Christopher James Skidmore, FRHistS, FSA, FRSA (born 17 May 1981) is a British politician, author, and historian. He was first elected in 2010 as the Conservative Member of Parliament (MP) for Kingswood, South Gloucestershire, and became vice-chairman of the Conservative Party for Policy in 2018. In December 2018 he was appointed Minister of State for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation.
Early life and education
A descendant of Sir James Scudamore, Skidmore was born on 17 May 1981 at Longwell Green in South Gloucestershire (then in the county of Avon), in the West of England. As a teenager, he became a member of the Conservative Party in 1996. Skidmore was educated at Bristol Grammar School, an independent day school, before attending Christ Church, Oxford, graduating in 2002 with a first-class degree in Modern History (BA), and later an MSt.
Skidmore worked for David Willetts and Michael Gove as an advisor, and served as chairman of the Bow Group for 2007–08, before being appointed by another right-leaning think tank, Policy Exchange, as a research fellow.
After being selected to contest the marginal seat of Kingswood for the Conservatives in 2009, he was elected as its Member of Parliament in 2010, defeating incumbent Roger Berry of the Labour Party.
Skidmore served as a member of the Health Select Committee, leaving that committee on 17 June 2013 (being replaced by Charlotte Leslie), to sit on the Education Select Committee. He is also a member of the Free Enterprise Group of MPs, and along with colleagues co-authored After the Coalition (2011) and Britannia Unchained (2012). The authors of Britannia Unchained claimed that "Once they enter the workplace, the British are among the worst idlers in the world".
From 2016 to 2018, Skidmore was Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Cabinet Office, where he served as Minister for the Constitution. Following the 2018 Cabinet reshuffle, he was sacked from his Cabinet Office role, but gained the role of vice-chairman of the Conservative Party for Policy.
Skidmore was named by the ConservativeHome website in 2012 as one of a minority of loyal Conservative backbench MPs not to have voted against the government in any significant rebellions. He is a regular guest on BBC political programmes, such as The Daily Politics.
Skidmore was opposed to Brexit prior to the 2016 EU membership referendum. In February 2018, he argued in a speech to the Centre for Policy Studies that his party needed a broad and positive policy programme to gain wider support, further stating: "If we are just going to talk about Brexit then the Conservative Party will rapidly decline".
Skidmore has continued to write history books since becoming a Member of Parliament, with notable works on the periods leading up to and following on from the Battle of Bosworth.
- Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (2008)
- Fellow of the Royal Historical Society (2010)
- Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London (2014)
- Edward VI: The Lost King of England (2007) ISBN 9780312351427
- Death and The Virgin: Elizabeth, Dudley and the Mysterious Fate of Amy Robsart (2010) ISBN 9780297846505
- Bosworth: The Birth of the Tudors (2013) ISBN 9780753828946 (published in the United States as The Rise of the Tudors: The Family That Changed English History, 2014)
- Richard III: Brother, Protector, King (2017) ISBN 9780297870784
- "Chris Skidmore MP". BBC Democracy Live. BBC. Retrieved 25 July 2010.
- "Chris Skidmore". Conservative Party. Retrieved 1 February 2017.
- "Chris Skidmore – Official Website".
- Bow Group
- "Chris Skidmore MP". Policy Exchange. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016.
- "Kingswood". BBC News. Retrieved 7 May 2010.
- "Health Committee – membership". UK Parliament. Archived from the original on 3 July 2013.
- "Membership - Education Committee". UK Parliament. Archived from the original on 2 July 2013.
- "Tackle 'lazy' Britain, fellow Tories tell David Cameron". London Evening Standard. 17 August 2012. Retrieved 1 February 2017.
- "David Cameron gives Bristol and South Gloucestershire MPs junior government roles". Bristol Post. 2 June 2015. Archived from the original on 23 July 2015. Retrieved 1 February 2017.
- "Parliamentary Secretary (Minister for the Constitution)". UK Government. Archived from the original on 22 January 2017.
- Barrett, Matthew. "The 24 Conservative MPs who are still on the backbenches and have never rebelled". Conservative Home. Retrieved 19 March 2015.
- 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.
- "What the Tories have to do to defeat 'ruthless' Jeremy Corbyn at the next election". Bristol Post. 5 March 2018. Retrieved 23 March 2018.
- Gaind, Nisha; Vesper, Inga (5 December 2018). "Government loyalist appointed new UK science minister as Brexit woes continue". Nature. Retrieved 6 December 2018.
- "Fellows of the Society of Antiquaries". Society of Antiquaries of London. Retrieved 1 February 2017.
- Profile at Parliament of the United Kingdom
- Contributions in Parliament at Hansard 2010–present
- Voting record at Public Whip
- Record in Parliament at TheyWorkForYou
- Debrett's People of Today
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