Mark Wright (politician)

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Mark Wright
Born 1974

Dr Mark Wright is a software engineer and elected councillor in Bristol. He has been councillor for Cabot ward since 2005, and was re-elected in 2009 and 2013.[1] Between 2009 and 2011 he was Executive Councillor responsible for Housing, Service Improvement and IT on Bristol City Council in Bristol, England.[2]


Mark Wright was born in Bristol in 1974, went to schools in Bristol and has a degree in chemistry from Bristol University. He also completed a PhD in astrophysics at Bristol University. This PhD on "interstellar hydroxyl masers" won the Royal Astronomical Society's prize for "Best PhD in the UK" in 2002[3]


In his role on the council executive, Mark Wright was responsible for nearly 30,000 council houses in the city that house over 60,000 residents – one of the largest retained stocks of housing in the country – and was responsible for the spend of about £150m of public money per year.[4] He has initiated the first council house building program in Bristol for nearly 30 years[5][6] and launched a drive to get empty homes in the city back into use.[7] Under his IT remit he also tightened the Council's rules on RIPA authorisations to limit council "snooping" on residents.[8][9][10] He was also chairman of one of the City Council's planning committees from 2007–2009.

He was a member of the South West Provisional Council[11] and sat on the "West of England Partnership" Planning and Housing Board, which oversees policy in the former Avon area.[12] He was a Governor of St George's Primary School, which he helped to save from closure in 2008.[13]

He has a record of opposing ID cards,[14][15] supporting tidal power in the Severn Estuary[16] and supporting civil liberties,[17][18][19] and campaigning for reform of Parliamentary expenses.[20] He has also campaigned against nuclear power[21][22] and against light pollution.[23][24] In 2006 he helped save a popular piece of graffiti by renowned local artist Banksy. An online petition Mark started collected over 3,500 signatures and was at that time the biggest e-Petition the council had ever received.[25]

He was the Liberal Democrat candidate for Bristol South constituency at the 2010 General Election. In May 2011 he was considered a contender for the Bristol Lib Dem leadership.[26]

Open Standards advocacy[edit]

Holding the responsibility for IT at Bristol City Council in 2009, Wright was a vocal proponent of Open Source,[27][28] open document formats,[29] and open data in UK local government.[30][31] He speaks at IT conferences to highlight the problems still faced by public sector organisations wanting to avoid "vendor lock-in", particularly to Microsoft.[32][33]


  1. ^ Bristol City Council: Councillor Details Archived 3 April 2013 at the Wayback Machine.
  2. ^ Bristol Evening Post: Mr Wright who can do no wrong
  3. ^ Royal Astronomical Society: Winners of the 2002 Thesis Prizes
  4. ^ Bristol City Council: Budget 2009–2010 Archived 4 June 2009 at the Wayback Machine.
  5. ^ This is Bristol: Bristol to build first council houses in 30 years
  6. ^ eGov Monitor: Council wins another £2.3m to finance more new homes Archived 29 January 2016 at the Wayback Machine.
  7. ^ Bristol 24/7: Landlords have "Social responsibility" to fill empty homes Archived 6 February 2010 at the Wayback Machine.
  8. ^ This is Bristol: Bristol housing chief – we won't snoop on you
  9. ^ Jack FM: Snooping Powers Only "Last Resort" in Bristol[permanent dead link]
  10. ^ Bristol City Council: Council takes action to safeguard privacy
  11. ^ South West Provincial Council Members
  12. ^ West of England Partnership Planning and Housing Board[permanent dead link]
  13. ^ This is Bristol: Two Bristol primaries axed – but one survives
  14. ^ The Guardian: Council votes to oppose ID cards
  15. ^ This is Bristol: 'Bristol schools letting in ID cards by the back door'
  16. ^ This is Somerset: Lib Dems oppose barrage across Bristol Channel
  17. ^ The BBC: Bristol plans to restrict outdoor play in parks withdrawn
  18. ^ The Guardian: Bristol plans ban for tree-climbing, skateboarding and 'annoying' football
  19. ^ The Daily Mail: Killjoy council tries to BAN youngsters from climbing trees...
  20. ^ This is Bristol: Would-be Bristol MP backs calls to change politicians' expenses
  21. ^ Original 106.5: Bristolians "Should Have Say" On Nuclear Plans[not in citation given]
  22. ^ Bristol 24/7: Call for city to oppose new nuclear power plants Archived 27 December 2009 at the Wayback Machine.
  23. ^ Bristol City Council: Help us reduce unnecessary floodlighting says council housing chief Archived 2 December 2009 at the Wayback Machine.
  24. ^ Reduce Floodlighting, Says Housing Chief
  25. ^ Bristol Indymedia: Help protect Banksy's Park St mural, again![dubious ]
  26. ^ Bristol Post
  27. ^ The Register: Bristol Council mulls mixed FOSS, Microsoft upgrade
  28. ^ thinq: Bristol councillor makes stand for open source
  29. ^ Openforum Europe: UK Government pushes for open standards Archived 29 May 2011 at the Wayback Machine.
  30. ^ BEP Find out where your money's going
  31. ^ Bristol 24/7: Wikipedia founder in Bristol to celebrate 10th anniversary
  32. ^ Westminster eForum Keynote Seminar: Open source software
  33. ^ [1] Archived 12 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine.

External links[edit]