Steve Baker (politician)

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Steve Baker
MP
Official portrait of Mr Steve Baker crop 2.jpg
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union
Assumed office
13 June 2017
Prime Minister Theresa May
Preceded by The Lord Bridges of Headley
Member of Parliament
for Wycombe
Assumed office
6 May 2010
Preceded by Paul Goodman
Majority 6,578 (12.3%)
Personal details
Born Steven John Baker
(1971-06-06) 6 June 1971 (age 46)
St Austell, Cornwall, England
Political party Conservative
Alma mater University of Southampton
St Cross College, Oxford
Website Official website
Commons website
Military career
Allegiance  United Kingdom
Service/branch  Royal Air Force
Years of service 1989–1999
Rank Flight lieutenant
Service number 5206370Q

Steven John Baker (born 6 June 1971) is a British Conservative Party politician.[1] He is the Member of Parliament (MP) for Wycombe, having been elected in the 2010 general election.[2] He has been a member of the executive of the 1922 Committee since May 2012.[citation needed]

Baker served in the Royal Air Force as an aerospace engineer from 1989–99. After leaving the RAF, he studied for a postgraduate degree in Computer Science at the University of Oxford, later becoming a software engineer and consultant. He chose to enter politics after witnessing the financial crisis in 2008, having worked in the IT department at Lehman Brothers in Canary Wharf. He was elected MP for Wycombe in 2010.[citation needed]

Since entering Parliament, he has campaigned against bail-outs for the financial sector and central banking, against the construction of High Speed 2[citation needed], and against British membership of the European Union. In June 2015, he became co-chairman of Conservatives for Britain, a campaigning organisation formed of eurosceptic MPs, alongside Conservative MEP David Campbell Bannerman.[3]

He co-founded The Cobden Centre, on which he sits on the advisory board. He established and chairs the all-party parliamentary group (APPG) on Economics, Money and Banking and is vice-chair of the APPG for Aerospace. He sat on the Treasury Select Committee.[citation needed]

Education[edit]

Born in St Austell,[4] Baker was educated at Poltair School in St Austell and St Austell Sixth Form College followed by the University of Southampton[5] where he gained a BEng in Aerospace Engineering. He later studied at St Cross College, Oxford, where he earned an MSc in Computation.

Early career[edit]

On 3 September 1989 Baker was commissioned as an Acting Pilot Officer into the Engineering Branch of the Royal Air Force, having previously held the rank of Corporal, before being regraded as a Pilot Officer on 15 July 1992.[6][7] Baker retired from the RAF on 1 August 1999 at his own request having attained the rank of Flight lieutenant.[8] He later worked as a consulting software engineer and manager. He was head of consulting and product manager with DecisionSoft Ltd (now named CoreFiling) in Oxford, 2000–01.[citation needed]

He was appointed as Chief Technical Officer at BASDA Ltd, Great Missenden in 2002, a position he held until 2007.[citation needed] For a year from 2005 he was director of product development at CoreFiling Ltd, Oxford. He was the chief architect of global financing and asset service platforms at Lehman Brothers, 2006–08. He has been principal of Ambriel Consulting Ltd since 2001. He is a founding member of The Cobden Centre, an educational charity promoting Austrian economics.[9] He has been an associate consultant with the Centre for Social Justice since 2008.[citation needed]

Parliamentary career[edit]

Baker was selected as the Conservative candidate for Wycombe on 31 October 2009, after former Conservative MP Paul Goodman stood down; it was the first seat for which Baker had sought selection.[5] Baker held the seat for the Conservative Party. He received 23,423 votes – a vote share of 48.6%,[10][11] higher than Goodman's 42.4% and 45.8% in the 2001 and 2005 general elections respectively.[12] In 2010, he was appointed to the Transport Select Committee.

Baker is rated as one of the Conservatives' top 10 most rebellious MPs of the 2010 intake.[13] He was nominated as a 'Newcomer of the Year' on ConservativeHome.[14]

He was named as the most authoritative Member of Parliament on Twitter in January 2011.[15][16]

In March 2011, Baker initiated an adjournment debate on the malicious prosecution of an operator of an independent mental health unit. Eventually, the Solicitor General Edward Garnier issued an apology.[17]

Baker has campaigned for banking reform, calling for banks to re-adopt Generally Accepted Accounting Practice to account for devalued loans, as well as failed ones;[18] in May 2011, he calculated that the use of IFRS instead of GAAP over-stated the strength of Royal Bank of Scotland's balance sheet by £25bn.[19]

He introduced a Ten Minute Rule bill to 'bring casino banking into the light', by changing rules by which banks account for derivatives.[20]

He was elected to the executive of the 1922 Committee on 16 May 2012, saying he was 'fed up with factionalism' and wanted 'to stand as neither a modernising 301 candidate or a traditionalist'.[21]

Baker was shortlisted for the Grassroot Diplomat Initiative Award in 2015 for the founding of the Cobden Centre, and remains in the directory of the Grassroot Diplomat Who's Who publication.[22]

Political positions[edit]

Baker rejects war as a policy, stating, "While clearly it has been breached repeatedly, the Kellogg–Briand Pact of 1929 renounced war for the settlement of international disputes. It remains in force."[23] Coupled with this, Baker is in favour of nuclear deterrents, on the grounds of "Van Creveld's argument that nuclear weapons make total war impossible".[23]

Regarding parliamentary procedures, Baker wants to reform Early day motions (EDMs), possibly replacing them with "Members' Motions" on the grounds that EDMs 'are used to publicise the views of individual MPs', whereas a system such as 'Members' Motions' could be 'debated by the House'.[24]

Baker describes his political inspiration as being the Liberal Richard Cobden, founding the Cobden Centre under the motto: 'Peace will come to earth when the people have more to do with each other and governments less'.[25][26] He has spoken about the free trade opportunities for the U.K. post-Brexit, but has warned of the need to protect against the trade policies of other countries, including China.[27]

Despite being MP for a constituency through which High Speed 2 is not planned to run, Baker opposes the construction of the line against the party Whip.[28] He argues that the plan does not 'make sense for the whole country', and, while believing that the route should not run through Buckinghamshire, campaigns to scrap the plans altogether, rather than re-routing them outside the county.[29]

Baker opposes quantitative easing, saying it creates a worse crisis as an inevitable consequence.[30]

He voted in opposition to the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013, and called for the denationalisation of marriage. He argued that the current situation risks infringing both the freedoms of the religious and LGBT communities, and that private individuals should define the term marriage, rather than the state.[31]

Baker was in favour of Brexit prior to the 2016 referendum.[32] He stated at a meeting of the Libertarian Alliance taking place in 2010 that he "think[s] the European Union needs to be wholly torn down", considering it "an obstacle to" "free trade and peace among all the nations of Europe as well as the world".[33]

Electoral history[edit]

General Election 2017: Wycombe[34]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Conservative Steve Baker 26,766 50.0 -1.4
Labour Rafiq Raja 20,188 37.7 +15.2
Liberal Democrat Steve Guy 4,147 7.8 -1.1
UKIP Richard Phoenix 1,210 2.3 -7.8
Green Peter Sims 1,182 2.2 -3.8
Majority 6,578 12.3 –16.6
Turnout 53,493 69.4 +2.0
General Election 2015: Wycombe[35]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Conservative Steve Baker 26,444 51.4% +2.8
Labour David Williams 11,588 22.5% +5.2
UKIP David Meacock 5,198 10.1% +5.7
Liberal Democrat Steve Guy 4,546 8.8% -20.0
Green Jem Bailey 3,086 6.0% n/a
Independent David Fitton 577 1.1% +0.7
Majority 14,856 28.9% +9.0
Turnout 51,439
General Election 2010: Wycombe[36]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Conservative Steve Baker 23,423 48.6 +2.8
Liberal Democrat Steve Guy 13,863 28.8 +9.0
Labour Andrew Lomas 8,326 17.3 −2.6
UKIP John Wiseman 2,123 4.4 +0.5
Independent Mudassar Khokar 228 0.5 N/A
Independent David Fitton 188 0.4 −0.3
Majority 9,560 20.0
Turnout 48,151 66.2 +4.0
Conservative hold Swing

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Steve Baker MP". BBC News. 7 May 2010. 
  2. ^ "No. 59418". The London Gazette. 13 May 2010. p. 8740. 
  3. ^ "Conservatives will stand up for Britain if the EU lets us down". 
  4. ^ Profile, ukwhoswho.com; accessed 12 May 2015.
  5. ^ a b "Tory hits out at HQ over Wycombe MP selection". Bucks Free Press. 2 November 2009. Retrieved 17 December 2011. 
  6. ^ "No. 52011". The London Gazette. 8 January 1990. p. 338. 
  7. ^ "No. 53040". The London Gazette (Supplement). 8 September 1992. p. 15052. 
  8. ^ "No. 55601". The London Gazette (Supplement). 7 September 1999. p. 9595. 
  9. ^ It's time to end the cruel delusion of cheap money, City A.M., 3 December 2013.
  10. ^ "Wycombe". BBC News. Retrieved 12 May 2015. 
  11. ^ "Labour hold Luton South against Esther challenge". BBC News. 7 May 2010. Retrieved 12 May 2015. 
  12. ^ Evans, Oliver (7 May 2010). "Tories increase grip on Wycombe as Lib Dems move into second". Bucks Free Press. Retrieved 30 January 2017. 
  13. ^ "Philip Hollobone continues to top the league table of backbench rebels". 
  14. ^ Staff (31 December 2010). "Newcomer of 2010". ConservativeHome. Retrieved 15 January 2011. 
  15. ^ "Twitter: The top 20 Members of Parliament". The Daily Telegraph. 25 January 2011. Retrieved 17 December 2011. 
  16. ^ Williams, Christopher (25 January 2011). "Politicians 'have less authority' than comedians on Twitter". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 17 December 2011. 
  17. ^ Lakhani, Nina (3 April 2011). "'Shocking demise' of hospital threatens NHS reform". The Independent on Sunday. Retrieved 17 December 2011. 
  18. ^ Armistead, Louise (2 June 2011). "Royal Bank of Scotland told by MPs to explain £25bn accounting 'distortion'". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 17 December 2011. 
  19. ^ Hosking, Patrick (17 May 2011). "RBS 'more exposed to toxic loans than it admits'". The Times. Retrieved 17 December 2011. 
  20. ^ Treanor, Jill (14 December 2011). "Banks use accounting loopholes to inflate profits and bolster bonuses". The Guardian. Retrieved 17 December 2011. 
  21. ^ Huggins, Donata (10 May 2012). "Bloodlust at the 1922 Committee". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 16 May 2012. 
  22. ^ "Grassroot Diplomat Who's Who". Grassroot Diplomat. 15 March 2015. Retrieved 27 April 2015. 
  23. ^ a b "War and nuclear weapons". 14 November 2010. 
  24. ^ "EDMs: Motions for "an early day"". 14 November 2010. Retrieved 12 May 2015. 
  25. ^ "International Affairs". 14 November 2010. 
  26. ^ "Cobden Centre". 14 November 2010. 
  27. ^ "Subscribe to read". ft.com. Retrieved 11 December 2016. 
  28. ^ Milmo, Dan (19 December 2010). "Backlash from Conservative heartlands expected over high speed rail". The Guardian. Retrieved 28 December 2010. 
  29. ^ Nadal, James (23 November 2010). "Wycombe MP Steve Baker: HS2 case 'not proven'". Bucks Free Press. Retrieved 28 December 2010. 
  30. ^ McSmith, Andy (8 October 2011). "Village People: Tories ill at ease with the wheeze that is quantitative easing". The Independent. Retrieved 17 December 2011. 
  31. ^ Baker, Steve. "Where I stand " Gay Marriage". Retrieved 25 February 2014. 
  32. ^ Goodenough, Tom (16 February 2016). "Which Tory MPs back Brexit, who doesn’t and who is still on the fence?". The Spectator. Retrieved 11 October 2016. 
  33. ^ "Brexit: Minister appointed to negotiate Britain's withdrawal wants European Union 'wholly torn down'", the Independent
  34. ^ "Wycombe parliamentary constituency - Election 2017". BBC News. Retrieved 2017-05-19. 
  35. ^ "Election results for Wycombe, 7 May 2015". 7 May 2015. 
  36. ^ "Wycombe". BBC News Online. Retrieved 7 May 2010. 

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Paul Goodman
Member of Parliament
for Wycombe

2010–present
Incumbent