James Wharton MP

24 Nov 2012 08:54:59

The 118 Tory MPs the Daily Mail lists as being opposed to gay marriage

By Matthew Barrett
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The Daily Mail this morning reports on the 118 Conservative MPs who have written to constituents indicating their opposition to gay marriage proposals. The Mail says "Their opposition has been expressed in letters and emails sent to constituents who have contacted them with their own concerns", and points out that if these MPs voted against proposals, it would constitute the biggest Tory rebellion in modern times. However, Equalities Minister (and Secretary of State for Culture) Maria Miller pointed out on Twitter that since any vote on the issue would be a free vote, it would not technically be counted as a rebellion.

I have listed the MPs from the Mail's story below.

  1. Nigel Adams (Selby and Ainsty)
  2. Peter Aldous (Waveney)
  3. Tony Baldry (Banbury)
  4. Guto Bebb (Aberconwy)
  5. Henry Bellingham (North West Norfolk)
  6. Sir Paul Beresford (Mole Valley)
  7. Jake Berry (Rossendale and Darwen)
  8. Andrew Bingham (High Peak)
  9. Brian Binley (Northampton South)
  10. Bob Blackman (Harrow East)
  11. Nicola Blackwood (Oxford West and Abingdon)
  12. Peter Bone (Wellingborough)
  13. Graham Brady (Altrincham and Sale West)
  14. Julian Brazier (Canterbury)
  15. Andrew Bridgen (North West Leicestershire)
  16. Steve Brine (Winchester)
  17. Fiona Bruce (Congleton)
  18. Robert Buckland (South Swindon)
  19. Conor Burns (Bournemouth West)*
  20. Simon Burns (Chelmsford)
  21. David Burrowes (Enfield Southgate)
  22. Alun Cairns (Vale of Glamorgan)
  23. Douglas Carswell (Clacton)
  24. William Cash (Stone)
  25. Rehman Chishti (Gillingham and Rainham)
  26. Christopher Chope (Christchurch)
  27. Geoffrey Clifton-Brown (The Cotswolds)
  28. Therese Coffey (Suffolk Coastal)
  29. Geoffrey Cox (Torridge and West Devon)
  30. Stephen Crabb (Preseli Pembrokeshire)
  31. David Davies (Monmouth)
  32. Glyn Davies (Montgomeryshire)
  33. Philip Davies (Shipley)
  34. David Davis (Haltemprice and Howden)
  35. Nick de Bois (Enfield North)
  36. Caroline Dinenage (Gosport)
  37. Richard Drax (South Dorset)
  38. Charlie Elphicke (Dover)
  39. Jonathan Evans (Cardiff North)
  40. David Evennett (Bexleyheath and Crayford)
  41. George Freeman (Mid Norfolk)
  42. Richard Fuller (Bedford)
  43. Roger Gale (North Thanet)
  44. Edward Garnier (Harborough)
  45. John Glen (Salisbury)
  46. Cheryl Gillan (Chesham and Amersham)
  47. Robert Goodwill (Scarborough and Whitby)
  48. Robert Halfon (Harlow)
  49. Philip Hammond (Runnymede and Weybridge)
  50. John Hayes (South Holland and The Deepings)
  51. Gordon Henderson (Sittingbourne and Sheppey)
  52. George Hollingbery (Meon Valley)
  53. Philip Hollobone (Kettering)
  54. Adam Holloway (Gravesham)
  55. Gerald Howarth (Aldershot)
  56. Stewart Jackson (Peterborough)
  57. Gareth Johnson (Dartford)
  58. David Jones (Clwyd West)
  59. Marcus Jones (Nuneaton)
  60. Eleanor Laing (Epping Forest)
  61. Pauline Latham (Mid Derbyshire)
  62. Andrea Leadsom (South Northamptonshire)
  63. Philip Lee (Bracknell)
  64. Jeremy Lefroy (Stafford)
  65. Edward Leigh (Gainsborough)
  66. Julian Lewis (New Forest East)
  67. Ian Liddell-Grainger (Bridgwater and West Somerset)
  68. Peter Lilley (Hitchen and Harpenden)
  69. Jonathan Lord (Woking)
  70. Tim Loughton (East Worthing and Shoreham)
  71. Anne Main (St Albans)
  72. Paul Maynard (Blackpool North and Cleveleys)
  73. Anne-Marie Morris (Newton Abbot)
  74. Karl McCartney (Lincoln)
  75. Anne McIntosh (Thirsk and Malton)
  76. Stephen McPartland (Stevenage)
  77. Esther McVey (Wirral West)
  78. Steve Metcalfe (South Basildon and East Thurrock)
  79. Nicky Morgan (Loughborough)
  80. David Nuttall (Bury North)
  81. Matthew Offord (Hendon)
  82. Neil Parish (Tiverton and Honiton)
  83. Priti Patel (Witham)
  84. Owen Paterson (North Shropshire)
  85. Mark Pawsey (Rugby)
  86. Mike Penning (Hemel Hempstead)
  87. Christopher Pincher (Tamworth)
  88. Mark Pritchard (The Wrekin)
  89. John Redwood (Wokingham)
  90. Jacob Rees-Mogg (North East Somerset)
  91. Simon Reevell (Dewsbury)
  92. Andrew Robathan (South Leicestershire)
  93. Laurence Robertson (Tewkesbury)
  94. Andrew Rosindell (Romford)
  95. David Ruffley (Bury St Edmunds)
  96. David Rutley (Macclesfield)
  97. Andrew Selous (South West Bedfordshire)
  98. Alec Shelbrooke (Elmet and Rothwell)
  99. Richard Shepherd (Aldridge-Brownhills)
  100. Henry Smith (Crawley)
  101. John Stevenson (Carlisle)
  102. Bob Stewart (Beckenham)
  103. Gary Streeter (South West Devon)
  104. Mel Stride (Central Devon)
  105. Robert Syms (Poole)
  106. David Tredinnick (Bosworth)
  107. Andrew Turner (Isle of Wight)
  108. Andrew Tyrie (Chichester)
  109. Paul Uppal (Wolverhampton South West)
  110. Martin Vickers (Cleethorpes)
  111. Ben Wallace (Wyre and Preston North)
  112. Robert Walter (North Dorset)
  113. James Wharton (Stockton South)
  114. Craig Whittaker (Calder Valley)
  115. John Whittingdale (Maldon)
  116. Bill Wiggin (North Herefordshire)
  117. Gavin Williamson (South Staffordshire)
  118. Jeremy Wright (Kenilworth and Southam)
* Conor Burns has stated that he will not be voting against gay marriage but may abstain.

26 Oct 2012 06:22:26

Who are Conservative Friends of Israel? A profile of the Conservative Party's most populous grouping

By Matthew Barrett
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Conservative Friends of IsraelConservative Friends of Israel is an influential affiliate group of the Conservative Party which contains perhaps the largest number of Conservative MPs of any group in Parliament. It exists to promote understanding of and support for the State of Israel in the Conservative Party, and its membership reaches the highest echelons of power, including the Foreign Secretary, William Hague. In this profile, I examine its origins, membership, role, and activities.

Origins of the group

Conservative Friends of Israel (CFoI) is the oldest group of Conservative MPs I have profiled so far: it was founded by Michael Fidler, who was the Conservative Member of Parliament for Bury and Radcliffe between 1970 and the October 1974 election. After losing his seat, he decided to focus on building a pro-Israel group within the Conservative Party - there had been a Labour Friends of Israel group since 1957 - so Fidler launched CFoI in 1974, and served as its National Director. 

Sir Hugh Fraser served as the first Chairman of CFoI, from 1974. Sir Hugh was a Conservative MP of the old school: after a distinguished military intelligence career in the Second World War, he entered Parliament in 1945, and he missed out on being Father of the House to James Callaghan in 1983 by only a few days. Sir Hugh had an interest in oil and the Middle East and served a number of positions in the War and Colonial Offices, before entering Cabinet as the Secretary of State for Air in 1962. He might be best known to some readers as the outsider candidate who came third in the 1975 party leadership contest, behind Mrs Thatcher and Edward Heath, gaining only 16 votes.

Continue reading "Who are Conservative Friends of Israel? A profile of the Conservative Party's most populous grouping" »

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
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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" »

19 Mar 2012 06:43:33

The Tory backbenches are bubbling away with new thinkers and new thinking

By Tim Montgomerie
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One of the most encouraging things about today's Conservative Party is the liveliness of the Class of 2010. Starting tomorrow Matthew Barrett will be looking at the work of different backbench groups but here's a summary of some of the more interesting projects and thoughts launched by some of our newest MPs in recent days. I've arranged the list alphabetically...

George_freeman_portraitFirst I direct you to a piece in yesterday's Observer by George Freeman. George is at the heart of a Tory interest in developing a new industrial strategy - not a return to a 1960s/70s policy of picking winners (or picking losers as invariably happened) but, in his slightly jargonistic words, the need to "focus on the technologies and sectors of the British innovation and knowledge economy which can best compete in the new markets of the developing world". He suggested five themes for his strategy including a focus on building deep relationships with emerging markets; development of innovation cities, corridors and neighbourhoods; and the identification and exploitation of technologies where we have a competitive advantage. Read more

Screen Shot 2012-03-18 at 21.05.01

In yesterday's Sunday Times (£) Sam Gyimah called for new ways of graduates helping their universities to educate more young people, especially from less privileged backgrounds. Noting that barely 1% of UK alumni make gifts to their institutions compared to 10% in the USA he recommends mechanisms whereby graduates can keep paying into the student financing system even after they've repaid their own loans.

Continue reading "The Tory backbenches are bubbling away with new thinkers and new thinking" »

28 Jun 2011 19:36:23

Tory MPs voiced their scepticism about an elected second chamber during yesterday's debate in the Commons

By Jonathan Isaby
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I have already covered Conor Burns' sideswipe at Lord Heseltine from the debate on Lords reform, but what else happened during the debate?

Overall, one got the impression that (with a few exceptions) the Conservative benches were highly sceptical about an elected second chamber - including many who are usually deemed to be supporters of the Government.

Later in his speech, Conor Burns spoke in favour of the status quo - ie a fully appointed chamber - and then considered what parties had promised in their manifestos:

"I wish to deal briefly with the argument that reform was in every party’s manifesto. It was, to some degree, and the Liberal Democrats, who had the most pro-reform manifesto commitment, got 23% of the vote in the general election. Labour, which was slightly more lukewarm, got 29%, and the Conservatives, who were the most lukewarm, got 36%. There is almost an argument that if we want to do things on the basis of what was in the manifestos, we should remember that the most people voted for the party that was most lukewarm on the issue. We have to ask ourselves, as at the time of Maastricht, when all three Front-Bench teams are united on something, how do those who dissent make their view known?

Continue reading "Tory MPs voiced their scepticism about an elected second chamber during yesterday's debate in the Commons" »

8 Sep 2010 07:00:00

James Wharton MP answers ConHome's Twenty Questions for the Class of 2010

Here is the latest in our series of Twenty Questions with members of the Class of 2010...

James Wharton James Wharton was elected MP for Stockton South with a majority of 332.

1. What is your earliest political memory? Mrs Thatcher’s resignation, I was at school at the time and the head teacher came in and announced it, she was not exactly upset at the news!

2. Complete the sentence: “I’m a Conservative because… I believe individuals must be free to make their own choices.”

3. Who is your political hero and why? Ronald Reagan, he communicated what it is to be a Conservative in a way that very few have ever matched.

4. When did you decide you wanted to become an MP? I really do not know, sadly I did not have a Damascene moment; there was no single dramatic event that made me decide it was something I wanted to do. I just got involved, campaigned, helped run my local Association and found myself playing an ever more active role.

5. What is your reading material of choice? ConHome, of course (as well as a fair few other political blogs).

6. Who is your favourite political interviewer/presenter on TV or radio? Andrew Neil.

7. If you could run any government department, which would it be and why? BIS. Being a North East MP, I can see the huge potential my home region has, and also how it has been held back for years by failing centralised policy.  If we can revive some of the successes of the past, such as the development corporations and enterprise zones, I believe a great deal could be achieved.

8. Which non-Conservative politician do you most admire? Kate Hoey, for standing up for something she believes in despite the ardently held opposing views of so many others in her Party.

9. Who would you least want to get stuck with in a House of Commons lift? Harriett Harman: do I stand to one side and let her step out first when it stops, or is that applying old fashioned sexist prejudices?

10. If you were in the US, would you be a Republican or a Democrat? Republican (can you be a soft Republican!?)

11. What do you enjoy doing to unwind and relax? Walking - I live not far from the North Yorkshire Moors and it is beautiful there.

12. What is your favourite book? Lions, Donkeys and Dinosaurs by Lewis Page – yes, it is political and it has an agenda, but it reminds me why I am a Conservative.

13. What is your favourite film? Stand By Me, just because it reminds me of growing up.

14. What is your favourite music? Don’t really mind, I’ll listen to just about anything!

15. What would be your ideal meal and where would you eat it? It’s not what, or even where, but who with.

16. What is your favourite holiday destination? I never really go to the same place twice so it’s hard to say.

17. What do you most want to achieve during your first term in Parliament? As “the only Tory in the village” in Teesside (indeed in the southern half of the North East), by the next election I would like people in my home area to feel confident that they did the right thing by voting Conservative last time, and even more I would want them to do it again in much greater numbers.  I do not just mean for me, but in neighbouring seats, both those we need to win and those where we have never won before.  If I can make some contribution to showing the people of the North East that the Conservative Party really is for them, just as much as it is for any other part of the country, then I will consider my time in Parliament well spent.

18. Tell us one interesting, unusual or surprising fact about yourself. I am the youngest Conservative in the current Parliament, though not the youngest MP.

19. Tell us one interesting, unusual or surprising fact about your constituency. It is the second safest Conservative seat in the North East of England (and the home of the friction match!)

20. Share with us your most amusing story or favourite anecdote from the campaign trail. Posters!  We had more posters in Stockton South than anyone can remember, with about 600 going up in the first 24 hours.  There were so many that the opposition even gave up trying to pull them down.  Predictably this started a poster war, with some people even putting up Labour posters (though they never got anywhere near parity with our display).  By the end of the campaign we had the houses on either side of the Labour MP and two of the neighbours opposite all displaying Conservative signs.

> Previously: Aidan Burley MP

18 Jun 2010 14:58:21

James Wharton makes a plea for Teesside to re-establish its true identity in his maiden speech as Broxtowe's new MP Ann Soubry promises to hold the Government to account

Wharton James Stockton South's new MP, James Wharton, gave his maiden speech in the Commons yesterday and spoke of the confusion over his area's identity:

"Teesside as a whole needs to re-establish its true identity. Half of my constituency has been in Yorkshire, half in Durham, all was once in Cleveland, and all was also once in Teesside, and now, confusingly, we are told that we are in the Tees valley, although I have yet to find the Tees valley on any standard highways map. In Stockton South we have Durham university and Teesside retail park, but we are served by Cleveland police and Tees Valley Unlimited, and we celebrate Yorkshire day. Should any hon. Members find that perplexing, I invite them to visit that wonderful part of the world, especially over the summer recess—I can assure Members on both sides of the House that even in the north-east, we do indeed have a summer. Of course, they could fly direct into Durham Tees Valley airport—or at least they could have done when we had a direct service, which is another issue I hope to address and be involved with over the coming years. Those of us who were born and raised in Stockton can occasionally be heard to joke that we do not have a county. That joke has worn thin over the years and I hope the new Government recognise the anomaly and work with myself and others to address the current confusion."

Soubry Anna Meanwhile, Anna Soubry, who gained Broxtowe in Nottinghamshire from Labour, found herself having to watch the clock as she caught the Deputy Speaker's eye towards the end of the debate:

"I know that the clock is against me, but I am no stranger to that. For many years, I worked in television so I am used to the ticking arm and the fierce direction of a floor manager and director who told me, in no uncertain terms, to shut up. I also worked as a criminal barrister for 16 years, so I am also used to someone firm in the chair telling me in even firmer terms to shut up, and on those occasions I never argued."

She did nonetheless find time to summarise what she hopes to achieve at Westminster:

"During my time here, it will be an honour and privilege to represent the people of Broxtowe, as others have said about their constituencies. There are many new Members and we bring diverse experiences to the House, but we all hope to play a real part here. We will challenge and hold the Government to account, and we will ask questions whenever we can, but most of all we will represent our constituents. Many of us were selected many years ago and getting here has been a long journey, so we are well aware of the responsibilities that we all bear. We will take great joy and pleasure in representing our constituents and do our very best for them by bringing forward the causes that they all hold dear."

Jonathan Isaby