Ben Gummer

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
The Right Honourable
Ben Gummer
Ben Gummer 2016.jpg
Minister for the Cabinet Office
Paymaster General
Assumed office
14 July 2016
Prime Minister Theresa May
Preceded by Matt Hancock
Parliamentary Undersecretary of State for Health Services
In office
12 May 2015 – 14 July 2016
Prime Minister David Cameron
Preceded by Dan Poulter
Succeeded by Nicola Blackwood
Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Secretary of State for Education
In office
7 October 2013 – 12 May 2015
Prime Minister David Cameron
Preceded by Gavin Barwell
Succeeded by Robin Walker
Member of Parliament
for Ipswich
Assumed office
6 May 2010
Preceded by Chris Mole
Majority 3,733 (7.7%)
Personal details
Born (1978-02-19) 19 February 1978 (age 39)
London, England, UK
Political party Conservative
Alma mater Peterhouse, Cambridge
Website Official website

Benedict Michael Gummer[1] PC (born 19 February 1978) is a British Conservative Party politician and the Member of Parliament (MP) for Ipswich. He is currently the youngest minister attending Cabinet meetings.

Early life and education[edit]

Gummer is the eldest child of former Conservative Cabinet Minister John Gummer, Baron Deben, and Penelope Jane (née Gardner).[2] John Gummer was MP for Suffolk Coastal until the 2010 general election, when he moved to the House of Lords. Gummer attended St Saviour's Church of England Primary School in Ealing, west London. Between 1987 and 1991 he was a chorister at St John's College School, Cambridge, where he sang under George Guest and Christopher Robinson. Gummer was a music scholar at Tonbridge School in Kent. Having won the Vellacott Historical Essay Prize he took a starred double first in History at Peterhouse, Cambridge, where he was an exhibitioner and scholar.[3]

Business career[edit]

After graduating, Gummer became director of ICWL, a small engineering firm handling water-cooled refrigerators,[4][5] and between 2005 and 2010 was Managing Director of family-owned Sancroft International, an environmental consultancy company set up and led by his father John Gummer; in his five-year tenure the company's size more than doubled.[6][non-primary source needed]

As of 2012 Sancroft shares are owned by all family members but it is described by the Telegraph as a vehicle for the earnings of Gummer senior. Its managing director is David Cameron’s former adviser on energy and climate change policy and it owned a stake in the defunct Hafren Power, a company formed to promote the Severn Barrage project. Writing in the Telegraph Christopher Booker expressed concern at the "involvement of some of our most senior politicians in the vast, lucrative and expanding industry of renewable energy" and the "extraordinary picture" it presents "of the state of our public life."[7]


Gummer published a history of the Black Death, The Scourging Angel, in 2009.[8][9] The book received mostly favourable reviews. In The Times Literary Supplement, Jonathan Sumption commented that Gummer "establishes the facts more thoroughly than any of his predecessors".[3] However, Louise Foxcroft, a historian and journalist reviewing for the Rationalist Association, bemoaned the "frustrating absence of expansive humanity" from the work's "scholarly diligence".[10]


Gummer was selected by open primary as the Conservative candidate in August 2007 for the Ipswich constituency.[11][12] His top 3 pledges were the retention of services at Ipswich Hospital, a crack-down on binge drinking and no new housing without provision of infrastructure.[13] Gummer defeated incumbent Labour MP Chris Mole and became MP for the Ipswich constituency in the general election of 2010, enjoying the largest majority of any Conservative in Ipswich since 1935.[14] In the 2015 election, Gummer was reelected with an increased majority.

Parliamentary interests[edit]

Gummer spoke in 19 debates in 2014 which is below average but he voted in an above average number of debates. He also sat on two separate finance bill committees, as well as those on childcare payments, defamation, legal aid, and terrorism prevention.[15] He is a member of the UK parliamentary delegation to the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) and a patron of the Longford Trust.[5][non-primary source needed]

Political views[edit]

Gummer used his maiden speech to argue for rapid deficit and debt reduction and penal reform.[16] He has spoken strongly against sovereignty being transferred to the European Union[17] and against votes for prisoners,[18] but in favour of more constructive prison and probation sentences.[19] He has described himself as "a libertarian" and has said that he has "absolutely no problem" with gay marriage,[20] subsequently voting for it in Parliament.[21] He also added his name to an amendment to clause one of the Protection of Freedoms Bill, which calls for the word 'insulting' to be dropped from section 5 of the Public Order Act.[22]

Tax Statements[edit]

Main article: Tax Statements

In 2012 Gummer proposed annual tax statements intended to show itemised spending per department in proportion to the amount the taxpayer paid in the year to date.[23] Gummer’s proposal was favourably received by the press in the UK and in the US by the Wall Street Journal [24] It was included in the 2012 Budget and due for introduction in 2014 with George Osborne calling it "an excellent idea".[25] The TaxPayers' Alliance subsequently honoured Gummer as their 'Pin-Up of the Month'.[26]

It was also supported by the Prime Minister. Gummer's breakdown showed that for someone with a salary of £25,500 in 2012 and paying £5,979 tax

  • £2,080 went on pensions and benefits (including £212 on housing benefit and £296 on incapacity benefits)
  • £1,094 on the NHS
  • £824 on education
  • £339 on defence
  • £160 on the police
  • £44 on prisons
  • £92 on roads
  • £71 on railways
  • £28 to the European Union

Gummer emphasised that this would help refute suggestions that most taxation goes to the EU, Africa or Trident.[27]

Public debt management[edit]

In the financial dailies City AM[28] and the Financial Times[29] Gummer has called for Swedish style fiscal rules.

Renaming National Insurance[edit]

In February 2014 Gummer brought in a ten minute rule bill to rename National Insurance Contributions as an Earnings Tax.[30] Although back-benchers were reported to be enthusiastic, the Treasury, which had launched a consultation exercise on it in 2011, is believed to consider it too expensive.[31]

Parliamentary Private Secretary[edit]

In May 2012, Gummer was appointed Parliamentary Adviser to Lord Andrew Feldman, the Conservative Party co-chairman, helping him to develop the relationship between Conservative Campaign Headquarters and Conservative MPs.[32] In September 2012 Gummer was promoted to Parliamentary Private Secretary to Alan Duncan, Minister of State for International Development, in the government reshuffle.[33] Duncan was responsible for Asia, the Middle East, Caribbean and Overseas Territories, International Finance, International Relations (except the EU), Trade, and Corporate Performance Divisions.[citation needed]

In October 2013 he became PPS to the Education Secretary, Michael Gove.[34] When Gove became Chief Whip in the 2014 reshuffle, Gummer became PPS to Nicky Morgan. In May 2015 he was appointed Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Health.[35]

Constituency issues[edit]

Ipswich flood defence system[edit]

Gummer supported completion of a £53m mini Thames Barrier scheme started in 2009 and designed to protect 1,500 homes and 400 businesses against a 1 in 300 year flood. According to David Ellesmere, Borough council leader, funding for key work worth £38m had seemed unlikely until Ipswich Borough provided additional cash. The scheme, regarded as "vital for the town center" was due to start in July 2014.[36]

Ipswich Hospital specialist heart centre[edit]

Gummer also supported a £5 million investment in a new heart unit at Ipswich Hospital[37] and £5 million for a new hospital sterilisation unit.[38]


Gummer lobbied the Chancellor of the Exchequer for £500 million of investment into East Anglia’s railways, along with Norwich North MP Chloe Smith and Witham MP Priti Patel,[39] and has called for caps on rail fare increases.[40]


In March 2013 Gummer backed a call to improve the Ipswich waterfront suggesting Ipswich Borough Council used money raised by selling the Portman Road stadium to Ipswich Town F.C.[41] The derelict waterfront land and was split into 5 sections and in some cases ownership was unclear. Borough council leader David Ellesmere strongly supported the idea of compulsory purchase but expected clearance and regeneration work to cost over £1m.

In September 2013 the Borough Council approved an application to have the ground registered as an Asset of Community Value, which would allow a grace period of six months for the local community to raise money to buy the ground before the Borough Council could sell it to another owner.[42][43]

Need for food banks[edit]

In December 2012, Families in Need, an Ipswich-based charity, reported handing out 1784 emergency food parcels; three times as many as in 2011 and nearly 5 times as many as in 2010. Gummer said the need for parcels showed there was still a need to reduce delays and administration in the benefits system.[44]

Personal life[edit]

Gummer lives in Ipswich, not far from Portman Road,[5] with his wife Sarah and their two sons.[45] He is also associate governor of Ravenswood Primary School.[34] He is a member of The Ipswich Society and the Ipswich Maritime Trust.[5]



  1. ^ "Who's Who". Retrieved 6 September 2016. 
  2. ^ "Person Page 21291". Retrieved 6 September 2016. 
  3. ^ a b "The Black Death in the British Isles - a book by Benedict Gummer". The Scourging Angel. Retrieved 6 September 2016. 
  4. ^ "Ben Gummer: Shareholdings". TheyWorkForYou. 25 November 2013. Retrieved 1 December 2013. 
  5. ^ a b c d "Meet Ben". Retrieved 6 September 2016. 
  6. ^ "Ben Gummer's blog". Archived from the original on 3 January 2013. Retrieved 6 September 2016. 
  7. ^ Christopher Booker (25 August 2012). "The tangled tale of Lord Deben and a dodgy Severn barrage". Daily Telegraph. London, UK. Retrieved 11 February 2015. 
  8. ^ "Ben Gummer's blog". Retrieved 6 September 2016. 
  9. ^ "The Scourging Angel". Andrew Lownie Literary Agency. Archived from the original on 20 November 2008. Retrieved 6 November 2013. 
  10. ^ Foxcroft, Louise (20 August 2009). "The Scourging Angel: The Black Death in the British Isles by Benedict Gummer". Rationalist Association. Retrieved 10 November 2013. 
  11. ^ White, Roland (19 August 2007). "Ben Gummer has been selected to contest Ipswich for the Tories". The Sunday Times. London. p. 17. 
  12. ^ "Tony Benn is not the only man with a family dynasty". London Evening Standard. London. 2 October 2007. p. 1. 
  13. ^ "Ben Gummer fighting for Ipswich". 26 April 2010. Retrieved 30 May 2016. 
  14. ^ "Harman must put up or keep quiet". East Anglian Daily Times. 8 June 2010. Retrieved 6 September 2016. 
  15. ^ "Numerology". Retrieved 12 February 2015. 
  16. ^ "House of Commons Hansard Debates". 6 July 2010. Retrieved 6 September 2016. 
  17. ^ "House of Commons Hansard Debates". 25 January 2011. Retrieved 6 September 2016. 
  18. ^ "House of Commons Hansard Debates". 10 February 2011. Retrieved 6 September 2016. 
  19. ^ "House of Commons Hansard Debates". 23 May 2011. Retrieved 6 September 2016. 
  20. ^ "The ambassador from Ipswich". 21 March 2011. Retrieved 6 September 2016. 
  21. ^ Andrew Sparrow (5 February 2013). "MPs vote in favour of gay marriage: Politics live blog". London, UK: Retrieved 6 September 2016. 
  22. ^ "Ben Gummer's blog". Archived from the original on 3 January 2013. Retrieved 6 September 2016. 
  23. ^ "House of Commons Hansard Debates". 25 January 2012. Retrieved 6 September 2016. 
  24. ^ "Ben Gummer: Where Do Your Taxes Go?". 24 January 2012. Retrieved 6 September 2016. 
  25. ^ Giles, Chris. "Taxpayers to receive personal statements". Retrieved 6 September 2016. 
  26. ^ "TaxPayers' Alliance announces March's Pin-Up and Pinhead of the Month". Retrieved 6 September 2016. 
  27. ^ Deborah McGurran (21 March 2012). "Success for Ipswich MP's tax plans". BBC. Retrieved 6 February 2015. 
  28. ^ "Britain needs a Swedish-style fiscal rule to end its yearly Budget farce". City A.M. Retrieved 6 September 2016. 
  29. ^ Gummer, Ben. "Struggle against public debt must go on". Retrieved 6 September 2016. 
  30. ^ Huysman, Margot (24 February 2014). "Conservative backbencher Ben Gummer wants to rename National Insurance". The Independent. London, UK. 
  31. ^ Rowena Mason (30 June 2014). "No 10 plays down Tory idea to merge national insurance and income tax". Guardian newspapers. Retrieved 4 March 2015. 
  32. ^ "The Conservative Party | News | News | Lord Feldman appoints Ben Gummer MP as his Parliamentary Adviser". Retrieved 6 September 2016. 
  33. ^ "Good day for the Gummers". East Anglian Daily Times. Ipswich. 13 September 2012. 
  34. ^ a b Kilpatrick, Tom (17 October 2013). "MP Gummer's new role as aide to Michael Gove". East Anglian Daily Times. Ipswich. 
  35. ^ Grant, Katie (13 May 2015). "New health minister opposed to abortion urged to reconsider stance 'that does not reflect the view of the electorate'". London: Independent. Retrieved 13 June 2015. 
  36. ^ "Ipswich: Work on £30m flood barrier across New Cut due to start in July". Ipswich Star. Retrieved 6 September 2016. 
  37. ^ "Ipswich: We did it - building work starts at Ipswich Hospital's new specialist heart centre". Ipswich Star. Retrieved 6 September 2016. 
  38. ^ "Ipswich: Work starts on hospital's new £5m sterile unit". East Anglian Daily Times. Retrieved 6 September 2016. 
  39. ^ "East Anglia: Rail transformation on the way". East Anglian Daily Times. Retrieved 6 September 2016. 
  40. ^ "Suffolk/Ipswich: MP Ben Gummer to lead the calls for no 3.5% rail fare increases". East Anglian Daily Times. Retrieved 6 September 2016. 
  41. ^ Gummer said: "I don't want to tell the council what they should or should not sell, but we know the football club is keen to buy the freehold of Portman Road."Geater, Paul (11 March 2013). "Ipswich: Time has come to rid Waterfront of crumbling eyesore and Portman Road could hold the secret". East Anglian Daily Times. Ipswich. Retrieved 6 November 2013. 
  42. ^ Ipswich Town FC | Portman Road Listed as an Asset of Community Value Supporters Direct
  43. ^ "any future administration of the council would have to give the local community six months to raise money to buy the ground before selling the freehold." Geater, Paul (4 September 2013). "Ipswich: Special protection for Portman Road". East Anglian Daily Times. Ipswich. Retrieved 9 November 2013. 
  44. ^ Lauren Everitt (17 December 2012). "Charity reports three-fold increase in number of families seeking food parcels". Ipswich Star. Retrieved 1 March 2015. 
  45. ^ "MP Ben Gummer and his wife Sarah celebrate arrival of their first baby - and it is a boy". Ipswich Star. Retrieved 6 September 2016. 

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Chris Mole
Member of Parliament
for Ipswich

Political offices
Preceded by
Matt Hancock
Minister for the Cabinet Office
Paymaster General