Michael Fabricant

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Michael Fabricant
MP
Michael Fabricant MP (2005).jpg
Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
In office
11 May 2010 – 4 September 2012
Prime Minister David Cameron
Preceded by Bob Blizzard
Succeeded by Desmond Swayne
Member of Parliament
for Lichfield
Mid Staffordshire (1992–1997)
Incumbent
Assumed office
9 April 1992
Preceded by Sylvia Heal
Majority 17,683 (34.3%)
Personal details
Born (1950-06-12) 12 June 1950 (age 64)
Brighton, Sussex, England
Nationality British
Political party Conservative
Alma mater Loughborough University
University of Sussex
University of Oxford
University of Southern California
Website michael.fabricant.mp.co.uk

Michael Louis David Fabricant (born 12 June 1950) is a British Conservative Party politician. He is the Member of Parliament (MP) for Lichfield in Staffordshire.

Michael Fabricant was the Vice-Chairman of the Conservative Party for Parliamentary Campaigning,[1] responsible for Conservative headquarters strategy on marginal seats at the 2015 general election, as well as by-elections.[2][3] He was dismissed from this position in April 2014 over the HS2 rail link debacle and comments made about Maria Miller's resignation.

Early life[edit]

Fabricant was born in Brighton, into a British Jewish family,[4] and attended Brighton Secondary Technical School and Brighton, Hove and Sussex Grammar School. He studied economics at Loughborough University, receiving a Bachelor of Science degree. He went on to study at the University of Sussex, where he was awarded a master's degree in systems and econometrics in 1974, and continued his studies at the University of Oxford, University of London and the University of Southern California.[5]

He was appointed director of the International Broadcasting Electronics and Investment Group in 1979, remaining there until 1991, by which time his work had taken him to Moscow, the Netherlands, Uganda, Italy and Iceland. He unsuccessfully contested the safe Labour stronghold of South Shields at the 1987 general election, coming in 13,851 votes behind victor David Clark. Fabricant was appointed the chairman of the Brighton Pavilion Conservative Association in 1990 and remained chairman until his election to Westminster.

Political career[edit]

Fabricant was first elected at the 1992 General Election for Mid Staffordshire, regaining the seat for the Conservatives following Sylvia Heal's victory at the 1990 by-election. He took the seat with a majority of 6,236 and has remained a Member of Parliament since. He made his maiden speech on 2 July 1992.[6] The Mid Staffordshire seat was abolished at the 1997 General Election, but Fabricant contested and won the Lichfield constituency, which partially replaced it, by just 238 votes (0.51%). He has remained the Lichfield MP since, increasing his majority to 4,426 in 2001, 7,080 in 2005 and 17,683 in 2010.

In Parliament, Fabricant joined the European Legislation Select Committee in 1992 on which he served until the 1997 General Election. He also joined the National Heritage Select Committee in 1993 and was a member of that committee until his appointment as the Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Financial Secretary to the Treasury Michael Jack in 1996. Following the Conservative defeat at the 1997 General Election, Fabricant joined the (renamed) Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee until moving to the Home Affairs Select Committee in 1999. He rejoined the Culture, Media and Sport committee following the 2001 General Election, and also at this time became the chairman of the Information Committee. He moved up to the Opposition frontbench as a trade and industry spokesman under Michael Howard in 2003. Later in the year he was moved to the post of spokesman on economic affairs. He became an Opposition Whip following the 2005 General Election and remained in the position following the appointment of new leader David Cameron.

Fabricant has said that he was a "moderniser when Notting Hill was a dump",[7] referring to the "Notting Hill Set", a group of young Conservative modernisers that came to prominence under David Cameron.

In November 2012, Fabricant published a pamphlet entitled "The Pact" which called for a political pact between UKIP and the Tory Party, in exchange for an In/Out EU referendum.[8]

Controversies[edit]

Fabricant "regularly courts controversy on Twitter" and has been criticised for joking about bestiality with llamas when asked about his sexuality.[9] Fabricant was sacked as Vice Chairman of the Conservative Party by Party Chairman Grant Shapps after he tweeted "about time" with regards to Maria Miller's resignation as cabinet minister[10][11] Staying in his post, given his threat to rebel over a government vote in support of the HS2 rail development, thought George Eaton, of the New Statesman, might only encourage other Conservative MPs to do the same over the issue.[12] He opposes HS2 on the grounds of its financial and environmental cost.[11]

In June 2014, he came under further criticism when, following an exchange between Yasmin Alibhai-Brown and Rod Liddle on Channel 4 News the evening before, he tweeted that he "could never appear" on a discussion programme with her, as he "would either end up with a brain haemorrhage or by punching her in the throat."[13] Gloria De Piero, the Shadow Minister for Women and Equality, described the tweet as "utterly appalling"[9] while a Conservative Party spokesman commented that the MP's comment was "completely unacceptable".[14] Fabricant subsequently apologised,[9] but Alibhai-Brown thought his apology was "useless". In her view, Conservatives like Fabricant think "people like me should be ayahs [domestic servants] or selling you curry."[15] A few days later, Fabricant wrote that he was "still deeply embarrassed and ashamed" and his tweet "appeared to have undone" his socially liberal voting record over the last 20 years.[16]

In August 2014, after Sayeeda Warsi resigned from David Cameron's government over its policy towards Operation Protective Edge, Fabricant tweeted "Sad @SayeedaWarsi has gone. I was her whip when Party Chairman & know she has v strong views on Muslim issues. But DC is right on Gaza." He was criticised for this by some commentators such as Shelina Janmohamed and Owen Jones[17] who said that the Gaza conflict was a humanitarian issue, not a Muslim one. Fabricant subsequently clarified that he did believe that Gaza was a humanitarian issue and that his comment towards Warsi was more general.[18]

Other interests and private life[edit]

Fabricant was the 'political adviser' to the BBC series The Final Cut. In the 'crossing the floor' speech scene from disgruntled Tom Makepeace (actor Paul Freeman), Fabricant can clearly be seen sitting next to Makepeace in a cameo. Fabricant is easily recognisable in the Commons with his bright blond hair, which sketchwriters and fellow Members of Parliament have frequently suggested is a wig.[19][20] The Labour former Minister Ian McCartney once retorted "provided he doesn't mention my Glaswegian accent, I won't mention his wig." In May 2014, he admitted that there was "some — but only some — enhancement of the follicular area."[21]

When on holiday in Colombia in 2008, a patrol of armed Colombian soldiers stopped him, suspecting him of cocaine possession when they discovered sachets of white powder in his rucksack. It was in fact dried milk.[22]

His website lists his interests as fell-walking, canal-boating, skiing, Mozart operas, listening to The Archers and eating out. He has taken part in a series of adjournment debates on government funding for inland waterways,[23] and has called for heavy goods freight to move off Britain's roads and back onto the restored canal network.[24] Fabricant is able to speak reasonable French and German, and also speaks some Dutch and Russian.[5]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ "Michael Fabricant". parliament.uk. 2013. Retrieved 11 May 2013. 
  2. ^ "Leak from Tories in Corby: "We have more pledges than Labour"". Political Scrapbook. 14 November 2012. Retrieved 11 May 2013. 
  3. ^ Morris, Nigel (26 November 2012). "'It's war': Nigel Farage flatly rejects call from senior Tory for Ukip and Conservative EU pact at the general election". The Independent (London: INM). ISSN 0951-9467. OCLC 185201487. Retrieved 11 May 2013. 
  4. ^ Jessica Elgot. "New Jewish ministers and the Miliband rivalry". The Jewish Chronicle. 
  5. ^ a b "Michael Fabricant". michael.fabricant.mp.co.uk. 2013. Retrieved 11 May 2013. 
  6. ^ http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm199293/cmhansrd/1992-07-02/Debate-5.html |chapter-url= missing title (help). Parliamentary Debates (Hansard). House of Commons. 2 July 1992. col. 1009–1011. 
  7. ^ "Twitter / Michael Fabricant: Re my 'Chairs' vote, I tol". Twitter.com. Retrieved 16 March 2010. 
  8. ^ "Tories should consider UKIP pact, Michael Fabricant urges". BBC News. 26 November 2012. 
  9. ^ a b c Alexandra Topping, et al "Tory MP Michael Fabricant apologises for tweet saying he might punch female journalist", theguardian.com, 20 June 2014
  10. ^ http://www.standard.co.uk/news/politics/conservative-party-vicechairman-michael-fabricant-sacked-for-criticising-maria-miller-on-twitter-9249392.html
  11. ^ a b Oliver Wright "Michael Fabricant: Llamas, incest, bestiality, and the demise of the Tories’ Deputy Chairman", The Independent, 11 April 2014
  12. ^ George Eaton "Michael Fabricant sacked as Tory vice chairman", New Statesman, 9 April 2014
  13. ^ Heather Saul "Michael Fabricant blasted for tweet saying he would 'punch Yasmin Alibhai-Brown in the throat'", The Independent, 20 June 2014
  14. ^ "MP Michael Fabricant apologises for 'punch journalist' joke", BBC News, 20 June 2014
  15. ^ Georgia Graham "Michael Fabricant attacked for discussing punching female journalist in the throat", The Telegraph, 20 June 2014
  16. ^ Michael Fabricant "Yasmin Alibhai-Brown and the punch that never was", The Spectator (blog), 23 June 2014
  17. ^ https://twitter.com/OwenJones84/status/496578369983889408
  18. ^ http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/baroness-warsi-resignation-twitter-backlash-as-tory-mp-michael-fabricantaccused-of-suggesting-gaza-is-a-muslim-issue-9649684.html
  19. ^ Assinder, Nick (19 May 2000). "Ken's Latest Challenge to Blair". BBC News (London). Retrieved 25 January 2007. 
  20. ^ "Hansard: Commons Hansard Debates for 23 January 2007". Retrieved 25 January 2007. 
  21. ^ http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/tory-mp-michael-fabricant-admits-3524194
  22. ^ Naughton, Philippe (5 September 2008). "Coffee-loving MP Michael Fabricant mistaken for cocaine trafficker". The Times (London). Retrieved 13 November 2010. 
  23. ^ "Adjournment debate on future of canals". Boating Business. Retrieved 28 October 2008. [dead link]
  24. ^ "Canals better for freight says MP". Lichfield Mercury. 26 November 2008. Retrieved 27 November 2008. 

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Sylvia Heal
Member of Parliament for Mid Staffordshire
19921997
Constituency abolished
New constituency Member of Parliament for Lichfield
1997–present
Incumbent