Craig Whittaker

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Craig Whittaker
MP
Member of Parliament
for Calder Valley
Incumbent
Assumed office
6 May 2010
Preceded by Christine McCafferty
Majority 6,431 (12.4%)
Personal details
Born Craig Whittaker
(1962-08-30) 30 August 1962 (age 52)
Radcliffe, England
Nationality British
Political party Conservative
Spouse(s) Elaine Wilkinson
Children 3
Religion Mormon

Craig Whittaker (born 30 August 1962)[1] is a British Conservative Party politician. He has been the Member of Parliament (MP) for Calder Valley since the 2010 general election.[2]

Early life[edit]

Born in Radcliffe, Lancashire and educated at Belmont High School, New South Wales, Australia, he began his career in Australia with Pizza Hut as a restaurant manager from 1980–84, before transferring to the UK for a year with the same company. In 1985 he became a licencee with Liberty Taverns and with JW Lees in 1986. In 1988 he became Food Retail Director of Kezdem Ltd. In 1992 he joined Wilkinson Home and Garden Stores as a branch manager. In 1998 he became a retail general manager with PC World, remaining with the company until 2009.

Political career[edit]

Whittaker was elected in 2003 to serve on Calderdale Borough Council for the Rastrick ward. He served as the cabinet member for children and young people during the period from 2007 to 2010. He stood down from the council in 2011. He was formerly (1998–2003) a member of Heptonstall Parish Council.[3] He served as the chairman of the Calder Valley Conservative Association, from 2005 to 2006.

Whittaker served on the Education Select Committee in the 2010-2015 Parliament [4] He criticised the government's policy over transferring responsibility for careers advice to schools, describing it as a "bit of a pigs ear"[5]

Whittaker was one of 79 Conservative MPs who supported a 2011 rebel motion calling for a referendum on the EU[6] He also joined a 2013 rebel amendment expressing regret at not including the referendum in the government's plans[7] He subsequently backed the government's plans to hold a referendum in 2017 and opposed a proposal to hold in in 2014[8]

In May 2012, he argued against legalising same sex-marriage on the basis it could lead to successive governments supporting polygamy or "three way marriages".[9] Whittaker has voted strongly against equal gay rights[10]

Personal life[edit]

Whittaker, a Mormon,[11] and his wife, businesswoman Elaine Wilkinson, have three children and live in Rastrick.[12] The couple married in the Chapel of St Mary Undercroft at the House of Commons in August 2011.[13]

The Crown Prosecution Service decided in March 2012 that there was "no case for further action" after Whittaker was arrested for reportedly assaulting his son at a petrol station.[14][15]

Funding and Expenses[edit]

Whittaker's registered members' interests are listed on the linked pages of Theyworkforyou.com, and constituency donations on Searchthemoney.com.

Lord Ashcroft's company, Bearwood Corporate Services Ltd (now Impellam Ventures), contributed in £2,320.71 to the association several years ago.[16][17][18]

Controversies[edit]

The Spectator blog reported that persons working from House of Commons IP addresses had made multiple edits to Wikipedia to remove references to allegations against Whittaker, who said he had asked a staff member to remove a particular comment he considered to be "misleading and not correct".[19][20] The article referred to a series of denials by Mr Whittaker's that Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Trust had laid out proposals to close Calderdale Royal Hospital's A&E department. The Trust expressed the closure as a 'preferred option' and were covered in extensive detail by local newspapers the Huddersfield Examiner[21] and the Halifax Courier[22] and led to Calderdale Council to conduct an inquiry into the proposals. After a year reassuring his constituents the proposals weren't true and accusing protesters of 'scaremongering', Mr Whittaker admitted on his Twitter account that he did not know what was going to happen.[23]

In the run up to the 2015 General Election, Whittaker attracted criticism for sharing a tweet by Richard Littlejohn saying "Vote Labour? I'd rather trust Jimmy Savile to babysit", particularly as Whittaker had chaired an All Party Parliamentary Group for children in car. [24]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Craig Whittaker profile". BBC Democracy Live (BBC). Retrieved 25 July 2010. 
  2. ^ "Yorkshire & the Humber > Calder Valley". Election 2010 (BBC). 7 May 2010. Retrieved 12 May 2010. 
  3. ^ "Parliamentary biography". Parliament.uk. Archived from the original on 28 December 2010. Retrieved 7 September 2012. 
  4. ^ "Craig Whittaker". Parliament UK. Retrieved 8 April 2015. 
  5. ^ Garner, Richard (7 January 2015). "MPs attack rise of ‘ill-equipped’ careers advisers in schools". Independent. Retrieved 8 April 2015. 
  6. ^ "Rebel MPs: the full list". New Statesman. 25 October 2011. Retrieved 8 April 2015. 
  7. ^ "The 114 Tory rebels in EU protest vote". Daily Telegraph. 15 May 2013. Retrieved 8 April 2015. 
  8. ^ "Craig Whittaker: Referendum on the UK's membership of the EU". Public Whip. Retrieved 8 April 2015. 
  9. ^ Whittaker opposition to "same sex marriage", halifaxcourier.co.uk; accessed 10 May 2015.
  10. ^ http://www.theyworkforyou.com/mp/24944/craig_whittaker/calder_valley/divisions?policy=826
  11. ^ Whittaker's religion, mormonnewsroom.org.uk; accessed 10 May 2015.
  12. ^ Sam Casey Re-tyre-ment, examiner.co.uk, 2 April 2008.
  13. ^ MP's marriage at Westminster, halifaxcourier.co.uk, 5 August 2011.
  14. ^ Dina Rickman "Craig Whittaker, Tory MP, Arrested After Alleged Assault At Petrol Station", huffingtonpost.co.uk, 21 March 2012.
  15. ^ Robert Sutcliffe "Yorkshire MP arrested over attack on son outside petrol station", yorkshirepost.co.uk, 1 February 2012.
  16. ^ Impellam Ventures Ltd website, duedil.com; accessed 10 May 2015.
  17. ^ Lord Ashcroft bankrolls Tories, mirror.co.uk; accessed 10 May 2015.
  18. ^ "The blue Baron: how the Tories rely on Ashcroft". The Independent (London, UK). 31 October 2009. 
  19. ^ Edits to Wikipedia to remove references to allegations against Whittaker, blogs.spectator.co.uk; accessed 10 May 2015.
  20. ^ "Expenses and sex scandal deleted from MPs’ Wikipedia pages by computers inside Parliament". Telegraph.co.uk. 26 May 2015. 
  21. ^ Plans to close eith Huddersfield or Calderdale A&E confirmed, examiner.co.uk; accessed 12 May 2015.
  22. ^ Calderdale Hospital A&E closure is ‘preferred option’ under trust plans, halifaxcourier.co.uk; accessed 12 May 2015.
  23. ^ Calder Valley MP admits he doesn't know what will happen with our A&E, halifaxcourier.co.uk; accessed 12 May 2015.
  24. ^ "Calder Valley Conservative candidate Craig Whittaker Savile tweet causes row". BBC. 5 May 2015. Retrieved 5 June 2015. 

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