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|Executive Member Children's Services at Central Bedfordshire Council|
19 May 2011
|Councillor, London Borough of Harrow|
May 2002 – May 2011
|Alma mater||Westminster, Reading, and Oxford|
|Years of service||1996-present|
Mark Anthony Gaius Versallion is a British politician, businessman, and officer in the Royal Naval Reserve. He was the Conservative prospective parliamentary candidate for Stretford and Urmston from 2007 to 2009 and from 2009 to 2011 was Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Forum of the Conservative Party. Since 2011 he has been a Cabinet member of Central Bedfordshire unitary authority.
Born in Cornwall, England, Versallion established his first business in 1988, a music promotions and equipment company, and was educated at the University of Westminster in business and economics. He then gained a master's degree in politics at the University of Reading, tutored by John Cottingham, and at Reading was elected chairman of post-graduates. After being admitted to the Royal Institute of International Affairs and the Carlton Club, he gained a joint doctorate at the Universities of Oxford and Reading.
During the 1990s Versallion worked in the House of Commons as an aide to Cabinet Office Minister, Robert Hughes MP, and in 1996 was elected chairman of the Young Conservatives. In 1997 he joined BAE Systems, moving on from there to Capgemini. After working for U. S. Senator Rod Grams in the 2000 U.S. elections, Versallion returned home and founded the London marketing agency VML. He was its managing director in London and Minneapolis from 2001-11. In 2011, on his election to Central Bedfordshire Council, he gave up operational control of his company and became its chairman, making more time for politics. Versallion was a non-executive director of the North West London NHS Hospitals Trust from 2008-13 and since 2013 has been a non-executive director of the Luton and Dunstable University Hospital.
In 1996 Versallion was recruited by the Royal Navy Reserve. Before passing out from Britannia Royal Naval College he served aboard the destroyer HMS Gloucester. After Dartmouth he served aboard the frigate HMS Richmond before appointment to classified roles. In 2009 he deployed on Operation Pearl, a counter-piracy mission off the Horn of Africa. In 2010 he was awarded the VR medal. He is a graduate of the Joint Services Command and Staff College and of the NATO School at Oberammergau, Germany and holds the rank of Lieutenant.
In 1997, Versallion became a school governor and in 1998 was elected deputy chairman of his constituency association. In 1996 he had been selected for the Harrow London Borough Council seat of Harrow on the Hill, but in the local elections of 1998 he lost by five votes, in a cliff-hanger election with three recounts. The result decided the overall control of the Council.[not in citation given] He was encouraged to fight on by his friend Nicholas Bethell.
In 2002, Versallion was elected as a Harrow councillor for Harrow on the Hill, and at the same time the Conservatives narrowly gained control there. In nine years at Harrow, he led on Performance and Finance, Education, and Children and Young People, and also acted as Chief Whip when there was a Conservative majority of only one. Outside the council, Versallion was Chairman of Harrow Hill Trust Community Relations, a Director of Harrow Fields Gardens Estate Company, and a member of the Board of the Harrow Heritage Trust.[not in citation given] From 2007 to 2011 he served on the Deputy Lieutenants' Committee, and due to his naval experience was also the Borough Council's sole representative on the Reserve Forces and Cadets Association.
In 2011, Versallion was elected to Central Bedfordshire Council for the ward of Heath and Reach. After his nomination as Bedfordshire's Portfolio Holder for Education in 2011, to avoid conflict of interest, Versallion himself ceded his place as a Councillor in London in order to avoid double responsibilities. He was appointed cabinet portfolio holder for Children's Services and Schools and resigned from Harrow Council.
He also resigned from his day job as director of a marketing company to focus on his Cabinet role in Central Bedfordshire.[not in citation given][not in citation given][not in citation given] Versallion became Military Covenant Champion for Central Bedfordshire in 2011. According to The Times, he quickly changed the policy of the Council to enable rapid school reorganisation. In a BBC One TV news interview on 17 April 2012 he defended his decision to close a state-run PRU school and create a new free school in its place, controversially with Council assets. In 2012-13 Versallion converted ten schools' age ranges, bringing to an end the decades-long arguments over the three tier education system in Bedfordshire. In 2014 he closed a further three schools.[not in citation given] He was the subject of a government film on these changes.
In 2007 Versallion was selected as the Conservative prospective parliamentary candidate for Stretford and Urmston, a position he resigned from in October 2009. In December 2009, it was reported that Versallion had become chairman of the Foreign Affairs Forum of the Conservative Party. His first overseas engagement was in Macedonia in January 2010, representing the Conservative Party, with Lord Foulkes representing Labour, in meetings with the parliament and Trajko Veljanovski. His term of office ended in 2011.
Versallion is the author of:
- A Conquest of Thoughts (London: Powell Press, 1995, ISBN 0952744104)
- Furore Poeticus (London: Powell Press, 1996)
- "Cllr Mark Versallion", Linslade School. Retrieved 12 May 2014.
- , About, retrieved 22Feb16
- Farmer, Melanie. (29 February 2000). "Ernst & Young sells consulting unit to Cap Gemini". CNET News. Retrieved 12 May 2014.
- "About Us", Versallion Marketing. Retrieved 12 May 2014.
- "Non-Executive Directors". Luton and Dunstable University Hospital. Retrieved 12 May 2014.
- The Health & Social Care Yearbook (2009), p. 273: "Non-Executive Director Mr Mark Versallion"
- North West London Hospitals Trust http://www.ntda.nhs.uk/blog/2014/10/01/merger-of-the-north-west-london-hospitals-nhs-trust-and-ealing-hospital-nhs-trust
- The London Gazette dated 08 Feb 2000: M A Versallion promoted Acting Sub Lieutenant 09 Dec 1999
- Johnson, Chrtistina. (19 June 2011(). "Mark and Ian go on parade with the navy", Luton & Dunstable Express. Retrieved 12 May 2014.
- Versallion awarded VRSM, http://www.navy-net.co.uk/community/threads/latest-awards-of-ls-gc-msm-vrsm-etc.61698/page-9, retrieved 05Mar16
- Stationery Office Staff, The Local Government Companion (2003), p. 439: "Mark Versallion (Harrow on the Hill)"
- info from London Borough of Harrow web site Archived September 27, 2011, at the Wayback Machine.
- LGA.gov.uk article, 17 Jan 2008[dead link]
- Folkes, Sherelle. (7 November 2003). "Vandals Smash New Viewpoint". Harrow Times. Retrieved 12 May 2014.
- London Borough of Harrow Deputy Lord Lt Committee, https://www.harrow.gov.uk/www2/documents/b6450/Tabled%20Items%20Thursday%2010-Jul-2008%2019.30%20Council.pdf?T=9
- "Outside Body Appointments 200?/0?" (27 May 2010). "Harrow Council". Retrieved 12 May 2014.
- "Elections 2011: Dominant Tories hold Central Beds Council" (6 May 2011). Leighton Buzzard Observer. Retrieved 12 May 2014.
- Proctor, Ian. (23 June 2011). "Former Tory colleagues face off in Stanmore Park by-election", getwestlondon. Retrieved 12 May 2014.
- "Councillor Mark Versallion", Harrow Council. Archived from the original on 27 September 2011.
- Cain, Kathryn. "Free School Plans Seek Green Light". Bedfordshire on Sunday. Retrieved 12 May 2014.
- "Versallion presents Foster Carers Awards". (19 May 2012). Leighton Buzzard Observer. Retrieved 12 May 2014.
- "Authority gives support to calls for exam review" (7 October 2012). Luton & Dunstable Express. Retrieved 12 May 2014.
- "Armed Forces Covenant for Central Bedfordshire". Central Bedfordshire Together. Retrieved 12 May 2014.
- The Times newspaper dated 19 and 23 July 2011.
- "Dunstable middle schools closure consultation to begin". (5 February 2014). BBC News. Retrieved 12 May 2014.
- "Changes to schools in Central Bedfordshire 2013", Let's Talk Central. Retrieved 12 May 2014.
- BBC News http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-beds-bucks-herts-34551151, retrieved 22Feb16
- article from Messenger Newspapers dated 5 Sept 2007[dead link]
- Isaby, Jonathan. (21 October 2009) "Mark Versallion steps down as PPC for Stretford and Urmston". conservativehome. Retrieved 13 May 2014.
- "About Mark", Mark Versallion. Retrieved 12 May 2014.
- "Foreign Affairs Forum of the Conservative Party", Retrieved 31 Jan 2010
- "Meeting of the President of the Assembly of the Republic of Macedonia, Mr. Trajko Veljanoski with Lord George Foulkes from the House of Lords of the United Kingdom Parliament, and Mr. Mark Versallion, Member of the Conservative Party", (22 January 2010). Assembly of the Republic of Macedoinia. Retrieved 13 May 2014
- A Conquest of Thoughts, outline page at books.google.co.uk, accessed 23 Dec 2013