Andrew Griffiths (politician)

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Andrew Griffiths

Official portrait of Andrew Griffiths crop 2.jpg
Minister for Small Business, Consumers
and Corporate Responsibility
In office
9 January 2018 – 13 July 2018
Prime MinisterTheresa May
Sec. of StateGreg Clark
Preceded byMargot James
Succeeded byKelly Tolhurst
Lord Commissioner of the Treasury
In office
17 July 2016 – 9 January 2018
Prime MinisterTheresa May
ChancellorPhilip Hammond
Preceded byMel Stride
Succeeded byNigel Adams
Member of Parliament
for Burton
Assumed office
6 May 2010
Preceded byJanet Dean
Majority10,047 (20.2%)
Personal details
Born (1970-10-19) 19 October 1970 (age 48)
Dudley, Worcestershire, England
NationalityBritish
Political partyConservative
Websiteandrewgriffithsmp.com

Andrew James Griffiths MP (born 19 October 1970) is a British Conservative Party politician and former banker. First elected in 2010, he is the Member of Parliament (MP) for Burton.[1]

He served as Minister for Small Business, Consumers and Corporate Responsibility (Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State) at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy until his resignation in July 2018 after the Sunday Mirror revealed that Griffiths had sent over 2,000 text messages to two female constituents, many of a violent sexual nature.

Early life and career[edit]

Griffiths grew up in Dudley and attended Bramford Primary School and High Arcal School. His father, Bob Griffiths, served as Mayor of Dudley in 1982. Upon finishing his education in 1987, Griffiths joined the family engineering business in the West Midlands, manufacturing plant equipment for the construction industry. Later, he worked for the Leeds Permanent Building Society (later to become the Halifax Building Society) where he became a manager specialising in property and financial services.

In 1999, Griffiths began to work for the West Midlands MEP team in the European Parliament in Brussels, before being appointed Adviser on farming. He worked for the European Agricultural Spokesman Neil Parish MEP. Griffiths stood as a Conservative council candidate on three separate occasions, but was not elected. He first contested the safe Labour seat of Dudley North at the 2001 general election, coming in 6,800 votes behind Labour's Ross Cranston. Griffiths unsuccessfully stood as a Conservative candidate at the 2004 European Parliament Elections.

After the European Elections, Griffiths moved to Westminster to work for the Shadow Cabinet, as Chief of Staff to Theresa May, where he worked on environment, transport and later family policy. During this time, Griffiths also helped set up Women 2 Win, a campaign to get more Conservative women elected to Parliament. In 2006, Griffiths moved to work for the Culture, Media and Sport team, working as Chief of Staff to Hugo Swire MP. The next year, he focused on community cohesion and local government matters as Chief of Staff to Eric Pickles MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, and remained Pickles' Chief of Staff when he became the Party chairman. Griffiths was a member of the A-List and was selected as a candidate for Burton in November 2006.[2]

Parliamentary career[edit]

Griffiths was elected at the 2010 general election for Burton, regaining the seat for the Conservatives for the first time since 1997 when it was held by Ivan Lawrence from 1974. Griffiths was re-elected at the 2015 General Election[3] He served as Secretary of the All-party parliamentary group (APPG) for the Misuse of Drugs and Alcohol, Additional General Secretary of the APPG for Kashmir, and Vice-Chairman of the APPG for Home Education. He was Chairman of the APPG for Beer for five years and campaigned against increased taxes on beer (the beer duty escalator). He was a member of the Political and Constitutional Reform Select Committee between 2010 and 2013.

Griffiths has not joined fellow local Conservative MPs Andrew Bridgen and Heather Wheeler in campaigning for the return of passenger rail services on the Burton to Leicester railway line - the Ivanhoe Line.[4] However, he has campaigned for improvements to be made to Burton Station.[5]

Griffths was opposed to Brexit prior to the 2016 EU membership referendum.[6]

Following Theresa May becoming Prime Minister in July 2016, Griffiths was appointed as a Government Whip and Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury[7] on 17 July 2016.

Controversies[edit]

In February 2015, Griffiths was awarded Parliamentarian of the Year by the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) in recognition of his role in campaigning for the reduction of tax increases on beer. The award sparked controversy from some CAMRA campaigners due to Griffiths' opposition to other CAMRA campaigns on increasing planning controls on public houses, to prevent their loss, and for opposing reform to the controversial system of "beer ties" which oblige landlords to pay higher prices to the chain owners (pubcos) for their beer supplies.[8]

During Jeremy Corbyn’s response to the November 2017 Budget on 22 November 2017, Griffiths heckled him over his comments on the lack of adequate Government funding for care homes. Labour MPs accused Griffiths of ageism and abusive language for shouting that Corbyn belonged in a care home.[9] Griffiths denied this, instead suggesting that he was responding to Corbyn's statement "there are elderly people in need of help," and that he said: "That's you!"[10] Corbyn responded with the comment: "The uncaring, uncouth attitude of certain members of parliament needs to be called out".[10]

On 12 February 2018, Griffiths received extensive media coverage after he was interviewed on BBC Radio 5 Live to promote shared parental leave and said that he would not be able to take it himself when his own baby was due to be born later that year, saying, "Unfortunately, as a minister, I’m not allowed... Ministers are not allowed to take shared parental leave." The presenter, Emma Barnett, said: “Hang on a minute, back up a second, you’ve just come on the radio to promote Shared Parental Leave and you’re in a job where the rules could be changed because you are the rule-makers, where you’re not allowed to take Shared Parental Leave?” “That’s right,” responded Griffiths. “How can you say that without laughing?” asked Barnett. Griffiths said his main concern was for other parents to take advantage of the system.[11]

In March 2018, Griffiths was criticised by opposition MPs for blocking an SNP proposal for a bill that would secure the national minimum wage for those working on a "trial period" basis. It was revealed that Griffiths had previously advertised for an unpaid intern position in his own office. In response, Griffiths admitted he had used unpaid interns, but argued that the bill was not needed because existing law was already adequate in this area.[12]

Sexual misconduct allegations[edit]

On 14 July 2018, the Sunday Mirror revealed that Griffiths had resigned from his ministerial post over sexual misconduct allegations, and announced that it would publish "depraved" social media messages he had sent to female constituents the following day.[13][14] On 15 July the paper published extracts from over 2,000 text messages – many of a graphic and violent sexual nature – sent by Griffiths to two of his female constituents.[13][14] Over 5,000 people signed a petition urging him to resign as an MP and in August 2018 a demonstration took place in his constituency. He was later suspended from the Conservative Party after allegations of inappropriate touching and bullying were made by Deneice Florence-Jukes, a serving Tory borough councillor, three months earlier. There are claims dating back to 2015 that Griffiths sent abusive text messages to Richard Grosvenor, leader of East Staffordshire Borough Council.[15][16]

In November 2018, during an interview with The Sunday Times, Griffiths reported that he planned to kill himself after the sexual misconduct allegations came to light. During the same interview, Griffiths claimed that the texts that he had sent to the women were "the result of my mental breakdown" following a "battle with my own mental health".[17]

On 12 December 2018, Griffiths had the Conservative whip restored, ending his suspension from the party.[18][19] His reinstation was widely criticised for being announced hours before a confidence vote in Conservative leader Theresa May, making Griffiths eligible to participate.[20] Dawn Butler said, “It is a betrayal of women for the Tories to let an MP who was suspended for sexual harassment back into their party just to allow them to vote for Theresa May in the leadership challenge.”[21]

Personal life[edit]

Griffiths lives in London and Burton.[22] He became a father for the first time in April 2018 when his then wife gave birth to a girl.[14][13]

In November 2018, during an interview with the The Sunday Times, Griffiths claimed that he had a history of mental health problems since he was abused, at the age of eight, by a 15-year-old boy.[17]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "BBC News – Election 2010 – Constituency – Burton". Retrieved 7 April 2012.
  2. ^ "Where are the original A-Listers now? The 27 who have been selected for target seats". 22 April 2009. Retrieved 7 April 2012.
  3. ^ "BBC News – Election 2015 – Constituency – Burton". Retrieved 8 May 2015.
  4. ^ "New Calls to Reopen Railway Line". Burton Mail. 5 December 2013. Retrieved 7 December 2013.
  5. ^ "Improvements to 'hideous' Burton station edge a step closer as politicians and rail bosses join forces". Burton Mail. 15 March 2010. Retrieved 2 April 2018.
  6. ^ 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.
  7. ^ "Andrew Griffiths on Twitter". Retrieved 17 July 2016.
  8. ^ "Uproar after Andrew Griffithd MP handed CAMRA Award". Morning Advertiser. 4 February 2015. Retrieved 2 April 2018.
  9. ^ Forrester, Kate (23 November 2017). "Labour MPs Reveal Alleged Budget Jibe By Tory Whip Who Said Jeremy Corbyn 'Should Be In Care'". Huff Post. Retrieved 17 December 2017.
  10. ^ a b Price, Rob (22 November 2017). "Jeremy Corbyn angrily tears into Tory MP for allegedly joking he should be 'in a care home'". Business Insider. Retrieved 17 December 2017.
  11. ^ "Minister promoting shared parental leave says he can't take shared leave". Guardian. 12 February 2018. Retrieved 2 April 2018.
  12. ^ "Andrew Griffiths MP comes under fire for unpaid intern job advert during debate". Burton Mail. 20 March 2018. Retrieved 2 April 2018.
  13. ^ a b c "MP Andrew Griffiths quits ministerial post after "sex texts" to female constituents are revealed". telegraph.co.uk. 14 July 2018. Retrieved 14 July 2018.
  14. ^ a b c "Minister resigns over texts to women". 14 July 2018 – via www.bbc.com.
  15. ^ May under pressure over Andrew Griffiths bullying allegations The Guardian
  16. ^ Protesters call on sexting MP Andrew Griffiths to resign BBC
  17. ^ a b Halliday, Josh (2018-11-04). "Tory MP who sexted women says he was having manic episode". the Guardian. Retrieved 2018-11-04.
  18. ^ Syal, Rajeev (12 December 2018). "Tories reinstate MPs suspended over sex allegations for confidence vote". Retrieved 13 December 2018 – via www.theguardian.com.
  19. ^ "Conservatives restore whip to MPs suspended over claims of sexual misconduct so they can take part in Theresa May no-confidence vote". The Independent. 12 December 2018. Retrieved 13 December 2018.
  20. ^ https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2018/12/12/theresa-may-no-confidence-vote-result-conservative-leadership/ 3.32pm
  21. ^ Tories reinstate MPs suspended over sex allegations for confidence vote The Guardian
  22. ^ "Personal website". MP. Retrieved 2 April 2018.

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Janet Dean
Member of Parliament for Burton
2010–present
Incumbent