Gavin Barwell

Last updated on 8 November 2017

Gavin Laurence Barwell[1] (born 23 January 1972[2]) is a British Conservative Party politician and Number 10 Chief of Staff, who was previously the Member of Parliament (MP) for Croydon Central from the 2010 general election[2] until the 2017 general election.[2] Shortly after losing his seat, Barwell was appointed Downing Street Chief of Staff by Theresa May, following the resignations of Fiona Hill and Nick Timothy on 10 June.

Barwell worked for the Conservative party headquarters from 1993 until his election in 2010 and was – between 2003 and 2006 – the Party's Chief Operating Officer sitting on the Party Board working closely with Party Leaders Michael Howard and David Cameron.[2] He was a councillor in the London Borough of Croydon between 1998 and 2010.

He was appointed to the Privy Council in April 2017, alongside fellow Conservative Minister Mel Stride.

The Right Honourable
Gavin Barwell
Gavin Barwell 2015.jpg
Downing Street Chief of Staff
Assumed office
10 June 2017
Prime Minister Theresa May
Preceded by Fiona Hill
Nick Timothy
Minister of State for Housing and Planning
In office
17 July 2016 – 9 June 2017
Prime Minister Theresa May
Preceded by Brandon Lewis
Succeeded by Alok Sharma
Minister for London
In office
17 July 2016 – 9 June 2017
Prime Minister Theresa May
Preceded by Brandon Lewis
Succeeded by Greg Hands
Comptroller of the Household
In office
11 May 2015 – 17 July 2016
Prime Minister David Cameron
Preceded by Don Foster
Succeeded by Mel Stride
Lord Commissioner of the Treasury
In office
15 July 2014 – 11 May 2015
Prime Minister David Cameron
Preceded by Anne Milton
Succeeded by George Hollingbery
Assistant Whip of the House of Commons
In office
7 October 2013 – 15 July 2014
Prime Minister David Cameron
Preceded by Greg Hands
Succeeded by Therese Coffey
Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Secretary of State for Education
In office
12 September 2012 – 7 October 2013
Prime Minister David Cameron
Preceded by David Evennett
Succeeded by Ben Gummer
Member of Parliament
for Croydon Central
In office
6 May 2010 – 3 May 2017
Preceded by Andrew Pelling
Succeeded by Sarah Jones
Personal details
Born (1972-01-23) 23 January 1972
Cuckfield, England, UK
Political party Conservative
Spouse(s) Karen McKenzie
Children 3 sons
Alma mater Trinity College, Cambridge
Website Official website
Official Twitter

Early life and career

Gavin Barwell was born in Cuckfield in Sussex and subsequently moved to Croydon in South London where he was educated at the Trinity School of John Whitgift.[2] He read for a degree in Natural Sciences at Trinity College, Cambridge, graduating from Cambridge University in 1993.[2]

He was President of the Cambridge Union [3](Easter Term 1993).

Party worker and councillor (1993–2010)

After graduating, Barwell was employed by the Conservative Central Office in a number of roles between 1993 and 2010.[2]

He worked at the Conservative Research Department from 1993 to 1995 as a desk officer in the home affairs section responsible for housing, local government, the environment and inner cities. He replaced James Gray as Special Adviser to the Secretary of State for the Environment John Gummer from 1995 to 1997, and was the Head of Local Government from 1998 to 2003. He served as the Chief Operating Officer in the Campaigns Headquarters between 2003 and 2006 before being employed as a "consultant" until 2010.[2]

He worked with Deputy Party Chairman Lord Ashcroft's target seat scheme, and significantly contributed to the Conservatives' 2010 general election plan.[4]

In May 1998, Barwell was elected to Croydon Council representing the Woodcote and Coulsdon West ward. In May 2006, when the Conservatives took control of the Council, he was appointed Chief Whip of the Conservative Group and he subsequently served as the Cabinet member for resources and customer services and the Cabinet member for community safety and cohesion before standing down from the Council in May 2010.[2]

Parliamentary career (2010–2017)

Backbencher

Barwell was chosen as the parliamentary candidate for the Conservative Party in Croydon Central. At the 2010 general election he defeated the sitting Independent MP, Andrew Pelling who had previously been elected as a Conservative. Barwell gained 39.5% of the vote; his majority was 2,969 votes, the Labour candidate came second.[5] His main subject interests are education, urban policy, policing, the criminal justice system, immigration and asylum rights. He was a member of the House of Commons Science and Technology Select Committee (2010–2012) and the Draft Lords Reform Bill Joint Committee (2011–2012) and, until October 2013, Barwell was Secretary of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Tamils.

Mental Health (Discrimination) (No. 2) Bill (2012–13)

On 14 June 2012, Barwell announced that, having come fourth in the Private Members Bill ballot,[6] he would introduce the Mental Health (Discrimination) Bill.[7][8][9] The legislation is designed to remove automatic bans from people who have received treatment for mental illness from undertaking jury service, being removed as directors of companies and as MPs.[8][9]

The Bill was introduced in June 2012 and passed its Second Reading on 14 September 2012,[10] supported by all political parties[9] before passing its committee stage in October 2012[10] with the full support of all committee members.[11] The Report stage and Third Reading of the Bill passed the Commons on 30 November 2012[10] before the Bill moved to the House of Lords where it was sponsored by Lord Stevenson of Coddenham.[7] The bill passed its first reading in the Lords on 3 December 2012 and its third reading on 11 February 2013. The Bill became an Act of Parliament after receiving Royal Assent on 28 February 2013.[12]

Lillian's Law

Lillian's Law is a law-reform campaign named after Lillian Groves, a 14-year-old constituent of Barwell's who was killed outside her home in New Addington by a driver under the influence of drugs.[13] He was sentenced to eight months' imprisonment, reduced to four months by entering a plea of guilty at the earliest opportunity.[14]

Barwell successfully lobbied the Prime Minister, David Cameron to introduce legislation to make driving under the influence of drugs a similar offence to driving under the influence of alcohol.[13][15][16] Cameron met with the Groves family and legislation was included in the 2012 Queen's Speech.[17] The legislation created a new offence under the Crime and Courts Act 2013.[18]

PPS and junior minister

Barwell was appointed Parliamentary Private Secretary to Greg Clark, Minister for Cities and Decentralisation. In September 2012, he was appointed as Parliamentary Private Secretary to Michael Gove the Secretary of State for Education.[19] The Prime Minister David Cameron appointed Barwell to the position of Assistant Government Whip on 7 October 2013.[20] On 15 July 2014, Cameron promoted Barwell to the position of Government Whip, Lord Commissioner.[21]

At the 2015 election, Barwell retained his seat with a majority of just 165.[22] Barwell's book, How to Win a Marginal Seat: My Year Fighting for my Political Life, was published in March 2016.[23]

He was Minister of State for Housing and Planning and Minister for London from July 2016 to June 2017. In the June 2017 election, Barwell lost his seat to Sarah Jones (Labour) by over 5,000 votes.[22]

Deletion of material from Wikipedia

In December 2014, the local paper The Croydon Advertiser called on Barwell to "stop launching campaigns" and "persistent attempts at headline-grabbing" saying "Gavin, we get it, there's an election on."[24]

The page on Wikipedia was one of a number edited ahead of the 2015 General Election by computers inside parliament; an act which The Daily Telegraph said "appears to be a deliberate attempt to hide embarrassing information from the electorate".[25]

Allegations of electoral fraud

In May 2016, a member of the public complained to the Metropolitan Police Service over possible electoral fraud in Barwell's 2015 election campaign.[26] The claims relate to the number of leaflets Barwell delivered in his constituency, as undelivered election material does not fall under the election spending limit.[27]

Barwell denied the claims, saying he followed 'proper process' when filing the election expenses.[26] Barwell was found in a separate investigation to be in breach of the Code of Conduct by Kathryn Hudson, the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards.[28] However, the Police investigation concluded in October 2016 that there was no case to answer.

Downing street Chief of staff (2017–present)

On 10 June 2017, Theresa May appointed him Downing Street Chief of Staff. Following the Grenfell Tower fire of 14 June 2017, he was criticised by The Independent for adding to delays in publishing a report into fire safety which followed the 2009 Lakanal House fire.[29] The day following the fire, he walked past journalists but refused to answer any question.[30]

Personal life

Barwell married Karen McKenzie in 2001. His wife, a speech and language therapist, previously worked at Applegarth School in New Addington. The couple have three sons.[2] He had cancer as a child.[31]

References

  1. ^ "No. 59418". The London Gazette. 13 May 2010. p. 8736.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j ‘BARWELL, Gavin Laurence’ Who's Who 2013, A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc, 2013; online edition (subscription required)
  3. ^ "Is This Man Trying To Undermine Sadiq Khan?". 21 July 2016.
  4. ^ Top 50 New MPs Archived 4 November 2013 at the Wayback Machine. Total Politics
  5. ^ Election 2010 – Croydon Central BBC News, 7 May 2010; Retrieved 28 December 2012
  6. ^ Bill-by-bill: Guide to MPs' private members' bills, BBC News, 25 June 2012; Retrieved 28 December 2012
  7. ^ a b Mental Health (Discrimination) (No. 2) Bill 2012–13, UK Parliament, 28 February 2013; Retrieved 28 December 2012
  8. ^ a b Deborah Orr Good to hear MPs talking about their mental health issues, Guardian, 16 June 2012; Retrieved 28 December 2012
  9. ^ a b c 'Discriminatory' ban on MPs with mental health issues to be axed, BBC News, 14 September 2012; Retrieved 28 December 2012
  10. ^ a b c Bill stages — Mental Health (Discrimination) (No. 2) Bill 2012–13, UK Parliament; Retrieved 28 December 2012
  11. ^ Clause 37 – drugs and driving TheyWorkForYou, 7 February 2013
  12. ^ Parliamentary Business, House of Lords, 28 February 2013 UK Parliament
  13. ^ a b Davies, Gareth (13 April 2012). "Major step forward for a new drug-driving law". Croydon Advertiser.
  14. ^ "Lillian's family want names for drug-test petition". Croydon Advertiser. 30 September 2011.
  15. ^ "MP Barwell: 'Meeting David Cameron was a big step forward for campaign'". Croydon Advertiser. 2 December 2011.
  16. ^ Davies, Gareth (11 October 2013). "Gavin Barwell appointed whip in government reshuffle". Croydon Advertiser.
  17. ^ Clarke, Natalie (4 February 2012). "For the love of Lillian". Mail Online. Retrieved 6 March 2014.
  18. ^ Davies, Gareth (19 June 2013). "MP inspired by Lillian's Law proposes further drug-driving reforms". Croydon Advertiser. Retrieved 6 March 2014.
  19. ^ Croydon Central MP Gavin Barwell nets new job with Michael Gove, Croydon Today, 12 September 2012; Retrieved 28 December 2012
  20. ^ Gavin Barwell appointed whip in government reshuffle, Croydon Advertiser, 7 October 2013; Retrieved 10 October 2013
  21. ^ Gavin Barwell MP, GOV.UK; Retrieved 21 August 2014
  22. ^ a b Election latest: Defeated MP Gavin Barwell appointed Theresa May's new chief of staff The Independent
  23. ^ "search in books for 9781785900471". lookupbyisbn.com. Retrieved 11 June 2017.
  24. ^ "Tory MP is told to stop pestering his constituents". The Independent. London. 21 December 2014. Retrieved 21 December 2014.
  25. ^ Riley-Smith, Ben (26 May 2015). "Expenses and sex scandal deleted from MPs' Wikipedia pages by computers inside Parliament". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 30 May 2015.
  26. ^ a b Davies, Gareth. "Croydon MP Gavin Barwell 'confident' in election expenses despite police complaint". Croydon Advertiser. Local World. Retrieved 16 May 2016.
  27. ^ "The MP for creative accountancy?". Private Eye (via the Internet Archive). Private Eye. Archived from the original on 16 May 2016. Retrieved 16 May 2016.
  28. ^ "Gavin Barwell MP | Draft Report" (PDF).
  29. ^ Watts, Joe. "Gavin Barwell: Theresa May's new chief of staff faces questions over delayed tower block fire safety review". The Independent. Retrieved 14 June 2017.
  30. ^ Horton, Helena; Swinford, Steven (16 June 2017). "Gavin Barwell, Theresa May's new chief of staff, refuses to answer questions over role in fire safety review". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 17 June 2017.
  31. ^ Gimson, Andrew (14 May 2015). "Interview: Gavin Barwell – the ultimate Tory proof of how incumbency can be made to work". ConservativeHome.

External links

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Andrew Pelling
Member of Parliament
for Croydon Central

20102017
Succeeded by
Sarah Jones
Political offices
Preceded by
Don Foster
Comptroller of the Household
2015–2016
Succeeded by
Mel Stride
Preceded by
Brandon Lewis
Minister of State for Housing and Planning
2016–2017
Succeeded by
Alok Sharma
Vacant
Title last held by
Tessa Jowell
Minister for London
2016–2017
Succeeded by
Greg Hands
Government offices
Preceded by
Fiona Hill and Nick Timothy
Downing Street Chief of Staff
2017–present
Incumbent

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