Alun Cairns

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The Right Honourable
Alun Cairns
Alun Cairns 2016.jpg
Secretary of State for Wales
Assumed office
19 March 2016
Prime Minister David Cameron
Theresa May
Preceded by Stephen Crabb
Under Secretary of State for Wales
In office
15 July 2014 – 19 March 2016
Prime Minister David Cameron
Preceded by Stephen Crabb
Succeeded by Guto Bebb
Member of Parliament
for Vale of Glamorgan
Assumed office
6 May 2010
Preceded by John Smith
Majority 6,880 (13.4%)
Member of the Welsh Assembly
for South Wales West
In office
6 May 1999 – 6 May 2011
Preceded by Assembly established
Succeeded by Suzy Davies
Personal details
Born (1970-07-30) 30 July 1970 (age 46)
Swansea, Wales
Political party Conservative
Alma mater University of Wales
Website Official website

Alun Hugh Cairns[1] PC (born 30 July 1970) is a Welsh Conservative Party politician, who has been Secretary of State for Wales since 19 March 2016. He was previously a member of the National Assembly for Wales for the South Wales West region from the 1999 Welsh Assembly Election until 2011, and was elected at the 2010 general election as the Member of Parliament (MP) for the Vale of Glamorgan.


Brought up in Clydach near Swansea, he attended Ysgol Gynradd Gymraeg Pontardawe and Ysgol Gyfun Ddwyieithog Ystalyfera and is a fluent Welsh language speaker. At the time of his election to the Welsh Assembly, was completing a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Wales, Newport, specialising in corporate location and inward investment.[2]

Professional career[edit]

Cairns worked for Lloyds Banking Group as a Business Development Consultant before being elected to the National Assembly.[2]

Political career[edit]

Cairns stood for Parliament in Gower in 1997 and was the Conservative Party's candidate for the Vale of Glamorgan at the 2005 general election. He was re-selected as Parliamentary candidate for the Vale of Glamorgan in July 2007.

National Assembly for Wales[edit]

First elected to the assembly as AM for South Wales West in 1999,[2] he was re-elected in 2003 and 2007 and served as the party's spokesman on economic development and transport for eight years. In the Third Assembly he held the education and lifelong learning portfolio and also chaired the Assembly's Finance Committee. On 11 July 2007 he became the Shadow Minister for Education, Lifelong Learning and Skills in the National Assembly for Wales. As a member of the assembly's economic development and audit committees, he criticised the Welsh Government over a range of issues from transport infrastructure, European regional aid, public spending, and the Welsh economy. Cairns has also been a vocal opponent of the Scarweather Sands offshore wind farm development near Porthcawl.

On 14 June 2008 he resigned from his Shadow Cabinet position after making controversial remarks on BBC Radio Cymru. He was re-appointed to the Shadow Cabinet as Shadow Minister for Local Government on 22 October 2008 after completion of a party investigation.[3]

Controversy, resignation and reinstatement[edit]

In September 2008, Cairns admitted that he asked for a National Assembly rule to be "clarified" to determine whether he could claim expenses for a second home in Cardiff. A rule change introduced in late 2006 by the Assembly's House Committee allowed him to claim expenses related to a flat in Cardiff even though his main home was reclassified as being situated in the Vale of Glamorgan.[4]

While taking part in BBC Radio Cymru's weekly radio show, Dau o'r Bae, on 13 June 2008, Cairns was asked to apologise on air for referring to Italians as 'greasy wops', and immediately did so.[5] He subsequently resigned from his post in the Shadow Cabinet.[6] On 14 June 2008 Cairns was suspended as the parliamentary candidate for the Vale of Glamorgan while the party carried out an investigation.[7] Cairns was reinstated as the parliamentary candidate and to the Shadow Cabinet on 22 October 2008 upon completion of the investigation.[3]

House of Commons[edit]

Cairns was elected as the MP for the Vale of Glamorgan in May 2010, taking the seat from Labour with a majority of more than 4,300. He was re-elected at the 2015 general election with an increased majority of 6,880.[8]

He became Secretary of State for Wales on 19 March 2016, replacing Stephen Crabb who became Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, and was appointed to the Privy Council on 22 March.[9]


Cairns supported a Remain vote in the UK EU referendum of 2016.


  1. ^ "No. 59418". The London Gazette. 13 May 2010. p. 8747. 
  2. ^ a b c "BBC News AMs profile". BBC. 12 May 1998. Retrieved 16 October 2015. 
  3. ^ a b "Greasy wops slur Tory is general election candidate". Wales Online. 22 October 2008. Archived from the original on 14 March 2012. Retrieved 7 November 2008. 
  4. ^ Shipton, Martin (28 March 2013). "Alun Cairns admit lobbying over expenses on Bay second home". Wales Online. Retrieved 6 October 2016. 
  5. ^ "Tory candidate apologises for 'greasy wops' comment". The Guardian. London. 14 June 2008. Retrieved 23 April 2010. 
  6. ^ [1][dead link]
  7. ^ "Tory suspended as party candidate". BBC Online. 15 June 2008. Retrieved 15 June 2008. 
  8. ^ "Vale of Glamorgan parliamentary constituency". BBC News. Retrieved 6 October 2016. 
  9. ^ "Orders approved at the Privy Council" (PDF). Retrieved 13 June 2017. 

External links[edit]

National Assembly for Wales
New creation
Assembly Member
for South Wales West

Succeeded by
Suzy Davies
Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
John Smith
Member of Parliament
for Vale of Glamorgan

Political offices
Preceded by
Stephen Crabb
Secretary of State for Wales