Steve Baker (politician)

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Steve Baker
MP
Steve Baker MP.jpg
Member of Parliament
for Wycombe
Incumbent
Assumed office
6 May 2010
Preceded by Paul Goodman
Majority 9,560 (20%)
Personal details
Born (1971-06-06) 6 June 1971 (age 42)
St Austell, Cornwall
Nationality British
Political party Conservative
Alma mater University of Southampton (BEng)
University of Oxford (MSc)
Website www.stevebaker.info

Steven John "Steve" Baker[1] (born 6 June 1971)[2] is a British Conservative Party politician. He is the Member of Parliament (MP) for Wycombe, having been elected in the 2010 general election. He has been a member of the executive of the 1922 Committee since May 2012.

Baker served in the Royal Air Force as an aerospace engineer from 1989 to 1999. After leaving the RAF, he studied computation at Oxford, and became a software engineer and consultant. He decided to enter politics after witnessing the financial crisis in 2008, having worked in the IT department at Lehman Brothers in Canary Wharf. He was elected MP for Wycombe in 2010. Since entering Parliament, he has campaigned against bail-outs for the financial sector, against central banking, and against the construction of High Speed 2.

He co-founded the Cobden Centre, on which he sits on the advisory board. He established and chairs the all-party parliamentary group (APPG) on Economics, Money and Banking and is vice-chair of the APPG for Aerospace. He sits on the Transport Select Committee.

Education[edit]

Born in St Austell,[3] Steve Baker was educated at Poltair School and St Austell Sixth Form College, followed by the University of Southampton,[4] where he earned a BEng in Aerospace Engineering. He later studied at St Cross College, Oxford, where he earned an MSc in Computation.

Early career[edit]

From 1989, Baker served ten years as an engineering officer in the Royal Air Force. He retired from the Air Force in 1999 as a flight lieutenant.[5] Later working as a consulting software engineer and manager. He was head of consulting and product manager with DecisionSoft Ltd (now named CoreFiling) in Oxford, 2000-01. He was appointed as Chief Technical Officer at BASDA Ltd, Great Missenden in 2002, a position he held until 2007. For a year from 2005 he was director of product development at CoreFiling Ltd, Oxford. He was the chief architect of global financing and asset service platforms at Lehman Brothers, 2006-08. He has been principal of Ambriel Consulting Ltd since 2001. He is a founding member of the Cobden Centre, an educational charity promoting honest money. He is an associate consultant with the Centre for Social Justice since 2008.

Parliamentary career[edit]

Baker was selected as the Conservative candidate for Wycombe on 31 October 2009, after former Conservative MP Paul Goodman stood down; it was the first seat for which Baker had sought selection.[4] Baker held the seat for the Conservative Party . He received 23,423 votes – a vote share of 48.6%.[6][7] Under Goodman, the Conservatives' vote share increased from the 42.4% and 45.8% it received in the 2001 and 2005 general elections.[8] In 2010, he was appointed to the Transport Select Committee.

Baker is rated as one of the Conservatives' top 10 most rebellious MPs of the 2010 intake.[9] He has also been nominated as a 'Newcomer of the Year' on Conservative Home by journalist Harry Phibbs.[10] He was named as the most authoritative Member of Parliament on Twitter in January 2011.[11][12]

In March 2011, Baker initiated an adjournment debate on the malicious prosecution of an operator of an independent mental health unit that pressured the Solicitor General Edward Garnier into issuing an apology.[13]

Baker has campaigned for banking reform, calling for banks to re-adopt Generally Accepted Accounting Practice to account for devalued loans, as well as failed ones;[14] in May 2011, he calculated that the use of IFRS instead of GAAP over-stated the strength of Royal Bank of Scotland's balance sheet by £25bn.[15] He introduced a Ten Minute Rule bill to 'bring casino banking into the light', by changing rules by which banks account for derivatives.[16]

He was elected to the executive of the 1922 Committee on 16 May 2012, saying he was 'fed up with factionalism' and wanted 'to stand as neither a modernising 301 candidate or a traditionalist'.[17]

Political positions[edit]

Baker rejects war as a policy, stating, "While clearly it has been breached repeatedly, the Kellogg-Briand pact of 1929 renounced war for the settlement of international disputes. It remains in force.".[18] Coupled with this, Baker is in favour of nuclear deterrents, on the grounds of "Van Creveld's argument that nuclear weapons make total war impossible".[18]

Regarding parliamentary procedures, Baker wants to reform Early Day Motions (EDMs), possibly replacing them with 'Members' Motions' on the grounds that EDMs 'are used to publicise the views of individual MPs', whereas a system such as 'Members' Motions' could be 'debated by the House'.[19]

Baker describes his political inspiration as being the Liberal Richard Cobden, founding the Cobden Centre under the motto: 'Peace will come to earth when the people have more to do with each other and governments less'.[20][21]

Despite being MP for a constituency through which High Speed 2 is not planned to run, Baker opposes the construction of the line against the party Whip.[22] He argues that the plan does not 'make sense for the whole country', and, while believing that the route should not run through Buckinghamshire, campaigns to scrap the plans altogether, rather than re-routing them outside the county.[23]

Baker opposes quantitative easing, saying that it creates a worse crisis as an inevitable consequence.[24] Baker also voted in opposition to the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013, and called for the denationalisation of marriage. He argued that the current situation risks infringing both the freedoms of the religious and LGBTQ communities, and that private individuals should define the term marriage, rather than the state.[25]

Electoral history[edit]

General Election 2010: Wycombe[6]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Conservative Steve Baker 23,423 48.6 +2.8
Liberal Democrat Steve Guy 13,863 28.8 +9.0
Labour Andrew Lomas 8,326 17.3 −12.6
UKIP John Wiseman 2,123 4.4 +0.5
Independent Mudassar Khokar 228 0.5 N/A
Independent David Fitton 188 0.4 −0.3
Majority 9,560 20.0
Turnout 48,151 66.2 +4.0
Conservative hold Swing

References[edit]

  1. ^ "List of Members Returned to Serve in Parliament at the General Election 2010". London Gazette. 13 May 2010. 
  2. ^ "Steve Baker MP". BBC Online. 7 May 2010. 
  3. ^ [1]
  4. ^ a b "Tory hits out at HQ over Wycombe MP selection". Bucks Free Press. 2 November 2009. Retrieved 17 December 2011. 
  5. ^ The London Gazette: no. 55601. p. 9595. 7 September 1999.
  6. ^ a b "Wycombe". BBC News. 
  7. ^ "Labour hold Luton South against Esther challenge". BBC News. 7 May 2010. 
  8. ^ Evans, Oliver (7 May 2010). "Tories increase grip on Wycombe as Lib Dems move into second". Bucks Free Press. 
  9. ^ http://conservativehome.blogs.com/parliament/2010/12/the-latest-league-table-of-tory-backbench-rebellion.html
  10. ^ "Newcomer of 2010". Conservative Home. 31 December 2010. Retrieved 15 January 2011. 
  11. ^ "Twitter: The top 20 Members of Parliament". The Daily Telegraph. 25 January 2011. Retrieved 17 December 2011. 
  12. ^ Williams, Christopher (25 January 2011). "Politicians 'have less authority' than comedians on Twitter". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 17 December 2011. 
  13. ^ Lakhani, Nina (3 April 2011). "'Shocking demise' of hospital threatens NHS reform". The Independent on Sunday. Retrieved 17 December 2011. 
  14. ^ Armistead, Louise (2 June 2011). "Royal Bank of Scotland told by MPs to explain £25bn accounting 'distortion'". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 17 December 2011. 
  15. ^ Hosking, Patrick (17 May 2011). "RBS 'more exposed to toxic loans than it admits'". The Times. Retrieved 17 December 2011. 
  16. ^ Treanor, Jill (14 December 2011). "Banks use accounting loopholes to inflate profits and bolster bonuses". The Guardian. Retrieved 17 December 2011. 
  17. ^ Huggins, Donata (10 May 2012). "Bloodlust at the 1922 Committee". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 16 May 2012. 
  18. ^ a b "War and nuclear weapons". 14 Nov 2010. 
  19. ^ "EDMs: Motions for "an early day"". 14 Nov 2010. 
  20. ^ "International Affairs". 14 Nov 2010. 
  21. ^ "Cobden Centre". 14 Nov 2010. 
  22. ^ Milmo, Dan (19 December 2010). "Backlash from Conservative heartlands expected over high speed rail". The Guardian. Retrieved 28 December 2010. 
  23. ^ Nadal, James (23 November 2010). "Wycombe MP Steve Baker: HS2 case 'not proven'". Bucks Free Press. Retrieved 28 December 2010. 
  24. ^ McSmith, Andy (8 October 2011). "Village People: Tories ill at ease with the wheeze that is quantitative easing". The Independent. Retrieved 17 December 2011. 
  25. ^ Baker, Steven. "Where I stand » Gay Marriage". Retrieved 25 February 2014. 

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Paul Goodman
Member of Parliament for Wycombe
2010–present
Incumbent