Open main menu

Robert Edward Jenrick (born 9 January 1982) is a British Conservative Party politician serving as Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government since 2019. He has served as Member of Parliament (MP) for Newark since 2014.


Robert Jenrick
Official portrait of Robert Jenrick crop 2.jpg
Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government
Assumed office
24 July 2019
Prime MinisterBoris Johnson
Preceded byJames Brokenshire
Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury
In office
9 January 2018 – 24 July 2019
Prime MinisterTheresa May
Preceded byAndrew Jones
Succeeded bySimon Clarke
Member of Parliament
for Newark
Assumed office
5 June 2014
Preceded byPatrick Mercer
Majority18,474 (35.3%)
Personal details
Born (1982-01-09) 9 January 1982 (age 37)
Wolverhampton, West Midlands, England
Political partyConservative
Spouse(s)Michal Jenrick
Children3
Alma materSt John's College, Cambridge
Websitewww.robertjenrick.com

He was made Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury on 9 January 2018, before which he served as Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Home Secretary Amber Rudd and Michael Gove as Lord Chancellor and Justice Secretary. He was the youngest Minister in the Ministry of Prime Minister Theresa May. Jenrick was appointed Communities Secretary by Boris Johnson in July 2019.

Early life and educationEdit

Jenrick was born in Wolverhampton in 1982. He grew up in Shropshire near the town of Ludlow, as well as in Herefordshire.[1]

Jenrick attended Wolverhampton Grammar School before reading history at St John's College, Cambridge, graduating in 2003.[2] He was also news editor at student newspaper Varsity in 2001.[3] He was Thouron Fellow in Political Science at the University of Pennsylvania from 2003–2004. He subsequently studied law, gaining a graduate diploma in law from The College of Law in 2005 and completing a legal practice course at BPP Law School in 2006.

Law and business careerEdit

Jenrick qualified as a solicitor in 2008 and practised corporate law with the leading international law firms, Skadden Arps and Sullivan & Cromwell in London and Moscow, before pursuing a business career. Immediately prior to being elected to parliament in 2014 Jenrick was a Director of Christie's, the art business where he held a series of senior financial roles, lastly as international managing director of the company.[4]

Political careerEdit

At the general election of 2010, Jenrick contested Newcastle-under-Lyme for the Conservative Party, achieving at 9.4% one of the largest swings to the Conservatives, but falling short of the incumbent, Paul Farrelly of the Labour Party, by 1,582 votes.[5]

In November 2013, Jenrick was selected as his party's prospective parliamentary candidate for the Conservative stronghold of Newark, where the sitting member had resigned following a cash for lobbying scandal.[4] At a by-election held on 5 June 2014, he retained the seat with a majority of 7,403.[6] Jenrick became the first Conservative candidate to win a by-election in Government since William Hague in Richmond in 1989 and achieved the strongest peacetime by-election result for the Conservative Party in government for over 40 years.

During the campaign, Jenrick was attacked by UKIP's candidate, Roger Helmer, for owning several properties. Chris Grayling, the Justice Secretary, defended Jenrick, insisting that being self-made and successful was nothing to be ashamed of.[7] In February 2016, Channel 4 News alleged overspending in Jenrick's 2014 by-election victory.[8] Jenrick said he was confident his election expenses had been compiled in compliance with the law.[9] Nottinghamshire Police took no action as too much time had passed since the alleged offence.[9]

Jenrick was re-elected in the May 2015 General Election with a majority of 18,474 or 57% of the vote, the largest majority in the history of the constituency and the largest swing of any Conservative MP in that election.

After Boris Johnston became Prime Minister in the 2019 Conservative Party leadership election Jenrick was appointed as Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government. He is the youngest member of Johnson’s cabinet.[10] In September 2019, Jenrick said "I will use my position as Secretary of State to write to all universities and local authorities to insist that they adopt the IHRA Working Definition of Antisemitism at the earliest opportunity...and use it when considering matters such as disciplinary procedures. Failure to act in this regard is unacceptable."[11]

Positions and votingEdit

Shortly after his election in 2014, Jenrick was elected to the House of Commons Health Committee. In February 2015, he was appointed PPS to the Employment Minister, Esther McVey.

In May 2015, Robert Jenrick was appointed Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Lord Chancellor and Justice Secretary, Michael Gove and continued to do so under his successor, Liz Truss from July 2016. Following the 2017 General Election he was appointed Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Home Secretary, Rt. Hon. Amber Rudd MP.

Jenrick was opposed to Brexit prior to the 2016 referendum.[12] However, he was one of 188 MPs to vote to leave the EU as planned on 29 March 2019, without a deal, voting against the government motion to extend the Article 50 process.

In July 2017 he was elected by fellow MPs to be their representative on the Board of the Conservative Party.

Jenrick was appointed Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury by Prime Minister Theresa May in her reshuffle of January 2018. Amongst other responsibilities he leads at the Treasury on economic growth, productivity, infrastructure investments and support for the regions. He was the youngest Minister in the Government.[citation needed]

In June 2019, he represented the government at the Israel-Palestine peace initiative, led by Jared Kushner.[13]

Policy interestsEdit

Jenrick has been Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on International Trade & Investment and Vice Chairman of the Groups on China and France.

He has been Vice Chairman of the APPG on Cultural Protection. He led a national campaign to support the protection of historic sites in the Middle East, threatened with destruction by Islamist extremists, such as the ancient city of Palmyra, persuaded David Cameron to establish the UK's first Cultural Protection Fund and to change the law to tackle the illicit trade in antiquities, the Cultural Protection Act.[citation needed]

He is credited with saving the historic Grade I listed house Wentworth Woodhouse near Rotherham, when he persuaded the Chancellor Philip Hammond to intervene at the eleventh hour and provide the funds needed to buy the property. He was subsequently described by the charity SAVE to be Parliament’s Greatest Champion of Heritage.[citation needed]

In his constituency, Robert Jenrick has campaigned for improvements in education and social mobility. He developed and campaigned for the establishment of a free school in Newark, The Suthers School which was granted as the last act of Prime Minister David Cameron. He serves as a governor of the school, which opened in September 2017.[citation needed] He has campaigned for infrastructure investments in and around Newark, including the proposed Newark A46 Northern By-Pass.[citation needed] Jenrick is President of the League of Friends of Newark Hospital.[citation needed]

In July 2019, he said "I want tackling antisemitism and ensuring that the Jewish community feels protected and respected to be one of my priorities as secretary of state", adding about his visit to Auschwitz concentration camp, "It had a huge impact on me and in particular because my wife is the daughter of Holocaust survivors from modern day Poland and the Ukraine."[14] In September 2019, he said "I will use my position as Secretary of State to write to all universities and local authorities to insist that they adopt the IHRA definition at the earliest opportunity...and use it when considering matters such as disciplinary procedures. Failure to act in this regard is unacceptable."[15]

Personal lifeEdit

Jenrick is married to Michal Berkner, an Israeli-born corporate lawyer. They have three daughters, whom they are bringing up in the Jewish faith.[1][16][11] They have visited Israel as a family and Jenrick has said his connection to the Jewish community forms "a very important and integral part of my life".[14]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b "About Robert". Retrieved 13 February 2018.
  2. ^ "Newark by-election". UK Polling Report. Archived from the original on 13 May 2014. Retrieved 6 June 2014.
  3. ^ "Varsity" (PDF). 11 May 2001. Retrieved 9 January 2018.
  4. ^ a b "Patrick Mercer lobbying claims: Tories select Newark candidate". Nottingham: BBC News. 2 November 2013. Retrieved 6 June 2014.
  5. ^ "Newcastle-under-Lyme". UK Polling Report. Archived from the original on 7 June 2014. Retrieved 6 June 2014.
  6. ^ "Conservatives see off UKIP challenge to win Newark by-election". BBC News. 6 June 2014. Retrieved 6 June 2014.
  7. ^ Christopher Hope (3 June 2014). "Newark by-election descends into class warfare over candidates fortunes". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 11 April 2017.
  8. ^ "Conservatives appear to have overspent on three by-elections". Channel 4 News. 8 February 2016. Retrieved 11 April 2017.
  9. ^ a b "'Too late' to investigate Newark by-election spending claims". Nottingham: BBC News. 19 February 2016. Retrieved 11 April 2017.
  10. ^ https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/jul/24/boris-johnson-first-cabinet-whos-who
  11. ^ a b Harpin, Lee (15 September 2019). "Communities minister Robert Jenrick vows to tackle parts of local Government 'corrupted' by antisemitism". The Jewish Chronicle. Retrieved 15 September 2019.
  12. ^ 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.
  13. ^ Churcher, Dan (26 June 2019). "MP Robert Jenrick represents the UK Government in President Trump's Israel-Palestine peace initiative". Newark Advertiser. Retrieved 15 September 2019.
  14. ^ a b Rashty, Sandy (26 July 2019). "New communities secretary enjoys pre-Shabbat walkabout in Golders Green". Jewish News. Retrieved 15 September 2019.
  15. ^ Harpin, Lee (15 September 2019). "Communities minister Robert Jenrick vows to tackle parts of local Government 'corrupted' by antisemitism". The Jewish Chronicle. Retrieved 15 September 2019.
  16. ^ Harpin, Lee (26 July 2019). "New Communities Secretary visits Golders Green". The Jewish Chronicle. Retrieved 15 September 2019.

External linksEdit