Julian Lewis (MP)

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Dr Julian Lewis
MP
Member of Parliament
for New Forest East
Incumbent
Assumed office
1 May 1997
Preceded by Constituency Created
Majority 11,307 (22.6%)
Personal details
Born Julian Murray Lewis
(1951-09-26) 26 September 1951 (age 63)
Swansea, Glamorgan, Wales
Nationality British
Political party Conservative
Alma mater Balliol College, Oxford
St Antony's College, Oxford
Website www.julianlewis.net

Julian Murray Lewis (born 26 September 1951) is a British Conservative Party politician, who has been Member of Parliament (MP) for New Forest East in Hampshire since the 1997 general election.

Education, activism and early career[edit]

Born in Swansea, Wales, Lewis was educated at Dynevor School, Swansea, at Balliol College, Oxford, from which he received an MA in Philosophy and Politics in 1977, and at St Antony's College, Oxford, from which he received a DPhil in Strategic Studies in 1981.

In 1976, with secret funding from the Freedom Association, he posed as a Labour Party moderate and briefly won control of Newham North East Constituency Labour Party, in an eventually unsuccessful attempt to reverse the deselection of the sitting MP, Reg Prentice, and in order to highlight Militant Tendency entryism in the Labour Party.[1][2][3] Prentice himself later joined the Conservatives.[1]

Lewis was a leading opponent of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, and other Left-wing organisations, throughout the 1980s. From 1981-1985, he was Research Director of the Coalition for Peace through Security. From 1985, he has been Director of Policy Research Associates. In Parliament, he actively pursues the retention and renewal of the British strategic nuclear deterrent, the UK Trident programme.

With fellow Conservative John Bercow - later elected Speaker of the House of Commons - he ran an Advanced Speaking and Campaigning course for more than ten years, which trained more than 600 Conservatives (including several current MPs) in campaigning and communication techniques.

From 1990 until 1996, he was a Deputy Director of the Research Department at Conservative Central Office, but resigned to campaign against Britain joining the single European currency before opposition to the Euro was officially adopted by the Conservative Party.

Parliamentary career[edit]

He contested Swansea West (UK Parliament constituency) at the 1983 general election. As MP for New Forest East, he successfully opposed the development of a large container port at Dibden Bay, between Marchwood and Hythe, and waged other high-profile local campaigns. In Parliament, he was a Shadow Defence Minister from 2002 to 2004 and from 2005 to 2010, also serving as Shadow Minister for the Cabinet Office from 2004 to 2005, and as an Opposition Whip from 2001 to 2002. Before joining the Front Bench, he was a Member of the Defence Select Committee and the Welsh Select Committee, and had also been elected to the Executive of the Conservative Party's 1922 Committee.

With the creation of the Liberal-Conservative Coalition as a result of the election of a hung parliament in 2010, the post which he had shadowed (Minister for the Armed Forces) was allocated to the Liberal Democrat Defence spokesman, Nick Harvey MP.[4] Lewis was appointed as a member of Parliament's Intelligence and Security Committee in September 2010.[5] He is a Vice-Chairman of Conservative Friends of Poland.[6]

Julian Lewis has been described by The Daily Telegraph as "one of the most vigorous rightwingers in the Commons" and by The Guardian as the Conservative Party's "front bench terrier". He was one of the Frontbenchers & Backbenchers of the Year chosen by commentators on the ConservativeHome website, in December 2009[7] and December 2010[8] respectively.

In May 2014, he was one of eight candidates for the chairmanship of the House of Commons Defence Select Committee, coming second with 212 votes to the eventual winner's 226. Lewis had been in the lead in four of the seven stages of this Alternative Vote election.[9]

MPs' home addresses[edit]

From May to July 2008, Lewis initiated and organised the successful campaign to change the Freedom of Information Act in order that a High Court ruling, obtained by a journalist on The Sunday Telegraph, that 14 MPs' home addresses should be published, could never be repeated in respect of any other Parliamentarians.[10] More than 250 backbenchers from all parties, as well as members of the Government and the Shadow Cabinet, supported this campaign.[11]

In March 2009, his amendment to the Political Parties and Elections Bill was carried by a majority of 59.[12] It removed the requirement for General Election candidates to disclose their home addresses on nomination and ballot papers, and was upheld by a majority of 72 when the Bill went through the House of Lords in July 2009.[13] In both Houses, Labour and Conservatives were granted Free Votes on the Lewis Amendment, and Liberal Democrats were whipped to vote against it.

Expenses[edit]

Although Julian Lewis was repeatedly listed[14] as amongst the lowest-claiming MPs (ranked 566th out of 647 in 2008/09), The Sunday Telegraph alleged in May 2009 that he had tried to claim the £6,000 cost of a wooden floor in his second home. He maintained that: “At no stage did I claim for the flooring and it did not cost the taxpayer a penny.” A senior Commons official confirmed that, by seeking advice in advance about second home expenditure, he had acted "in accordance with best practice as recommended by this department" and that "it is not true that you attempted to claim £6,000 in expenses for a wooden floor at your second home". At the end of June 2009, Lewis was informed by the Conservative Party's Scrutiny Panel, after examination of his expenses claims, that "we do not require you to answer any queries about them and there is no requirement for any repayments to be made", and The Daily Telegraph's subsequent book entitled No Expenses Spared made no reference to any which Lewis had claimed.

Selected political issues[edit]

In November 2007, Lewis resigned his life membership of the Oxford Union debating society, after 37 years, in protest at its decision to invite Holocaust denier David Irving and Nick Griffin, the leader of the British National Party, to be speakers at one of its events.[15]

In April 2010, he was asked why he had opposed lowering the age of consent for homosexual relationships, eleven years earlier, in 1999. He stated that this had been because of his belief that the decision to incur any extra risk of contracting HIV should be taken on reaching the current age of majority, namely 18. He added that he had twice voted voluntarily in favour of the Civil Partnership Bill in 2004.

In December 2010, he attacked, and was one of six Conservative MPs who voted against, Coalition proposals to increase student tuition fees from a maximum of £3,000 to a maximum of £9,000 per year, on the grounds that this would deter the less well-off from going to university.[16]

In February 2011, he strongly opposed, and was one of three Conservative MPs who voted against, Coalition plans to transfer heritage forests from public ownership to trusts.[17] The plans were later disowned by the Government and abandoned.[18]

In October 2011, he was one of 81 Conservative rebels who voted in favour of a referendum on the UK's membership of the European Union and, in October 2012, he was one of 53 Conservative rebels voting to demand a real-terms cut in the EU budget. Both policies were later adopted by the party leadership.

In July 2012, he was one of 91 Conservatives who successfully blocked Coalition plans to replace the House of Lords with a second chamber of party politicians elected by proportional representation.[19]

In January 2013, with the assistance of MPs from both sides of the nuclear weapons argument, Lewis secured and introduced the first debate in the Commons chamber on Trident since the vote to approve its retention and renewal in March 2007.[20]

From May 2013 onwards, he strongly opposed arming the rebels in the Syrian civil war, arguing that Assad's chemical weapons would pose a deadly threat to the West if they fell into the hands of jihadists fighting on the side of the opposition.[21] On 29 August, the Coalition Government's motion in support of the principle of military intervention was defeated by just 13 votes.[22] Julian Lewis spoke and voted against the Government's motion.[23]

In November 2013, Lewis was one of only 16 Eurosceptic Conservative MPs to support an amendment to the European Union (Referendum) Bill, which - if carried - would have required an "in/out" referendum to be held before, rather than after, the scheduled 2015 General Election.[24]

Military writings[edit]

A second edition of his book Changing Direction: British Military Planning for Post-war Strategic Defence, 1942-1947 was published in 2003 and a university paperback edition in 2008.[25] His essay on Nuclear Disarmament versus Peace in the 21st Century[26] won the Trench Gascoigne Prize[27] of the Royal United Services Institute for Defence and Security Studies (RUSI) in 2005.[28] Two years later, he was awarded this prize for a second time,[29] with an essay entitled Double-I, Double-N: A Framework for Counter-Insurgency.[30] His 10,000-word dissertation on The Future of the British Nuclear Deterrent was selected for an award and for publication as a Seaford House Paper by the Royal College of Defence Studies of which he was a Parliamentary member in 2006.[31] His most recent book, published in 2011, is a military biography Racing Ace - The Fights and Flights of "Kink" Kinkead DSO DSC* DFC*, published in 2011.[32] His critique of strategy in Afghanistan International Terrorism - The Case for Containment[33] was published in the US military journal Joint Force Quarterly in April 2012.[34] In May 2014, the RUSI Journal published The Slow Boat to Unilateralism, an analysis by Lewis of Liberal Democrat policy on the British strategic nuclear deterrent after the completion of the Trident Alternatives Review.[35]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Michael White (2001-10-15). "Obituary: Lord Prentice of Daventry | Politics". The Guardian. Retrieved 2012-05-26. 
  2. ^ "Dr Julian Lewis MP - New Forest East MP". Julianlewis.net. Retrieved 2013-09-02. 
  3. ^ "Geoff Horn. Crossing the Floor: Reg Prentice and the Crisis of British Social Democracy". Manchester University Press. Retrieved 2014-06-04. 
  4. ^ "Dr Julian Lewis MP - New Forest East MP". Julianlewis.net. Retrieved 2013-09-02. 
  5. ^ "The Intelligence and Security Committee". isc.independent.gov.uk. Retrieved 2012-09-03. 
  6. ^ "Who We Are". Cfofp.co.uk. Retrieved 2012-05-26. 
  7. ^ "Frontbenchers of 2009". conservativehome.blogs.com/. Retrieved 2013-09-02. 
  8. ^ "Backbenchers of 2010". conservativehome.blogs.com/. Retrieved 2013-09-02. 
  9. ^ "Defence Committee Chair election: Rory Stewart MP elected". parliament.uk. 14 May 2014. Retrieved 17 May 2014. 
  10. ^ "Dr Julian Lewis MP - New Forest East MP". Julianlewis.net. Retrieved 2013-09-02. 
  11. ^ "Dr Julian Lewis MP - New Forest East MP". Julianlewis.net. Retrieved 2013-09-02. 
  12. ^ "Dr Julian Lewis MP - New Forest East MP". Julianlewis.net. Retrieved 2013-09-02. 
  13. ^ "Dr Julian Lewis MP - New Forest East MP". Julianlewis.net. Retrieved 2013-09-02. 
  14. ^ "TheyWorkForYou.com - Julian Lewis MP". 
  15. ^ "Dr Julian Lewis MP - New Forest East MP". Julianlewis.net. Retrieved 2013-09-02. 
  16. ^ "Dr Julian Lewis MP - New Forest East MP". Julianlewis.net. Retrieved 2013-09-02. 
  17. ^ "Dr Julian Lewis MP - New Forest East MP". Julianlewis.net. Retrieved 2013-09-02. 
  18. ^ Ross Hawkins (2011-02-17). "BBC News - Forest sale axed: Caroline Spelman says 'I'm sorry'". Bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 2012-05-26. 
  19. ^ "Dr Julian Lewis MP - New Forest East MP". Julianlewis.net. Retrieved 2013-09-02. 
  20. ^ "Dr Julian Lewis MP - New Forest East MP". Julianlewis.net. Retrieved 2013-09-02. 
  21. ^ "Dr Julian Lewis MP - New Forest East MP". Julianlewis.net. Retrieved 2013-09-02. 
  22. ^ "Dr Julian Lewis MP - New Forest East MP". Julianlewis.net. Retrieved 2013-12-28. 
  23. ^ "Dr Julian Lewis MP - New Forest East MP". Julianlewis.net. Retrieved 2013-12-28. 
  24. ^ "TheyWorkForYou.com". mySociety. Retrieved 2014-06-04. 
  25. ^ "Dr Julian Lewis MP - New Forest East MP". Julianlewis.net. Retrieved 2013-09-02. 
  26. ^ "Dr Julian Lewis MP - New Forest East MP". Julianlewis.net. Retrieved 2013-09-02. 
  27. ^ "Essay Prize History". RUSI. 1962-07-20. Retrieved 2012-05-26. 
  28. ^ "RUSI". RUSI. 2012-05-17. Retrieved 2012-05-26. 
  29. ^ "Dr Julian Lewis MP - New Forest East MP". Julianlewis.net. Retrieved 2013-09-02. 
  30. ^ "Dr Julian Lewis MP - New Forest East MP". Julianlewis.net. Retrieved 2013-09-02. 
  31. ^ "Royal College of Defence Studies". da.mod.uk. Retrieved 2013-09-02. 
  32. ^ "Pen and Sword Books: Racing Ace by Dr Julian Lewis". Pen-and-sword.co.uk. Retrieved 2012-05-26. 
  33. ^ "Dr Julian Lewis MP - New Forest East MP". Julianlewis.net. Retrieved 2014-06-02. 
  34. ^ "National Defense University Press: Joint Force Quarterly". Ndu.edu. Retrieved 2014-06-05. 
  35. ^ "Dr Julian Lewis MP - New Forest East MP". Julianlewis.net. Retrieved 2014-06-02. 

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
New constituency Member of Parliament for New Forest East
1997–present
Incumbent