Mark Pritchard (politician)

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Mark Pritchard
MP
Member of Parliament
for The Wrekin
Incumbent
Assumed office
5 May 2005
Preceded by Peter Bradley
Majority 9,450 (20.6%)
Councillor (Harrow London Borough Council)
In office
1993–1994
Councillor (Woking Borough Council)
In office
2000–2003
Personal details
Born (1966-11-22) 22 November 1966 (age 48)
Nationality British
Political party Conservative
Alma mater London Guildhall University
Website markpritchard.com

Mark Andrew Pritchard (born 22 November 1966) is a British Conservative politician. He has been the Member of Parliament (MP) for The Wrekin in Shropshire since the general election in 2005.

Early and professional life[edit]

Pritchard was brought up and educated in Herefordshire.[1] He remarked on BBC Radio 4 that he comes from an "unorthodox background" for a Conservative Member of Parliament. For the first five years of his life he was brought up in an orphanage in Hereford,[2] and later grew up in foster care living in a council house. He told his local newspaper that his early years were years of "love and warmth" and that he did not have "a single bad memory" of his time in the orphanage.[3]

He was educated at Aylestone School – a comprehensive school in Hereford – and was quoted in the London Evening Standard as having established The Old Boys Comprehensive Lunch Club, "to show the Conservative Party as a broad church".[citation needed] It was reported that this upset some privately educated MPs, notably Old Etonians. Pritchard studied at the London Guildhall University and has a Master of Arts degree in Marketing Management. He also holds a Postgraduate Diploma.[4] He holds numerous other professional qualifications and is a member of several professional bodies, such as the Chartered Institute of Marketing (Member), Institute of Public Relations (Member), Market Research Society (Associate), and the Chartered Institute of Journalists (Associate).[4]

Pritchard then became a marketing communications director and ran his own marketing consultancy before entering Parliament.[1]

Political career[edit]

Pre-Parliament[edit]

Pritchard began his political career as a Conservative councillor on Harrow London Borough Council between 1993-1994.[5] He then served as a Conservative councillor on Woking Borough Council between 2000-2003.[5][6] In the 2001 General Election Pritchard stood as the Conservative candidate for Warley in the West Midlands where he was defeated by John Spellar, the Labour party candidate.[7][8]

Parliament[edit]

Pritchard was first elected to parliament for The Wrekin constituency in 2005, defeating Peter Bradley, the incumbent Labour MP, by just 942 votes although this represented a 5.37% swing from Labour to Conservative.[9][10] He was one of 130 candidates who received help from 20,000 countryside campaigners from the Countryside Party who "poured into marginal seats all over Britain" in an attempt to unseat anti-hunting Labour MPs.[11] During the campaign pro-hunt supporters "delivered 3.4 million leaflets, addressed 2.1 million envelopes, put up 55,000 posters and provided 170,000 hours of campaigning."[11] Pritchard was also one of 30 Conservative MPs who benefited from large "below the radar" donations paid to candidates from a secret Conservative Party donors' fund set up by Lord Ashcroft, Lord Steinberg and the Midlands Industrial Council.[12][13]

Pritchard retained his seat at the 2010 general election.[14] He was joint Secretary of the 1922 Committee between 2010-2012.[15][16][17]

Pritchard was at the centre of a political story in 2010 when he had a public confrontation with the Speaker of the House of Commons, who had told him to stand aside in a corridor. Pritchard then told him, "You are not fucking royalty, Mr Speaker!" This slogan soon found itself on t-shirts.[18]

Pritchard is a member of the UK's Joint Committee on the National Security Strategy.[19] He is a member of the UK delegation to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly.[20]

He is a graduate of the Armed Forces Parliamentary Scheme (Army).[21] He has visited Iraq and Afghanistan.[22]

Pritchard was appointed to the post of Deputy Chairman of the Conservative Party's International Office in 2010 but resigned in January 2012 over policy differences on: "a lack of national and individual aspiration, immigration, and Europe."[23] What some commentators called – "the Holy Trinity of the Conservative right".[24]

Regarded as right of centre, Pritchard nonetheless was one of the first advocates of compassionate conservatism in the United Kingdom and has vocally supported the coalition government's policy of increased spending on international aid.[25] He believes in tougher sentences for criminals – but has also supported the coalition government's efforts to increase the number of treatment and rehabilitation centres. He is on record as saying he would not support the restoration of the death penalty.

In 2011, he was named as one of London's 1000 most influential people by the London Evening Standard.[26]

He is the Vice-Chairman of the Conservative Parliamentary Foreign Affairs & Defence Committee. He formerly served as 'backbench support' to William Hague and to Dr Liam Fox, the former British Defence Secretary, whilst in opposition. UK newspapers reported that Pritchard was to be offered the position of Parliamentary Private Secretary to Dr Liam Fox, but the appointment was vetoed by David Cameron. Pritchard was one of the most vocal supporters of Cameron leadership rival, David Davis MP.

Pritchard has served on several Select Committees: Transport, Works & Pensions, Wales, and Environmental Audit.[4] He is chairman or Vice-Chairman of several All Party Parliamentary Groups, including the ASEAN region, and Africa.[27] Pritchard is also an Executive Member of the British Parliamentary Group.

A supporter of Margaret Thatcher, Pritchard worked as the campaign manager to her successor in the London seat of Finchley, Hartley Booth.[4] Hartley Booth worked in the Number 10 policy unit before entering Parliament (May 1992–1997). He also spent a brief period at Conservative Central Office, working as a press officer, in the 1997 General Election campaign of past Conservative Prime Minister, John Major.[clarification needed]

Pritchard also worked as a parliamentary researcher 1994–1995, co-writing two books with Booth on the subjects of long-term unemployment and homelessness.[citation needed]

Political positions[edit]

Pritchard's main political contributions focus on defence, foreign affairs, counter-terrorism, home affairs, pro-life and animal welfare issues.[28]

Animal welfare[edit]

Pritchard is known for his advocacy of animal welfare issues and introduced three animal welfare related private Ten Minute Rule Bills in the period 2006–2009.

In June 2011 he successfully moved a motion to ban wild animals in circuses. In the House of Commons he stated that he had been placed under pressure by the Prime Minister to withdraw the motion, first by being offered a job, and then by being threatened.[32][33]

Pritchard has been nominated for numerous animal welfare awards including the Dods Charity Champion Award for Animal Welfare.[34]

Europe[edit]

Pritchard is a leading Eurosceptic. Pritchard defines himself as a "mainstream Eurosceptic".[35]

He was one of the so-called leading "Tory Rebels" who oversaw the largest post-war defeat of any Conservative government concerning a European Referendum.[36]

Pritchard has called for an "in out referendum" on the European Union. Central to Pritchard's argument is that "The majority of Britons living today have never had a say on Europe", what Pritchard refers to as "the great disenfranchised".[37]

Pritchard was one of the architects of the motion calling for a 'real terms cut' in the EU's Multiannual budget in 2012.[38] He was joined by fellow eurosceptic MP, Mark Reckless, to draft the so-called ‘Reckless-Pritchard amendment’ which saw David Cameron's government defeated over the issue.[39]

Pritchard claimed that the vote would "strengthen David Cameron's hand in Brussels". During the EU Budget debate in the House of Commons he said: "One way in which the Prime Minister’s hand can be strengthened is by having a united Parliament rather than a disunited Parliament when he goes to Brussels to negotiate on my birthday, 22 November."[40]

Pritchard has also been outspoken on immigration issues being one of the co-signatories of an amendment calling for the extension UK border controls for Romanians and Bulgarians beyond January 1st 2014. He also held a debate on the issue in April 2013.[41]

Coalition government[edit]

Pritchard expressed concerns over rumours that the coalition government was planning to field coalition candidates in the next general election, branding those responsible as "The Purple Plotters".[42]

Pro-Life[edit]

Pritchard is registered as the Vice-Chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Pro-Life Group.[43] He was the mover of a key amendment to the Human and Fertilization and Embryology Bill in the 2005–2010 Parliament, which sought to reduce the abortion termination term-limit from 24 weeks to 16 weeks.[44]

Personal life[edit]

In July 2013, Mark Pritchard announced that he was divorcing his wife of 15 years, Sondra, following their separation in April 2013.[45]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "About Mark Pritchard, MP". Markpritchard.com. Retrieved 3 March 2012. 
  2. ^ Murphy, Joe. "Evening Standard Interview". Evening Standard. Retrieved 24 August 2012. 
  3. ^ "Mark his Words". The House Magazine. 16 May 2013. 
  4. ^ a b c d Who's Who 2009. London: A & C Black. 2008. p. 1895. ISBN 978-1-4081-0248-0. 
  5. ^ a b "Mark Pritchard". The Conservative Party. Retrieved 22 November 2013. 
  6. ^ "MP caught up in Zurich rioting". Evening Mail (Birmingham). 30 January 2001. p. 9. 
  7. ^ "Election 2001: Nominations around the Midlands". Evening Mail (Birmingham). 25 May 2001. p. 6. 
  8. ^ "Election 2001: Better public services 'mean higher taxes'". Birmingham Post (Birmingham). 8 June 2001. p. 3. 
  9. ^ "GENERAL ELECTION: 8-page results guide - How the nation voted". London Evening Standard (London). 6 May 2005. p. 45. 
  10. ^ Thorne, Alun (7 May 2005). "ELECTION 2005: Blair not the lad for Shropshire". Birmingham Post (Birmingham). p. 2. 
  11. ^ a b Kite, Melissa (8 May 2005). "Hunt supporters thanked for role in ousting Bradley". The Sunday Telegraph (London). p. 6. Retrieved 22 November 2013. 
  12. ^ Hencke, David (10 May 2005). "After the election: Secret Tory fund helped win marginals". The Guardian (London). p. 5. Retrieved 22 November 2013. 
  13. ^ Hencke, David (27 September 2005). "Tories must return £2.5m to donor after leader election". The Guardian (London). p. 6. Retrieved 22 November 2013. 
  14. ^ "UK Polling Report". UK Polling. 
  15. ^ Pritchard, Mark (19 September 2011). "We're fed up with Europe, so give us a vote". The Daily Telegraph (London). Retrieved 22 November 2013. 
  16. ^ Goodman, Paul (9 March 2012). "The 1922 committee: a clash of culture looms". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 22 November 2013. 
  17. ^ Grice, Andrew (6 November 2013). "Mark Pritchard investigation: New allegations fuel debate on MPs' jobs on the side". The Independent (London). Retrieved 22 November 2013. 
  18. ^ "Mr Pritchard stands up to Mr Speaker". The Waugh Room. PoliticsHome. Retrieved 3 March 2012. 
  19. ^ "Joint Committee on the National Security Strategy – membership". UK Parliament. Retrieved 17 September 2012. 
  20. ^ "Membership of the UK Delegation". UK Parliament. 
  21. ^ "Mark Pritchard: Member of Parliament for The Wrekin". The Conservative Party. 
  22. ^ "MP praises bravery of British troops". MarkPritchard.com. 5 February 2007. 
  23. ^ Pritchard, Mark (6 March 2012). "David Cameron's weakness on Europe forced me to resign from Conservative Party job". The Daily Telegraph (London). 
  24. ^ Goodman, Paul (9 March 2012). "The 1922 committee: a clash of culture looms". The Guardian (London). 
  25. ^ Pritchard, Mark. "Mark Pritchard MP: The Government is right to protect the International Aid budget". conservativehome.blogs.com. 
  26. ^ "London's 1000 most influential people 2011: Politics". London Evening Standard. 7 November 2011. 
  27. ^ "UK Parliament – APPG Register". UK Parliament. 
  28. ^ "Profile". TheyWorkForYou.com. 
  29. ^ "Trade in Endangered Animals on the Internet". UK Parliament. 
  30. ^ "Trading of Primates as Pets (Prohibition)". UK Parliament. 
  31. ^ "Wild Birds (Protection)". UK Parliament. 
  32. ^ "MPs defy ministers and back ban on wild circus animals". BBC News. 24 June 2011. 
  33. ^ Patel, Sunita (24 June 2011). "Wrekin MP Mark Pritchard in Commons bribe row". Shropshire Star. Retrieved 3 March 2012. 
  34. ^ "Dods Charity Champion Awards". Dods Parliamentary Communications Ltd 2012. 
  35. ^ "The Deep Eurosceptic Links in Almost Every Government Department". Huffingtonpost.co.uk. 20 October 2011. Retrieved 3 March 2012. 
  36. ^ Grice, Andrew (2 November 2011). "Tory rebels form new Eurosceptic group". The Independent (London). 
  37. ^ "Europe referendum 'is a chance to enfranchise voters'". The Daily Telegraph (London). 24 October 2011. 
  38. ^ "Shropshire MP Mark Pritchard joining rebellion on EU Talks". Shropshire Star. 31 October 2012. 
  39. ^ Hardman, Elizabeth. "Cameron outfoxed from right and left on EU budget". The Spectator. 
  40. ^ Parliament. "Hansard, 31 Oct 2012 : Column 300". Hansard. 
  41. ^ "News Article". Shropshire Star. 
  42. ^ Montgomerie, Tim (1 January 2011). "Mark Pritchard MP warns 'purple plotters' against a "Frankenstein" merger of the Conservatives and Lib Dems The Tory Diary". Conservativehome.blogs.com. Retrieved 19 August 2013. 
  43. ^ "APPG Register". UK Parliament. 
  44. ^ "Hansard 20 May 2008 : Column 232". UK Parliament. 
  45. ^ "Divorce of Tory MP Mark Pritchard adds to toll of Westminster". The Times. 25 July 2013. Retrieved 19 August 2013. 

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Peter Bradley
Member of Parliament for The Wrekin
2005–present
Incumbent