Ben Wallace (politician)

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Ben Wallace

Official portrait of Mr Ben Wallace crop 2.jpg
Minister of State for Security and Economic Crime
Assumed office
17 July 2016
Prime MinisterTheresa May
Preceded byJohn Hayes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State Northern Ireland Office
In office
12 May 2015 – 17 July 2016
Prime MinisterDavid Cameron
Preceded byAndrew Murrison
Succeeded byKris Hopkins
Government Whip
In office
15 July 2014 – 12 May 2015
Prime MinisterDavid Cameron
Member of Parliament
for Wyre and Preston North
Lancaster and Wyre (2005–2010)
Assumed office
5 May 2005
Preceded byHilton Dawson
Majority12,246 (23.3%)
Member of the Scottish Parliament
for North East Scotland
In office
6 May 1999 – 31 March 2003
Preceded byNew Office
Personal details
Born
Robert Ben Lobban Wallace

(1970-05-15) 15 May 1970 (age 48)
Farnborough, Kent, England
NationalityBritish
Political partyConservative
Spouse(s)Liza, née Cooke[1]
Children3
Alma materRoyal Military Academy Sandhurst
OccupationPolitician
ProfessionArmy Officer
AwardsMentioned in Despatches
Websitewww.benwallace.org.uk
Military service
AllegianceUnited Kingdom
Service/branchBritish Army
Years of service1990–1998
RankCaptain
UnitScots Guards
Battles/warsThe Troubles

Robert Ben Lobban Wallace PC (born 15 May 1970) is a British Conservative Party politician. He has been the Member of Parliament (MP) for Wyre and Preston North since the 2010 general election, having been the MP for Lancaster and Wyre from 2005 to 2010.

Early life and career[edit]

Wallace was born on the 15 May 1970 in Farnborough, Kent. He was privately educated at Millfield School in Somerset. He studied politics under Clive Thomas, who also taught Julian Smith MP and Margot James MP.[2] After school Wallace qualified as a ski instructor and taught in the village of Alpbach in Austria. During that period his parents moved to Pennsylvania in the United States where they lived for seven years.

Military and business career[edit]

Aged 19, Wallace attended the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, before being commissioned as a platoon commander into the Scots Guards. During his eight-year army career he served in Germany, Windsor, Cyprus, Central America and Northern Ireland. In 1992 he was mentioned in despatches.[citation needed] His last post was as Company Commander of F Company Scots Guards.

From 2003 to 2005 he was overseas director of QinetiQ, the UK's part-privatised National Defence Laboratory.[2]

Political career[edit]

Scottish Parliament[edit]

After leaving the Army, he became in 1999 a Conservative Member of the Scottish Parliament, as a list MSP for North East Scotland, before standing down in 2003. He was the Scottish Conservatives' shadow health spokesman during that time.

United Kingdom Parliament[edit]

Wallace won the Lancaster and Wyre Constituency from Labour in 2005. The election result saw a 481 vote (0.92%) Labour majority swing to a 4171 vote (8.00%) Conservative majority. The overall swing was 4.50% from Labour to Conservative. This constituency was number nine on the 2005 Conservative 'target list'.[citation needed] He subsequently became the Member of Parliament (MP) for Wyre and Preston North after winning the seat at the 2010 general election; he was re-elected in 2015 and 2017.

From 2005 to 2010 Wallace was a member of the Scottish Affairs Select Committee.[3] From 2006 to 2010 Wallace was the Shadow Minister of State for Scotland. He was Chairman of the British–Iran Parliamentary Group from 2006 to 2014. On 13 November 2008, Wallace was awarded Campaigner of the Year in the Spectator/Threadneedle Parliamentarian awards, for his work promoting transparency of MPs expenses.[4][5] In February 2008, in conjunction with the Sunday Times, Wallace published all his expenses and receipts.

Following his re-election to Parliament, Wallace was appointed as Parliamentary Private Secretary to the then-Justice Secretary and Lord Chancellor, and later Minister without Portfolio in the Cabinet Office, Ken Clarke MP.[citation needed] On 4 September 2012, Wallace turned down a position as a Lord Commissioner of the Treasury during the cabinet reshuffle.[citation needed] to remain Clarke's PPS.[6] In July 2014, as Clarke returned to the back benches, Wallace was again offered a job in Government as a whip. This time he accepted. In May 2015 he was promoted to Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State in the Northern Ireland Office. After the EU referendum, the new Prime Minister, Theresa May, promoted him to Minister of State for Security in the Home Office. In December 2017 the Minister portfolio was extended to include Economic Crime.

Wallace was appointed to the Privy Council for his role in coordinating the government response to the 2017 Westminster attack.[7]

Wallace supported the UK staying in the European Union prior to the 2016 referendum.[8]

In Parliament, Wallace has previously served on the Administration Committee and Scottish Affairs Committee.[9]

Controversy[edit]

Wallace faced criticism locally after it was revealed he had the fourth highest expenses claim of any MP in the UK in 2008, claiming £175,523 on top of his £63,000 salary. However, he defended the costs by arguing that the constituency has an electorate that is nearly 20% larger than the average one in England.[10]

In January 2016, Wallace 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.[11]

In February 2018, Wallace was criticised by political opponents for promoting unfounded smears on the leader of the Labour Party. The right-leaning tabloid newspaper, The Sun, had alleged that during the 1980s Jeremy Corbyn had colluded with a Communist spy. In response to the allegations, a spokesman for Corbyn stated that any suggestion that the Labour leader had been an agent, asset or informer was "an entirely false and a ridiculous smear".[12] Amidst these allegations, Wallace was criticised for tweeting: "'Jeremy has been interested in foreign policy issues his entire political career' [sic] - Labour MP Louise Haigh, BBC Daily Politics - yup so was Kim Philby". Wallace later defended his tweet, and said he "wasn't comparing, just saying that being interested in foreign policy isn't an answer to the allegations being made". After facing criticism, Wallace told Sky News: 'It was a light-hearted dig at Louise Haigh's excuse that Corbyn was interested in foreign affairs ... I was simply saying Kim Philby was also interested in foreign affairs'.[13][14]

Personal life[edit]

In 2001, he married Liza and they have three children. He employs his wife as a part-time Senior Research Assistant on a salary up to £29,000.[15] Wallace currently resides near Lancaster and in London.[16] [17] He enjoys watching rugby, skiing and motorsport. He is currently a member of the Queen's Bodyguard for Scotland, the Royal Company of Archers.[citation needed]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "House of Commons – The Register of Members' Financial Interests – Part 2: Part 2". Publications.parliament.uk. Retrieved 4 February 2016.
  2. ^ a b "Ben Wallace: Electoral history and profile". The Guardian. Retrieved 4 January 2010.
  3. ^ "Mr Ben Wallace MP – UK Parliament". Parliament.uk. 20 July 2015. Retrieved 4 February 2016.
  4. ^ "Matthew d'Ancona's Parliamentarian awards speech". Spectator.co.uk. 13 November 2008. Archived from the original on 29 May 2010. Retrieved 16 December 2018.
  5. ^ Andrew Gimson (13 November 2008). "Sketch: George Osborne laughs it off". The Telegraph. Retrieved 16 December 2018.
  6. ^ "Cameron: Man or mouse? Man – and butcher! The Tory Diary". Conservativehome.blogs.com. 6 September 2012. Retrieved 4 February 2016.
  7. ^ Agerholm, Harriet (24 March 2017). "MPs Tobias Ellwood and Ben Wallace appointed to Privy Council in honour of Westminster response | The Independent". The Independent. Retrieved 25 March 2017.
  8. ^ Goodenough, Tom (16 February 2016). "Which Tory MPs back Brexit, who doesn't and who is still on the fence?". The Spectator. Retrieved 20 May 2018.
  9. ^ "Ben Wallace MP". GOV.UK. Retrieved 20 May 2018.
  10. ^ "MP's biscuit claim among expenses". The Garstang Courier. The Garstang Courier. 1 April 2008. Retrieved 20 May 2018.
  11. ^ "Tories vote down law requiring landlords make their homes fit for human habitation". Independent. 13 January 2016. Retrieved 20 May 2018.
  12. ^ Senior Political Correspondent, Lucy Fisher (2018-02-15). "Jeremy Corbyn 'can't be trusted' after claims he met Soviet spy, says Gavin Williamson". The Times. ISSN 0140-0460. Retrieved 2018-02-21.
  13. ^ "Andrew Neil Clobbers Tory Minister Steve Baker For 'Outrageous Smears' Against Jeremy Corbyn". HuffPost UK. 2018-02-21. Retrieved 2018-02-21.
  14. ^ "Tory MP deletes Corbyn spy claim after threat of legal action". Sky News. Retrieved 2018-02-21.
  15. ^ "IPSA". GOV.UK. Retrieved 20 May 2018.
  16. ^ "About Ben". Personal website. Retrieved 20 May 2018.
  17. ^ "IPSA record". IPSA. Retrieved 20 May 2018.

External links[edit]

News articles
Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Hilton Dawson
Member of Parliament for Lancaster and Wyre
20052010
Constituency Abolished
New constituency Member of Parliament for Wyre and Preston North
2010–present
Incumbent