Alan Mak (politician)

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Alan Mak

Official portrait of Alan Mak crop 2.jpg
Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Assumed office
16 January 2018
Prime MinisterTheresa May
Sec. of StateGreg Clark
Preceded byKelly Tolhurst
Member of Parliament
for Havant
Assumed office
7 May 2015
Preceded byDavid Willetts
Majority15,956 (34.5%)
Personal details
Born (1983-11-19) November 19, 1983 (age 35)
Leeds, West Yorkshire, England
Political partyConservative
Alma materPeterhouse, Cambridge
WebsiteOfficial website

Alan Mak (born 19 November 1983) is a British Conservative Party politician who was elected as the Member of Parliament (MP) for the Havant constituency in Hampshire in 2015. He is the first person of Chinese and East Asian origin to be elected to the House of Commons.[2]

Early life[edit]

Mak was born in Leeds, West Yorkshire, to parents from Guangdong Province in southern China,[3][2][4][5] and attended St Peter's School, York,[6] and read Law at Peterhouse, Cambridge. He subsequently practised as a solicitor with Clifford Chance.[4][6][7]

Mak was named Graduate of the Year by Realworld in 2005. In 2010, he was recognised with the award for Young City Lawyer of the year in Square Mile magazine's 30 under 30 awards in 2010.[8]

Parliamentary career and controversies[edit]

2015 general election[edit]

Mak was selected as the Conservative Party candidate for Havant for the 2015 general election. His selection was met with considerable opposition by Tory members on the grassroots website ConservativeHome, with accusations of incompetence and his "parachuting" in, as an A-List candidate with no local connections to the safe seat.[4] The Havant Conservative Association responded to these comments by pointing out that only 20 of the 96 applicants for the shortlist were local people.[9]

During the election campaign it was alleged by the rival UKIP candidate that Mak had falsified his CV, presented to the local Conservative Association during the open primary in which he was selected as the Conservative candidate for Havant.[10] The allegations were that Mak had falsified endorsements from The Daily Telegraph and Conservative Home, over exaggerated his business success, and misrepresenting his electoral performance in the 2014 Tower Hamlets London Borough Council election.[10] In the week following allegations about Mak's CV, the local press reported that a claim in his campaign literature—that he regularly attends St Faith's Church, Havant—had been repudiated by the church rector; a spokesman for the Diocese of Portsmouth confirmed that Mak had only been seen in the congregation for the installation of Fr Tom Kennar, in February 2015, over two months prior to the leaflet's publication.[11]

Mak was elected as Member of Parliament for Havant at the 2015 general election. He is the first person of Chinese origin to be elected to the House of Commons.[12][13][14] However, he is uncomfortable with being defined solely by his ethnic identity and has dismissed the notion that his election as MP would raise the profile of British East Asians. In an interview with the South China Morning Post's Post Magazine, he said "If the CFC and Chinese for Labour think I am going to be representing every Chinese, Thai, Vietnamese and Korean—and there are many in my constituency—they are mistaken. It's a stupid story. I am not standing for the Chinese population of Britain. I am standing for the people of Havant and my country".[6] Following his election he expressed concern about the attention his ethnicity, and subsequent political breakthrough, was receiving from both international media and British Chinese groups.[15]


In June 2015, Patrick Kidd wrote in The Times that Mak had gained a reputation for "self-promotion" amongst his parliamentary colleagues and "is getting up people’s noses".[16] It was also reported in The Spectator that Mak was prevented by Conservative MPs from sitting in his "favourite spot" behind David Cameron at Prime Minister's Questions, which Mak had hoped would enable "a brief TV appearance".[17]

Despite positioning himself as a eurosceptic during Havant Conservative Association's process to select their prospective parliamentary candidate, and writing before the 2015 election that, "we shouldn’t be afraid to leave [the EU]",[18] Mak announced in February 2016 that he would campaign to remain in the EU in the June 2016 EU membership referendum.[19] This decision was criticised by local party members as a political "u-turn"[20] and received speculation in The Huffington Post as being affected by "careerism."[21]

In June 2017, following the result of the 2017 General Election, Mak was mocked by BBC presenter Simon McCoy due to his repetition of soundbites defending Theresa May. McCoy asked: "Is this a speech you have all been given to read out?" in response to Mak claiming "Our job is to make sure we form a strong and stable government" and to "provide certainty".[22]


  1. ^ "Election 2015: How the Christian candidates fared". Christian Today. 8 May 2015.
  2. ^ a b "Britain gains first ethnic Chinese MP". BBC News. 8 May 2015.
  3. ^ Tsang, Mike; Mak, Alan (2012). "Abridged Interview". Between East and West.
  4. ^ a b c Cole, Harry (28 March 2015). "David Cameron's secret A-list". The Spectator.
  5. ^ "Alan Mak to be UK's first ethnic Chinese lawmaker". Taipei Times. 9 May 2015.
  6. ^ a b c "The British Chinese politician set to be first elected to Parliament". South China Morning Post. 3 May 2015.
  7. ^ Simmons, Richard, Meet the lawyers standing for Parliament Archived 26 June 2015 at the Wayback Machine, Lawyer 2B, 10 April 2015
  8. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 5 June 2015. Retrieved 30 June 2015.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  9. ^ Miles O'Leary (2 November 2014). "Tory hits back at critics after being elected candidate". Portsmouth News. Retrieved 12 August 2015.
  10. ^ a b Elise Brewerton (24 April 2015). "Accusations fly as Havant election rivals go on the attack". Portsmouth News. Retrieved 12 August 2015.
  11. ^ "Questions raised on church attendance statement in election leaflet for Havant Tory candidate Alan Mak". Portsmouth News. 1 May 2015. Retrieved 12 August 2015.
  12. ^ "General Election: Alan Mak holds Havant for Tories". Portsmouth News. 8 May 2015.
  13. ^ McSpadden, Kevin (8 May 2015). "Meet the First Ever Ethnic Chinese Lawmaker Elected to the U.K. Parliament". Time. Retrieved 8 May 2015.
  14. ^ Lee, Danny (8 May 2015). "Politician Alan Mak makes history as first Chinese elected to British parliament". South China Morning Post.
  15. ^ Katwala, Sunder (8 May 2015). "The Class of 2015 Enter Britain's Most Diverse Ever Parliament". Huffington Post.
  16. ^ Patrick Kidd (17 June 2015). "The Times Diary (TMS): Pope to rock Madison Square Garden and Theresa May tells a joke". The Times.
  17. ^ "Backbench 'plot' deprives Alan Mak of his favourite spot at PMQs". The Spectator. 17 June 2015.
  18. ^ Paul Staines (23 February 2016). "Mak Backs 'In' After Telling Selectors He'd Back 'Out'". Guido Fawkes.
  19. ^ "Havant MP Alan Mak Statement on EU Re-Negotiation & EU Referendum". Alan Mak website. 23 February 2016.
  20. ^ Miles O'Leary (24 February 2016). "Havant MP accused of EU U-turn after he pledges to support referendum 'in campaign'". Portsmouth News.
  21. ^ Paul Waugh (24 February 2016). "The Waugh Zone February 24, 2016". Huffington Post.
  22. ^ "BBC Presenter Laughs In Tory MP Alan Mak's Face For Repeating 'Strong And Stable' Slogan". HuffPost UK. 12 June 2017. Retrieved 12 June 2017.

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
David Willetts
Member of Parliament
for Havant