Mark Francois

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The Right Honourable
Mark Francois
MP
Markfrancois.jpg
Minister of State for the Armed Forces
Incumbent
Assumed office
7 October 2013
Prime Minister David Cameron
Preceded by Andrew Robathan
Minister for Defence Personnel, Welfare and Veterans
In office
4 September 2012 – 7 October 2013
Preceded by Andrew Robathan
Succeeded by Anna Soubry
Vice-Chamberlain of the Household
In office
11 May 2010 – September 2012
Prime Minister David Cameron
Preceded by Helen Jones
Succeeded by Greg Knight
Shadow Minister for Europe
In office
29 May 2007 – 11 May 2010
Leader David Cameron
Preceded by Graham Brady
Member of Parliament
for Rayleigh and Wickford
Rayleigh (2001–2010)
Incumbent
Assumed office
7 June 2001
Preceded by Michael Clark
Majority 22,338 (42.7%)
Personal details
Born (1965-08-14) 14 August 1965 (age 48)
Islington, London, England
Nationality British
Political party Conservative
Residence Rayleigh
Alma mater University of Bristol
King's College London
Religion Church of England
Website www.markfrancois.com

Mark Gino Francois (born 14 August 1965) is a British Conservative Party politician. He is the Member of Parliament (MP) for Rayleigh and Wickford. He was appointed as a Minister of State in the Ministry of Defence on 4 September 2012 and is Minister of State for the Armed Forces.

Early life[edit]

Mark Gino Francois was born in Islington, London. He was educated at the Nicholas Comprehensive School in Basildon, Essex and at the University of Bristol where he was awarded a Bachelor of Arts degree in History in 1986. He was also the chairman of the University's Conservative Association. He completed his studies at King's College London where he earned a MA in War Studies in 1987.

On leaving university he became a management trainee with Lloyds Bank. In 1988 he joined lobbying company Market Access International, leaving as a director in 1996 to set up his own lobbying firm Francois Associates.

Councillor and parliamentary candidate[edit]

He was a member of Basildon District Council for four years from 1991. He stood for Brent East during the 1997 general election, and lost to Ken Livingstone (who later became the Mayor of London). Following the death of Alan Clark in 1999, he narrowly lost out to Michael Portillo in the selection for the 1999 Kensington and Chelsea by-election. On the retirement of Dr. Michael Clark at the 2001 general election he beat Boris Johnson to be selected to fight the safe Conservative seat of Rayleigh.

Member of Parliament[edit]

Francois won in Rayleigh in 2001 with a majority of 8,290 and was re-elected in 2005 and 2010 with increased majorities.[1][2] He made his maiden speech on 4 July 2001.[3]

He served as a member of the Environmental Audit Select Committee for the duration of his first term in Parliament. He was promoted to become an Opposition Whip in 2003 by Michael Howard; to Shadow Economic Secretary in September 2004; and later to Shadow Paymaster General scrutinising HMRC. He was promoted to be Shadow Minister for Europe in May 2007 and joined the Shadow Cabinet at the January 2009 reshuffle. As Shadow Minister for Europe Francois oversaw the Conservative Party's withdrawal from the federalist EPP grouping in the European Parliament, the creation of the ECR grouping and the Conservative's opposition in the House of Commons to the Treaty of Lisbon, which he spoke against on 21 January 2008 in the debate to pass the European Union (Amendment) Act 2008.[4]

When the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats joined in a coalition government following the United Kingdom general election, 2010 he was appointed Vice-Chamberlain of the Household, a sinecure given to a Government Whip that entails being kept as 'captive' at Buckingham Palace when the Queen opens Parliament. He joined the Privy Council on 9 June 2010.[5] He is a Vice-President of Conservative Friends of Poland.[6] In 2011, he was a member of the special Select Committee set up to scrutinise the Bill that became the Armed Forces Act 2011.[7]

Since October 2013, he has been Minister of State at the UK Ministry of Defence, with responsibility for the armed forces, cyber activity, and force generation.[8]

Territorial Army[edit]

Francois served as an officer the Territorial Army from 1985 – 1991, including with the local Royal Anglian Regiment. He lives in Rayleigh. He has been a member of the International Institute for Strategic Studies since 1999, a member of the Lions Club, President of the Rayleigh Conservative Club and Honorary President of the Rayleigh Brass.

Personal life[edit]

He was briefly married to Karen Thomas, whom he married in June 2000 in Langdon Hills, Basildon.

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Michael Clark
Member of Parliament for Rayleigh
2001–present
Incumbent
Political offices
Preceded by
Graham Brady
Shadow Minister for Europe
2007–2010
Succeeded by
Chris Bryant
Preceded by
Helen Jones
Vice-Chamberlain of the Household
2010–2012
Succeeded by
Greg Knight