Ranil Malcolm Jayawardena (born 3 September 1986) is a British Conservative Party politician. Born in London, England, he moved to Hampshire before starting school. His education was at his local comprehensive in North East Hampshire, Robert May's School, followed by Alton College. Jayawardena graduated from the London School of Economics and worked for Lloyds Banking Group, rising to become a senior manager. He was first elected as the Member of Parliament (MP) for North East Hampshire in May 2015 and was re-elected in the 2017 election.
|Member of Parliament|
for North East Hampshire
8 May 2015 – 6 November 2019
|Preceded by||James Arbuthnot|
|Born||3 September 1986|
London, United Kingdom
Alison Lyn Jayawardena (m. 2011)
|Alma mater||London School of Economics|
Early life and careerEdit
Jayawardena was born on 3 September 1986 in London, England. His father, Nalin Jayawardena, is of Sri Lankan origin and moved to the United Kingdom in 1978 to pursue a career in accountancy. His mother, Indira Jayawardena, has Indian heritage; he also has a brother and sister. His early education was at Hook Infant School and Hook Junior School in Hook, Robert May's School, a state comprehensive school in the village of Odiham, and Alton College in the town of Alton (all in Hampshire). At the London School of Economics, he graduated with a BSc. in Government in 2008. After university, Jayawardena worked for Lloyds Banking Group in capital markets, corporate banking and in its group executive functions. He also worked on a voluntary basis in the office of North East Hampshire MP James Arbuthnot.
Jayawardena served as a councillor of the Borough of Basingstoke and Deane in Hampshire from 2008 to 2015. During his time as a councillor, he was also the Cabinet Member for Finance and Property, before being made Deputy Leader of the Council, where he had a particular focus on urban revitalisation and economic regeneration.
As Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Strategy, his role varied from securing a new combined John Lewis and Waitrose store for Basingstoke, cracking down on anti-social behaviour and littering and providing half an hour free parking in all council car parks. The latter policy was so popular that this was later extended to an hour free parking in all council car parks and remains protected today.
James Arbuthnot, the MP for North East Hampshire, indicated in 2011 that he would retire at the next parliamentary election which was due to be held in 2015. Jayawardena was selected in an open primary as the parliamentary candidate for the constituency in 2013. Other short-listed individuals for the seat included future MPs Victoria Atkins and Helen Whately. He went on to be elected as the MP for the constituency at the 2015 general election with 35,573 votes (65.9% share) and a majority of 29,916. This was the largest margin of victory by any Conservative MP in the election. During the election, the candidate for the UK Independence Party was suspended after making a death threat towards Jayawardena.
In his 'maiden speech', he outlined his belief in the rule of law, in human rights and in equality before the law being matched by equality in opportunity, but contended that human rights were not invented in 1998 and that rights must be balanced by responsibilities. In December 2015, he voted to support Prime Minister David Cameron's plans to carry out airstrikes against ISIL targets in Syria. In the 2015–17 parliament, he was part of the Home Affairs Committee and the International Trade Committee. Jayawardena supported Brexit in the June 2016 United Kingdom European Union membership referendum.
He held his seat in the 2017 general election with 37,754 (65.5%) votes and a majority of 27,772. In June 2017, he shut down his Twitter account after labelling it as "a platform full of trolls, extremists – and worse". After the 2017 election, he was re-appointed to the International Trade Committee and also joined the House of Commons' Procedure Committee.
Jayawardena was elected the chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Groups (APPGs) on Sri Lanka and Finland; and is the treasurer of the APPGs on Iceland and Lithuania. He also founded the APPG on Endangered Species and has consistently championed the need to both protect animals from poachers around the world and clamp down on the illegal wildlife trade.
In January 2018, Jayawardena was made Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Ministerial team at the Department for Work and Pensions. In September 2018, he was made Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Ministry of Justice. He resigned from this post on 15 November 2018 in protest at the government's proposed Brexit deal.
Jayawardena supported Boris Johnson in the 2019 Conservative Party (UK) leadership election, and was one of the eight MPs to nominate him at the outset. Having left Twitter in 2017 (above), he returned to Twitter during the contest.
He is currently a Vice-Chairman of the Conservative Party. Appointed by the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, to lead post-Brexit policy development, he has long been outspoken on a wide range of policy matters, from backing pro-consumer free trade policy, to encouraging greater parental choice in education to drive up standards, and holding an independent but pro-Brexit viewpoint. He has also been tasked with working on the next manifesto with Munira Mirza and Rachel Wolf, reporting to a Cabinet Committee, established to make sure that the manifesto is properly tested, unlike in 2017.
Jayawardena lives in Bramley, Hampshire. He has been married to Alison (née Roberts), a solicitor, since 2011. The couple have two daughters. His wife works part-time as a Senior Researcher for his parliamentary office. He is a Christian and a Trustee of the Conservative Christian Fellowship.
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- MP, Ranil Jayawardena (12 June 2019). "An inspiring launch to @BorisJohnson's campaign to become Leader of the Conservative Party - and Prime Minister of our great country. This is the man who can unite our divided politics and people, with a vision for Brexit and beyond. #BackBoris @BackBorispic.twitter.com/r1E1qCYCLT".
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