Ben Wallace (politician)

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Ben Wallace

Official portrait of Mr Ben Wallace crop 2.jpg
Secretary of State for Defence
Assumed office
24 July 2019
Prime MinisterBoris Johnson
Preceded byPenny Mordaunt
Minister of State for Security and Economic Crime
In office
17 July 2016 – 24 July 2019
Prime MinisterTheresa May
Preceded byJohn Hayes
Succeeded byBrandon Lewis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
In office
12 May 2015 – 17 July 2016
Prime MinisterDavid Cameron
Preceded byAndrew Murrison
Succeeded byKris Hopkins
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 byConstituency created
Succeeded byNanette Milne
Personal details
Robert Ben Lobban Wallace

(1970-05-15) 15 May 1970 (age 49)
Farnborough, London, England
Political partyConservative
Liza Cooke (m. 2001)
Alma materRoyal Military Academy Sandhurst
WebsitePersonal website
Military service
AllegianceUnited Kingdom
Branch/serviceBritish Army
Years of service1991–1998
UnitScots Guards
Battles/warsThe Troubles
AwardsMentioned in dispatches

Robert Ben Lobban Wallace (born 15 May 1970) is a British politician serving as Secretary of State for Defence since 24 July 2019. He previously was the UK’s longest-serving Minister of State for Security and Economic Crime from 2016 to 2019. A member of the Conservative Party, he has been the Member of Parliament (MP) for Wyre and Preston North since the 2010 United Kingdom general election. Wallace was first elected as the MP for Lancaster and Wyre in the 2005 United Kingdom general election, having previously served as a Captain in the British Army.

Early life and career[edit]

Wallace was born in Farnborough, Kent. He was privately educated at Millfield School in Somerset. After School Wallace became a ski instructor with the Austrian National Ski School in the village of Alpbach in Austria.

Military and business career

Aged 19, Wallace attended the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, before he was commissioned in 1991 into the Scots Guards. His first posting was as a Platoon Commander in the Armoured Infantry role in Hohne, Germany. During the following 8 years, Wallace deployed on operations to Northern Ireland and served in Cyprus, Belize, and carried out public duties in London. He carried out a range of roles including Intelligence Officer and Company Commander. He was mentioned in despatches in 1992.

From 2003 to 2005 he was Overseas Director of the aerospace company QinetiQ, the UK's former Defence Evaluation and Research Agency (DERA).

Political career[edit source][edit]

Scottish Parliament[edit source][edit]

After leaving the Army, Wallace became a Conservative Member of the Scottish Parliament in 1999, as a list MSP for North East Scotland. He stood down in 2003, as he sought selection for a Westminster constituency in England. Wallace 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. 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.

Following his re-election to Parliament in 2010, 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. 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 Ministerial portfolio was extended to include Economic Crime. He was the Security Minister during the terror attacks of 2017 and the Salisbury attempted assassination of Sergei Skripal.

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

Wallace supported the UK remaining within the European Union (EU) prior to the 2016 referendum.

On 24 July 2019 Wallace was appointed Secretary of State for Defence by Prime Minister Boris Johnson, succeeding Penny Mordaunt.

Personal life[edit]

In 2001, he married Liza Cooke and they have three children.

Wallace resides near Lancaster and in London.


External links[edit]

News articles
Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Hilton Dawson
Member of Parliament for Lancaster and Wyre
Constituency abolished
New constituency Member of Parliament for Wyre and Preston North
Political offices
Preceded by
Penny Mordaunt
Secretary of State for Defence