Alex Chalk

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Alex Chalk
MP
Official portrait of Alex Chalk crop 2.jpg
Chalk in 2017
Member of Parliament
for Cheltenham
Assumed office
7 May 2015
Preceded by Martin Horwood
Majority 2,569 (4.5%)
Personal details
Born Alexander John Gervase Chalk
(1976-08-08) 8 August 1976 (age 42)
Foxcote, Gloucestershire, England
Nationality British
Political party Conservative
Children 2
Parents Gilbert John Chalk (father)
Gillian Frances Audrey Blois (mother)
Residence Charlton Kings, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire
Alma mater Magdalen College, Oxford
City University London
Website www.alexchalk.com

Alexander John Gervase Chalk (born 8 August 1976) is a British Conservative Party politician and former lawyer who was elected as the Member of Parliament (MP) for Cheltenham in 2015. Chalk is a Member of the Criminal Bar Association and the Serious Fraud Office Panel of Counsel, and sits on the Justice Select Committee. He was re-elected in the 2017 general election.

Early life and career[edit]

Chalk was born on the 8 August 1976 in the village of Foxcote, Gloucestershire, England, where he also grew up.[1][2] He was privately educated at Winchester College before studying Modern History at Magdalen College, Oxford.[3][4] Chalk's parents are Gilbert John Chalk and Gillian Frances Audrey Blois.[5]

Following graduation, Chalk obtained a Graduate Diploma in Law from the City University London, and qualified as a barrister from the Inns of Court School of Law. During his legal career, he has prosecuted and defended in cases concerning terrorism, international fraud, and homicide. He has also advised and defended corporate clients, and prosecuted for HM Revenue and Customs and the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills. He represented journalists during the phone-hacking scandal.[6] Chalk has provided counsel for the human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh, an Iranian prisoner of conscience.[7]

Political career[edit]

Chalk was first elected as a Conservative councillor for Shepherds Bush Green ward on Hammersmith and Fulham Council in May 2006. He went on to stand successfully in Addison ward in 2010, with Labour taking his former Shepherds Bush Green seat in the same election. He did not stand for re-election in 2014.[8] [9] Whilst on the Council he chaired the Planning Committee for four years.[10][non-primary source needed][11]

He was elected as the Member of Parliament (MP) for Cheltenham in the 2015 general election after he achieved a swing of over 10%.[12] His victory in the constituency was the first for a Conservative Party candidate in 23 years.[13]

In June 2015, Chalk was appointed to the Justice Select Committee, which scrutinises the government's decisions relating to the justice system, a role he has continued in throughout his time in Parliament.[14][15] In addition to his role on the Justice Select Committee, Chalk was Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Pro Bono[16] and Co- Chair of the APPG on Cycling.[17] He was also the secretary of the APPG on Public Legal Education and the APPG for Highways[18][19] and the vice chair of the APPG on Lyme Disease.[20]

Chalk held his seat in the 2017 general election with a reduced majority of 2,569.[21]

Parliamentary debates[edit]

Chalk has spoken in more debates than the average member of parliament.[22] He has voted the same way as other Conservative MPs on a vast majority of issues. However, Chalk has sometimes differed from his colleagues, such as consistently voting against investigations into the Iraq War, while most Conservative MPs generally voted for.[23] In December 2015, Chalk voted for UK airstrikes against Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant in Syria.[24] In April 2016, he voted against a plan for Britain to accept 3,000 unaccompanied Syrian child refugees who had travelled to Europe.[25] In February 2017, he voted for abandoning the Dubs amendment, an amendment to the Immigration Act 2016 to offer unaccompanied refugee children safe passage to Britain amidst the European migrant crisis.[26]

Chalk alongside other MPs, including Richard Graham from the neighbouring Gloucester constituency, tabled a debate in parliament about stalking and sponsored a private member's bill, in order to raise the maximum sentence for stalking from five to ten years.[27][28][29] An amendment to the Policing and Crime Act 2017 raised the maximum sentence for stalking to ten years.[30] In announcing the amendment, Justice Minister Sam Gyimah praised Chalk and Graham's role in highlighting the issue.[31]

Views on membership of the European Union[edit]

Chalk supported remaining within the European Union prior to the United Kingdom European Union membership referendum in June 2016.[32] He had expressed reservations about Britain's membership, even saying in his column in the local newspaper that "my heart says leave".[33] Nevertheless, as outlined in the same column, Chalk decided that the perceived economic risk associated with a vote for Brexit was too great, and that "we need to hold our nose and stay".[33] He supported the government by voting to trigger Article 50, which formally began the process of Britain's exit from the European Union.[34] Chalk described his decision as a way of respecting the referendum result.[35]

Controversies[edit]

During the 2015 general election campaign, Chalk received support from the pro-hunting group Vote-OK,[36] with members volunteering to deliver leaflets for him.[37] In May 2017, Liberal Democrats candidate Martin Horwood said that Chalk was being actively supported by members of pro-hunting organisations Vale of White Horse Hunt, North Cotswold Hunt and Vote-OK, and questioned whether Chalk was concealing his position on fox hunting. Horwood noted that when asked to say yes or no to keeping the hunting ban, Chalk replied "free vote" in 2015 but replied "pass" in 2017.[38]

Chalk was among several Conservative candidates from the 2015 general election under investigation for breaking local campaign spending limits.[39][40][41] This related to the use of "Battle Buses" during his election campaign, the costs of which were not declared by Chalk's campaign but were instead paid for by the Conservatives' national headquarters. Had the costs been declared the strict local spending limit would have been exceeded by £1,500.[39][40] Gloucestershire Constabulary confirmed they had received a complaint in 2016 and he was under investigation at the time.[40] In March 2017, the Electoral Commission fined the Conservative Party £70,000 for failing to accurately report campaign spending.[42] In May 2017, The Crown Prosecution Service concluded their investigations into the allegations and determined that no Conservative Party candidates or officials would face charges. An investigation into the Conservative campaign in South Thanet however was to continue.[43]

In January 2016, Chalk was one of 72 MPs who voted down an amendment in Parliament on rental homes being “fit for human habitation” who were themselves landlords who derived an income from a property.[44]

Personal life[edit]

Chalk is married with two children and lives in the Charlton Park ward in Charlton Kings, Cheltenham.[45]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Alex Chalk MP". Gloucester Conservatives. Retrieved 11 January 2017. 
  2. ^ "Alex Chalk". myparliament.info. Retrieved 11 January 2017. 
  3. ^ Goodman, Paul. "The complete Cameron's Children: an analysis of all 74 new Conservative MPs". Conservative Home. Retrieved 11 January 2017. 
  4. ^ "General Election 2015". Magdalen College, Oxford. 12 May 2015. Retrieved 11 January 2017. 
  5. ^ Mosley, Charles (2003). Burke's Peerage, Baronetage & Knightage. 1 (107 ed.). Genealogical Books. p. 402. 
  6. ^ "Alex Chalk". 6kbw. Retrieved 11 January 2017. 
  7. ^ Chalk, Alex (30 December 2011). "Media Release: UN Declares Detention of Imprisoned Iranian Lawyer Arbitrary; Calls for Immediate Release". Freedom Now. 
  8. ^ "Hammersmith and Fulham Council Election Results 1964-2010" (PDF). Plymouth University. Retrieved 2 August 2018. 
  9. ^ "Cheltenham". UK Polling Report. Retrieved 13 January 2017. 
  10. ^ "About Alex Chalk". Alex Chalk. Retrieved 19 May 2017. 
  11. ^ "London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham Response to Inspector's First Written Questions" (PDF). Planning Inspectorate. p. 164. Retrieved 31 May 2017. 
  12. ^ "Cheltenham parliamentary constituency". BBC News. Retrieved 13 January 2017. 
  13. ^ "Conservative Alex Chalk wins Cheltenham in the General Election 2015". 8 May 2015. Retrieved 31 May 2017. 
  14. ^ "Justice Committee". parliament.uk. Retrieved 7 May 2017. 
  15. ^ "Role - Justice Committee". parliament.uk. Retrieved 31 May 2017. 
  16. ^ "Register Of All-Party Parliamentary Groups [as at 2 May 2017]". parliament.uk. Retrieved 7 May 2017. 
  17. ^ "Committee". All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group. Retrieved 7 May 2017. 
  18. ^ "Register Of All-Party Parliamentary Groups [as at 2 May 2017]". parliament.uk. Retrieved 7 May 2017. 
  19. ^ "Register Of All-Party Parliamentary Groups [as at 2 May 2017]". parliament.uk. Retrieved 7 May 2017. 
  20. ^ "Register Of All-Party Parliamentary Groups [as at 2 May 2017]". parliament.uk. Retrieved 7 May 2017. 
  21. ^ "Cheltenham parliamentary constituency". BBC News. Archived from the original on 9 June 2017. Retrieved 13 January 2017. 
  22. ^ "Alex Chalk's voting in Parliament". TheyWorkForYou. Retrieved 8 July 2017. 
  23. ^ "Alex Chalk, former MP, Cheltenham". TheyWorkForYou. Retrieved 19 May 2017. 
  24. ^ Stone, Jon (4 December 2015). "How MPs voted on bombing Isis in Syria – complete list". The Independent. Retrieved 7 July 2017. 
  25. ^ Stone, Jon (26 April 2016). "How MPs voted on whether to accept 3,000 unaccompanied Syrian child refugees who travelled to Europe". The Independent. Retrieved 7 July 2017. 
  26. ^ Cockburn, Harry (10 February 2017). "Dubs Amendment for child refugees: Full list of MPs who voted against the scheme". The Independent. Retrieved 8 July 2017. 
  27. ^ "Stalking (Protection of Victims) – Hansard Online". Hansard. Retrieved 7 May 2017. 
  28. ^ "Stalking (Sentencing) Bill 2016–17 — UK Parliament". parliament.uk. Retrieved 7 May 2017. 
  29. ^ "MP calls for jail terms for stalking to be doubled". BBC News. 12 October 2016. Retrieved 31 May 2017. 
  30. ^ "Stalkers facing longer jail terms for torment caused to victims". BBC News. 6 January 2017. Retrieved 31 May 2017. 
  31. ^ Gyimah, Sam (6 January 2016). "Maximum sentence for stalking to double". gov.uk. Retrieved 31 May 2017. 
  32. ^ Goodenough, Tom (16 February 2016). "Which Tory MPs back Brexit, who doesn't and who is still on the fence?". The Spectator. Retrieved 11 October 2016. 
  33. ^ a b "Cheltenham MP Alex Chalk comes down in favour of EU 'yes' vote". Southwest Business. Retrieved 19 May 2017. 
  34. ^ Batchelor, Tom (1 February 2017). "Article 50 Brexit vote: Full list of MPs who backed Theresa May starting official EU negotiations - and those who voted against". The Independent. Retrieved 31 May 2017. 
  35. ^ Chalk, Alex (29 March 2017). "Article 50 Triggered". Alex Chalk. Retrieved 1 May 2017. 
  36. ^ Bawden, Tom (3 April 2017). "Prominent fox hunting supporters step up Tory support – and expect repeal of ban in return". The Independent. Retrieved 5 July 2017. 
  37. ^ "General Election 2015: Pro-hunt volunteers delivering leaflets for Alex Chalk in Cheltenham". Gloucestershire: Gloucestershire Echo. 6 April 2015. Retrieved 5 July 2017. 
  38. ^ Discombe, Matt (2 June 2017). "Cheltenham Conservative candidate Alex Chalk denies accepting support from pro-hunting groups - despite one encouraging members to leaflet for him". Gloucestershire: Gloucestershire Echo. Retrieved 5 July 2017. 
  39. ^ a b Sommerlad, Nick (5 May 2016). "Two Tories probed by police over claims they broke election spending laws". The Daily Mirror. Mirror Online. Retrieved 22 April 2017. 
  40. ^ a b c Bhatt, Jordan (13 May 2016). "MP Alex Chalk welcomes investigations into electoral fraud". Gloucestershire Live. Gloucestershire Live. Retrieved 22 April 2017. 
  41. ^ Sommerlad, Nick (29 February 2016). "29 Tories and how they 'broke General Election spending rules'". The Daily Mirror. Mirror Online. Retrieved 22 April 2017. 
  42. ^ "Conservative Party fined £70,000 following investigation into election campaign expenses". Electoral Commission. 16 March 2017. 
  43. ^ "No charges over 2015 Conservative battle bus cases". BBC News. 10 May 2017. 
  44. ^ "Tories vote down law requiring landlords make their homes fit for human habitation". Independent. 13 January 2016. Retrieved 2 August 2018. 
  45. ^ http://www.alexchalk.com.  Missing or empty |title= (help)

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Martin Horwood
Member of Parliament
for Cheltenham

2015–present
Incumbent