I was born on January 22nd 1979 in Auckland, New Zealand, and am the son of British parents. We lived in New Zealand for a few months before returning to the UK, when I was just six months old, mostly so I could get to know my grandparents whilst growing up (they both lived in Birmingham). I went to primary school at West House School and then attended King Edward's VI School, Edgbaston (left), before studying for a degree at St. John's College, Oxford. I was the first person in my family to go to university, and know now just how important a good education is. My parents were both born and still live in Birmingham, running small businesses in manufacturing and public relations. My sister currently works for a PR firm in London.
After leaving Oxford, I worked as a Researcher for Philip Hammond MP before joining an international firm of Management Consultants, where I specialised in projects designed to improve the Criminal Justice System. I helped to deliver a large number of projects, working closely with government departments such as the Home Office, Cabinet Office and the Department of Health, as well as the NHS. I also did a lot of work with Police Forces, helping them to become more efficient and effective, and in 2007 undertook a career break to use this experience to support David Cameron's Police Reform Taskforce, looking at ways to reduce bureaucracy and paperwork for the police. My line manager was Nick Herbert MP, who is now the Minister for Police.
I remain a keen sportsman, and try and play rugby, tennis and football on a regular basis. I can often be seen at Edgbaston Cricket Ground, occasionally Moseley Rugby Club, and when I manage to get a ticket, Villa Park! The photo (right) shows me playing for Rugeley Rugby Club in March 2011. I live in Staffordshire and London.
MY POLITICAL EXPERIENCE
I joined the Conservative Party in 1997 after winning my school's Mock Election (for the Conservatives, days before Tony Blair became PM!) and on going up to Oxford became Vice-Chairman of the Oxford University Conservative Association, as well as sitting on the 'Standing Committee' (Governing Body) of the Oxford Union; the world's oldest debating society. After moving to London in 2001, I worked as a Researcher and Speechwriter to Philip Hammond MP, who was then a Front Bench Spokesman on Trade & Industry, and is now Secretary of State for Defence.
In 2004, I was selected as the Conservative Council Candidate for Fulham Broadway Ward, in the London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham. A traditionally Labour held ward with much social housing, I nevertheless thought change was possible, and worked hard meeting as many local people as possible. In the Council elections on May 4th 2006, I achieved a 9% swing, securing the highest number of votes of all the candidates in Fulham Broadway - and became one of the youngest elected Councillors, aged just 27.
In June 2008 I applied for, and was fortunate enough to win, the selection process to be the Conservative Parliamentary Candidate for the seat of Cannock Chase. A traditionally Labour-held former mining part of South Staffordshire, I nevertheless again thought change was possible, and set about talking to and meeting as many local people as I could. After an incredibly energetic and hard fought campaign, over the course of two years, on May 6th 2010 I achieved the largest swing from Labour to the Conservatives in the whole country - a whopping 14.02% - and became Cannock Chase's new MP, aged 31. The BBC called it "a staggering result". Together with my supporters, we had turned Labour's majority of 9227 into a Conservative majority of 3195.
During 2011 I served as Parliamentary Private Secretary (PPS) to the Secretary of State for Transport and have been a member of the Work and Pensions Select Committee.
In February 2014 I announced my intention to stand down at the General election in May 2015. I will continue to work for the people of Cannock Chase until that election, and look forward to supporting my successor, Amanda Milling, to ensure that Labour have no chance of re-taking this seat.