Mark Lancaster

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Mark Lancaster
Official portrait of Mark Lancaster crop 2.jpg
Minister of State for the Armed Forces
Assumed office
13 June 2017
Prime Minister Theresa May
Sec. of State Sir Michael Fallon
Preceded by Mike Penning
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State
for Defence Veterans, Reserves and Personnel
In office
12 May 2015 – 13 June 2017
Prime Minister David Cameron
Theresa May
Sec. of State Sir Michael Fallon
Preceded by Anna Soubry
Succeeded by Tobias Ellwood
Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
In office
9 September 2012 – 12 May 2015
Prime Minister David Cameron
Chancellor George Osborne
Member of Parliament
for Milton Keynes North
North East Milton Keynes (2005–2010)
Assumed office
5 May 2005
Preceded by Brian White
Majority 1,915 (3.0%)[1]
Personal details
Born (1970-05-12) 12 May 1970 (age 47)[1]
Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, England
Nationality British
Political party Conservative
Spouse(s) Katherine Reader (1995–2007)
Caroline Dinenage (2014–present)
Children 2
Residence Olney, Buckinghamshire
Alma mater University of Buckingham
University of Exeter
Military service
Allegiance United Kingdom
Service/branch Royal Engineers
Years of service 1988–
Rank Colonel
Commands 217 (London) Field Squadron (EOD) RE
Awards NATO-Kosovo
NATO-Former Yugoslavia
Queen's Golden Jubilee Medal
Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal
Territorial Decoration
Volunteer Reserves Service Medal

Colonel John Mark Lancaster TD MP (born 12 May 1970) is a British Conservative Party politician, who has served as Member of Parliament for Milton Keynes North since the seat's creation at the 2010 general election. He is currently Minister of State for the Armed Forces in the Second May ministry.

He was first elected as Member of Parliament for the North East Milton Keynes constituency at the 2005 general election.

Initially appointed as the PPS to the Secretary of State for International Development,[2] Lancaster was appointed Lord Commissioner of Her Majesty's Treasury in September 2012. He was appointed Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence Personnel, and Veterans at the Ministry of Defence following the formation of the second Cameron ministry on 12 May 2015.

He was reappointed by Theresa May on her becoming Prime Minister in June 2016 and had Reserves added to his portfolio, changing job title to Minister for Defence Veterans, Reserves and Personnel. He was promoted to Minister of State for the Armed Forces after the 2017 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 Queen's Gurkha Engineers before going up to university. He then transferred his Commission to the Army Reserve where he continues to serve as a Colonel in the Royal Engineers. He 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 2011. He was awarded the Bar for a further five years service in 2016.

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 defeated by the Labour candidate Bill Olner.

Lancaster was elected as Member of Parliament gaining North East Milton Keynes for the Conservatives in the 2005 general election, and succeeding 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]

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 May 2015 He was appointed Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Defence, with responsibility for Defence Veterans and Personnel. He had Reserves added to his portfolio in 2016. He was promoted to the Minister of State for the Armed Forces after the 2017 general election.

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]

Up until the June 2017 general election, Lancaster had made 3,308 contributions to Parliament well above average for MPs. He has voted in 88% of parliamentary votes in the 2015–17 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] He later tweeted in July 2016 that he had been wrong to have opposed second reading.

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 he 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, which includes the House of Commons team.[3][18]


  1. ^ a b "Mark Lancaster". BBC News. 13 February 2007. Archived from the original on 5 June 2009. Retrieved 1 April 2008. 
  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 18 July 2009. 
  5. ^ "Mark Lancaster: Electoral history and profile". London: The Guardian. Archived from the original on 25 May 2009. Retrieved 15 September 2010. 
  6. ^ "City MP is promoted". MK News. 11 July 2007. Retrieved 15 September 2010. 
  7. ^ "Mark Lancaster: Electoral history and profile". The Guardian. London: Guardian News and Media. Retrieved 30 July 2009. 
  8. ^ "International Development Committee: Members". Parliament of the United Kingdom. Retrieved 30 July 2009. 
  9. ^ "A year in the life of Milton Keynes". Peterborough Evening Telegraph. 27 December 2006. Retrieved 7 April 2015. 
  10. ^ "House of Commons 19 Jun 2006 : Column 1047". Parliament of the United Kingdom. Retrieved 7 April 2015. 
  11. ^ a b "Mark Lancaster MP, Milton Keynes North". TheyWorkForYou. Retrieved 15 September 2010. 
  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 15 September 2010. 
  15. ^ "Mark Lancaster compared to 'Transparency of Parliament'". Public Whip. Retrieved 15 September 2010. 
  16. ^ "MPs bare all over expenses". MK News. 21 May 2009. Retrieved 15 September 2010. 
  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 8 July 2009. 

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