Gregory Barker

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The Right Honourable
Gregory Barker
Gregory Barker, Minister of State of the Department of Energy and Climate Change.jpg
Minister of State for Climate Change
In office
12 May 2010 – 14 July 2014
Prime Minister David Cameron
Succeeded by Amber Rudd
Member of Parliament
for Bexhill and Battle
In office
7 June 2001 – 30 March 2015
Preceded by Charles Wardle
Succeeded by Huw Merriman
Personal details
Born (1966-03-08) 8 March 1966 (age 49)
Worthing, Sussex, England
Nationality British
Political party Conservative
Spouse(s) Celeste Harrison (1992-2006)
Alma mater Royal Holloway, University of London; London Business School

Gregory Leonard George "Greg" Barker (born 8 March 1966) is a British Conservative Party politician. In May 2010 he was appointed Minister of State for Energy and Climate Change. He was nominated for a life peerage in August 2015.[1]

Early life[edit]

Lancing College

Born in Sussex, Barker was educated at Upper Beeding Primary School, Steyning Grammar School and Lancing College, before going on to Royal Holloway, University of London, where he earned a BA (Hons) degree in History & Politics,[2] and the London Business School.

He was a researcher at the Centre for Policy Studies in 1987, before joining Gerard Vivian Gray[3] as an Equity Analyst in 1988. Barker was a member of the Honourable Artillery Company between 1989 and 1994. In 1990, he became the Director for International Pacific Securities. He was the Deputy Chairman of Hammersmith Conservative Association in 1993. From 1998, he was a Director of Daric plc, an advertising company.

Barker also developed strong links to the Russian oil companies, being Head of Communications at the Anglo Siberian Oil Company from 1998–2000 and also worked in Russia for the Sibneft Oil Group, owned by Roman Abramovich.

Parliamentary career[edit]

Barker was at first unsuccessful in his attempts to be elected to Parliament when he contested the safe Labour seat of Eccles, where he was defeated by Ian Stewart. Barker then became the Deputy Chairman of Tooting Conservative Association and an advisor to Conservative MP David Willetts.

In 2001, Barker became the MP for Bexhill and Battle after the retirement of the sitting Conservative MP, Charles Wardle. Barker's nomination by the Conservative Party was hotly debated when sitting MP and former Home Office Minister Charles Wardle accused Barker of being disingenuous about his business career and formally requesting Conservative Party Leader Iain Duncan Smith to investigate possible links between Barker and the infamous Russian billionaire Boris Berezovsky.[4] Wardle supported Nigel Farage (who later became the leader of the United Kingdom Independence Party), but Barker won the safe seat by over 10,500 votes from Stephen Hardy of the Liberal Democrats. Close to Conservative leader David Cameron, Barker, in his capacity as Shadow Environment Secretary, accompanied Cameron on his trip to the Arctic Circle in April 2006 for a fact-finding mission on global warming.

In April 2011, Barker was filmed addressing an audience at the Moore School of Business at the University of South Carolina, during which he said of the Conservative-led British government: "We are making cuts that Margaret Thatcher, back in the 1980s, could only have dreamed of." [5]

Barker (right) at Conservative Party conference 2011

Barker was implicated in the 2009 MPs' expenses scandal for his purchase and sale of London flats; this led to widespread outrage from tax payers.[6][7] On 5 February 2013 MP Gregory Barker voted in favour in the House of Commons Second Reading vote on marriage equality in Britain.[8] On 14 July 2014, he announced he would not be standing in the 2015 general election.[9]

Personal life[edit]

Barker married Celeste Harrison, an heiress to the Charles Wells brewery fortune, in 1992. Following a diary report in The Observer,[10] Barker confirmed he and his wife had separated, and on 26 October 2006 the British tabloid newspaper the Daily Mirror revealed that he had left his wife and children for vintage fashion expert William Banks-Blaney. The paper backed the story by quoting his mother-in-law.[11] The Sun reported that Banks-Blaney had been employed to oversee renovations on the Barkers' Peasmarsh family home.[12] It was later revealed that Barker was divorcing his wife. The Independent on Sunday later reported that Barker has confirmed that he is homosexual.[13]

Barker's wealth is estimated at £3.9m.[14]

In May 2012 Barker attracted media attention after it was reported he used a staff microwave at the Department of Energy and Climate Change to warm a cushion for his pet Dachshund, Otto.[15] In January 2012 Otto was a participant in the 20th Westminster Dog of the Year Show, but was beaten to the winning prize by Star, a Norfolk terrier owned by Barker's fellow Conservative MP, Charlie Elphicke.[16]


  1. ^ "Dissolution Peerages 2015". Retrieved 27 August 2015. 
  2. ^ Election highs for Royal Holloway alumni Royal Holloway University of London, 19 October 2007
  3. ^ "Gerrard Investment Management". Gerrard. Barclays Wealth. Retrieved 15 May 2010. 
  4. ^ Anne Perkins (13 April 2001). "Row over Tory candidate threatens safe seat". The Guardian. Retrieved 15 May 2010. 
  5. ^ "Video: Minister claims Thatcher could "only have dreamed" of Coalition cuts". Political Scrapbook. 5 April 2011. Retrieved 28 May 2013. 
  6. ^ Watt, Holly (9 May 2009). "Greg Barker: The £320,000 profit on flat bought with taxpayer help". Telegraph. Retrieved 15 May 2010. 
  7. ^ "MP will pay thousands to taxman". Brighton Argus. 16 May 2009. Retrieved 15 May 2010. 
  8. ^ {} The House of Commons.2013.Marriage (Same Sex Couples)Bill 2012-2013.
  9. ^
  10. ^ "Can Dave really get his eco policies to fly?". The Observer. 3 February 2010. Retrieved 15 May 2010. 
  11. ^ "EXCLUSIVE: TOP TORY DUMPS WIFE FOR MAN". Daily Mirror. 26 October 2006. Retrieved 15 May 2010. 
  12. ^ Reilly, Tom (26 October 2006). "Gay fling for Tory MP". The Sun. Retrieved 15 May 2010. 
  13. ^ "The pink list 2007: The IoS annual celebration of the great and the gay". The Independent. 6 May 2007. Retrieved 15 May 2010. 
  14. ^ Samira Shackle, Stephanie Hegarty and George Eaton The new ruling class New Statesman, 1 October 2009
  15. ^ "Energy minister used department microwave to warm sausage dog's cushion". Telegraph. 17 May 2012. Retrieved 28 May 2013. 
  16. ^ "Dogged determination but no prize for MP’s dog Otto". Eastbourne Herald. 11 January 2012. Retrieved 28 May 2013. 

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Charles Wardle
Member of Parliament for Bexhill and Battle
Succeeded by
Huw Merriman
Political offices
Preceded by
Shadow Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Succeeded by