Mark Francois

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Mark Francois

Official portrait of Mr Mark Francois crop 2.jpg
Deputy Chairman of the European Research Group
Assumed office
19 March 2018
Serving with Steve Baker since 9 July 2018
ChairmanJacob Rees-Mogg
Preceded byMichael Tomlinson
Minister of State for Communities and Resilience
In office
11 May 2015 – 16 July 2016
Prime MinisterDavid Cameron
Theresa May
Preceded byOffice established
Succeeded byOffice abolished
Minister of State for Portsmouth
In office
11 May 2015 – 16 July 2016
Prime MinisterDavid Cameron
Theresa May
Preceded byMatthew Hancock
Succeeded byOffice abolished
Minister of State for the Armed Forces
In office
7 October 2013 – 11 May 2015
Prime MinisterDavid Cameron
Preceded byAndrew Robathan
Succeeded byPenny Mordaunt
Minister of State for Defence Personnel, Welfare and Veterans
In office
4 September 2012 – 7 October 2013
Prime MinisterDavid Cameron
Preceded byAndrew Robathan
Succeeded byAnna Soubry
Vice-Chamberlain of the Household
In office
11 May 2010 – 4 September 2012
Prime MinisterDavid Cameron
Preceded byHelen Jones
Succeeded byGreg Knight
Shadow Minister for Europe
In office
29 May 2007 – 11 May 2010
LeaderDavid Cameron
Preceded byGraham Brady
Succeeded byChris Bryant
Member of Parliament
for Rayleigh and Wickford
Rayleigh (2001–2010)
Assumed office
7 June 2001
Preceded byMichael Clark
Majority23,450 (42.4%)
Personal details
Born (1965-08-14) 14 August 1965 (age 53)
Islington, London, England
Political partyConservative
Alma materUniversity of Bristol
King's College London
Military service
AllegianceUnited Kingdom
Branch/serviceRoyal Anglian Regiment (reserve catering)
Years of service1985–1991 (reserve)
RankLieutenant (reserve)

Mark Gino Francois MP (/frɑːnˈswɑː/;[1] 14 August 1965) is a British Conservative Party politician, and former lobbyist. He is the Member of Parliament (MP) for Rayleigh and Wickford and former MP for Rayleigh. He has previously served as a Minister of State at the Ministry of Defence, a Minister of State for the Armed Forces, a Minister of State for Communities and Resilience and Minister for Portsmouth at the Department for Communities and Local Government.[2] In 2018, he was appointed the Deputy Chair and de facto "Whip"[3][4] of the Conservative eurosceptic European Research Group by its Chair, Jacob Rees-Mogg. He was a prominent critic of the leadership of Theresa May during her time as leader of the Conservative Party and called for her to resign on many occasions. [5]

Early life[edit]

Mark Gino Francois was born in Islington, London. The son of Reginald Francois, an engineer,[6] and Anna, his Italian mother,[7] he was educated at the Nicholas Comprehensive School in Basildon, Essex, and at the University of Bristol, where he was awarded a Bachelor of Arts degree in History in 1986. He was also the chairman of the University's Conservative Association. He completed his studies at King's College London where he earned an MA in War Studies in 1987.

On leaving university he became a management trainee with Lloyds Bank. He joined lobbying company Market Access International in 1988, leaving as a director to set up his own lobbying firm, Francois Associates, in 1996.

Territorial Army[edit]

Francois was a part-time Territorial Army catering corps & infantry officer from 1983 to 1989, including with the local Royal Anglian Regiment.[8]

Councillor and parliamentary candidate[edit]

He was a member of Basildon District Council for the Langdon Hills ward from 1991 to 1995. He stood for Brent East at the 1997 general election, losing to Ken Livingstone (who later became the Mayor of London). Following the death of Alan Clark in 1999, he narrowly lost out to Michael Portillo in the selection for the 1999 Kensington and Chelsea by-election. On the retirement of Michael Clark at the 2001 general election, he beat Boris Johnson to be selected to fight the safe Conservative seat of Rayleigh.

Member of Parliament[edit]

Francois won in Rayleigh in 2001 with a majority of 8,290, and was re-elected in 2005 and 2010 with increased majorities.[9][10] He made his maiden speech on 4 July 2001.[11]

He served as a member of the Environmental Audit Select Committee for the duration of his first term in Parliament. He was promoted to become an Opposition Whip in 2003 by Michael Howard; to Shadow Economic Secretary in September 2004; and later to Shadow Paymaster General scrutinising HMRC. He was promoted to be Shadow Minister for Europe in May 2007, and joined the Shadow Cabinet at the January 2009 reshuffle. As Shadow Minister for Europe Francois oversaw the Conservative Party's withdrawal from the federalist EPP grouping in the European Parliament, the creation of the ECR grouping and the Conservative's opposition in the House of Commons to the Treaty of Lisbon, which he spoke against on many occasions including on 5 March 2008 in the debate to pass the European Union (Amendment) Act 2008.[12]

When the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats joined in a coalition government following the 2010 general election, he was appointed Vice-Chamberlain of the Household, a sinecure given to a Government Whip that entails being kept as 'captive' at Buckingham Palace when the Queen opens Parliament. He joined the Privy Council on 9 June 2010.[13] In 2011, he was a member of the special Select Committee set up to scrutinise the Bill that became the Armed Forces Act 2011.[14]

He was appointed Minister of State for Defence Personnel, Welfare and Veterans in the Ministry of Defence in September 2012. From October 2013 to May 2015, he was Minister of State with responsibility for the armed forces, cyber activity, and force generation.[15]

Following the 2015 general election, he became Minister of State for Communities and Resilience and Minister for Portsmouth at the Department for Communities and Local Government.[2]

Francois left the government after Theresa May was appointed Prime Minister, but she appointed him to conduct a review into the use of reserves in the Army.[16]

Since September 2017, Francois has sat on the Defence Select Committee and is a former member of the Administration Committee, the Committee of Selection, Defence Committee and Environmental Audit Committee.[17] He is a Vice-President of Conservative Friends of Poland.[18]

Personal life[edit]

Francois married Karen Thomas at Langdon Hills, Basildon, in June 2000. The marriage was dissolved in 2006.[19]


  1. ^ Seymour, Ellee (2009). Mark Francois joins Eastern Region candidates. YouTube. Event occurs at 0:09. Retrieved 21 December 2018.
  2. ^ a b O'Leary, Miles (14 May 2015). "Essex MP Mark Francois appointed Minister for Portsmouth". Portsmouth News. Retrieved 14 May 2015.
    - "The Rt Hon Mark Francois MP". Retrieved 21 May 2015.
  3. ^ "Jacob Rees-Mogg submits letter of no confidence in Theresa May as Michael Gove 'rejects' Brexit Secretary job". Evening Standard. 16 November 2018. Retrieved 12 March 2019.
  4. ^ "The group that broke British politics". The Economist. 28 February 2018. Retrieved 29 March 2019.
  5. ^
  6. ^ "Mark Francois MP: Raised on a council estate and reared on tales of Churchill. Why I am a Conservative". Conservative Home. Retrieved 9 April 2019.
  7. ^ "MP backs Italian Market in Rayleigh High Street". Mark Francois. Retrieved 9 March 2019.
  8. ^ "Mark Francois". Retrieved 16 November 2018.
    - "Environmental Audit Committee – UK Parliament". Retrieved 18 March 2019.
  9. ^ Leigh Rayment's Historical List of MPs – Constituencies beginning with "R" (part 1)
  10. ^ "BBC News – Election 2010 – Constituency – Rayleigh & Wickford".
  11. ^ "House of Commons Hansard Debates for 4 Jul 2001 (pt 15)".
  12. ^ "House of Commons Hansard Debates for 05 Mar 2008 (pt 0023)".
  13. ^ "Privy Council Orders". Privy Council. 9 June 2010. Archived from the original on 2 December 2010. Retrieved 26 July 2010.
  14. ^ "Select Committee on the Armed Forces Bill". Retrieved 20 September 2013.
  15. ^ "Minister of State for the Armed Forces". Retrieved 17 October 2013.
  16. ^ "New ministerial and government appointments announced on July 17 2016". UK Prime Minister's Office. 17 July 2016. Retrieved 18 July 2016.
  17. ^ "Mark Francois MP". GOV.UK. Retrieved 28 March 2019.
  18. ^ Conservative Friends of Poland website Archived 3 November 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  19. ^ "Francois, Rt Hon. Mark (Gino)". WHO'S WHO & WHO WAS WHO. doi:10.1093/ww/9780199540884.001.0001/ww-9780199540884-e-42285/version/4.

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Michael Clark
Member of Parliament for Rayleigh
Political offices
Preceded by
Graham Brady
Shadow Minister for Europe
Succeeded by
Chris Bryant
Preceded by
Helen Jones
Vice-Chamberlain of the Household
Succeeded by
Greg Knight