Lee Rowley

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Lee Rowley

Official portrait of Lee Rowley crop 2.jpg
Member of Parliament
for North East Derbyshire
Assumed office
9 June 2017
Preceded byNatascha Engel
Majority2,861 (5.7%)
Personal details
Lee Benjamin Rowley

(1980-09-11) 11 September 1980 (age 38)[1]
Chesterfield, Derbyshire
Political partyConservative
Alma materLincoln College, Oxford
University of Manchester

Lee Benjamin Rowley (born 11 September 1980) is a Conservative Party politician and former management consultant who was elected as the MP for North East Derbyshire at the 2017 general election.[2] It was a notable Conservative gain as Rowley defeated the sitting Labour MP Natascha Engel in a seat which had been represented by the Labour Party since 1935.[3]

Early life and career[edit]

Rowley was born in Scarsdale Hospital in Chesterfield. The son of a milkman, he grew up in Chesterfield and attended St Mary's High School.[3][4][5] Rowley became the first member of his family to attend university in 1999, when he won an Exhibition to study Modern History at Lincoln College, Oxford.[6] He then read for a master's degree, also in History, at the University of Manchester.[7]

Before becoming an MP, Rowley worked in financial services and management consultancy. He has held positions at Barclays, KPMG, Santander, and Co-op Insurance, where he was Head of Change at the time of his election to Parliament.[8][9] Rowley had also contributed research on welfare and housing to the centre-right think tank, the Centre for Social Justice.[8]

Westminster Councillor[edit]

Aged 26, Rowley was elected as a Conservative councillor in May 2006 for the Maida Vale ward on Westminster City Council in London. He was re-elected in May 2010 and was appointed as cabinet member for parking and transportation. In this role he was responsible for an innovative trial of allowing motorcycles to use bus lanes in 2012,[10] agreeing an out of court settlement with Mouchel over the awarding of a large parking contract in 2011,[11] and victory in the High Court in 2010 over the principle of charging motorcyclists for parking in Westminster.[12]

As the cabinet member for parking, Rowley received media attention after the council was censured by the European Commission for infringing contract laws - and criticised for earlier claiming in a press release it had been "cleared of any wrong-doing". Rowley was alleged to have falsely claimed in a press release that: "We always maintained this contract was properly awarded following a tender process carried out in accordance with the law and we are obviously pleased that the EU has decided to close this case." However, the BBC subsequently obtained documents showing the Commission found against Westminster Council and that it was ordered to make changes. Rowley responded that the earlier statement was not intended to mislead and noted that no punitive action was taken against the council.[13]

As the cabinet member for parking at the Council, Rowley was tasked with implementing the council's policy to expand evening and weekend parking restrictions, which the Council argued was to improve traffic congestion and pollution, but critics argued was partly for income generation.[14][15][16] The policy was supported by some residents, as well as environmental and disability campaigners,[17] but was criticised by some local residents, business owners and religious groups.[15] Dubbed a "nightlife tax" by Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London, and following the High Court blocking the introduction of the parking charges, the plans were dropped when its architect, council leader Colin Barrow, resigned.[18][19][20][21] Rowley also faced calls to resign from a range of sources, including the chef Michel Roux Jr and Glenys Roberts, a fellow Conservative councillor in Westminster.[22][23]

Rowley was transferred to a new role as cabinet member for Community Services in January 2012. He received positive national media coverage for a merger of library management across the London councils of Westminster, Hammersmith & Fulham and Kensington and Chelsea. The councils and Rowley claimed it resulted in significant financial savings, ensured all libraries stayed open across the three councils while retaining front-line staff, and gave residents access to one million books.[24][25][26] Working with the Groundwork Federation Rowley helped oversee a new environmental area that opened up a previously closed part of Paddington Recreation Ground, Westminster's largest open space, to the public in 2014. Helping address an identified deficiency in access to wildlife in the area, a variety of new habitats were created, along with new pathways, a stag beetle loggery, dead wood piles, bird boxes and an informal classroom space.[27]

He stood down as a Councillor and Cabinet Member in Westminster in May 2014 to focus on seeking election as an MP.[28]

Member of Parliament[edit]

Rowley stood unsuccessfully in the 2010 General Election as the Conservative candidate for Bolsover, where he came second to Dennis Skinner. He stood again at the 2015 general election as the Conservative candidate for North East Derbyshire, again coming second, but reducing the sitting Labour MP Natascha Engel's majority to under 2,000 votes. He was subsequently elected as the MP for North East Derbyshire at the 2017 general election with a majority of 2,861.[2] The result was notable as it made Rowley the first Conservative MP for the seat since 1935.

In Parliament, Rowley currently serves on the Public Accounts Committee.[29] He is Chair of an All Party Parliamentary Group, which he set up, investigating the impact of shale gas fracking,[30] and Vice-Chair of an APPG on Ovarian Cancer.[31]

Along with fellow Conservative MP Luke Graham, Rowley helped set up and is Co-Chair of 'Freer', an initiative of the right leaning think tank the Institute of Economic Affairs. The group aims to promote a freer society and freer economy, through liberal economic and social policies.[32]

When interviewed in June 2017 by the Financial Times, Rowley said that he had voted for Brexit at the 2016 referendum, but had not actively campaigned for it. The paper suggested that it appeared 'he had deleted social media posts relating to the referendum period that might reveal how he had voted'.[33] He is not a member but has supported positions taken by the European Research Group - the primary Eurosceptic lobbying group within Parliament, currently chaired by Jacob Rees-Mogg - and is one of a number of Conservative MPs to publicly oppose Theresa May's Chequers proposal.[34][35]


Rowley's constituency includes six oil and gas licence blocks, all awarded to chemical firm INEOS by the Oil and Gas Authority under the 14th licensing round in 2015. There are plans for four shale wells, one hrz frac well and 2D and 3D seismic surveying.[36]

Rowley has actively campaigned against planning applications in his own constituency for fracking operations in defiance of Conservative Party policy, which is supportive of the energy source and has included measures to fast-track its development.[37] He has also argued against his party's efforts to reduce delays in approving schemes. Rowley argued that the specific Marsh Lane application was wrong in terms of content, location and timing, arguing the rural setting was not right for industrial activity. He stated that he would support concerned residents, oppose it and put his own objections against it to Derbyshire County Council.[38] Rowley was also reported to have had a fiery clash with an INEOS barrister when giving evidence in opposition to the planning application by INEOS for Marsh Lane.[39]

Although opposing one specific application for a site in his constituency, he has said on fracking in general: "I am willing to look at fracking long term and to look at new ways of producing energy long term if they can be proven to be safe and efficient and effective for the country."[40][41] It was reported in the national media that, at the Conservative Party Conference in October 2018, he argued his party's support for fracking could see them lose a future general election, due to the unpopularity of the process in local areas.[42]

Personal life[edit]

Rowley is openly gay. Before his election, he worked as a Senior Manager for an insurance company.[43]


  1. ^ "Members' Names Data Platform query". UK Parliament. Retrieved 24 April 2019.
  2. ^ a b "Lee Rowley MP". UK Parliament. Retrieved 31 July 2017.
  3. ^ a b Pidd, Helen (29 June 2017). "Derbyshire North-East: 'In our part of the world Corbyn wasn't an asset'". The Guardian. Retrieved 4 July 2017.
  4. ^ North Derbyshire Conservatives (27 April 2017). "Lee Rowley re-selected as Conservative candidate for North East Derbyshire". North Derbyshire Conservatives. Retrieved 9 June 2017.
  5. ^ "About Lee Rowley". Lee Rowley for North East Derbyshire. Retrieved 9 June 2017.
  6. ^ "Colleges, Halls, and Societies". Oxford University Gazette. 23 November 2000. Retrieved 9 June 2017.
  7. ^ ROWLEY, Lee Benjamin. ukwhoswho.com. Who's Who. 2018 (February 2018 online ed.). A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc. Retrieved 28 August 2018. (subscription or UK public library membership required)
  8. ^ a b "General Election 2017 The Top 25 Candidates to Watch" (PDF). Cicero. Retrieved 14 July 2018.
  9. ^ "St. Mary's Catholic High School (Alumni Profile)" (PDF).
  10. ^ "Motorbikes could be allowed in London bus lanes". London Evening Standard. 1 March 2012. Retrieved 3 November 2018.
  11. ^ "Exclusive: Westminster settle out of court with Mouchel". Local Gov. 25 March 2011. Retrieved 3 November 2018.
  12. ^ "Westminster wins motorcycle parking battle". Local Gov. 16 July 2010. Retrieved 3 November 2018.
  13. ^ "'No wrong-doing' council broke EU law". BBC News. 25 November 2010. Retrieved 3 November 2018.
  14. ^ "'Parking sends very sensible people mad but not everyone hates the new evening fees'". London Evening Standard. 10 November 2011. Retrieved 14 July 2018.
  15. ^ a b Osborne, Alistair (2012). "Westminster council chief behind parking row quits". ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 17 July 2018.
  16. ^ "The council chief behind night parking charges is so meter mad he". Evening Standard. Retrieved 17 July 2018.
  17. ^ Bloom, Ben. "Elderly and disabled support contested Westminster yellow line changes". Hampstead Highgate Express. Retrieved 17 July 2018.
  18. ^ "West End parking: turmoil as chief's shock exit rocks Westminster". London Evening Standard. 16 January 2012. Retrieved 14 July 2018.
  19. ^ "Westminster Council rescinds controversial West End parking charges". Daily Telegraph. 19 January 2012. Retrieved 14 July 2018.
  20. ^ "Restaurant king blasts 'fascist' Westminster over parking". London Evening Standard. 13 March 2012. Retrieved 14 July 2018.
  21. ^ "West End parking banned by stealth". London Evening Standard. 3 January 2012. Retrieved 3 November 2018.
  22. ^ "Poster-boy of 'nightlife tax' faces calls to go". London Evening Standard. 17 January 2012. Retrieved 3 November 2018.
  23. ^ "West End parking: turmoil as chief's shock exit rocks Westminster". London Evening Standard. 16 January 2012. Retrieved 3 November 2018.
  24. ^ "Library users gain wider access". BBC News. 3 October 2012. Retrieved 18 July 2018.
  25. ^ Rowley, Lee (16 March 2012). "How to cut council spending without closing libraries". ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 17 July 2018.
  26. ^ "About Westminster libraries". Westminster City Council. 3 July 2014. Retrieved 18 July 2018.
  27. ^ "Paddington Recreaction Ground". Groundwork. Retrieved 17 July 2018.
  28. ^ "LOCAL ELECTIONS: MAIDA VALE Tory pair are set to step aside". West End Extra. 16 May 2014. Retrieved 3 November 2018.
  29. ^ "Lee Rowley MP". GOV.UK. Retrieved 14 July 2018.
  30. ^ Hayhurst, Ruth (17 March 2018). "New Parliamentary group on shale gas leb by Tory MP". Drill or Drop?.
  31. ^ Commons, The Committee Office, House of. "House of Commons - Register Of All-Party Parliamentary Groups as at 28 September 2017: Ovarian Cancer". publications.parliament.uk. Retrieved 17 July 2018.
  32. ^ "Freer Website". Retrieved 18 July 2018.
  33. ^ "Majority of new Conservative MPs backed UK to remain in EU". Financial Times. 23 June 2017. Retrieved 14 July 2018.
  34. ^ "Letter from European Research Group to PM May". Retrieved 14 July 2018.
  35. ^ "#StandUp4Brexit". Retrieved 15 September 2018.
  36. ^ "Oil and gas: licensing rounds". GOV.UK. Retrieved 17 July 2018.
  37. ^ "MP Rowley says he will oppose fracking changes". Retrieved 17 July 2018.
  38. ^ "INTERVIEW: North East Derbyshire MP, Lee Rowley, gives his views on fracking, HS2 and greenbelt". Retrieved 17 July 2018.
  39. ^ "North Derbyshire MP Lee Rowley has fiery clash with INEOS barrister at fracking inquiry". Peak FM. Retrieved 20 August 2018.
  40. ^ "INTERVIEW: North East Derbyshire MP, Lee Rowley, gives his views on fracking, HS2 and greenbelt". Derbyshire Times. 8 August 2017. Retrieved 14 July 2018.
  41. ^ "MP Rowley says he will oppose fracking changes". Derbyshire Times. 1 June 2018. Retrieved 14 July 2018.
  42. ^ "Tory MPs express fears that fracking will lose them next election". Independent. 3 October 2018. Retrieved 3 November 2018.
  43. ^ Reynolds, Andrew (9 June 2017). "The UK just elected a record number of LGBTQ people to Parliament". Pink News. Retrieved 9 June 2017.

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Natascha Engel
Member of Parliament
for North East Derbyshire