Desmond Angus Swayne TD MP (born 20 August 1956), is a Conservative Party politician in the United Kingdom. He is Member of Parliament (MP) for the constituency of New Forest West in Hampshire, and was formerly also Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Prime Minister, David Cameron, having been his PPS during his time as Leader of the Opposition, 2005–10, prior to his appointment in September 2012 to the office of Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury.
From 1980 to 1981 he was a school teacher in Economics at Charterhouse, then Wrekin College from 1982 to 1987. From 1988 to 1996, he was Manager of Risk Management Systems at the Royal Bank of Scotland.
He contested Pontypridd in 1987 and West Bromwich West in 1992 (where he failed to defeat the Labour incumbent Betty Boothroyd, who was shortly to become the Speaker), before being elected to his present seat in 1997. He held the seat to serve his fourth consecutive term in the 2010 UK general election.
From 1997 to 2001, he held shadow ministerial portfolios for Northern Ireland, health and defence and as a senior opposition whip. From 2001 to 2005, Swayne was Parliamentary Private Secretary to both Iain Duncan Smith and Michael Howard in their role as Leader of the Opposition.
Following the election of David Cameron as leader of the Conservative Party in December 2005, he was appointed as his PPS. This position involved being the eyes and ears of Cameron in the House of Commons and reporting back on observations and requests from colleagues. In 2006, a series of Swayne's e-mails to Cameron with unflattering descriptions of fellow Conservatives were leaked to the media:
- One colleague was a “mincehead”, another “Mr Angry”
- A group of backbenchers “boring”
- A forum of grassroots members “stooges”
- Francis Maude, the party chairman, “not yet trusted by the parliamentary party”
- Theresa May, the shadow Commons leader, “neither liked nor trusted across the party”
He has maintained his role as a PPS in government. On 11 June 2011, it was announced Swayne would be appointed a Privy Counsellor in the Queen's 2011 Birthday Honours List. On 13 July 2011, Swayne was duly sworn of Council.
Parliamentary expenses scandal
As a result of the expenses scandal, Swayne repaid £6,131 he claimed for a new kitchen in 2006 on his second-home flat in North Kensington, and £60.66 over claimed for a water bill. Swayne employs his wife Moira as part-time Executive Secretary/Office Manager. Swayne provided a full breakdown of his expenses on his website, and was found by local media in New Forest/South Dorset to be the lowest claiming of the local MP expenses’ league table, after claiming £94,754 expenses in 2007/8, compared with £91,737 in 2006/7. Then Schools Minister and MP for Dorset South Jim Knight was the highest, claiming £155,987 in 2007/2008, compared with £137,970 in 2006/2007.
On top of his salary as an MP, Swayne earns £12,000 a year as a director of property development firm Lewis Charles Sofia Property Fund, which specialises predominantly in holiday developments in Bulgaria; and around £5,000 in his role as a major in the Territorial Army.
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- The London Gazette: . 11 June 2011.
- Privy Council Office — Orders for 13 July 2011
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- Serving in Iraq in 2003
- Desmond Swayne MP official site
- Desmond Swayne MP biography at the site of the Conservative Party
- ePolitix.com - Desmond Swayne
- Guardian Unlimited Politics - Ask Aristotle: Desmond Swayne MP
- TheyWorkForYou.com - Desmond Swayne MP
- The Public Whip - Desmond Swayne MP voting record
- BBC News - Desmond Swayne profile 10 February 2005
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Patrick McNair-Wilson as MP for New Forest
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