the 2016 Brexit referendum.[1] Following the 2016 referendum vote to leave the European Union and Cameron's consequent resignation, Hands was demoted by newly appointed Prime Minister Theresa May to a junior Ministerial position. Following the 2017 general election, he retained his position as Minister of State for Trade and Investment but also undertook the Minister for London role, replacing Gavin Barwell who lost his seat.

Hands has been the Member of Parliament (MP) for Chelsea and Fulham since 2010; the constituency was created that year by the splitting of the former constituencies of Kensington and Chelsea and Hammersmith and Fulham. Previously, he represented Hammersmith and Fulham from 2005 to 2010.

Early life and careerEdit

Hands was born in New York City, and completed his secondary education at Dr Challoner's Grammar School, Amersham in 1984. He went on to attend Robinson College, Cambridge, where he graduated with a First class degree in Modern History in 1989.[citation needed] He joined the Conservative Party as a student, served as the Chairman of the Cambridge University Conservative Association (CUCA) and was on the Executive Committee of the Cambridge University Students' Union.[citation needed]

During his gap year he worked in a swimming pool in Berlin, and became interested in the Eastern Bloc, visiting Prague and other Eastern European cities on future holidays.[2] He worked on trading floors in the City of London and New York City until 1997.[citation needed]

Political careerEdit

Hands was elected as a councillor in the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham in 1998.[citation needed] He became the leader of the Conservative group in 1999, remaining in that capacity until 2003.[citation needed]

In oppositionEdit

Hands stood down as councillor for the Town Ward in Fulham at the local elections in 2006,[citation needed] having been elected to the House of Commons at the 2005 general election when he gained Hammersmith and Fulham from the Labour Party with a majority of 5,029 votes.[3] The sitting Labour MP Iain Coleman retired due to ill-health, and was replaced as Labour’s candidate by Melanie Smallman. During March 2010, the UK media reported that Lord Ashcroft donated over £42,000 to fund Hands' 2005 campaign in Hammersmith and Fulham.[4]

Hands made his maiden speech on 26 May 2005, in which he referred to the fact that the BBC was the largest employer in his constituency, and that Hammersmith Broadway was the busiest road interchange in Europe.[5]

In 2007, Hands was selected to be the Conservative candidate for the new Chelsea and Fulham parliamentary constituency. His previous seat of Hammersmith and Fulham was abolished for the 2010 general election, with Hammersmith having its own seat (being fought by Shaun Bailey for the Conservatives), and Fulham joining Chelsea in a new seat. In January 2009, Hands was appointed to the Conservative front bench team as a shadow Treasury minister. He is also the Parliamentary Chairman of Conservative Friends of Poland.[6]

In governmentEdit

Having been elected in 2010 for Chelsea and Fulham, he served as Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne, having shadowed the Treasury in opposition.[7][8]

On 14 October 2011, Hands was appointed as an assistant government whip in the House of Commons as a consequence of the mini-reshuffle following the resignation of Dr Liam Fox as Secretary of State for Defence.[9]

In 2013, Hands voted in favour of the UK legalising same-sex marriage.[10]

In May 2015, following the Conservatives' general election win, Hands was promoted to the position of Chief Secretary to the Treasury and thus the cabinet. He was made a privy councillor in the process. In the 2016 reshuffle following the EU referendum and Theresa May's appointment as prime minister, he was made Minister of State for Trade Policy at the newly formed Department for International Trade.[11]

Hands campaigned for the UK to Remain in the European Union during the 2016 referendum vote to leave the European Union.[1] In the lead-up to the Referendum, Hands led the Chelsea and Fulham Britain Stronger In Europe campaign.[12] Following the Referendum, Hands has argued that the UK should leave the European Union with a deal.[13] Hands voted against the Withdrawal Agreement in the first Meaningful Vote, but voted in favour of it in the second and third meaningful votes, stating that the deal had been improved.[14][15]

Following the Grenfell Tower fire which killed 71 people, Hands called for the Notting Hill Carnival to be moved. He said: "We have to ask ourselves if it is appropriate to stage a Carnival in the near proximity of a major national disaster." Event organisers and the Labour MP for Kensington rejected his suggestion.[citation needed] Justice4Grenfell coordinator Yvette Williams stated that "The Carnival route does not go near Grenfell and I'm failing to find the link between the Grenfell Tower fire and Carnival".[16] The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, dismissed Hands' proposal.[17]

On 21 June 2018, Hands resigned his ministerial post to vote against a third runway at Heathrow Airport.[18]

Since the third defeat of the Withdrawal Agreement in the House of Commons in March 2019, Hands has co-chaired the Prosperity UK Alternative Arrangements Commission.[19] The Alternative Arrangements Commission has sought to replace the Irish backstop with a technical solution at the Republic of Ireland–United Kingdom border that would avoid additional infrastructure.[20] Hands published the report in July 2019.[21]

Alongside neighbouring MPs Justine Greening and Zac Goldsmith, Hands has been critical of the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham's April 2019 decision to close Hammersmith Bridge to motor vehicles, and has called for the Bridge to be promptly repaired and re-opened.[22]

During the 2019 Conservative Party leadership election, Hands was one of the first MPs to declare their support for Jeremy Hunt.[23] During the campaign, Hands wrote to Boris Johnson requesting that he review the Government's decision to build a third runway at Heathrow Airport.[24] Hunt ultimately lost the contest to Johnson in the final round.

Personal lifeEdit

Hands has dual American / British nationality.[25] He lives in Fulham[2] with his German wife Irina,[26] and their son and daughter.[2] Hands speaks five European languages, including German.[27]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b "EU vote: Where the cabinet and other MPs stand". BBC News. 22 June 2016. Retrieved 9 September 2019.
  2. ^ a b c "About Greg". Greg Hands.
  3. ^ "Result: Hammersmith & Fulham". Election 2005. BBC News. 6 May 2005. Retrieved 8 July 2019.
  4. ^ "Cashcroft bought 19 seats"[dead link] Mirror Online, 7 March 2010
  5. ^ Hansard Debates for 26 May 2005[dead link] House of Commons, 26 May 2005
  6. ^ Who We Are Conservative Friends of Poland Archived 3 November 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ "Profiles: David Cameron's ministerial line-up". Financial Times. 11 May 2015. Retrieved 9 February 2017.(subscription required)
  8. ^ "Brown slow to defend bail-out chief". Financial Times. 12 February 2009. Retrieved 9 February 2017.[dead link]
  9. ^ "Ministerial Appointments" (Press release). Prime Minister's Office. 14 October 2011.
  10. ^ "MP-by-MP: Gay marriage vote". BBC News. 5 February 2013. Retrieved 9 September 2019.
  11. ^ "PM Theresa May makes more ministerial changes". BBC News. 17 July 2016. Retrieved 8 July 2019.
  12. ^ https://twitter.com/GregHands/status/1082749114155188229?s=20
  13. ^ https://www.greghands.com/news/september-brexit-update-greg-hands-mp
  14. ^ "Brexit: How did my MP vote on the withdrawal agreement?". BBC News. 29 March 2019. Retrieved 9 September 2019.
  15. ^ https://www.greghands.com/news/summer-brexit-update-greg-hands-mp
  16. ^ Pasha-Robinson, Lucy (7 July 2017). "Tory minister wants to move Notting Hill Carnival because of Grenfell Tower fire disaster". The Independent. Retrieved 15 July 2017.
  17. ^ Kevin Rawlinson (7 July 2017). "Sadiq Khan rejects call to move Notting Hill carnival after Grenfell fire". The Guardian. Guardian News and Media. Retrieved 8 July 2019.
  18. ^ "Greg Hands quits as minister over Heathrow expansion". BBC News. 21 June 2018. Retrieved 8 July 2019.
  19. ^ https://www.prosperity-uk.com/speaker/rt-hon-greg-hands-mp/
  20. ^ "Tory MP Greg Hands: We've found a solution to the Brexit backstop". Belfast Telegraph. 23 August 2019. Retrieved 9 September 2019..html
  21. ^ https://www.prosperity-uk.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/43/2019/07/AAC-Final-Report-and-Protocols-18-07-2019.pdf
  22. ^ "'We demand Hammersmith Bridge is repaired and re-opened' say MPs". MyLondon. 19 April 2019. Retrieved 9 September 2019.
  23. ^ "I cannot imagine a better prime minister than Jeremy Hunt". The Times. 4 June 2019. Retrieved 9 September 2019.
  24. ^ https://twitter.com/greghands/status/1142724398618689536
  25. ^ "Hugh Muir Diary" The Guardian, 6 November 2008
  26. ^ Paul Waugh (17 January 2018). "International Trade Minister Greg Hands Reveals His Son Wept Over Brexit Vote". HuffPost. Oath. Retrieved 8 July 2019.
  27. ^ https://twitter.com/greghands/status/920772697860329473

External linksEdit