Ben Gummer

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The Honourable
Ben Gummer
Member of Parliament for Ipswich
Assumed office
6 May 2010
Preceded by Chris Mole
Majority 2,079 (4.4%)
Personal details
Born Ben Gummer
(1978-02-19) 19 February 1978 (age 36)
Nationality United Kingdom
Political party Conservative
Relations John Gummer (father)
Peter Gummer (uncle)
Residence Ipswich/London
Alma mater Peterhouse, Cambridge
Occupation Politician

The Hon. Benedict Michael "Ben" Gummer[1] is a British Conservative Party politician and the Member of Parliament (MP) for Ipswich. He is currently Parliamentary Private Secretary to Nicky Morgan, Secretary of State for Education.[2]

Early life and education[edit]

Gummer is the eldest child of former Conservative Cabinet Minister John Gummer, Baron Deben, and Penelope Jane Gardner.[3] John Gummer was MP for Suffolk Coastal until the 2010 general election, when he moved to the House of Lords. Gummer attended St Saviour's Church of England Primary School in Ealing, west London. Between 1987 and 1991 he was a chorister at St John's College, Cambridge, where he sang under George Guest and Christopher Robinson. Gummer was a music scholar at Tonbridge School in Kent. Having won the Vellacott Historical Essay Prize he took a starred double first in History at Peterhouse, Cambridge, where he was an exhibitioner and scholar.[4]

Business career[edit]

After graduating, Gummer became director of ICWL, a small engineering firm handling water-cooled refrigerators,[5][6] and between 2005 and 2010 was Managing Director of family-owned Sancroft International, a company set up and led by his father John Gummer; in his five-year tenure the company's size more than doubled.[7]


Gummer published his history of the Black Death, The Scourging Angel, in 2009.[8][9] The book received mostly favourable reviews. In The Times Literary Supplement, Jonathan Sumption commented that Gummer "establishes the facts more thoroughly than any of his predecessors".[4] However, Louise Foxcroft, a historian and journalist reviewing for the Rationalist Association, bemoaned the "frustrating absence of expansive humanity" from the work's "scholarly diligence".[10]


Gummer speaking in 2013

Gummer was selected by open primary as the Conservative candidate in August 2007 for the Ipswich constituency.[11][12] He campaigned largely on public service issues, particularly the retention of services at Ipswich Hospital. Gummer defeated incumbent MP Chris Mole and became MP for the Ipswich constituency in the general election of 2010, enjoying the largest majority of any Conservative in Ipswich since 1935.[13]

Member of Parliament for Ipswich[edit]

Gummer won £72.9m of investment in his first year as the town's MP.[14] He was also involved in securing a £38 million investment in flood defences in Ipswich, protecting 1,500 homes and 400 businesses,[15] a £5 million investment in a new heart unit at Ipswich Hospital[16] and £5 million for a new hospital sterilisation unit.[17] Gummer lobbied the Chancellor of the Exchequer for £500 million of investment into East Anglia’s railways, along with Norwich North MP Chloe Smith and Witham MP Priti Patel,[18] and has called for caps on rail fare increases.[19]

In 2013 Gummer backed a call[20] to improve the Ipswich waterfront through Ipswich Borough Council selling the Portman Road stadium to Ipswich Town F.C..[21] The idea was denounced by a local Labour Councillor as "stupid and naïve,"[22] In September 2013 the Borough Council approved an application to have the ground registered as an Asset of Community Value, which would allow a grace period of six months for the local community to raise money to buy the ground before the Borough Council could sell it to another owner.[23][24]

Parliamentary interests[edit]

In parliament, Gummer has spoken on a wide range of issues,[25] although he has shown a particular interest in prisons policy. Between 2010 and 2012 he was a member of the Justice Select Committee[26] and the Regulatory Reform Select Committee.[27]

Gummer is also a member of the UK parliamentary delegation to the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) and a patron of the Longford Trust.[6]

Political views[edit]

Gummer used his maiden speech to argue for rapid deficit and debt reduction and penal reform.[28] Gummer has spoken strongly against sovereignty being transferred to the European Union[29] and against votes for prisoners,[30] but in favour of more constructive prison and probation sentences.[31] He also takes a keen interest in defence and transport matters.[25] He has described himself as "a libertarian" and has said that he has "absolutely no problem" with gay marriage,[32] subsequently voting for it in Parliament.[33] He also added his name to an amendment to clause one of the Protection of Freedoms Bill, which calls for the word 'insulting' to be dropped from section 5 of the Public Order Act.[34]

Tax Statements[edit]

Main article: Tax Statements

Gummer first proposed annual tax statements to UK taxpayers, due for introduction in 2014. These will show shares of government spending in proportion to the amount of tax the taxpayer paid in the year.[35] it was opposed by the Labour Party.[35] Gummer’s proposal was favorably received by the press. He became The Sun's Westminster "hero of the week".[36][37] He has written widely for national and international titles, including the Times,[38] The Sun,[37] the Daily Express[39][40] and The Wall Street Journal Europe.[41] It was included in the 2012 Budget with George Osborne calling it "an excellent idea".[42] The TaxPayers' Alliance subsequently honoured Gummer as their 'Pin-Up of the Month'.[43] It also got the support of the Prime Minister.[44]

Public Debt Management Bill[edit]

Gummer is promoting the Public Debt Management Bill, a Private Member’s Bill, which had its Second Reading on 9 November 2012.[45] It proposes a constitutional limit on public debt, as well as a deficit brake to force governments to run a balanced budget over the course of the business cycle. Unusually, Gummer secured parliamentary time not through the customary ballot held at the beginning of the session but by arriving the day before to be at the head of the queue outside the House of Commons Table Office.[46] The bill failed to become law.[47]

In the financial dailies City AM[48] and the Financial Times[49] he called for Swedish style fiscal rules.

Renaming National Insurance[edit]

In February 2014 Gummer brought in a ten minute rule bill to rename National Insurance Contributions as an Earnings Tax.[50]

Parliamentary Private Secretary[edit]

In May 2012, Gummer was appointed Parliamentary Adviser to Lord Andrew Feldman, the Conservative Party co-chairman, helping him to develop the relationship between Conservative Campaign Headquarters and Conservative MPs.[51]

In September 2012 Gummer was promoted to Parliamentary Private Secretary to Alan Duncan, Minister of State for International Development, in the government reshuffle.[52] Duncan is responsible for Asia, the Middle East, Caribbean and Overseas Territories, International Finance, International Relations (except the EU), Trade, and Corporate Performance Divisions.

In October 2013 he became PPS to the Education Secretary, Michael Gove.[53] When Gove became Chief Whip in the 2014 reshuffle, Gummer became PPS to Nicky Morgan.

Personal life[edit]

Gummer lives in Ipswich, not far from Portman Road,[6] with his wife Sarah and their baby son.[54] He is also associate governor of Ravenswood Primary School.[53] He is a member of The Ipswich Society and the Ipswich Maritime Trust.[6]



  1. ^ "Who's Who". Retrieved 2013-11-06. 
  2. ^ "Democracy Live". Retrieved 2014-09-26. 
  3. ^ "Person Page 21291". 2010-06-24. Retrieved 2013-11-06. 
  4. ^ a b "The Black Death in the British Isles - a book by Benedict Gummer". The Scourging Angel. Retrieved 2013-11-06. 
  5. ^ "Ben Gummer: Shareholdings". TheyWorkForYou. 25 November 2013. Retrieved 1 December 2013. 
  6. ^ a b c d "Meet Ben". Retrieved 2013-11-06. 
  7. ^ "Ben Gummer's blog". 2011-03-23. Retrieved 2013-11-06. 
  8. ^ "Ben Gummer's blog". 2009-02-05. Retrieved 2013-11-06. 
  9. ^ "The Scourging Angel". Andrew Lownie Literary Agency. Archived from the original on 20 November 2008. Retrieved 6 November 2013. 
  10. ^ Foxcroft, Louise (20 August 2009). "The Scourging Angel: The Black Death in the British Isles by Benedict Gummer". Rationalist Association. Retrieved 10 November 2013. 
  11. ^ White, Roland (19 August 2007). "Ben Gummer has been selected to contest Ipswich for the Tories". The Sunday Times (London). p. 17. 
  12. ^ "Tony Benn is not the only man with a family dynasty". London Evening Standard (London). 2 October 2007. p. 1. 
  13. ^ "Harman must put up or keep quiet - Politics - East Anglian Daily Times". 2010-06-08. Retrieved 2013-11-06. 
  14. ^ "Ben Gummer : Member of Parliament for Ipswich : Annual Report 2010/11". Retrieved 2013-11-06. 
  15. ^ "Ipswich: Work on £30m flood barrier across New Cut due to start in July". Ipswich Star. Retrieved 2014-09-26. 
  16. ^ "Ipswich: We did it - building work starts at Ipswich Hospital’s new specialist heart centre". Ipswich Star. Retrieved 2014-09-26. 
  17. ^ "Ipswich: Work starts on hospital’s new £5m sterile unit". East Anglian Daily Times. Retrieved 2014-09-26. 
  18. ^ "East Anglia: Rail transformation on the way". East Anglian Daily Times. Retrieved 2014-09-26. 
  19. ^ "Suffolk/Ipswich: MP Ben Gummer to lead the calls for no 3.5% rail fare increases". East Anglian Daily Times. Retrieved 2014-09-26. 
  20. ^ "Poll: Should the borough buy land at Ipswich Waterfront by selling Portman Road? - News". Ipswich Star. Retrieved 2013-11-06. 
  21. ^ Gummer said: "I don't want to tell the council what they should or should not sell, but we know the football club is keen to buy the freehold of Portman Road." Geater, Paul (11 March 2013). "Ipswich: Time has come to rid Waterfront of crumbling eyesore and Portman Road could hold the secret". East Anglian Daily Times (Ipswich). Retrieved 6 November 2013. 
  22. ^ "Ross: Ground Should Not Be Sold - Ipswich Town News". 2013-03-11. Retrieved 2013-11-06. 
  23. ^ Ipswich Town FC | Portman Road Listed as an Asset of Community Value Supporters Direct
  24. ^ "any future administration of the council would have to give the local community six months to raise money to buy the ground before selling the freehold." Geater, Paul (4 September 2013). "Ipswich: Special protection for Portman Road". East Anglian Daily Times (Ipswich). Retrieved 9 November 2013. 
  25. ^ a b "Ben Gummer's Parliamentary Activity". Retrieved 2013-11-06. 
  26. ^ "Justice Committee - membership - UK Parliament". 2010-07-12. Retrieved 2013-11-06. 
  27. ^ "Regulatory Reform Committee - membership - UK Parliament". 2010-07-26. Retrieved 2013-11-06. 
  28. ^ "House of Commons Hansard Debates for 06 July 2010 (pt 0003)". Retrieved 2013-11-06. 
  29. ^ "House of Commons Hansard Debates for 25 Jan 2011 (pt 0003)". 2011-01-25. Retrieved 2013-11-06. 
  30. ^ "House of Commons Hansard Debates for 10 Feb 2011 (pt 0003)". Retrieved 2013-11-06. 
  31. ^ "House of Commons Hansard Debates for 23 May 2011 (pt 0002)". Retrieved 2013-11-06. 
  32. ^ "The ambassador from Ipswich". 2011-03-21. Retrieved 2013-11-06. 
  33. ^ Andrew Sparrow (5 February 2013). "MPs vote in favour of gay marriage: Politics live blog | Politics". London: Retrieved 2013-11-06. 
  34. ^ "Ben Gummer's blog". 2011-06-10. Retrieved 2013-11-06. 
  35. ^ a b "House of Commons Hansard Debates for 25 Jan 2012 (pt 0001)". Retrieved 2013-11-06. 
  36. ^ "The Heroes and Villains of Westminster | The Sun |News|Politics". London: The Sun. Retrieved 2013-11-06. 
  37. ^ a b "Where does all your cash go? | The Sun |News|Politics". London: The Sun. 2012-01-24. Retrieved 2013-11-06. 
  38. ^ Gummer, Ben (15 June 2011). "Dont pay heed to the wailing of the bewigged Scargills". The Times (London). Retrieved 6 November 2013.  (subscription required)
  39. ^ Brown, Martyn. "Just where does all your tax go? | UK | News | Daily Express". Retrieved 2013-11-06. 
  40. ^ McKinstry, Leo. "Not unreasonable to ask how our tax money is spent | Leo McKinstry | Columnists | Comment | Daily Express". Retrieved 2013-11-06. 
  41. ^ "Ben Gummer: Where Do Your Taxes Go? -". Retrieved 2013-11-06. 
  42. ^ Giles, Chris (2012-03-19). "Taxpayers to receive personal statements". Retrieved 2013-11-06. 
  43. ^ "TaxPayers' Alliance announces March's Pin-Up and Pinhead of the Month". 2012-03-30. Retrieved 2013-11-06. 
  44. ^ Brown, Martyn. "Just where does all your tax go? | UK | News | Daily Express". Retrieved 2013-11-06. 
  45. ^ "Public Debt Management Bill 2012-13 — UK Parliament". 2012-06-25. Retrieved 2013-11-06. 
  46. ^ Cenci, Nadia (2012-07-01). "Ipswich Politics: Staying up (late) for a Private Member's Bill". Retrieved 2013-11-06. 
  47. ^
  48. ^ "Britain needs a Swedish-style fiscal rule to end its yearly Budget farce | City A.M". City A.M. 2013-03-18. Retrieved 2013-11-06. 
  49. ^ Gummer, Ben (2012-12-04). "Struggle against public debt must go on". Retrieved 2013-11-06. 
  50. ^
  51. ^ "The Conservative Party | News | News | Lord Feldman appoints Ben Gummer MP as his Parliamentary Adviser". 2012-05-02. Retrieved 2013-11-06. 
  52. ^ "Good day for the Gummers". East Anglian Daily Times (Ipswich). 13 September 2012. 
  53. ^ a b Kilpatrick, Tom (17 October 2013). "MP Gummer's new role as aide to Michael Gove". East Anglian Daily Times (Ipswich). 
  54. ^ "MP Ben Gummer and his wife Sarah celebrate arrival of their first baby - and it is a boy". Ipswich Star. Retrieved 2014-09-26. 

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Chris Mole
Member of Parliament for Ipswich