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Michael Ellis (British politician)

Michael Tyrone Ellis[1] QC MP (born 13 October 1967) is a British Conservative Party politician serving as Solicitor General for England and Wales since 2019, and has served as Member of Parliament (MP) for Northampton North since 2010.

Michael Ellis

Official portrait of Michael Ellis crop 2.jpg
Solicitor General of England and Wales
Assumed office
26 July 2019
Prime MinisterBoris Johnson
Preceded byLucy Frazer
Minister of State for Transport
In office
23 May 2019 – 24 July 2019
Prime MinisterTheresa May
Preceded byJesse Norman
Succeeded byChris Heaton-Harris
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Arts
In office
9 January 2018 – 23 May 2019
Prime MinisterTheresa May
Preceded byJohn Glen
Succeeded byRebecca Pow
Deputy Leader of the House of Commons
In office
17 July 2016 – 9 January 2018
Prime MinisterTheresa May
Preceded byTherese Coffey
Succeeded byChris Heaton-Harris
Member of Parliament
for Northampton North
Assumed office
6 May 2010
Preceded bySally Keeble
Majority807 (2%)
Personal details
Michael Tyrone Ellis

(1967-10-13) 13 October 1967 (age 52)
Northampton, England, UK
Political partyConservative
Alma materUniversity of Buckingham
City Law School
WebsiteOfficial website

Ellis served in the May Government as Deputy Leader of the House of Commons from 2016 to 2018, as Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport from 2018 to 2019, and briefly as Minister of State for Transport in 2019.

In September 2019, Ellis was appointed to the Privy Council to advise Queen Elizabeth II on matters of state.[2]

Early life and careerEdit

Michael Ellis was born in Northampton on the 13 October 1967 to a British Jewish family.[3]

He was privately educated at two independent schools: Spratton Hall Preparatory School, in the village of Spratton and Wellingborough School, in the town of Wellingborough. He went on to study at the independent University of Buckingham, where he obtained an LLB degree in 1993, including First Class Honours in Public (Constitutional) Law and won the Aylesbury Vale District Council Chairman's Prize for the Best Performance in Public Law that year.[4] At university, he was also a student editor of the Denning Law Journal.[4] Whilst at university, Ellis undertook an exchange program in the United States at the College of William and Mary, Marshall-Wythe School of Law in Williamsburg, Virginia.[4]

After attending the Inns of Court School of Law in London, Ellis was called to the Bar at Middle Temple in 1993.[5]

Ellis's legal practice as a barrister was based in Northampton, and his chambers' head office was in London.[6]

Political careerEdit

Ellis stood unsuccessfully as the Conservative candidate in the Park ward of Northampton Borough Council in 1995.[7] However, he was elected in 1997 as a Conservative Councillor on Northamptonshire County Council, representing the Northampton Park (now Parklands) Ward, winning the seat from his Labour Party rival by just 44 votes. He served until the next election in May 2001, when he did not stand again.[8] At the time of his election he was the youngest County Councillor in Northamptonshire, at the age of 29.[9]

Ellis became the Conservative parliamentary candidate for Northampton North in December 2006. This followed a public vote in an open primary, which was a relatively unusual selection mechanism at the time.[10][11][12][13] Ellis was elected to Parliament in the 6 May 2010 general election gaining the seat with a majority of 1,936 and 34.1% of the vote, defeating the sitting Labour MP, Sally Keeble.[14]

In November 2010, Ellis established an All Party Group on the Queen's Diamond Jubilee, which he chaired for the following three years.[15] In this role, Ellis was responsible for organising a gift of a stained glass window of The Queen's Coat of Arms for the Queen from both Houses of Parliament.[16] Ellis was also responsible for organising the planting of a Red Windsor apple tree on Speaker's Green at the Houses of Parliament as part of the Woodland Trust's Jubilee Woods project.[17]

In July 2010, he was first elected onto the Statutory Instruments (Joint Committee) and worked on the Draft Communications Data Bill during the 2012–13 Parliamentary session.[18] Ellis was interviewed about this Bill with Jimmy Wales, co-founder of Wikipedia, on the Daily Politics programme on 11 December 2012.[19] In February 2011, Ellis was first elected onto the House of Commons Home Affairs Select Committee.[20][21] Writing in The Independent newspaper, Ian Burrell described Ellis as asking questions in one case with "all the gravitas of a prosecuting counsel".[22]

On 25 September 2012, Ellis was appointed Parliamentary Adviser[clarification needed] to Lord Feldman of Elstree, the Conservative Party Co-Chairman.[23]

On 11 September 2013, Ellis introduced the Medical Innovation (No.2) Bill, a Private members bill to the House of Commons.[24][25] The bill was designed to allow doctors more scope to innovate when treating cancer patients, but was heavily criticised by a range of medical and legal bodies, patient groups and charities.[26][27] The bill was withdrawn after its first reading,[28] following an indication from the government that they would support it.[29] Although the Conservative MP Dan Poulter MP, who was Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department of Health, suggested in July 2014 that the Government was keen to support it, it failed to progress through the House of Commons after the Liberal Democrats declined to support it.[30]

In March 2014, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne announced in the House of Commons during the Budget Speech that a campaign Ellis had been conducting to secure extra funds to reduce potholes had succeeded and that a £200 million fund was being created to be distributed nationwide.[31] In June 2014, it was announced that £3.3 million of this fund would be allocated to Northamptonshire by the Department for Transport, with various repairs in Northampton.[32][33]

In July 2014 Ellis was successful in calling for the Parliamentary authorities to officially mark the assassination of a former Member of Parliament for Northampton, Spencer Perceval, who had become Prime Minister, and who was shot and killed in the House of Commons in 1812. The Parliamentary authorities agreed to install a brass plaque in St Stephen's Hall commemorating the notable assassination and Ellis called this a "fitting tribute" to the former Prime Minister and historic Northampton figure.[34]

In October 2014, the Northampton Chronicle & Echo newspaper reported that Ellis had been canvassing in Northampton when he came across a medical emergency and performed Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) on a constituent.[35]

Ellis was re-elected at the 2015 general election. He beat Sally Keeble by 3,245 votes (42%) to secure his seat in the House of Commons.[36]

In July 2016, Ellis was made an Assistant Whip (HM Treasury) and became Deputy Leader of the House of Commons.[37]

Ellis was opposed to Brexit prior to the 2016 referendum.[38] However, following the vote, he would go on to support Theresa May's Brexit deal,[39] and voted against ruling out a no-deal Brexit.[40]

Ellis was re-elected again at the 2017 general election. However, his majority was reduced to 807 votes.

In February 2018, following the announcement that Northamptonshire County Council had brought in a "section 114" notice, putting it in special measures following a crises in its finances, Ellis was one of seven local MPs who released a statement arguing that the problems with the authority were down to mismanagement from the Conservative councillors who led it rather than funding cuts from the Conservative Government. They further argued that government commissioners should take over the running of the Council.[41]

In October 2018, Ellis wrote to the chief executive of NCP, which manages car parks in Northampton, after some 50 blue badge owners received penalties for using disabled bays unaware that they were no longer entitled to them for free.[42]

As Arts Minister in April 2019, Ellis placed an export bar on a 500 year-old drawing by Lucas van Leyden worth £11.4 million in a bid to keep the work of art in the United Kingdom.[43] He also placed an export bar on a 17th century baroque cabinet by Roman maker Giacomo Herman[44] and a unique 18th century harpsichord by Joseph Mahoon.[45]

In the House of Commons he has sat on the Statutory Instruments (Select and Joint Committees) and the Home Affairs Committee.[37] He is a member of the Conservative Friends of Israel group, and has participated in delegations to raise concerns about an agreement relating to Iran's nuclear capabilities.[46]


In May 2016, it emerged that Ellis was one of a number of Conservative MPs being investigated by police in the United Kingdom general election, 2015 party spending investigation, for allegedly spending more than the legal limit on constituency election campaign expenses.[47] However, in May 2017, the Crown Prosecution Service said that while there was evidence of inaccurate spending returns, it did not "meet the test" for further action.[48]

In July 2017, Ellis was called as a witness in the trial of Adam Simmonds, the former Conservative Police and Crime Commissioner for Northamptonshire, who faced charges of leaking information relating to fraud allegations against Peter Bone, the Conservative MP for Wellingborough. Ellis admitted a 'hazy recollection' of 'discussing a criminal investigation into Peter Bone and the damage it might do to the Conservative Party with Adam Simmonds over coffee'. Neither Simmonds or Bone were ultimately found guilty of the separate charges brought against them.[49]

In March 2018, Ellis was criticised by local campaigners over the cuts to library services in Northampton, given his role as the Government minister for libraries. Criticism followed the announcement that 21 book-lending services were at risk of closure in Northamptonshire, after the Conservative run County Council cut £40 million from its budget. Ellis responded that the 'Northamptonshire Libraries Friends Groups and Supporters' were "attempting to bring party politics into this issue and that he had been a long-standing critic of the leadership of the Council.[50]


  1. ^ "No. 59418". The London Gazette. 13 May 2010. p. 8744.
  2. ^
  3. ^ Jessica Elgot. "New Jewish ministers and the Miliband rivalry". The Jewish Chronicle. Retrieved 9 May 2015.
  4. ^ a b c "Conservatives – Northampton Conservatives – Michael Ellis MP". Northampton Conservatives. 23 August 2007. Retrieved 6 June 2010.
  5. ^ "Michael Ellis". Retrieved 6 June 2010.
  6. ^ "Welcome to Clarendon Chambers". Clarendon Chambers. Retrieved 6 June 2010.
  7. ^ "Northampton Borough Council Election Results 1973-2011" (PDF). Plymouth University. Retrieved 15 August 2018.
  8. ^ "Northamptonshire County Council Election Results 1973-2009" (PDF). Plymouth University. Retrieved 15 August 2018.
  9. ^ "About Michael". Retrieved 22 December 2014.
  10. ^ "Michael Ellis – The people's choice". Northampton North Conservatives. 8 August 2007. Retrieved 6 June 2010.
  11. ^ "Tories pick Spelthorne candidate in primary". BBC News. 23 January 2010. Retrieved 6 June 2010.
  12. ^ "GP wins Tory 'open primary' race". BBC News. 4 August 2009. Retrieved 6 June 2010.
  13. ^ "We're the progressives – Osborne". BBC News. 11 August 2009. Retrieved 6 June 2010.
  14. ^ "Election 2010 | Constituency | Northampton North". BBC News. Retrieved 6 June 2010.
  15. ^ "House of Commons – Register of All Party Groups". UK Parliament. Retrieved 20 June 2011.
  16. ^ McGurran, Deborah (9 January 2012). "BBC News – Stained glass window to mark Queen's Diamond Jubilee". BBC News. BBC. Retrieved 28 September 2013.
  17. ^ "Jubilee Woods". Woodland Trust. Retrieved 28 September 2013.
  18. ^ "Joint Committee on the Draft Communications Data Bill". UK Parliament. Retrieved 28 September 2013.
  19. ^ "BBC News – Communications Data Bill: Jimmy Wales and Michael Ellis". BBC. Retrieved 28 September 2013.
  20. ^ "Home Affairs Committee Membership". UK Parliament. Retrieved 20 June 2011.
  21. ^ "Home Affairs Committee hears evidence from Russell Brand as part of drugs policy enquiry". UK Parliament. Retrieved 28 September 2013.
  22. ^ "MPs question Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger's patriotism over Edward Snowden leaks". The Independent. Retrieved 22 December 2014.
  23. ^ "Twitter / ToryChairman". Twitter. Retrieved 28 September 2013.
  24. ^ "Medical Innovation (No.2) Bill 2013–14". UK Parliament. Retrieved 28 September 2013.
  25. ^ "Medical Innovation Bill [HL] 2012–13". UK Parliament. Retrieved 28 September 2013.
  26. ^ [saatchi-bill-medical-innovation _title=Attacking critics is no way to fix the Saatchi bill "Attacking critics is no way to fix the Saatchi bill"] Check |url= value (help). The Guardian. 19 November 2014. Retrieved 15 August 2018.
  27. ^ "Lord Maurice Saatchi Blames Lack of Cancer Cure on Legal 'Deterrent'". Huffington Post UK. 11 September 2013. Retrieved 28 September 2013.
  28. ^ Michael Ellis. "Medical Innovation (No. 2) Bill 2013–14". Retrieved 24 February 2014.
  29. ^ "Twitter / Michael Ellis". Twitter. Retrieved 1 April 2014.
  30. ^ "". Houses of Parliament. External link in |title= (help)
  31. ^ Northampton Chronicle and Echo. "Northampton North MP praised as Chancellor announces £200 million of funding to repair potholes". Retrieved 29 October 2014.
  32. ^ Northampton Chronicle and Echo. "Northamptonshire to receive an extra £3.3 million to fix potholes". Retrieved 29 October 2014.
  33. ^ "Potholes in dozens of roads in Northampton to be fixed as part of £3.3 million repair work". Retrieved 22 December 2014.
  34. ^ "Spencer Perceval: Plaque for assassinated prime minister". Retrieved 22 December 2014.
  35. ^ Northampton Chronicle and Echo. "Family thank Northampton MP for giving CPR to grandfather". Retrieved 13 October 2014.
  36. ^ "GENERAL ELECTION 2015: Conservative Michael Ellis says he was 'humbled' by result that saw him retain seat in Northampton North". Northamptonshire Telegraph. Johnson Publishing. Retrieved 8 May 2015.
  37. ^ a b "Michael Ellis". Parliament UK. Retrieved 15 August 2018.
  38. ^ Goodenough, Tom (16 February 2016). "Which Tory MPs back Brexit, who doesn't and who is still on the fence?". The Spectator. Retrieved 11 October 2016.
  39. ^ "Where every Tory MP stands on Brexit: the full list | Coffee House". Retrieved 17 October 2019.
  40. ^ Hello (14 March 2019). "How did your MP vote on the no deal Brexit motion? | London Evening Standard". Retrieved 17 October 2019. line feed character in |author= at position 49 (help)CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  41. ^ "Northamptonshire MPs call for county council takeover". BBC News. 5 February 2018. Retrieved 15 August 2018.
  42. ^ 08:58 (12 October 2018). "MP backs blue badge holders slammed with £100 fines at Northampton car park - Northampton Chronicle and Echo". Retrieved 17 October 2019.
  43. ^ "£11 million drawing at risk of export". GOV.UK. Retrieved 17 October 2019.
  44. ^ "Arts Minister steps in to save rare £3 million Baroque Cabinet for the nation". GOV.UK. Retrieved 17 October 2019.
  45. ^ "Unique 18th century harpsichord at risk of export". GOV.UK. Retrieved 17 October 2019.
  46. ^ "April 2014".
  47. ^ "Election Expenses Exposed". Channel 4 News. 23 June 2016. Retrieved 15 August 2018.
  48. ^ "No charges over 2015 Conservative battle bus cases". BBC News. BBC. 10 May 2017. Retrieved 15 August 2018.
  49. ^ "ADAM SIMMONDS TRIAL: Northampton MP reveals discussions with commissioner over investigation". Northampton Chronicle and Echo. 5 July 2017. Retrieved 15 August 2018.
  50. ^ "'Their collective silence has been deafening' say library campaigners but Northamptonshire MPs hit back after criticism". Northampton Chronicle and Echo. 6 March 2018. Retrieved 15 August 2018.

External linksEdit