Ben Gummer MP

7 Mar 2013 17:31:00

What Tory parliamentarians want to see in the Budget

By Peter Hoskin
Follow Peter on Twitter

With the Budget less than a couple of weeks away, I thought it would be a good time to collect some of the recommendations being put to George Osborne by Tory parliamentarians. Of course, the parliamentarians listed below may want other measures too – and there may be other parliamentarians who want what they want – but I’ve tried to go with the most prominent examples from the past few weeks. If you think I’ve missed anyone off, please do shout out in the comments section, or email me on pete @ (without the spaces).

Robert Halfon MP: The reinstatement of the 10p tax rate

RHRobert explained how and why he wants the 10p rate of income tax reinstated in a recent article for ConservativeHome. Here’s a snippet:

“When Labour brought in the 50p income tax-rate, it cost HMRC something like £7 billion pounds overnight, as people changed their behaviour to avoid the new tax. This year, the Coalition will cut that 50p income tax-rate down to 45p, because this is expected to raise more money from the rich, not less. The message of the campaign at — or, alternatively — is that we should use every extra penny raised from this to restore the 10p basic rate of income tax, to help lower earners. Added to the Universal Credit, this will help stop disincentives to employment, and to ensure that work always pays.”

He also discussed the policy on the Daily Politics today.

Continue reading "What Tory parliamentarians want to see in the Budget" »

5 Mar 2013 14:41:44

Ben Gummer, Affordable Spending Hero

Screen shot 2013-03-05 at 14.09.26By Paul Goodman
Follow Paul on Twitter.

Within the last few weeks, Conservative MPs have recommended that the following taxes be cut in the budget:

  • Income tax.
  • Corporation tax.
  • Employers' National Insurance contributions.
  • Capital gains tax on business investments
  • Fuel duty.
  • Air Passenger Duty.
  • Beer Duty...

...And there are more calls if one trawls back further, such as for transferable allowances for married couples.

Some of these reductions would doubtless raise more money for the Treasury in the medium-term or even the short-term.  (I pay tribute to our old friend, the Laffer Curve.)  But only the most goofy supply-sider believes that taxes can be cut, on the one hand, without proper spending control, on the other.  The two must march in step.

Continue reading "Ben Gummer, Affordable Spending Hero" »

22 Oct 2012 15:31:06

Conservative Select Committee appointments announced

By Matthew Barrett
Follow Matthew on Twitter.

SelectCommittesGuido Fawkes has a list of new Conservative members of Select Committees, from Graham Brady's office. Mr Brady explains: "For the following committees I have received the same number of nominations as there are vacancies, the following are therefore elected". The appointments are:

Communities and Local Government

John Stevenson (Carlisle), replacing George Hollingbery (Meon Valley), who became PPS to Theresa May at the reshuffle.


Chris Skidmore (Kingswood), replacing Damian Hinds (East Hampshire), who became PPS to Mark Francois, the Minister of State for Defence Personnel, Welfare and Veterans.


Andrew Percy (Brigg and Goole), replacing Dr Daniel Poulter (Central Suffolk and North Ipswich), who was made the Parliamentary Undersecretary of State for Health Services.

Continue reading "Conservative Select Committee appointments announced" »

4 May 2012 12:05:47

Record of how Conservative MPs are reacting to the local election results

A variety of reactions are pasted in this blog. The names of those calling for some change of message, priority or operational changes are emboldened. We have also included the contributions of MPs who have not advocated substantial changes.

5.45pm A little round-up of what Tory MPs have said during the day:

David Ruffley MP advocated radical economic measures - and a withdrawal from the Coalition if Lib Dems won't back them:

"I think now with the position now where there was a Coalition Agreement two years ago but quite a few senior colleagues think that was then, this is now. We didn't think two years ago that the economy would still be flat on its back and everything now has to be directed towards getting the British economy going. And yes it does mean looking at tax again but also, a freer labour market, the hiring and firing proposals to make sure that young people aren't turned away from jobs because of the very onerous social employment protection legislation in this country, so we should say to the Liberals on things like that which they are blocking, 'Listen we are in a real hole now. We need some radical economic polices put in place and you go with it and if you don't, we how would you like a general election?'"

Peter Bone MP urged the Government to drop any "wishy-washy" policies in the Queen's Speech:

"You can see what happens when there is a Conservative Government, because there was a Conservative Government run in London by Boris and he got re-elected. He put forward Conservative policies and he got re-elected and he bucked the national trend, and that really should be a message for the Coalition. Be more conservative and be less liberal wishy-washy and I think that’s what the voters would like to see in the Queen’s speech.” 

Continue reading "Record of how Conservative MPs are reacting to the local election results " »

17 Apr 2012 07:59:19

What is the 40 group? Matthew Barrett profiles the MPs trying to keep hold of the most marginal Tory seats

By Matthew Barrett
Follow Matthew on Twitter

I recently profiled the 2020 and Free Enterprise groups of Tory MPs. Those two groups are formed by ideology: MPs are attracted to the groups because, in the case of the Free Enterprise Group, members wish to open up markets and make Britain business-friendly enough to compete with other world class economies. The 2020's members want to renew and refresh Project Cameron, while considering how the country should look after a majority Conservative government.

The 40 is rather different as it is a group of MPs brought together solely by necessity - the members are those MPs who were elected in 2010 with the narrowest majorities in the Party.

Origins of the group and key members


The group was founded early last year by Eric Ollerenshaw (Lancaster and Fleetwood), Graham Evans (Weaver Vale), and David Mowat (Warrington South). There is no rigid structure to the group as such, given its non-ideological purpose, but when it meets, the convener is usually David Mowat. Other key "executive" members of the group include Evans and Ollerenshaw, as well as Amber Rudd (Hastings and Rye), James Morris (Halesowen and Rowley Regis) and Ben Gummer (Ipswich).

Continue reading "What is the 40 group? Matthew Barrett profiles the MPs trying to keep hold of the most marginal Tory seats" »

21 Mar 2012 05:57:45

What is the Free Enterprise Group? Matthew Barrett profiles the most influential new gathering of Tory MPs

Free Enterprise GroupBy Matthew Barrett
Follow Matthew on Twitter

The Forty. The 301. The 2020. These are some of the groups formed by Conservative MPs after the last general election. Most are largely made up of, or driven by, 2010-intake MPs. Over the next few weeks, I'll be profiling some of these groups. 

Today, we kick off with the Free Enterprise Group (FEG). The FEG is considered influential by sources at the Treasury, and George Osborne is said to think very highly of it, regarding it as the most important of the new groups to emerge. 

Origins of the Group: The group initially formed out of concern at the anti-free market atmosphere that has developed in the last few years. The behaviour of the last government, in cosying up to big business cartels and corporatist interests, often gave people a mistakenly bad impression of the free market that didn't necessarily exist twenty years ago. Polling suggests 21st-century Britons are less receptive towards free enterprise than the Chinese, Americans and Germans. There is also a wider cause - making Britain globally competitive again. The FEG's website highlights startling statistics about our place in the world: the fact that we are now 83rd in the world for regulation, 94th for taxation, and so on. This concern derives not just from the fact that we are being overtaken by emerging markets like Brazil, but also established Western economies, like Germany, have become more free market than Britain.

Continue reading "What is the Free Enterprise Group? Matthew Barrett profiles the most influential new gathering of Tory MPs" »

20 Mar 2012 06:17:18

George Osborne implements Ben Gummer MP's taxpayer receipt idea and also Mark Menzies MP's Sunday trading suggestion

By Tim Montgomerie
Follow Tim on Twitter

Yesterday I noted that the Tory backbenches were bubbling away with innovative new thinking. Those backbenchers can be encouraged this morning to know that their ideas can become policy.


Exhibit one is Mark Menzies. Mark has been campaigning for a relaxation of Sunday trading laws during the Olympics Games. He put forward a Ten Minute Rule Bill on the subject and lobbied various ministers, including Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt. He wrote about his campaign on his personal website. 48 hours ago he got a call from the Chancellor of the Exchequer's office to say that his idea would be implemented with emergency legislation rushed through parliament to enable it. Retailers are set to gain by tens of millions of pounds for this temporary economy-boosting measure - and he proves that backbenchers can make a difference.


Another backbencher making a difference is Ben Gummer. Earlier this year Ben argued that every taxpayer in the country should receive a personalised statement of the tax they pay and how that tax is spent. It was this ConservativeHome article - entitled "George Osborne should give every taxpayer a receipt, detailing how their money is spent" - about how they do this in America that reminded Ben about the potency of the idea. Today's Mail and Telegraph both lead on the news that George Osborne will implement this idea. For the first time ever we'll know exactly where our money goes. I suspect many people will be surprised at the relatively small sums that go to help tackle global poverty.

31 Jan 2012 18:15:43

Cameron today: Off the hook on the veto. On it over more IMF money.

By Paul Goodman
Follow Paul on Twitter

Last year, the Prime Minister flew to Brussels amidst rumour of a leadership challenge if he didn't achieve at least a token repatriation of power.

Today, he faced the Commons not only with no such repatriation realised but with his veto - so rapturously greeted at the time by Conservative MPs - arguably valueless, since it's now clear that he won't challenge the principle of the EU institutions being used to enforce the F.U agreement.

Yet there was no mass revolt from his backbenches, and no revival to date of the leadership challenge rumours.  What explains this change in the Tory atmosphere?  I hope to explore the question in detail soon, but will for the moment rest with an answer I've cited before.

Continue reading "Cameron today: Off the hook on the veto. On it over more IMF money." »

30 Jan 2012 16:31:46

The People's Pledge EU referendum campaign may not succeed, but it certainly deserves to do so

By Matthew Barrett
Follow Matthew on Twitter

PeoplesPledgeEarlier today, on Comment, Daniel Hannan MEP wrote: 

"Today, the People’s Pledge announces the most ambitious campaign ever to secure an In/Out referendum. It aims to show MPs in all parties that there is a premium in doing the right thing: that supporting a referendum carries an electoral reward. It is backed by supporters of every party and none, and by prospective ‘Yes’ as well as ‘No’ voters. I am confident that it will succeed: the momentum is now wholly one way."

In a LabourList post this morning, Director of Communications for the People’s Pledge, Ian McKenzie, gave details of the "most ambitious campaign ever" for a referendum. McKenzie explained that the People's Pledge would hold an in/out referendum in a single constituency early this year, followed by ten later this year, and 100 next year.

The referendums will be independently administered by Electoral Reform Services Ltd and conducted by full postal ballot. The People's Pledge will next week chose the first referendum seat from one of the following shortlisted constituencies:

  • Belfast East (Alliance) (Naomi Long)
  • Bolton West (Labour) (Julie Hilling)
  • Carshalton and Wallington (Liberal Democrat) (Tom Brake)
  • Corby (Conservative) (Louise Mensch)
  • Easington (Labour) (Grahame Morris)
  • Eastleigh (Liberal Democrat) (Chris Huhne)
  • Gower (Labour) (Martin Caton)
  • Halifax (Labour) (Linda Riordan)
  • Ipswich (Conservative) (Ben Gummer)
  • Newcastle-under-Lyme (Labour) (Paul Farrelly)
  • Thurrock (Conservative) (Jackie Doyle-Price)
  • Torridge and West Devon (Conservative) (Geoffrey Cox)
  • Western Isles (SNP) (Angus MacNeil)

Continue reading "The People's Pledge EU referendum campaign may not succeed, but it certainly deserves to do so" »

26 Jan 2012 08:19:00

Ben Gummer MP suggests Labour should submit tax and spending plans to OBR for authentication

By Tim Montgomerie
Follow Tim on Twitter.


Ben Gummer MP introduced his idea of a tax statement for every Briton in the Commons yesterday. You can read his full remarks here but it was largely a recap of what ConservativeHome has already reported.

But Ben did add one further and very interesting new thought:

"I further suggest that the Office for Budget Responsibility be required to assess the major parties’ manifestos at election time, at the request of those parties, in order that it may produce dummy tax statements so that voters can see the difference that their vote might make. A similar role is performed by the Congressional Budget Office in the United States, and there is no reason why it cannot be so here. In so doing, we may throw a little light on what is, for most people, the most confusing and murky period in the electoral cycle."

That sounds like a very good idea to me. Voters at the next election would benefit if all of the parties' tax and spending plans had been independently verified. If Labour chooses not to submit their plans to the OBR the floating voter will make the obvious conclusion: They are hiding something.

24 Jan 2012 07:01:03

Ben Gummer MP wants every taxpayer to receive personalised statement of how their hard-earned money has been spent

By Tim Montgomerie
Follow Tim on Twitter.


It's a simple idea - inspired by something proposed in the USA - but it's one that has apparently caught the imagination of George Osborne. Ben Gummer, Conservative MP for Ipswich, is proposing that every taxpayer in the country should received a statement explaining (a) what taxes they pay and (b) how those taxes are spent. These tax statements could be a powerful way of increasing awareness of the tax burden and therefore they could create further downward pressure on the tax burden. Mr Gummer thinks the statements would have three main benefits:

  • "Transparency: taxpayers would see not only how much direct tax they pay but also how this would change as a result of the government’s budget.
  • Accountability: taxpayers would see precisely how their elected representatives decided to spend that money on their behalf.
  • Democracy: taxpayers would see whether a government was sticking to its promises on taxation and spending.  They would also see how opposition parties would spend their money were they in government."

Pasted below is an example of the kind of statement a taxpayer earning £26,000 might receive:

Screen shot 2012-01-24 at 15.04.05

It might be easier to read within this PDF.

Continue reading "Ben Gummer MP wants every taxpayer to receive personalised statement of how their hard-earned money has been spent" »

21 Jun 2011 17:15:09

Iain Duncan Smith sets out and defends the Government's pensions legislation

By Matthew Barrett
Follow Matthew on Twitter

DUNCAN SMITH AT CSJYesterday saw the Second Reading in the Commons of the Pensions Bill - the legislation currently in the news which accelerates the existing timetable for increasing the State Pension age to 66. This will mean the pension age will be increased from 60 to 65 for women by 2018, before being raised to 66 for both men and women in 2020.

The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Iain Duncan Smith, said the core aim of the Bill is to "to secure this country’s retirement system, putting it on a stable and sustainable footing for the future."

The news headlines surrounding the Bill relate to the fact that women born in March 1953 will begin to receive their pension at 62, but women born in April 1953 will have to wait until 65. Mr Duncan Smith was asked about this early on in his remarks: 

"Steve McCabe (Birmingham, Selly Oak) (Lab): Given that the vast majority of the 600,000 people who will be excluded from getting a pension under the raised threshold are women, is the Secretary of State at all worried that the Bill is beginning to look as if it discriminates against women?

Mr Duncan Smith: I recognise the hon. Gentleman’s concern. We are not blind to the issue, but we have decided to strike a balance between making the scheme work from the beginning and avoiding driving people on very low incomes into sacrificing too much and therefore not seeing the rewards. It is important to make the point that in the Green Paper, as the hon. Gentleman will have noticed, we talk about the single tier pension, from which there will be very significant benefits to women. We hope that in due course that will achieve a balance.

I do not dismiss the hon. Gentleman’s considerations. We keep the issue constantly under review and will watch carefully to see what happens. It is important that we get auto-enrolment off the ground in a stable manner. I hope hon. Members on both sides of the House recognise that these are balanced decisions—sometimes nuanced decisions—that we have to take, but we will make sure that we review them."

Mr Duncan Smith was also asked about this specific group of women several times, by Members on all sides, including Conservatives Eleanor Laing (Epping Forest) and James Gray (North Wiltshire), as well as Labour's socially conservative welfare reformer, Frank Field. Mr Duncan Smith stood his ground and defended the Government's policy:

Continue reading "Iain Duncan Smith sets out and defends the Government's pensions legislation" »

19 Jun 2011 16:18:35

Majority of the 50 most "cost-efficient" MPs are Conservatives

By Matthew Barrett
Follow Matthew on Twitter

HoCThe company Key Business Insight's "Commons Performance Cockpit" ranks MPs by their total cost - that is, staffing costs, travel expenses, office costs, salary, and so on. The majority of the 50 "most efficient" MPs, in terms of total cost, are Conservatives. 

The top 50 "most efficient" MPs between 1st April, 2010 and 31st March, 2011 are listed below:

  1. Dan Jarvis (Labour, Barnsley Central) £5,457*
  2. Deborah Abrahams (Labour, Oldham East and Saddleworth) £12,472**
  3. Eric Illsley (Labour, Barnsley Central) £57,485***
  4. Zac Goldsmith (Conservative, Richmond Park) £59,242
  5. Rushanara Ali (Labour, Bethnal Green and Bow) £59,242
  6. Ben Gummer (Conservative, Ipswich) £60,422
  7. Gavin Shuker (Labour, Luton South) £60,687
  8. George Eustice (Conservative, Camborne and Redruth) £60,692
  9. Sam Gyimah (Conservative, East Surrey) £60,899
  10. Matthew Offord (Conservative, Hendon) £61,077
  11. Anne-Marie Morris (Conservative, Newton Abbot) £61,292
  12. Teresa Pearce (Labour, Erith and Thamesmead) £61,776
  13. Mark Reckless (Conservative, Rochester and Strood) £61,780
  14. Guy Opperman (Conservative, Hexham) £61,857
  15. Gemma Doyle (Labour, West Dunbartonshire) £62,324
  16. Christopher Pincher (Conservative, Tamworth) £62,583
  17. Stella Creasy (Labour, Walthamstow)  £63,510
  18. Ian Paisley, Jnr (Democratic Unionist, North Antrim) £64,755
  19. Richard Drax (Conservative, South Dorset)  £65,102
  20. Owen Smith (Labour, Pontypridd) £65,157
  21. Damian Hinds (Conservative, East Hampshire) £65,365
  22. Julian Huppert (Liberal Democrat, Cambridge) £65,396
  23. Kwasi Kwarteng (Conservative, Spelthorne) £65,571
  24. Gavin Barwell (Conservative, Croydon Central)  £65,651
  25. Jonathan Lord (Conservative, Woking) £66,162
  26. Rebecca Harris (Conservative, Castle Point) £66,576
  27. Anas Sarwar (Labour, Glasgow Central) £67,630
  28. Andrea Leadsom (Conservative, South Northamptonshire)  £67,940
  29. Claire Perry (Conservative, Devizes) £68,047
  30. Sajid Javid (Conservative, Bromsgrove)  £68,171
  31. Sarah Newton (Conservative, Truro and Falmouth) £68,172
  32. Conor Burns (Conservative, Bournemouth West) £68,443
  33. Eric Ollerenshaw (Conservative, Lancaster and Fleetwood)  £68,624
  34. Margaret Ritchie (SDLP, South Down) £68,705
  35. Rehman Chisti (Conservative, Gillingham and Rainham) £68,917
  36. Jim Shannon (Democratic Unionist, Strangford)  £69,063
  37. Liz Kendall (Labour, Leicester West) £69,147
  38. George Hollingberry (Conservative, Meon Valley) £69,251
  39. Alok Sharma (Conservative, Reading West)  £69,273
  40. Chris Kelly (Conservative, Dudley South) £70,316
  41. Angie Bray (Conservative, Ealing Central and Acton) £70,334
  42. Naomi Long (Alliance, Belfast East) £70,581
  43. Kate Green (Labour, Stretford and Urmston)  £70,619
  44. Margot James (Conservative, Stourbridge)  £70,755
  45. Pamela Nash (Labour, Airdrie and Shotts) £70,842
  46. Jack Dromey (Labour, Birmingham Erdington)  £70,912
  47. Kris Hopkins (Conservative, Keighley)  £70,944
  48. Stephen Metcalfe (Conservative, South Basildon and East Thurrock) £70,966
  49. Shabana Mahmood (Labour, Birmingham Ladywood) £71,072
  50. Tristram Hunt (Labour, Stoke-on-Trent Central) £71,269

*Took his seat on 3rd March, 2011
**Took her seat on 13th January, 2011
***Resigned his seat on 8th February, 2011 

11 Feb 2011 07:23:27

Highlights from the Conservative contributions to the debate on votes for prisoners

By Jonathan Isaby

Prisoners votes In advance of yesterday's debate on votes for prisoners, the man moving the motion, David Davis, made his case on ConHome here.

So below are some of the highlights from the contributions of other Conservatives during the debate.

NB A full breakdown of how all MPs voted is here.

South West Devon MP Gary Streeter said the motion invited people to address  the "fundamental issue" of "whether or not we can pass our own laws":

"There comes a time when it is necessary to take a stand. I argue that right now, on this issue, it is right for this House, today, to assert its authority. The judgment of the ECHR in the Hirst case flies in the face of the original wording and purpose of the European convention on human rights, in which it was clearly intended that each signatory should have latitude in making decisions on the electoral franchise in that country.

"We decided in this country centuries ago that convicted criminals should not have the right to vote, and I support that decision. After all, the punitive element of incarceration is the denial for the time being of certain rights and privileges that our citizens enjoy. We decided long ago that in addition to surrendering their liberty, convicted criminals while in prison would also give up their right to vote. That was the case in 1953 when the treaty on human rights was signed, and it remains the case."

Attorney General Dominic Grieve set out the Government's position early in the debate:

"Ministers will abstain. The Government believe that the proper course of action will be to reflect on what has been said and think about what proposals to bring back to the House in the light of the debate. The Government are here to listen to the views of the House, which are central and critical to this debate, as was acknowledged in the Hirst case."

Continue reading "Highlights from the Conservative contributions to the debate on votes for prisoners" »

7 Jul 2010 17:40:50

Ben Gummer marks himself out as a penal reformer in his maiden speech

Gummer Ben Ben Gummer gained Ipswich at the general election for the Conservatives and is, of course,  son of former Cabinet minister John (now Lord) Gummer.

Indeed, during his maiden speech in yesterday’s debate on the Finance Bill he recalled that one biographer of John Neilson Gladstone – a Liberal Conservative predecessor as MP for Ipswich an done of the William Gladstone’s brothers – wrote of him that “he took no strong independent line such as would anger his father but accepted his minor role in the scheme of things.”

Gummer assured the Commons:

“On the former point it should have no fear whatsoever, and on the latter point, I believe that all of us will succeed only if we show the independence and courage of our convictions—something that the coalition must show in abundance.”

During his speech, he spoke about his interest in the topical political issue that is prisons policy:

“We have heard much over many previous years of the tough decisions that face us, but now is the time to take them, and no issue is more important, pressing or necessary than penal reform. The Secretary of State for Justice, my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Rushcliffe (Ken Clarke) outlined brilliantly and bravely last week a vision for sentencing and for the prison system that I, and many on both sides of the House, would wish to endorse.

“Yet to achieve that, we need to find common cause on two things: the first is on the budget for the Ministry of Justice and prisons. It goes without saying that it is clearly a gross and offensive waste of public money to be warehousing prisoners in buildings of little utility save for the security they afford the public in incarcerating criminals, which in the end produce men and women who come out with a staggeringly low possibility of finding a job, succeeding in a relationship, building a family or contributing to society, and a staggeringly high probability—the highest in Europe—of going on to reoffend and contribute once again to the crime rate.

“Opponents of reform must consider carefully whether it is right to continue with a system in which half of prisoners cannot read at the level expected of an 11-year-old, 65% cannot count at that level, and 82% cannot write at that level. I do not understand how they can possibly contribute to their communities, build relationships and sustain their families with that level of underachievement. Future generations will look upon our treatment of prisoners in much the same way as we now look upon how the Victorians established workhouses—as a near barbaric mechanism to deal quietly with one of society’s problems without facing up to the real issues that it presents.

“We can, I hope, overcome that problem in two ways. The first is to protect in the Ministry of Justice’s budget the excellent plans, which we on the Conservative Benches have had for some years, for the complete restructuring of the prison estate. Hon. Members might wish to know that 16 prisons in the prison estate predate the reign of Queen Victoria, and there are many others that were built in her reign. Those prisons are not only completely unsuitable for rehabilitation, but consume massive amounts of manpower, which reinforces my earlier point about the unnecessary waste of money that goes on revenue spending, rather than on capital expenditure, which actually produces results.

“The second thing that I would ask of hon. Members—and of the media—is to accept that it would be a good thing if we were to enjoy the kind of consensus that I have praised in the coalition, on the matter of penal reform across the House. Too often the sentiments expressed by the Secretary of State for Justice last week have been uttered by Members in all parts of the House, but they have fallen prey—because they are perennially vulnerable—to cheap political point scoring of a short-termist nature, which has done us enormous damage. I hope that those who wish to oppose the reforms that are necessary understand that to do so would be to condemn families, victims, perpetrators and communities to the repeated misery that we now have a golden opportunity to prise ourselves away from.”

Jonathan Isaby