Alun Cairns

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Alun Cairns
Alun Cairns MP.JPG
Minister for Wales
Assumed office
15 July 2014
Preceded by Stephen Crabb
Member of Parliament
for Vale of Glamorgan
Assumed office
6 May 2010
Preceded by John Smith
Majority 4,307 (8.8%)
Member of the Welsh Assembly
for South Wales West
In office
6 May 1999 – 6 May 2011
Preceded by New Assembly
Personal details
Born (1970-07-30) 30 July 1970 (age 44)
Swansea, Glamorgan, Wales
Political party Conservative

Alun Hugh Cairns[1] (born July 30, 1970) is a Welsh Conservative Party politician. A member of the National Assembly for Wales for the in the South Wales West region since 1999, he was elected at the 2010 general election as the Member of Parliament (MP) for the Vale of Glamorgan.


Brought up in Clydach near Swansea, he attended Ysgol Gynradd Gymraeg Pontardawe and Ysgol Gyfun Ddwyieithog Ystalyfera and is a fluent Welsh language speaker. Cairns gained a Master's degree in Business Administration (MBA), specialising in corporate location and inward investment.[2]

Professional career[edit]

Cairns worked for Lloyds Banking Group as a Business Development Consultant before being elected to the National Assembly.[2]

Political career[edit]

Cairns stood for Parliament in Gower in 1997 and was the Conservative Party's candidate for the Vale of Glamorgan at the 2005 General Election. He was re-selected as Parliamentary candidate for the Vale of Glamorgan in July 2007.

National Assembly for Wales[edit]

First elected to the assembly as AM for South Wales West in 1999,[2] he was re-elected in 2003 and 2007 and served as the party's spokesman on economic development and transport for eight years. In the Third Assembly he held the education and lifelong learning portfolio and also chaired the Assembly's Finance Committee. On 11 July 2007 he became the Shadow Minister for Education, Lifelong Learning and Skills in the National Assembly for Wales. As a member of the assembly's economic development and audit committees, he criticised the Welsh Government over a range of issues from transport infrastructure, European regional aid, public spending, and the Welsh economy. Cairns has also been a vocal opponent of the Scarweather Sands offshore wind farm development near Porthcawl.

On 14 June 2008 he resigned from his Shadow Cabinet position after making controversial remarks on BBC Radio Cymru. He was re-appointed to the Shadow Cabinet as Shadow Minister for Local Government on 22 October 2008 after completion of a party investigation.[3]

Controversy, resignation and reinstatement[edit]

In September 2008, Cairns admitted that he asked for a National Assembly rule to be "clarified" to determine whether he could claim expenses for a second home in Cardiff. A rule change introduced in late 2006 by the Assembly's House Committee allowed him to claim expenses related to a flat in Cardiff even though his main home was reclassified as being situated in the Vale of Glamorgan through no fault of his own.[4]

While taking part in BBC Radio Cymru's weekly radio show, Dau o'r Bae, on 13 June 2008, Cairns was asked to apologise on air for referring to Italians as 'greasy wops', and immediately did so.[5] He subsequently resigned from his post in the Shadow Cabinet.[6] On 14 June 2008 Cairns was suspended as the parliamentary candidate for the Vale of Glamorgan while the party carried out an investigation.[7] Cairns was reinstated as the parliamentary candidate and to the Shadow Cabinet on 22 October 2008 upon completion of the investigation.[3]

House of Commons[edit]

Cairns was elected as the MP for the Vale of Glamorgan in May 2010, taking the seat from Labour with a majority of more than 4,300.


External links[edit]

Offices held[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
John Smith
Member of Parliament for Vale of Glamorgan
2010 – present
National Assembly for Wales
New creation
Assembly Member for South Wales West
Succeeded by
Suzy Davies
Political offices
Preceded by
Janet Ryder
Shadow Minister for Education, Lifelong Learning and Skills
11 July 2007 to 14 June 2008
Succeeded by
Andrew R. T. Davies
Preceded by
Nick Ramsay
Shadow Minister for Local Government
from 22 October 2008
Succeeded by
Darren Millar