Edward Argar

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Edward Argar

Official portrait of Edward Argar MP crop 2.jpg
Argar in 2020
Minister of State for Health
Assumed office
10 September 2019
Prime MinisterBoris Johnson
Preceded byChris Skidmore
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice
In office
14 June 2018 – 10 September 2019
Prime MinisterTheresa May
Boris Johnson
Preceded byPhillip Lee
Succeeded byChris Philp
Member of Parliament
for Charnwood
Assumed office
7 May 2015
Preceded byStephen Dorrell
Majority22,397 (40.4%)
Personal details
Born (1977-12-09) 9 December 1977 (age 42)
Ashford, United Kingdom
Political partyConservative
Alma materOriel College, Oxford

Edward John Comport Argar (born 9 December 1977) is a British Conservative Party politician serving as Minister of State for Health at the Department of Health and Social Care since September 2019. Previously Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice between June 2018 and September 2019, Argar has been Member of Parliament (MP) for Charnwood since the 2015 general election.

Early life[edit]

Argar was born in Ashford and educated at the Harvey Grammar School, before taking a II.i in Modern History at Oriel College, Oxford. At university, he was unsuccessful in standing for elected office in the Oxford Union Society and the Oxford University Conservative Association, but was elected to the Executive of the Student Union Council.[1]

Early career and Westminster council career[edit]

After leaving university, he spent four years working as Press Secretary for Shadow Foreign Secretary Lord Ancram,[2] who at the time shared an office with then Shadow Cabinet Minister Sir Alan Duncan.

After working for Lord Ancram, he worked for Hedra, a management consultancy which was taken over by Mouchel. In February 2013, he was elected onto the South East Regional Council of the CBI, describing himself as 'Head of Public Affairs, Serco UK & Europe'.[3]

He became a Conservative member of Westminster City Council in 2006 and a cabinet member in 2008.[1] He contested the council leadership in 2012, but lost to Philippa Roe.[4]


He stood in Oxford East in the 2010 general election, with his election leaflet promising a Conservative government would deliver a fairer society with improved public services and more NHS investment.[5] However, he was defeated by Andrew Smith, the former Work and Pensions minister, who achieved a +2.5% Conservative-Labour swing, compared to a national average swing of -3.1% swing, though the Liberal Democrats were in second place. Argar subsequently attended selections in the constituencies of Newark, Tonbridge and Malling, Wealden and Mid Worcestershire, before being selected to contest the safe seat of Charnwood previously held by Stephen Dorrell; a Daily Telegraph article praising open primaries referred to him as a "serial candidate."[6] The Leicester Mercury, noting his selection had attracted criticism, asked whether Parliamentary candidates should have a link to the constituency.[7]

Argar was appointed Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Home Secretary in the January 2019 reshuffle. He was later appointed Under-Secretary of State for Justice in June 2018 replacing Philip Lee. Argar was appointed Minister of State at the Department of Health and Social Care on 10 September 2019. Argar was previously Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Ministry of Justice between 14 June 2018 and 10 September 2019. The website Conservative Home noted that by appointing someone who always followed the party line, Theresa May had missed an opportunity to silence a potential critic.[8] The Law Gazette described him as 'a little-known backbencher' and said that like Lee his role would include responsibility for treatment of women and child offenders.[9]

Maiden speech[edit]

Argar gave his maiden speech on 4 June 2015. He praised his predecessor, Stephen Dorrell and described the constituency as a post 2010 success story but said he would be "continuing to campaign for fairer funding ..for its schools." On other issues, he claimed that although the Government had made significant progress in dementia care and mental health provision, more was needed and he promised to vocally support those committed to further improvement. However he was there to represent the whole community in Charnwood, including those on the fringes and he passionately believed in one-nationism.[10]

Dementia awareness campaign[edit]

Argar opened a debate on dementia in September 2015. He praised the work done by the previous Labour government in formulating a dementia strategy and described a visit to his local Syston community centre. He said some 21m people have a close friend or family member with the disease, and stated that the government has committed £66m to research. He also paid tribute to the Alzheimer’s Society, Alzheimer's Research UK and Age UK for their work.[11] Writing in the Tribune in October 2015, Argar put the annual cost of the disease, which affects 850,000 people, at £23 billion, and argued for government departments, including hospitals, to become dementia-friendly places. He hoped Leicestershire County Council, which had amongst the lowest Government funding, would get a better deal to help provide care support for rural areas. According to Argar, dementia patients stay 20% longer than average in hospitals, and he expressed concern that 41% of hospitals don't include awareness training during staff induction.[12]


Argar was opposed to Brexit prior to the 2016 referendum.[13]

Health minister[edit]

Argar's appointment preceded the start of the COVID-19 virus arrival in January 2020. In June Argar was interviewed by Nick Robinson on the BBC Today program. His new quarantine policy was designed to stop travellers from high risk countries from importing the disease. However, asked three times to name European countries with a higher infection rate, Argar repeatedly described the policy leading Robinson to interrupt him saying he was either unable or unwilling to answer the question.[14]

Personal life[edit]

According to his 2015 election leaflets, he owns a house in Syston, though Westminster City Council documents showed he was a tenant in a flat in Winchester Street, Pimlico in March 2015.[15]


  1. ^ a b "Wealden Open Primary:Edward Argar". Wealden Conservatives. Archived from the original on 11 January 2014. Retrieved 11 June 2015.
  2. ^ "About Edward Argar". Retrieved 8 May 2015.
  3. ^ "Fresh faces voted on to South East Regional Council". cbi.org.uk/. 18 February 2013. Archived from the original on 5 June 2015. Retrieved 17 May 2015.
  4. ^ Ben Bloom (1 March 2012). "Philippa Roe to become new Westminster Council leader". Retrieved 8 May 2015.
  5. ^ "Ed Argar election leaflet 2010". electionleaflets.org. 2010. Retrieved 17 May 2015.
  6. ^ James Kirkup (1 November 2013). "Evening Briefing: A new breed of MP?". Daily Telegraph. Archived from the original on 20 April 2014. Retrieved 13 May 2015.
  7. ^ "The Big Question: Do you think parliamentary candidates should have a connection to the constituency?". 28 January 2015. Archived from the original on 29 May 2015. Retrieved 4 June 2015.
  8. ^ Henry Hill (14 June 2018). "Argar replaces Lee at Justice". conservativehome. Retrieved 7 November 2018.
  9. ^ Michael Cross (15 June 2018). "Edward Argar MP joins justice ministerial team". Law Gazette. Retrieved 7 November 2018.
  10. ^ "HC debate 4 June 2015, c857". Retrieved 9 June 2015.
  11. ^ "HC Deb, 9 September 2015, c120WH". 9 September 2015.
  12. ^ Edward Argar (26 October 2015). "The challenge we must meet for dementia sufferers". Tribune magazine. Retrieved 29 October 2015.
  13. ^ 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.
  14. ^ Sophia Sleigh (4 June 2020). "Edward Argar unable to name single European country with higher coronavirus infection rate than UK". Evening Standard. Retrieved 29 June 2020.
  15. ^ Source Westminster city council "Declaration file for Councillor Edward Argar.pdf" downloaded 23 March 2015

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Stephen Dorrell
Member of Parliament
for Charnwood