Tessa Munt

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Tessa Munt
MP
Tessa Munt pre-MP Birmingham.jpg
Member of Parliament
for Wells
Incumbent
Assumed office
6 May 2010
Preceded by David Heathcoat-Amory
Majority 800 (1.4%)[1]
Personal details
Born (1959-10-16) 16 October 1959 (age 54)
Surrey, England
Nationality British
Political party Liberal Democrats

Tessa Jane Munt (born 16 October 1959) is a British Liberal Democrat politician. She is the Member of Parliament (MP) for Wells in Somerset and is currently the Parliamentary Private Secretary (PPS) to the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, Vince Cable.[2]

Early life[edit]

Her paternal grandfather was a politician in Kenya in the 1950s, whilst her uncle was a member of the Church of England synod. Her mother was raised within the Church of Scotland, but her family had mainly Jewish roots.[3]

The eldest of four children born in Surrey, she was educated at a Roman Catholic Convent school until the age of 11, and then at Reigate County School for Girls and Sutton High School, before finishing her education at an independent college.[3] Munt has told the BBC that as a child, she was a victim of sexual abuse.[4]

Career[edit]

Munt initially joined the international division of Midland Bank, before leaving after a year to join a local firm of solicitors. After three years, she started working for the local hotel, and after two years moved to East Anglia working in the company's sales and marketing team, before moving to personnel and later delivering quality customer care training.[3]

She then worked in administration for South Essex College at their Southend-on-Sea campus, before moving into teaching. She then worked for a period in social services, working with adults with learning difficulties.[3] She also worked part-time as a volunteer for both Childline and the Environmental Investigation Agency. She married in 1992, and had two children.

She spent time working as the personal assistant to former international cricketer Phil Edmonds.[3] She then started working for a solicitors firm, before being asked to move by a former company partner to join the team at Forsters solicitors. She also spent five years as a Regional Advisory Panel member for the National Lottery Charities Board.[3]

Politics[edit]

Munt had joined the Labour Party in the early-1990s, but left after their election victory in 1997 due to the centralisation of party policy.[3] She then campaigned in the late 1990s in Suffolk to preserve a Victorian school against a proposed development plan, where she met Andrew Phillips, Baron Phillips of Sudbury, and in 1999 after attending a party conference and meeting Norman Lamb she joined the Liberal Democrats.[3]

Munt was the party's candidate for South Suffolk in the 2001 General Election, when she came third with 24.9% of the votes. She also stood for Ipswich at the 2001 Ipswich by-election caused by the death of Jamie Cann.[5] coming third with 22.4% of the vote.[6]

As her father lived in Wells, Somerset,[3] a few weeks after her defeat, the local party committee offered her the option of standing in the Wells constituency.[3] She stood in the 2005 General Election, coming second to incumbent MP David Heathcoat-Amory with 37.8% of the vote.

Westminster: 2010-present[edit]

Munt won the Wells seat in the 2010 General Election with a majority of 800 over Heathcoat-Amory,[1] who admitted that his involvement in the United Kingdom Parliamentary expenses scandal played a part in his defeat.[1][7][8]

Munt was a party whip in the House of Commons from 2010 until March 2012, although she threatened to resign from the post if the Trident nuclear missile system was renewed.[9]

In July 2010, newspapers revealed details of an investigation by Sedgemoor District Council into her claims of council tax single person discount while having more than one other adult male registered to vote at her home, including a local GP, the broadcaster Andy Kershaw and the media advisor for the family of Madeleine McCann.[10][11][12][13][14][15] It is legal to be in receipt of a discount of the appropriate amount when more than one adult is registered to vote there as only an adult whose sole or main address is at the property counts as resident for council tax purposes, including ascertaining entitlement to a discount. The case law on this is Williams v Horsham District Council, reference [2004] EWCA Civ 39. On 6 September 2010, Sedgemoor District Council said that there were now no criminal proceedings regarding to the single person discount on Council Tax and Munt was thus cleared of any wrongdoing,[16] though it then became apparent that she had paid the disputed amount to Sedgemoor District Council.[17]

Personal life[edit]

Munt lives with her two children from her marriage to Martin Munt, from whom she is separated, in the village of Wedmore on the Somerset Levels.[18] A vegetarian,[18] she is a governor of Hugh Sexey Middle School in Blackford,[19][20] and is a member of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament.[21][22]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Liberal Democrats beat Heathcoat-Amory in Wells seat". BBC News. 7 May 2010. Retrieved 7 May 2010. 
  2. ^ Following the appointment of Jo Swinson as PPS to the Leader of the Liberal Democrats, Nick Clegg, Tessa was appointed as Parliamentary Private Secretary to Liberal Democrat Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, Vince Cable.http://www.libdems.org.uk/mps_detail.aspx?name=Tessa_Munt_MP&pPK=7cec2398-52d3-4efd-9b91-9258d0e5e6ed
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Sam Macrory (2 July 2010). "Tessa Munt". The House magazine. Retrieved 12 December 2013. 
  4. ^ "Tessa Munt MP: 'I was a victim of sexual abuse'". BBC News. 7 July 2014. Retrieved 7 July 2014. 
  5. ^ "Ipswich voters head to the polls". BBC News. 22 November 2001. Retrieved 6 May 2010. 
  6. ^ "Labour victory in Ipswich by-election". BBC News. 23 November 2001. Retrieved 6 May 2010. 
  7. ^ "Election winner Tessa Munt: 'The work starts here'". 7 May 2010. Retrieved 7 May 2010. 
  8. ^ Allen, Nick; Rayner, Gordon (12 May 2009). "MPs' expenses: David Heathcoat-Amory dumps 550 sacks of manure on taxpayer". The Daily Telegraph (London). Retrieved 7 May 2010. 
  9. ^ "Lib Dem MP Tessa Munt threatens to quit over Trident 'hot potato'". thisissomerset.co.uk. 23 September 2010. Retrieved 15 October 2010. 
  10. ^ "Lib Dem MP Tessa Munt in probe over council tax discounts". Daily Mail (London). 18 July 2010. Retrieved 2 August 2010. 
  11. ^ "Burnham-On-Sea MP Tessa Munt faces council tax probe". 18 July 2010. Retrieved 2 August 2010. 
  12. ^ "Under-fire Wells MP Tessa Munt facing fresh questions". 1 August 2010. Retrieved 2 August 2010. 
  13. ^ "Lib-Dem MP in council tax probe had affair with her GP lodger". Daily Mail (London). 1 August 2010. Retrieved 2 August 2010. 
  14. ^ "Lib Dem MP Tessa Munt accused of a council tax fiddle AND an affair". Daily Mail (London). 1 August 2010. Retrieved 2 August 2010. 
  15. ^ "Lib Dem MP in council tax probe had THREE men staying with her". Daily Mail (London). 8 August 2010. Retrieved 8 August 2010. 
  16. ^ "Wells MP Tessa Munt cleared of council tax fraud claims". BBC News Online (London). 6 September 2010. Retrieved 6 September 2010. 
  17. ^ "Red-faced MP repays disputed tax". Daily Mail (London). 1 August 2010. Retrieved 2 August 2010. 
  18. ^ a b "Tessa Munt MP – MP for Wells". Liberal Democrats. Retrieved 27 May 2010. 
  19. ^ "MP hopeful dishes up as a dinner lady". Cheddar Valley Gazette (Mid-Somerset Series). 28 July 2009. Retrieved 6 May 2010. 
  20. ^ "Welcome to our governors". Hugh Sexey Church of England Middle School. Retrieved 6 May 2010. 
  21. ^ "SINGING FOR PALESTINIANS". Wells Liberal Democrats. 21 December 2009. Retrieved 26 September 2010. 
  22. ^ "Lib Dem conference votes to debate Trident". CND. 20 September 2010. Retrieved 26 September 2010. 

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
David Heathcoat-Amory
Member of Parliament for Wells
2010–present
Incumbent