Mark Lancaster

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For the British artist and set designer, see Mark Lancaster (artist).
Lieutenant Colonel
Mark Lancaster
Mark Lancaster MP.jpg
Minister of State for Defence Personnel, Welfare and Veterans
Assumed office
12 May 2015
Prime Minister David Cameron
Preceded by Anna Soubry
Member of Parliament
for Milton Keynes North
North East Milton Keynes (2005-2010)
Assumed office
5 May 2005
Preceded by Brian White
Majority 9,753 (16.9%)[1]
Personal details
Born (1970-05-12) 12 May 1970 (age 45)[1]
Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, England
Nationality English
Political party Conservative
Spouse(s) Katherine (1995-2007)
Caroline Dinenage (2014-present)
Children 1xson, 1xdaughter
Residence Olney, Buckinghamshire
Alma mater University of Buckingham
Religion Church of England
Awards NATO-Kosovo
NATO-Former Yugoslavia
Queen's Golden Jubilee Medal
Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal
Territorial Decoration
Volunteer Reserves Service Medal
Military service
Allegiance United Kingdom
Service/branch Royal Engineers
Years of service 1988–
Rank Lieutenant Colonel
Commands 217 (London) Field Squadron (EOD) RE

John Mark Lancaster TD (born 12 May 1970) is a British Conservative Party politician. He was elected as Member of Parliament for the North East Milton Keynes constituency at the 2005 general election and held its successor seat, Milton Keynes North, at the 2010 general election. Initially appointed as the PPS to the Secretary of State for International Development.[2] He was appointed a Lord Commissioner of Her Majesty's Treasury following his promotion to Government Minister in September 2012 and is currently Minister for Defence Personnel, Veterans and Welfare (Min DPWV) at the Ministry of Defence (MOD) following his promotion after the 2015 General Election.

Early life[edit]

Lancaster was educated at Kimbolton School where his father Ronald Lancaster was chaplain.[3] He graduated as a BSc in Business Studies from the University of Buckingham and MBA from the University of Exeter Business School. He was awarded an Honorary PhD from Buckingham in 2008.[4]

He was a company director for the family firm Kimbolton Fireworks before he was elected to Parliament.[3]

Military career[edit]

Between 1988 and 1990 Lancaster served in the British Army on an extended gap year Commission in Hong Kong with the Queens Gurkha Engineers before going up to university. He then transferred his Commission to the Army Reserve where he continues to serve as a Lieutenant Colonel in the Royal Engineers. He is a qualified EOD operator (Bomb Disposal Officer) and has been on active service three times in Kosovo (1999–2000), Bosnia (2001–2002) and Afghanistan (2006).[3]

He was awarded the Territorial Decoration (TD) in 2002 and the Volunteer Reserves Service Medal (VRSM) in 2012.

Political career[edit]

Lancaster was a Member of Huntingdonshire District Council (1995–1999) where he served as the Chairman of the Leisure Committee (1996–1999). At the 2001 general election, Lancaster stood as the Conservative candidate for Nuneaton. He was beaten by Labour candidate Bill Olner.

Lancaster was elected as Member of Parliament for the North East Milton Keynes in the 2005 general election, unseating former MP Brian White of the Labour Party.

Lancaster was a Conservative Party whip between November 2006 until July 2007, when he was appointed Shadow Minister for International Development under the then Leader of the Opposition David Cameron.[4][5][6]

He has served on the Office of Deputy Prime Minister Select Committee, (2005), Defence Select Committee (2006)[7] and the International Development Select Committee (2009–10).[8]

In 2006 he introduced a Ten Minute Rule Bill in the House that would allow local councils to ban glasses and bottles in late night clubs and bars and replace them with plastic in support of his constituent Blake Golding. Lancaster also submitted an early day motion in 2006 calling for the government to ban sales of alcohol in glass containers in bars after 11pm.[9] [10]

Lancaster was instrumental in helping to reverse the Government cut to the Territorial Army funding in 2009.[citation needed]

He was the (unpaid) Parliamentary Advisor to the Royal Society of Chemistry until his promotion to Minister in 2012.[11]

Shortly after his re-election in 2010 he was appointed as the Parliamentary Private Secretary (PPS) to the Secretary of State for International Development. In September 2012 he became a Government Minister when he was made a Lord Commissioner of Her Majesty's Treasury.

In 2011, he was a member of the special Select Committee set up to scrutinise the Bill that became the Armed Forces Act 2011.[12] He was also a member of the Public Bill Committee for the Defence Reform Act 2014[13]

Political views[edit]

Lancaster has stated his disagreement with the UK Government's policy on the 2003 invasion of Iraq. In an interview with the BBC, he stated "It may well be much harder to get the British public to back other overseas adventures by the military because of what's happened in Iraq."[14]

To the end of March 2011, Lancaster had made 1,178 verbal contributions to Parliament and tabled 1,281 written questions, both well above average for MPs. He has voted in 83% of parliamentary votes in the current parliament. According to the Public Whip, he voted strongly against the introduction of ID cards and in favour of a smoking ban and an investigation into the Iraq war. In votes involving transparency of parliament (including MPs expenses),[15] gay rights, and climate change his voting record is not easily categorized by obvious stereotypes, although in early 2013, Lancaster voted against legislation allowing gay couples to marry at second reading but supported minor 'tidying up' legislation supporting the principle once the main Bill had passed through the House of Commons.[11]

In 2011 Lancaster introduced his own Private Members Bill, which enabled special Olympic 1 kg gold and silver coins to be struck by the Royal Mint as part of the 2012 Olympic legacy. These have now been launched by the Royal Mint. In 2013 Lancaster was successful in his four-year campaign to get Khat classified as a category C drug following calls from his constituents.


Second Home Allowance[edit]

Initially under new Parliamentary rules introduced after the 2010 General Election Lancaster did not qualify for the second homes allowances as was considered to be a 'London Area MP' during which time he had no second home or London accommodation. The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) reversed this decision following their review in April 2011.

In the 2005-10 Parliament Lancaster was left unscathed by the expenses investigation, he did not feature in the Daily Telegraph's investigation and was one of a minority of MPs not asked to pay back any money as a result of the Sir Thomas Legg Enquiry.[16]

Personal life[edit]

Lancaster married Katherine Reader in 1995. They divorced in 2009 and Lancaster had a daughter in a subsequent relationship. In February 2014, he married fellow divorced Conservative MP Caroline Dinenage.[17] Lancaster is a supporter of MK Dons, and enjoys playing cricket, including for the House of Commons team.[3][18]


  1. ^ a b "Mark Lancaster". BBC News. 13 February 2007. Retrieved 2008-04-01. [dead link]
  2. ^
  3. ^ a b c d Andy Dolan (7 March 2009). "Lover splits from high-flying Tory MP and says she'll now vote Labour". London: Daily Mail. Retrieved 5 March 2014. 
  4. ^ a b "Biography of Mark Lancaster". Conservative Party. Retrieved 2009-07-18. 
  5. ^ "Mark Lancaster: Electoral history and profile". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 2010-09-15. [dead link]
  6. ^ "City MP is promoted". MK News. 11 July 2007. Retrieved 2010-09-15. 
  7. ^ "Mark Lancaster: Electoral history and profile". The Guardian (London: Guardian News and Media). Retrieved 2009-07-30. 
  8. ^ "International Development Committee: Members". Parliament of the United Kingdom. Retrieved 2009-07-30. 
  9. ^ "A year in the life of Milton Keynes". Peterborough Evening Telegraph. 27 December 2006. Retrieved 2015-04-07. 
  10. ^ "House of Commons 19 Jun 2006 : Column 1047". Parliament of the United Kingdom. Retrieved 2015-04-07. 
  11. ^ a b "Mark Lancaster MP, Milton Keynes North". TheyWorkForYou. Retrieved 2010-09-15. 
  12. ^ "Select Committee on the Armed Forces Bill". Retrieved 20 September 2013. 
  13. ^ "House of Commons Public Bill Committee on the Defence Reform Bill 2013-14". Retrieved 17 September 2013. 
  14. ^ Mark Easton (20 March 2007). "Iraq: has it changed UK politics?". BBC News. Retrieved 2010-09-15. 
  15. ^ "Mark Lancaster compared to 'Transparency of Parliament'". Public Whip. Retrieved 2010-09-15. 
  16. ^ "MPs bare all over expenses". MK News. 21 May 2009. Retrieved 2010-09-15. 
  17. ^ "Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage weds fellow politician at House of Commons chapel". Portsmouth News. 17 February 2014. Retrieved 5 March 2014. 
  18. ^ "The home of cricket resounds to the sound of leather on Campbell Park willow". MK News. Local Sunday Newspapers. 4 July 2007. Retrieved 2009-07-08. 

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Brian White
Member of Parliament for North East Milton Keynes
Succeeded by
Constituency replaced by Milton Keynes North
Preceded by
Constituency created from North East Milton Keynes
Member of Parliament for Milton Keynes North