Robert Buckland

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Robert Buckland
Official portrait of Robert Buckland crop 2.jpg
Solicitor General for England and Wales
Assumed office
15 July 2014
Prime Minister David Cameron
Theresa May
Preceded by Oliver Heald
Member of Parliament
for South Swindon
Assumed office
6 May 2010
Preceded by Anne Snelgrove
Majority 2,464 (4.8%)
Personal details
Born Robert James Buckland
(1968-09-22) 22 September 1968 (age 49)
Llanelli, Carmarthenshire, Wales
Nationality British
Political party Conservative
Spouse(s) Sian
Alma mater Inns of Court School of Law, University of Durham
Occupation Barrister, Crown Court Recorder

Robert James Buckland[1] QC MP (born 22 September 1968)[2] is a Conservative Party politician and British barrister. He is the Solicitor General for England and Wales and is the Member of Parliament (MP) for Swindon South, having first won the seat from the Labour Party at the 2010 general election. Buckland was a supporter of Britain's membership of the European Union.

Early life and career[edit]

Buckland was born on the 22 September 1968 in Llanelli, Wales. He was privately educated at Old Road County Primary School and St Michael's School. He then studied at Hatfield College of the University of Durham, where he became Secretary of the Junior Common Room and President of the Durham Union Society in Michaelmas term 1989.[3] He graduated in Law in 1990 and was called to the Bar at Inner Temple in 1991.[4]

Buckland practised as a barrister in Wales from 1992 to 2010, specialising in criminal law. In 2009, he was appointed as a Recorder, sitting as a part-time Judge in the Crown Court. He became a Queen's Counsel in 2014 on becoming Solicitor General and a Master of the Bench at Inner Temple.[5]

Political career[edit]

Buckland stood as the Conservative Party candidate for Elli Ward on Dyfed County Council in May 1993 where he won the seat from Labour with a majority of just 3 votes. It was reported that he was the first Conservative "in living memory" to have been elected in the Llanelli area.[6] Following local government reorganisation, the Elli Ward became part of the unitary Carmarthenshire County Council and Buckland stood again in 1995 where he lost to the Labour candidate by over 200 votes.[7] In 1994, Buckland stood unsuccessfully as the Conservative Party candidate for the safe Labour European Parliament seat of South Wales West. In 1995, Buckland stood unsuccessfully as the Conservative Party candidate for the safe Labour parliamentary seat of Islwyn in a by-election. This had been caused by the appointment of the sitting MP Neil Kinnock as European Commissioner. The by-election was held at a time of unpopularity for the Conservative Government, and was comfortably won by the Labour candidate, Don Touhig, with Buckland polling only 3.9% of the vote. He went on to stand unsuccessfully for the Conservative Party as their candidate for Preseli Pembrokeshire at the 1997 general election. He was on the Conservative Party list of candidates for Wales at the 1999 European elections, but was again unsuccessful.

In 2005, Buckland was selected as the Conservative Party's prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Swindon South, replacing former MP Simon Coombs who had represented Swindon between 1983 and 1997, and had unsuccessfully contested the seat in 2001. At the 2005 general election, Buckland lost to Labour candidate Anne Snelgrove, who polled 17,534 votes to his 16,181, a narrow majority of 1,353 votes.

Parliamentary career[edit]

Following defeat in 2005, Buckland won the South Swindon seat at the 2010 general election with a majority of 3,544 votes. This represented a swing of 5.51% to the Conservatives. He obtained 19,687 votes, (41.8% of the total) compared to 16,143 votes for the incumbent Snelgrove.

In 2010, Buckland was elected to the Justice Select Committee. In 2012, Buckland along with fellow Tory MP Stuart Andrew, called for prisoners' mobile phones to be destroyed or sold to raise money for victims' charities, saying that mobiles in prison were a "menace" and that selling them would provide a service to the country, as it costs £20,000 a year to store criminals' phones. They were both supported by Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Legal Aid and Legal Services Jeremy Wright and Shadow Secretary of State for Justice Sadiq Khan.[8] He Chaired the All Party Group on Autism from 2011 to 2014 and was an officer of the All Party Group on Speech, Language and Communication.

On 4 December 2012 Buckland was elected Joint Secretary of the influential 1922 Backbench Committee. He was also Chair of the Conservative Human Rights Commission from 2011 to 2014. He also sat on the Standards Committee and the Privileges Committee from 2012 to 2014. He also served on the Joint Committee on Human Rights from 2013 to 2014 and the Joint Committee on Privacy and Superinjunctions which was convened from 2011 to 2012.[9]

On 15 July 2014, Buckland was appointed Solicitor General for England and Wales, replacing Oliver Heald as part of a wide-ranging government reshuffle.[10]

As Solicitor General, Buckland took the Serious Crime Bill 2014 (now the Serious Crime Act 2015) through its Commons stages in Bill Committee. The Bill contained provisions that, amongst other things, updated the criminal law of child neglect and introduced a criminal offence of coercive control of people within close relationships in a domestic context. As a backbencher, he had campaigned on these issues. In 2015, he worked with Home Office Minister James Brokenshire to take the Immigration Bill through its Commons stages. In 2016, he successfully helped to take the Investigatory Powers Bill through its Commons stages.

In 2017 and 2018, he was one of the Ministers who took the EU Withdrawal Bill through its Commons stages. In September 2018, he appeared for the U.K. in International Court of Justice Advisory proceedings in The Hague that were brought by Mauritius in relation to the sovereignty of the Chagos Islands in the Indian Ocean.

One of his Ministerial functions is the making of references to the Court of Appeal about certain Crown Court sentences that may be Unduly Lenient. He has conducted many of his own references before the Court in person.

In the 2015 general election, Buckland retained his seat with an increased majority of 5,785 votes, a swing of 2.2% to the Conservatives and an increase of 4.5% in the Conservative vote. In the 2017 general election, Buckland again held his seat, but with a decreased majority of 2,484 votes, a swing of 3.5% to Labour but with an increase of 8.9% in the Conservative vote.

In the House of Commons he has sat on the Speaker's Advisory Committee on Works of Art, Statutory Instruments (Select and and Joint Committees), Standards and Privileges Committee, Privacy and Injunctions (Joint Committee), Consolidation Bills (Joint Committee), Justice Committee and Human Rights (Joint Committee).[11]

His appointment as Solicitor General for England and Wales in July 2014 attracted controversy after it was revealed he had been found to have committed professional misconduct by the Bar Standards Board for a case related to voluntary work in 2008, when he had headed up an investigation into a racially-motivated attack at a school at which he was a governor. In response, the Attorney General's office stated that Buckland's breach had been "minor" and that the finding "was removed from the Bar records after two years and therefore Mr Buckland was not required to declare it upon appointment as Solicitor General."


In 2011, Buckland was awarded the Politician of the Year Award by the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists for his campaigning work on speech, language and communication issues. In January 2013, Buckland was awarded the Grassroot Diplomat Initiative Award under the Social Driver category for his extensive work on advocating awareness at parliament for children with special educational needs, including those with autism both locally and nationally.[12]


  1. ^ "No. 59418". The London Gazette. 13 May 2010. p. 8745. 
  2. ^ "Robert Buckland MP". BBC Democracy Live. BBC. Archived from the original on 15 March 2014. Retrieved 25 July 2010. 
  3. ^ "About Robert". Robert Buckland QC MP. Retrieved 11 March 2018. 
  4. ^ "About Robert". Robert Buckland. Archived from the original on 23 November 2015. Retrieved 22 November 2015. 
  5. ^ Phillip Taylor MBE (26 October 2015). "What the modern Solicitor General does as a government officer in 2015". The Barrister Magazine. Archived from the original on 23 November 2015. 
  6. ^ Castle, Stephen; Birnberg, Ariadne (9 February 1997). "The Cabinet of Tomorrow?". The Independent. Archived from the original on 21 June 2013. 
  7. ^ "Carmarthenshire Council Election Results 1995-2012" (PDF). Plymouth University. Retrieved 18 September 2018. 
  8. ^ "MP bids to allow prisoners' mobile phones to be sold off". BBC News. 14 September 2012. Archived from the original on 21 October 2012. Retrieved 17 October 2012. 
  9. ^ "Robert Buckland MP". UK Parliament. Archived from the original on 20 December 2015. Retrieved 22 November 2015. 
  10. ^ Graham, Georgia (15 July 2014). "Cabinet reshuffle: after the sackings, the ministerial promotions". Telegraph. Archived from the original on 25 November 2015. 
  11. ^ "Robert Buckland". Parliament UK. Retrieved 18 September 2018. 
  12. ^ "Grassroot Diplomat Who's Who". Grassroot Diplomat. 15 March 2015. Archived from the original on 20 May 2015. Retrieved 27 April 2015. 

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Anne Snelgrove
Member of Parliament for Swindon South
Political offices
Preceded by
Oliver Heald
Solicitor General for England and Wales