Kris Hopkins MP

9 Jan 2013 09:34:08

The main arguments made by Tory MPs in defence of the benefits squeeze

By Tim Montgomerie
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Here is a selection of the arguments that Tory MPs made during yesterday's debate on limiting the increase in benefits to 1% for each of the next three years.

The Government's overall policies help those on low incomes: "The Opposition have argued that this uprating of 1% will impact on working people and not just those on benefits. Given that the previous Government made 90% of workers eligible as welfare recipients, that is inevitable. Unfortunately, Labour Members make the mistake of taking these measures in isolation. If we take the Government’s measures as a whole, including tax allowances, energy tariff changes and cutting petrol duty, low-income working households will be better off." - Aidan Burley MP

And the biggest burden of deficit reduction is being met by the better off: "I want to remind the Opposition of what they have done. They have opposed £83 billion-worth of savings this Parliament. That is equivalent to adding another £5,000 of debt for every working family in the country. We hear much about taxing the rich, yet, in this Parliament, the richest will pay more in tax than in any single year of the previous Government—more tax on capital gains, more stamp duty—they will be less able to avoid and evade tax and they will pay more when they take out their pension policies." - Iain Duncan Smith MP

Stop taxing people only to return that money via the benefit systems: "Is not the philosophical underpinning of this debate our wish to create a hand-back society, not a hand-out society? Is not cutting taxes on lower earners the best way to help those on low earnings, rather than recycling their hard-earned money through the benefits system?" - Robert Halfon MP

Fairness between those in work and those out-of-work:

  • "My constituents in Erewash often say to me that fairness works both ways. One gentleman said to me that he is working around the clock and his wife has two part-time cleaning jobs, and that they are trying their best to keep things going. Like me, he wants to support people in this society who, for whatever reason, will never be able to stand on their own two feet and get work, but that was not his point. His point was about the standard of living of other people in the area on full benefits. He did not think it right that they should have a higher percentage increase than his family’s budget." - Jessica Lee MP
  • "I was approached by a member of Manchester constabulary in my advice surgery recently. He said, “How can you justify putting out-of-work benefits up by 5.2% last year, when I have had a pay freeze and I risk my life every day?” Is that not the nub of the argument? People who are in work have to be treated fairly." - Jake Berry MP

Continue reading "The main arguments made by Tory MPs in defence of the benefits squeeze" »

9 Dec 2012 08:21:49

Boris Johnson and Michael Gove sign up to new Tory-led campaign for same-sex marriage

By Tim Montgomerie
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Screen Shot 2012-12-09 at 08.24.45

As reported widely in today's written and broadcast media a new Tory-led group has been formed to support equal marriage. You can read more about 'Freedom to Marry' on its website.

I should declare an interest. Some months ago I made a conservative case for gay marriage on this website and I've joined the group as one of its supporters. The other initial supporters are listed below:

  1. Gavin Barwell MP
  2. Lord Black of Brentwood    
  3. Alistair Burt MP
  4. Iain Dale, Publisher and LBC Radio Presenter
  5. Ruth Davidson MSP, Leader of the Scottish Conservatives
  6. Jane Ellison MP
  7. The Rt Hon The Lord Fowler PC    
  8. The Rt Hon Michael Gove MP
  9. The Rt Hon Nick Herbert MP (the driving force behind the group and author of an article for The Sunday Telegraph)
  10. Kris Hopkins MP
  11. Margot James MP
  12. Bernard Jenkin MP
  13. Boris Johnson
  14. The Rt Hon Patrick McLouglin MP
  15. The Baroness Noakes    
  16. Matthew Parris, Journalist
  17. The Rt Hon Nicholas Soames MP
  18. Paul Swaddle, President of the Conservative Party National Convention
  19. The Rt Hon Desmond Swayne TD MP

As media outlets have noted the support of evangelical Christians Alistair Burt and Desmond Swayne as well as the Catholic Cabinet minister Patrick McLoughlin is an indication of the group's broad base. More high-profile supporters will be announced in the coming days and weeks.

Continue reading "Boris Johnson and Michael Gove sign up to new Tory-led campaign for same-sex marriage" »

4 Dec 2012 06:28:54

Leveson debate snapshot: Four Conservative MPs for statutory regulation, eight against

By Paul Goodman
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For statutory regulation

Robert Buckland

George Eustice

Sir Edward Garnier

Zac Goldsmith

Against statutory regulation

Angie Bray

Therese Coffey

Damian Collins

Richard Drax

Kris Hopkins

Peter Lilley

Jacob Rees-Mogg

John Whittingdale

This is, as the headline says, a snapshot.  It doesn't deal with speeches that didn't touch on the regulation debate; nor does it count interventions, and by its nature it compresses a good deal.  For example, Mr Collins, like some other speakers, was against statutory regulation by OFCOM.  And Sir Edward rejected the very term "statutory regulation", preferring "statutory underpinning".

8.30am Update: Ms Coffey has pointed out the thrust of Mr Collins's speech was against statutory regulation, and I have made the necessary change.  Quentin Letts describes her in his sketch today as a "very great lady".

22 Oct 2012 15:31:06

Conservative Select Committee appointments announced

By Matthew Barrett
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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" »

6 Jul 2012 13:17:19

41 Tory MPs join call by Robert Halfon MP for OFT to investigate high petrol prices

By Matthew Barrett
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C-home Fairness for motorists

Robert Halfon, the Member of Parliament for Harlow, and one of the most successful campaigning MPs in Parliament, has organised a motion, backed by 60 MPs from all parties, and including 41 Tories, calling for the Office of Fair Trading to investigate allegations of price-fixing by British oil companies. The full motion is worded as follows:

"That this House urges the OFT to investigate oil firms active in the UK; calls on the Government to consider the emergency actions being taken in other G20 nations to cut fuel prices, for example President Obama strengthening Federal supervision of the U.S. oil market, and increasing penalties for “market manipulation”, and Germany and Austria setting up a new oil regulator, with orders to help stabilise the price of petrol in the country; finally urges the Office of Fair Trading to note that the Federal Cartel Office in Germany is now investigating oil firms active in the UK, after allegations of price-fixing."

Continue reading "41 Tory MPs join call by Robert Halfon MP for OFT to investigate high petrol prices" »

20 Apr 2012 06:33:09

Who are the 301? The Tory MPs who want to refresh the 1922 Committee

By Matthew Barrett
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The 301 group is perhaps the most active and important group of backbench Tory MPs. Tim Montgomerie reported last week that three MPs - Charlie Elphicke, George Hollingbery and Priti Patel - want to organise a candidate to be elected to the 1922 Committee's executive who will give the '22 a focus on policy and campaigning. The Spectator's James Forsyth blogged that "The vote for their candidate, and his opponent, will give us the best idea yet of where the backbenches are at the moment politically. Indeed, I expect that the machinery of the 301 group, the most pro-Cameron of all the backbench groups, will be thrown behind the Elphicke-Hollingbery-Patel slate."

To organise or endorse candidates for the '22 is certainly the most power a backbench group has yet wielded in this Parliament. In this profile, I'll be looking at the origins, members, aims and plans of the group to get a sense of what the group wants to campaign for.

Origins of the group

HopkinsLeeThe 301 was first organised by Kris Hopkins (Keighley), a former soldier and leader of Bradford Council, and Jessica Lee (Erewash), a former barrister, and now Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Attorney General, Dominic Grieve. The group began with small meetings of a handful of MPs who were "concerned that the narrative in Parliament was not representative of the conversation" that MPs had had with the electorate while campaigning during the 2010 general election, and also dissatisfied with the fact that the mechanisms of debate amongst backbenchers, and between the back and front benches, were not conducive to trying to correct that narrative. Each of those attending brought a friend, and so on, until after three meetings the group reached 60 members.

Continue reading "Who are the 301? The Tory MPs who want to refresh the 1922 Committee" »

21 Dec 2011 11:20:13

History, Europe, family and needs of business feature in Christmas adjournment debate

By Joseph Willits 
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In yesterday's Adjournment debate before the start of the Christmas recess, a mix of topics were raised by MPs.

SkidmoreChris Skidmore MP (Kingswood), who also wrote on ConservativeHome yesterday about making history a compulsory subject for under-16s, spoke of the study of history reaching a record low. Skidmore said that "in 77 local authorities fewer than one in five pupils is passing history GCSE". Despite these figures already being low enough as it is, there was a need to break them down, he said, "because in places such as Knowsley under 8% of pupils are passing history GCSE". 

Skidmore continued:

"Often it is the Daily Mail or academics who discuss what type of history should be studied in schools, whose history should be studied, how history should be studied in the curriculum, whether we should have a narrative form of history or a more interpretive form of history that looks at sources, and whether history should be seen as a framework of facts."

Whilst this debate was important, he warned of history "becoming a subject of two nations" and Britain's isolation in Europe, if people were not united in the view "that history is a crucial subject that binds us as one nation".

Continue reading "History, Europe, family and needs of business feature in Christmas adjournment debate " »

9 Sep 2011 07:37:57

Liam Fox's Commons Baha Mousa statement in full

By Paul Goodman
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Here is the Defence Secretary's statement, and below are questions from Conservative MPs with his answers.  It's worth noting that Fox went out of his way to disagree with former serviceman Kris Hopkins - who features in Gazette this morning - that the incident was a dark day for the army as a whole, rather than for the individuals responsible.  Ministers usually strive to avoid disagreeing with colleagues on the floor of the Commons, and Fox is an extremely skilful performer in the Chamber.  That he felt he had to make the distinction reflects its importance to him (and I think he was right).

Continue reading "Liam Fox's Commons Baha Mousa statement in full" »

19 Jul 2011 10:00:10

The All-Party Group on Islamophobia has dispensed with the services of IEngage

By Paul Goodman
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In February, Kris Hopkins and Lord Janner, the co-Chairman of the putative group, resigned in protest at the proposed engagement of IEngage as its secretariat

A few days later, a motion proposed at a meeting of the group to drop IEngage failed by a single vote.  Instead, its co-Chairmen - Sir Peter Bottomley, Simon Hughes and Jack Straw - were tasked with commissioning a report into IEngage.

Yesterday evening, the group met again, and the Parliamentarians present voted to dispense with the services of IEngage by the whomping majority of some 60 votes to 2.

Continue reading "The All-Party Group on Islamophobia has dispensed with the services of IEngage" »

19 Jun 2011 16:18:35

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

By Matthew Barrett
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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 

22 Mar 2011 12:17:44

Kris Hopkins soberly warns the Commons that there is "nothing glorious or romantic about war"

By Jonathan Isaby

Hopkins Kris Yesterday's debate on military action against Libya saw a very large number of speeches and it is not possible to report on all of them.

But oen of the more sobering contributions came from Keighley MP and former soldier, Kris Hopkins, who told the House:

"During my basic training in the Army, I realised that a sergeant shouting at me to stab and scream and stab again a bale of hay with a fixed bayonet was teaching me how to rip somebody apart. A few years later, I saw the remains of an IRA terrorist unit that had been ambushed by a Special Air Service unit. The remains had been shredded by the hundred of bullets that had gone through their bodies.

"Following the first Gulf war, a friend of mine showed me some pictures that he had taken of the convoy attempting to escape back up to Iraq. One of the pictures was of the charred, black head and a desperate hand-black and maimed-of someone trying to leave their vehicle. There is nothing glorious or romantic about war. To those in the media who have portrayed what is happening now-or what has happened in previous wars-as some form of entertainment, I say that that is just not right. I am afraid that human beings need to commit brutal, savage attacks on each other to win wars.

"I have spoken in the House before about our lack of political capital following the illegal war in Iraq and what I believe is a folly in Afghanistan. There may be moral reasons to fight again, but I will be honest: we are struggling to find the moral high ground from which to project that morality. As people have said, Gaddafi is the man who brought down the Pan Am plane over Lockerbie, the man who shipped the weapons that killed some of my colleagues and the man who killed WPC Fletcher. However, I feel uncomfortable about going to war. It is not a simple choice; it is a really difficult choice to contemplate.

"This morning when I was coming to work, I listened to a phone-in from BBC television about whether we should kill Gaddafi. It was almost gladiatorial, as though people were phoning in so that we could see whether the populace was giving a thumbs-up or a thumbs-down. I have to say that I was fairly disgusted that the killing of another human being, however disgusting he is, could become a form of entertainment.

"While we pontificate about morality and our obligations, brave men and women are putting their lives at risk at our request. This is not a debate about student fees, the Scotland Bill or the double summer time Bill; this is about the business of war. We do not take this decision lightly. While we wage war on our enemy, Muslim brothers and Arab leaders-with a few exceptions-remain silent. It is more convenient for the infidel to kill their Muslim brothers and gesture disapproval than it is to stand up to a tyrant. To the new leaders of the emerging democracies out there in the middle east, I say this: 'The next time a murderer comes to the end of his reign, you gather in your House, like we are today, and think about how you're going to take your share of the responsibility and what you're going to contribute'."

12 Jun 2010 15:54:35

Newly-elected West Yorkshire Tory MPs Kris Hopkins and Alec Shelbrooke assert that ID cards would not prevent terrorism or illegal immigration in their Commons debuts

Among the maiden speeches made during the Second Reading debate on the bill to abolish ID cards were two from newly-elected Tory MPs from West Yorkshire.

Hopkins Kris Former Bradford Council leader Kris Hopkins gained Keighley at the election and enthusiastically back the bill:

"I want to say a few words about identity documents. As has been pointed out, I do not believe that terrorists will volunteer to get an ID card. I do not believe that after the public’s initial enthusiasm for ID cards they wanted to be taxed again for more paperwork.

"Many supporters of identity cards suggested that they would address illegal immigration. During the election campaign in Keighley and Ilkley, immigration was a big issue. Sadly, that was because many people had lost confidence in the Government’s addressing illegal immigration to this country. At that point, sadly, some people considered supporting right-wing extreme parties, as people in Keighley have done in the past. What was actually required to address the issue was not an ID card, but a strong, robust and sensible position on immigration—capping numbers and making sure that we secured our borders. The good news is that we did offer that, and the public listened and believed us. The two right-wing fascist groups that stood in Keighley were severely trashed."

Shelbrooke Alec Alec Shelbrooke, the new MP for  Elmet and Rothwell, echoed the position of his colleague:

"It is interesting that I am classed as a Leeds MP, and that is why I felt it appropriate to stand up in this debate to make my maiden speech. We are talking about the abolition of the Identity Cards Act 2006. If identity cards had been in place, they would not have stopped the 7/7 bombings in 2005 in any shape or form. Of course, the people involved came from Leeds, which took a very hard hit, not least in the international press, which described the north of England as some derelict wasteland and asked whether it was any surprise that terrorists came from it. It was described as some sort of third-world country. However, I can assure Members that Leeds is one of the most vibrant cities in this country, and one for which I was very proud to be a councillor for six years while we were governing the city."

He also took the opportunity to reveal a long term political ambition for his constituency:

"I have a long-term aim, and I made it quite clear to my constituents in the election that although it is a promise and something I want to move forward, they will not see any results for a very long time. Indeed, by the time they see results, I may well not even be the Member of Parliament for the area. I am talking about rail links. More than 30,000 people in my constituency, in a major metropolitan city, have absolutely no rail links whatever, after the branch lines were removed in the Beeching review. The town of Wetherby serves a huge number of people in the commuter belt to Leeds who must all travel down the A58 and, latterly, the A1 link road.

"However, rail links are not just about allowing those people to travel to Leeds more efficiently and effectively; they will also ease-up the congestion that blights everyone in constituencies on the east side of the city. Therefore, I am laying down that marker. I will be working with Network Rail and taking a keen interest in the high speed rail policy as it moves through the House. Let us be honest, in the economic circumstances, the chances of us getting a branch line rail link built to Wetherby and surrounding villages, just to serve them, are pretty slim. However, high speed rail is a major national project, and there would appear to be opportunities to branch off that line to serve people in my constituency much more effectively and efficiently."

Jonathan Isaby