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Sir Robert Andrew Raymond Syms (born 15 August 1956) is a Conservative Party politician in the United Kingdom. He has been the Member of Parliament (MP) for Poole in Dorset since 1997. He was granted a knighthood on 12 October 2017.[1]

Sir Robert Syms

Official portrait of Mr Robert Syms crop 2.jpg
Lord Commissioner of the Treasury
In office
17 July 2016 – 15 June 2017
Prime MinisterTheresa May
Preceded byCharlie Elphicke
Succeeded byMark Spencer
Member of Parliament
for Poole
Assumed office
1 May 1997
Preceded byJohn Devereux Ward
Majority14,209 (28.5%)
Personal details
Born (1956-08-15) 15 August 1956 (age 63)
Chippenham, Wiltshire, England
Political partyConservative
Nicola Guy
(m. 1991; div. 1999)

Fiona Mellersh
(m. 2000; div. 2016)

Early lifeEdit

Syms was born in Chippenham in 1956 and educated at Colston's School.[2][3] He was leader of North Wiltshire District Council from 1984-7 and a Wiltshire County Councillor from 1985-97.[2] He was managing director of his family's plant hire firm in Bristol Road in Chippenham and is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Building.[2][3]

Business interestsEdit

He retains a directorship and shareholding in Marden Holdings Ltd headquartered in Bristol Road, Chippenham.[4]

Parliamentary careerEdit

He contested Walsall North in 1992, but was first elected to the House of Commons as MP for Poole in the 1997 general election.[5]

Syms served on opposition front bench from 1998 to 2007.[5] He was shadow spokesman for environment, transport and the regions between 1999 and 2001, an opposition whip for a few months in 2003, and shadow minister in the office of the deputy Prime Minister and for communities and local government between 2003 and 2007.[3][5] He was also vice-Chairman of the Conservative Party between 2001 and 2002.[3]

Syms was an Assistant Whip for the Coalition government between 2012 and 2013.[5] He has served on a variety of Select Committees, acting as Chair of the Regulatory Reform select committee from July 2010 to September 2012 and the High Speed Rail select committee from April 2014 to February 2016.[5]

Syms organised a letter signed by more than 80 fellow Eurosceptic Conservative MPs urging David Cameron to continue as Prime Minister regardless of the result of the EU referendum in 2016.[6] He backed Theresa May's leadership bid following Cameron's resignation,[7] and was appointed as a Government Whip and Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury upon May's succession.[8]

In 2009, Syms was at the centre of an expenses scandal after he claimed more than £2,000 for furniture to be moved to his parents' address in Wiltshire.[9] He was also forced to defend using his expense account to employ his wife and ex-wife.[10]

In 2015, Syms was criticised[by whom?] for failing to attend hustings for the 2015 general election and spending more time campaigning in Mid Dorset and North Poole with Michael Tomlinson than Poole due to Poole's status as a safe seat.[11]

In 2017, Syms was criticised for name calling on Twitter. Four years earlier, his wife announced on Twitter that he had been dismissed from his job as a whip over the phone.[12] He replied to a tweet calling the Conservative-DUP deal after the 2017 general election a "coalition", by calling him a "dick".[13]

Personal lifeEdit

He is divorced and has two teenage children.[14][3]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Knighthoods: Michael Penning and Robert Syms". Retrieved 12 October 2017.
  2. ^ a b c "Robert Syms". Retrieved 10 August 2016.
  3. ^ a b c d e "Robert Syms bio". Conservatives. Retrieved 10 August 2016.
  4. ^ "House of Commons - The Register of Members' Financial Interests 5 Mar 2012". UK Parliament website. UK Parliament. Retrieved 21 March 2012.
  5. ^ a b c d e "Robert Syms". UK Parliament. Retrieved 10 August 2016.
  6. ^ Dominiczak, Peter; Swinford, Steven (24 June 2016). "Eurosceptic Tory MPs and ministers sign letter urging David Cameron to continue as Prime Minister". The Telegraph.
  7. ^ "Conservative Party leadership: Who's backing who?". BBC News. 8 July 2016.
  8. ^ "Robert Syms". GOV.UK. Retrieved 27 October 2016.
  9. ^ Gammell, Caroline. "Robert Syms had furniture delivered to 'wrong home': MPs' expenses". Retrieved 3 May 2017.
  10. ^ Morton, James. "MP defends hiring of his wife and ex-wife". Bournemouth Echo. Retrieved 12 June 2017.
  11. ^ "Robert Syms "too busy" to attend hustings in Poole". Bournemouth Echo. Retrieved 3 May 2017.
  12. ^ Grassby, Jade. ""It's not a coalition, you d**k": Poole MP Robert Syms criticised for response to Corbyn supporter". Bournemouth Echo. Retrieved 3 May 2017.
  13. ^ Nagesh, Ashitha (11 June 2017). "Tory MP calls member of public a 'd*ck' for mistakenly calling DUP deal a coalition". Metro. Retrieved 11 June 2017.
  14. ^ "Tory MP's ex-wife rages at David Cameron over whip's sacking". The Guardian. Retrieved 10 August 2016.

External linksEdit