David Warburton

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David Warburton

David Warburton MP.jpg
Member of Parliament
for Somerton and Frome
Assumed office
7 May 2015
Preceded byDavid Heath
Majority22,906 (35.8%)
Personal details
Born (1965-10-28) 28 October 1965 (age 53)
Burnham, Lincolnshire, England
Political partyConservative
Harriet Baker-Bates (m. 2002)
Alma materRoyal College of Music
King's College London
WebsiteOfficial website

David John Warburton FRSA (born 28 October 1965) is a British Conservative Party politician who was first elected as the Member of Parliament (MP) for Somerton and Frome at the 2015 general election. He is a former composer and was the founder, chief executive and chairman of Pitch Entertainment Group.

Early life[edit]

Warburton was born on 28 October 1965 in Burnham, Lincolnshire. He was educated at the state grammar Reading School, and the co-educational comprehensive secondary, Waingels College.[1]

After a variety of jobs, including several years as a shop assistant, a cleaner and a van driver[2] while singing, playing lead guitar and keyboards in a succession of rock bands, he studied at the Royal College of Music, where he was a recipient of the Octavia Scholarship. He graduated in 1993 with a degree and a master's degree M.Mus.(Lond.) Dip.RCM.(Perf.) in music composition. At the Royal College of Music he studied under Edwin Roxburgh and Jeremy Dale Roberts, and had additional study with George Benjamin. He was the composition faculty representative on the Student Association Committee.

He then studied towards an M.Phil. and PhD at King's College, London as a Ralph Vaughan Williams Trust Scholar, under the tutelage of Sir Harrison Birtwistle. Though also a Sir Richard Stapley Educational Trust Scholar, he eventually left the course early due to a lack of funding.

Music and teaching career[edit]

Having spent time on the Orkney island of Hoy in 1994 studying with future Master of the Queen's Music, Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, Warburton worked as a freelance composer, winning composition prizes including the United Music Publishers prize, the Major van Someren Godfrey Composition prize, the Herbert Howells prize and the Elgar Memorial Prize.

He had works commissioned by music festivals, soloists and ensembles and studied film music composition with David Bedford at Dartington International Summer School under a Dartington scholarship.

Selected performances[edit]


Warburton taught for five years at inner-city mixed community school, Hurlingham and Chelsea Secondary School, as a classroom and peripatetic teacher of music.[4] He also taught A Level music, music technology, music theory, music history and aural at the Hurlingham Centre and at the Royal College of Music Junior Department.

Business career[edit]

Warburton founded The Music Solution Ltd (TMS) in 1999, initially providing downloadable music content to mobile phone networks and brands.[5] As chief executive, he expanded TMS to become a service provider, offering website and mobile website branding and design, mobile content and its associated delivery, integrated payment systems and customer service on behalf of brands including the BBC, Celador, News International, Motorola,[6][7] Real Networks, MTV Europe,[8] Kazaa,[9] Sprint PCS[10] and Boosey & Hawkes.[11]

Following a trademark battle in 2001, where British Telecom prevented TMS from using the brand Yellphone.com by claiming ownership of the name, Warburton was forced to change TMS's primary consumer brand to SplashMobile.com.[12][13]

By 2005, TMS had become Pitch Entertainment Group, headquartered in Covent Garden, with operations in Australasia, Asia, South Africa, the US and across Europe. With Warburton as executive chairman, Pitch launched the first example of a mobile social network with ancillary content, and in 2007 was listed by the Sunday Times as the UK's 6th fastest growing technology company, having achieved sales growth of 326% a year.[14][15][16][17]

Pitch partnered with Third Screen Media in 2006 to expand into the new arena of mobile advertising[18] and expanded the service across its network.[19] Warburton featured both on the front cover of the business newspaper City AM in August 2006 under the heading "The musician who became lord of the ringtones" and in its "Job of the Week" section.[20] In 2008, after continued growth it was announced that Pitch had been acquired for an undisclosed sum by US mobile content provider PlayPhone Inc.[21][22][23][24]

In 2009, Warburton set up the listed building property restoration and development companies Oflang Ltd. and Oflang Partners LLP,[25] and with two others, Loaye Agabani and Tim Lewis, Warburton launched the online business MyHigh.St in Somerset in 2012.[26][27][28] MyHigh.St allows local independent retailers to offer their products online, organised by local high street areas.[29]

Political career[edit]

Warburton was Treasurer of Wells Conservative Association from 2009 to 2010 and its Political Deputy chairman and constituency spokesperson from 2010– to 2012.[30][31]

In February 2013 he was selected as parliamentary candidate for Somerton and Frome. He was candidate during the Somerset floods of 2014,[32] and campaigned for flood alleviation works.[33] As candidate, he campaigned for improved broadband,[34] local charities,[35] rail connectivity,[36] new schools,[37] dualling of the arterial A303 road through Somerset,[38] and reduced duty, regulation and VAT on pub sales.[39]

At the 2015 general election, he was elected with 53% of the vote and, at 18.3%, the largest constituency swing to the Conservative Party after David Heath, who held the seat for the Liberal Democrats since 1997, stepped down. As an MP, he has petitioned Downing Street to prevent the EU imposing excise duty on sales of small-scale cider producers.[40]

In April 2016, Warburton was one of five Conservative MPs to rebel by voting against the Government whip in favour of an opposition amendment tabled by Lord Dubs demanding that Britain take in vulnerable children from refugee camps in Calais and Dunkirk.,[41][42][43] which presaged an eventual Government U-turn.[44]

Warburton sits on several All-party parliamentary groups (APPGs). He was elected the chair of the British Council APPG, chair of the APPG for Music[45] and vice-chair of both the APPG for Blockchain and the APPG for Small and Micro Business. He is secretary of the APPG on Eggs, Pigs and Poultry, and treasurer of the APPG for Taxation.[46]

Since January 2017, he has sat on the European Scrutiny Select Committee,[47] and between 2016 and 2017 chaired the British Council's Building Resilience to Radicalisation Inquiry,[48] exploring the roots of extremism and drivers of radicalisation as set out in the UN Plan of Action to Prevent Violent Extremism. The inquiry report was published in November 2017.[49]

Warburton was re-elected at the 2017 general election with an increased vote share of 57% and an increased majority of 22,906,[50] and in January 2018 he was appointed as Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Department for Education.[51][52]

Warburton employs his wife as a Personal Assistant on a salary up to £25,000.[53] He was listed in articles in the Daily Telegraph and Guardian criticising the practice of MPs employing family members, on the lines that it promotes nepotism.[54][55] Although MPs who were first elected in 2017 have been banned from employing family members, the restriction is not retrospective - meaning that Warburton's employment of his wife is lawful.[56]

In January 2016, the Labour Party unsuccessfully proposed an amendment in Parliament that would have required private landlords to make their homes "fit for human habitation". According to Parliament's register of interests, Warburton was one of 72 Conservative MPs who voted against the amendment who personally derived an income from renting out property. The Conservative Government had responded to the amendment that they believed homes should be fit for human habitation but did not want to pass the new law that would explicitly require it.[57]

Personal life[edit]

He married public relations professional[58] Harriet (b. 1969, née Baker-Bates) in 2002. She is the daughter of the diplomat Merrick Baker-Bates CMG, former Deputy High Commissioner to Malaysia and British Consul General in Los Angeles.[59][60]

Warburton is a member of Mensa,[61] and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. Until 2017 he was a Trustee of Down's Syndrome support charity Ups and Downs Southwest[62] and he is a Trustee of national youth music charity Music for Youth.[63] In June 2018 he joined the Board of the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain and was appointed chair of its Development Board.[64][65]


  1. ^ "David Warburton – About Me". Retrieved 8 May 2015.
  2. ^ Pink News Seat embroiled in row over gay marriage. Retrieved 13 June 2015
  3. ^ Songs of the Half-Light, for Chamber Orch and Voice, David Warburton, at the British Music Collection Archive. Retrieved 11 June 2015
  4. ^ "David Warburton – About Me". Retrieved 8 May 2015.
  5. ^ NME Showing BBC TV News November 2000. Retrieved 11 June 2015
  6. ^ Motorola and The Music Solution Offer Downloadable Ring Tones for Mobile Phones. Retrieved 11 June 2015
  7. ^ Motorola and The Music Solution offer downloadable ring tones for mobile phones, Mobile Internet (Boston, MA), 1 July 2002
  8. ^ MTV Plans direct portal to sidestep mobile operators. Retrieved 11 June 2015
  9. ^ Kazaa to Sell Ringtones Along with MP3 Downloads . Retrieved 11 June 2015
  10. ^ Sprint PCS gets musical with 127 instrument ringtones, New Media Age, 17 January 2002
  11. ^ Boosey and BBC play for mobile users, The Mail on Sunday, 6 March 2005
  12. ^ BT wins trademark battle with Yellphone.com. Retrieved 11 June 2015
  13. ^ Yellphone.com ceases trading. Retrieved 11 June 2015
  14. ^ 2007 Tech Track 100. Retrieved 11 June 2015
  15. ^ 2007 Sunday Times Microsoft Tech Track 100 league table.. Retrieved 11 June 2015
  16. ^ Pitch Pitches Into Sunday Times Tech Track 100. Retrieved 11 June 2015
  17. ^ Pitch Pitches In at No.6. Retrieved 11 June 2015
  18. ^ Reuters and Pitch(TM) Partner with Third Screen Media to Make Mobile Advertising a Reality. Retrieved 11 June 2015
  19. ^ Pitch – Using Mobile as a Cold Acquisition Tool. Retrieved 11 June 2015
  20. ^ The ringtone innovator with Perfect Pitch, City AM, London 30 August 2006
  21. ^ PlayPhone acquires Pitch Entertainment Group for European mobile expansion. Retrieved 11 June 2015
  22. ^ PlayPhone Inc acquires Pitch Entertainment Group. Retrieved 11 June 2015
  23. ^ PlayPhone merges with Pitch Entertainment. Retrieved 11 June 2015
  24. ^ PlayPhone partners Pitch to offer mobile entertainment content globally. Retrieved 11 June 2015
  25. ^ Oflang Partners LLP Company people
  26. ^ MyHigh.st – The High Street Revolution. Retrieved 11 June 2015
  27. ^ Independent retailers from England’s smallest city selling through new marketplace MyHigh.St. Retrieved 11 June 2015
  28. ^ Digital high street launches in Somerset. Retrieved 11 June 2015
  29. ^ Could virtual high streets save local shops?. Retrieved 11 June 2015
  30. ^ Secret affair backlash against Lib Dem MP. Retrieved 12 June 2015
  31. ^ BBC News Channel, 9 May 2010. Retrieved 12 June 2015
  32. ^ Parliamentary candidate shocked by flooding. Retrieved 12 June 2015
  33. ^ Locals call for Muchelney road raising. Retrieved 12 June 2015
  34. ^ Superfast broadband campaign launched by parliament hopeful. Retrieved 12 June 2015
  35. ^ First bus sorry to tiny Frome charity. Retrieved 12 June 2015
  36. ^ Campaign to re-open Langport and Somerton stations. Retrieved 12 June 2015
  37. ^ Somerton school suffers minor hiccup. Retrieved 12 June 2015
  38. ^ David Warburton brings Chancellor to Wincanton. Retrieved 12 June 2015
  39. ^ Save Our Pubs petition starts in local pubs. Retrieved 12 June 2015
  40. ^ Somerset MP takes save scrumpy campaign to Number 10. Retrieved 12 June 2015
  41. ^ The ONE Somerset Tory MP who 'could not leave' child refugees 'to their fate'. Retrieved 24 June 2016
  42. ^ How MPs voted on whether to accept 3,000 unaccompanied Syrian child refugees who travelled to Europe. Retrieved 24 June 2016
  43. ^ Tory plan to reject child refugees stranded in Europe defeated for the second time. Retrieved 24 June 2016
  44. ^ Government U-turn on unaccompanied refugee children welcomed by MPs. Retrieved 24 June 2016
  45. ^ All-Party Parliamentary Group On Music, Members. Retrieved 24 February 2018
  46. ^ https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm/cmallparty/register/contents.htm
  47. ^ European Scrutiny Select Committee membership. Retrieved 8 May 2017
  48. ^ British Council Building Resilience to Extremism Inquiry. Retrieved 8 May 2017
  49. ^ Building Young People’s Resilience to Violent Extremism in the Middle East and North Africa. Retrieved 24 February 2018
  50. ^ BBC Somerton and Frome Parliamentary Constituency. Retrieved 10 June 2017
  51. ^ Somerset MP David Warburton promoted to Department for Education. Retrieved 24 February 2018
  52. ^ Complete Government PPS List. Retrieved 24 February 2018
  53. ^ "IPSA". GOV.UK. Retrieved 10 September 2018.
  54. ^ "One in five MPs employs a family member: the full list revealed". The Daily Telegraph. 29 June 2015. Retrieved 3 September 2018.
  55. ^ Mason, Rowena (29 June 2015). "Keeping it in the family: new MPs continue to hire relatives as staff". The Guardian. Retrieved 21 July 2015.
  56. ^ "MPs banned from employing spouses after election in expenses crackdown". London Evening Standard. 21 April 2017. Retrieved 10 September 2018.
  57. ^ "Tories vote down law requiring landlords make their homes fit for human habitation". Independent. 13 January 2016. Retrieved 10 September 2018.
  58. ^ Film, theatre and ents specialists form Premier PR. Retrieved 12 June 2015
  59. ^ British Consul to Talk on Education Issues, Los Angeles Times, 21 October 1997. Retrieved 12 June 2015
  60. ^ Brit spreading the news about Utah's economy, Deseret News, 1 September 1994. Retrieved 12 June 2015
  61. ^ "The ringtone innovator with Perfect Pitch", City AM, London, 30 August 2006
  62. ^ David Warburton walks over hot coals for Ups and Downs. Retrieved 12 June 2015
  63. ^ Music For Youth - meet the team. Retrieved 8 May 2017
  64. ^ NYO to perform at New York’s Carnegie Hall. Retrieved 5 July 2018
  65. ^ The National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain to take its first ever US tour in 2019. Retrieved 5 July 2018

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
David Heath
Member of Parliament
for Somerton and Frome