Alan Mak (politician)

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Alan Mak
Official portrait of Alan Mak crop 2.jpg
Official portrait, 2017
Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury
In office
8 July 2022 – 7 September 2022
Prime MinisterBoris Johnson
Preceded byHelen Whately
Succeeded byFelicity Buchan
Lord Commissioner of the Treasury
In office
21 April 2021 – 8 July 2022
Prime MinisterBoris Johnson
Preceded byDavid Duguid
Member of Parliament
for Havant
Assumed office
7 May 2015
Preceded byDavid Willetts
Majority21,792 (47.4%)
Personal details
Born (1983-11-19) 19 November 1983 (age 39)
York, England
Political partyConservative
Alma materPeterhouse, Cambridge
WebsiteOfficial website

Alan Mak (born 19 November 1983) is a British Conservative Party politician who served as Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury from July to September 2022.[2] He was elected as the Member of Parliament (MP) for Havant in Hampshire in 2015.[3]

Early life[edit]

Mak was born in York[4] to Chinese parents who were born in Guangdong[5][6][7][8] and who settled in Hong Kong before moving to England, where they owned a Chinese food take-away.[9] He attended Queen Anne Comprehensive School, York until the age of 13, before gaining an assisted place to attend St Peter's School, York.[10] He read Law at Peterhouse, Cambridge, winning the ECS Wade Prize for Administrative Law, before completing a post-graduate law & business diploma in Oxford, where he was a runner-up for the Oxford Leadership Prize.[11] He subsequently practised as a solicitor with Clifford Chance.[7][10][12]

Mak was named Graduate of the Year by Realworld in 2005.[13] 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.[13]

For over five years, Mak served as Trustee and later President of the child hunger and poverty charity Magic Breakfast.[14][15] While serving as a Trustee, Magic Breakfast was awarded a Big Society Award in 2011 by Prime Minister David Cameron.[16] In recognition of his work with the charity, he was selected to carry the Olympic Torch on 20 June, 2012, in the town of Bedale as part of the 2012 Summer Olympics torch relay.[17]

Parliamentary career[edit]

2015 general election[edit]

Mak was elected as Member of Parliament for Havant at the 2015 general election. He is the first East Asian to be elected to the House of Commons.[18][19] 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".[10] 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.[20]


One month after the 2015 general election, Mak was selected to participate in the Armed Forces Parliamentary Scheme in the Royal Navy.[21][22][23]

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."[24] 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."[25] When Mak was appointed a government whip in 2021, Letts tweeted: "Years of assiduous loyalty are finally rewarded. A great day for greasers".[26] Mak's loyalty was also noted by Stephen Bush, who described him as "a long-term specialist in parliamentary questions of the 'does the minister agree with me that the government is a friend to fluffy kittens and socially responsible businesses?' variety".[27]

Mak announced in February 2016 that he would campaign to remain in the EU in the June 2016 EU membership referendum.[28] This decision was criticised by local party members as a political "U-turn"[29] and received speculation in The Huffington Post as being affected by "careerism."[30]

Every year since 2016, Mak has run two annual constituency fairs, the Community Information Fair and the Jobs, Apprenticeships, and Careers Fair.[31][32] The same year he also started the Small Business Awards for recognising the best local businesses in the constituency.[33] In 2022, he began another annual constituency fair, the Community Health and Wellbeing Fair.[34]

Mak won the 2017 Newcomer Conservative MP of the Year Award in the annual cross-party MP of the Year Awards, hosted by the Speaker of the House of Commons, for organising several community events.[35][36] He later won the 2021 Conservative MP of the Year Award for creating the Havant Constituency COVID-19 Local Volunteer Network.[35][37]

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 stating: "Our job is to make sure we form a strong and stable government" and to "provide certainty". This was in contrast to popular opinion inside Westminster and among the public, that the result had caused instability within the Conservative Party and the government. McCoy responded by saying “Alan forgive me, I don’t know where you have been for the last few days".[38]

In 2016, Mak founded and chaired the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on the Fourth Industrial Revolution and has worked on future technology in Parliament.[39][40] In 2018, Mak authored with the Centre for Policy Studies a report on modernising the NHS on its 70th birthday which included a list of ten policy proposals.[41] Mak introduced two Private Members Bills focused on modernising the NHS. The first calling for the banning of fax machines and pagers[41] and the second proposing the NHS Reserves System Bill, which would create a volunteer reservist system in the NHS similar to the military reserve systems.[42] Mak was selected to represent the United Kingdom APPG on the Fourth Industrial Revolution to the 2019 Munich Young Leaders conference, part of the Munich Security Conference.[43]

Mak has served on the executive committee of the British-American Parliamentary Group[44] and visited the United States in 2015 as part of the US Department of State’s International Visitor Leadership Program.[45]

In 2020, Mak co-founded the Blossom Awards to “celebrate the success and contribution of the British-Chinese Community to the national life of the United Kingdom.”[46][47]

In Government[edit]

On 21 April 2021, Mak was appointed a Lord Commissioner of the Treasury (Government Whip).[48][49][50] He was the designated whip for the Ministry of Defence Ministers.[51] The appointment made Mak the first British government minister of ethnic Chinese origin.[27]

On 8 July 2022, he was appointed Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury as part of outgoing Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s caretaker administration.[52] Mak left the position on 7 September 2022, when Felicity Buchan was named as his successor in the newly formed Truss ministry.[53] Highlights of Mak's tenure as Exchequer Secretary included responding for the government in a House of Commons debate on Small Brewers’ Relief and the wider HM Treasury review of alcohol duty and taxation,[54] as well as visiting the Treasury's Darlington Economic Campus.[55]


  1. ^ "List of Ministers' Interests: May 2022 (HTML)". GOV.UK. Retrieved 3 November 2022.
  2. ^ "Ministerial appointments: July 2022". GOV.UK. Retrieved 8 July 2022.
  3. ^ "2015 general election results: Havant". Retrieved 10 August 2022.
  4. ^ "Meet the First Ethnic Chinese Elected to the U.K. Parliament". Time. Retrieved 15 July 2021.
  5. ^ Tsang, Mike; Mak, Alan (2012). "Abridged Interview". Between East and West. Retrieved 30 June 2015.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  6. ^ "Britain gains first ethnic Chinese MP". BBC News. 8 May 2015.
  7. ^ a b Cole, Harry (28 March 2015). "David Cameron's secret A-list". The Spectator. Archived from the original on 21 July 2020.
  8. ^ "Alan Mak to be UK's first ethnic Chinese lawmaker". Taipei Times. 9 May 2015.
  9. ^ McSpadden, Kevin (8 May 2015). "Meet the First Ever Ethnic Chinese Lawmaker Elected to the U.K. Parliament". Time. Retrieved 8 May 2015.
  10. ^ a b c "The British Chinese politician set to be first elected to Parliament". South China Morning Post. 3 May 2015.
  11. ^ "Alan Mak MP". Havant Conservatives. Archived from the original on 21 July 2020.
  12. ^ Simmons, Richard, Meet the lawyers standing for Parliament Archived 26 June 2015 at the Wayback Machine, Lawyer 2B, 10 April 2015
  13. ^ a b "Realworld graduate of the year wins Square Mile's Young City Lawyer award | Real World". Archived from the original on 5 June 2015. Retrieved 30 June 2015.
  14. ^ "After Jo Cox: the unsung MPs quietly making Britain better". the Guardian. 24 December 2016. Retrieved 10 August 2022.
  15. ^ "Breakfast Clubs & Social Mobility". Alan Mak MP. Retrieved 10 August 2022.
  16. ^ "Magic Breakfast receives Big Society Award". GOV.UK. Retrieved 10 August 2022.
  17. ^ "Magic Breakfast charity president Alan Mak running Bedale leg of Olympic Torch Relay". Great British Life. 18 June 2012. Retrieved 10 August 2022.
  18. ^ McSpadden, Kevin (8 May 2015). "Meet the First Ever Ethnic Chinese Lawmaker Elected to the U.K. Parliament". Time.
  19. ^ Lee, Danny (8 May 2015). "Politician Alan Mak makes history as first Chinese elected to British parliament". South China Morning Post. Archived from the original on 8 July 2016.
  20. ^ Katwala, Sunder (8 May 2015). "The Class of 2015 Enter Britain's Most Diverse Ever Parliament". Huffington Post. Archived from the original on 9 May 2015.
  21. ^ "Past Schemes: 2015-16". Armed Forces Parliamentary Trust. Retrieved 10 August 2022.
  22. ^ "Havant MP Alan Mak selected for Royal Navy placement with Armed Forces Parliamentary Scheme". Alan Mak MP. Retrieved 10 August 2022.
  23. ^ "Havant MP completes year-long Royal Navy". Alan Mak MP. Retrieved 10 August 2022.
  24. ^ Patrick Kidd (17 June 2015). "The Times Diary (TMS): Pope to rock Madison Square Garden and Theresa May tells a joke". The Times.
  25. ^ "Backbench 'plot' deprives Alan Mak of his favourite spot at PMQs". The Spectator. 17 June 2015.
  26. ^ @thequentinletts (21 April 2021). "A government job for Alan Mak (made a Whip). Years of assiduous loyalty are finally rewarded. A great day for greasers!" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  27. ^ a b Bush, Stephen (23 April 2021). "The promotion of Alan Mak is meaningful in more ways than one". New Statesman. NS Media Group. Retrieved 23 July 2021.
  28. ^ "Havant MP Alan Mak Statement on EU Re-Negotiation & EU Referendum". Alan Mak website. 23 February 2016.
  29. ^ Miles O'Leary (24 February 2016). "Havant MP accused of EU U-turn after he pledges to support referendum 'in campaign'". Portsmouth News.
  30. ^ Paul Waugh (24 February 2016). "The Waugh Zone February 24, 2016". Huffington Post.
  31. ^ "Jobs, Apprenticeships and Careers Fair 2020". Alan Mak MP. Retrieved 11 July 2021.
  32. ^ "5th Annual Community Information Fair 2020". Alan Mak MP. Retrieved 11 July 2021.
  33. ^ "Havant MP Alan Mak launches first ever Small Business Awards". Alan Mak MP. Retrieved 11 July 2021.
  34. ^ "Local MP Alan Mak hosts first Havant Constituency Health and Wellbeing Fair". Alan Mak MP. Retrieved 10 August 2022.
  35. ^ a b Digital, Creative (23 October 2012). "MP of the Year Awards". Retrieved 10 August 2022.
  36. ^ "Alan Mak wins at prestigious MP of the Year Awards". Alan Mak MP. Retrieved 10 August 2022.
  37. ^ "Local MP Alan Mak wins Conservative MP of the Year award for creating Havant Constituency Volunteer Network during Covid pandemic". Alan Mak MP. Retrieved 10 August 2022.
  38. ^ "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.
  39. ^ "Fourth Industrial Revolution APPG (Defunct)". Retrieved 10 August 2022.
  40. ^ "Alan Mak MP". GovTech 2022 | 13th October. Retrieved 10 August 2022.
  41. ^ a b Mak, Alan. "Purging the bleeping pager is key to digitising the NHS". The Times. ISSN 0140-0460. Retrieved 21 July 2022.
  42. ^ Roberts, Matt (23 November 2020). "MP proposes NHS reservists bill to strengthen health service". National Health Executive. Archived from the original on 23 November 2020. Retrieved 11 July 2021.
  43. ^ "The Register of Members' Financial Interests". 2 March 2020. Retrieved 10 August 2022.
  44. ^ "Annual Report & Accounts 2019-20" (PDF). British-American Parliamentary Group. p. 3. Retrieved 10 August 2022.
  45. ^ Team, Meridian International Center. "2015 British American Parliamentary Group (BAPG) – A Project for the United Kingdom | Meridian International Center". Retrieved 10 August 2022.
  46. ^ "The Blossom Awards". Retrieved 10 August 2022.
  47. ^ Burford, Rachael (14 December 2021). "Emma Raducanu leads stars nominated for new awards for British-Chinese community". Evening Standard. Retrieved 10 August 2022.
  48. ^ "Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury Alan Mak MP". British Government. 21 April 2021. Retrieved 7 May 2021.
  49. ^ "Ministers". UK government. 8 June 2021. Retrieved 8 June 2021. Alan Mak MP Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury Unpaid
  50. ^ "Crown Office". Retrieved 10 June 2021.
  51. ^ "Defence Jobs". UK Hansard. 24 May 2021. Retrieved 8 June 2021. I have been delighted to welcome to the Government Front Bench my hon. Friend the Member for Aldershot (Leo Docherty) as our Veterans Minister and my hon. Friend the Member for Havant (Alan Mak) as our Defence Whip.
  52. ^ "Alan Mak MP". GOV.UK. Retrieved 8 July 2022.
  53. ^ "Ministerial Appointments: September 2022". UK Government Website. Retrieved 18 September 2022.
  54. ^ Mak, Alan. "As Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, I responded on behalf of the Government in last night's @HouseofCommons debate on Small Brewers' Relief and our wider @hmtreasury review of alcohol duty and taxation. Thank you to all MPs across the House who contributed". Twitter. Retrieved 18 September 2022.
  55. ^ Mak, Alan. "I enjoyed working from the Darlington Economic Campus – home to @HMTreasury and a growing number of Government departments and agencies. Recent priorities include Cost of Living support payments, expansion of #HelpToGrow support programme for #SMEs & supporting @ARIA_research". Twitter. Retrieved 18 September 2022.

External links[edit]

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