About me

I'm delighted to be the Conservative candidate for East Wiltshire. I was elected as the MP for Devizes in 2019, before the boundary change.

My career outside politics has been mostly spent working on community projects. In 2006 my wife Emma and I founded Only Connect, a charity working in prisons to stop criminals re-offending, which I ran for 10 years and now chair. I also set up and ran the West London Zone for Children and Young People, coordinating the work of schools, councils and charities with young people at risk. I have worked in journalism and in politics, including as the chief leader-writer at the Daily Telegraph, as a Government adviser on civil society, and as Political Secretary in 10 Downing St. 

I am married to Emma, a former teacher and now director of our prison charity, and we have three school-age children.

What I believe

My politics are probably best described as communitarian. I believe in stability for children and support for people in their old age. I want more power and responsibility for local communities. And I want national independence, Parliamentary sovereignty, and a strong Armed Forces. 

When we have these things - strong families, strong neighbourhoods, and a strong nation - we can be more generous to people who need help, here and abroad. The British people are tolerant, kind and fair-minded. We need a society that rewards people who look after themselves and their families, and that supports the people who face struggles in their lives. We need a low-tax economy in which people are incentivised to behave well towards other people and the environment. 

And we need government to do its job. The UK and the world face a multitude of challenges - the threat of war, of ecological damage, of economic or technological collapse. We urgently need to strengthen our country to avert or withstand these shocks. That means investing meaningfully in national defence, building up our economic and technological resilience, and (perhaps most important of all) strengthening families and communities through good fiscal and social policy. 

My book Covenant: the new politics of home, neighbourhood and nation (2023) sets out my political thinking in more detail. I also wrote a report for the Government in 2020 with detailed proposals for a stronger civil society, which you can read (along with the Government’s response) here.

You can watch my appearances in Parliament here

My priorities for Wiltshire

I grew up on a farm and I love the beautiful landscape of Wiltshire, its tranquillity and of course its history. I am also inspired by the future of our county. Here on the M4 corridor, at the centre of a vital economic artery and also a key tourism route, close to hubs of innovation in cyber, defence, and agriculture, we have huge opportunities for prosperity. 

To make the most of these advantages we need a lot of things to get better: more support for our farmers and for the environment; better rural transport and broadband; more affordable housing in the places and the volumes where homes are needed; quicker access to a doctor and dentist or a hospital appointment, and more support for carers and care workers; more police officers and tougher action against criminals; and of course, more spending on defence to support the Army here in Wiltshire. 

In each of those areas I am proud of the progress that has been made since 2019, despite the huge challenges of the pandemic and the inflation crisis caused by Russia. But more needs to be done. The following pages set out my thinking on each of these topics.

Campaigns

British Army in Wiltshire

I am proud to be standing to serve the constituency with the largest number of British soldiers in the country. 20,000 serving personnel are stationed in the camps and garrisons at Tidworth, Netheravon, Bulford, Larkhill, Perham Down and Upavon.

Rivers

Wiltshire is a uniquely important landscape, shaped by human beings for thousands of years and home to an extraordinary diversity of wildlife.

Farming

We have an absolute moral obligation to steward the natural environment that we live in, and to ensure a good living for the people who look after the land.

Getting around and getting online

Connectivity is key to a place like Wiltshire. Our market towns and villages, and our outlying farms and cottages, depend on decent transport and decent broadband. 

NHS and social care

The NHS is one of the foundations of our society. We depend on it at every stage of our lives. The Government has made the biggest investment in the NHS in its history, increasing its budget by 45% since 2019.

Crime

Crime is the great scourge of a civilised society. The cost of crime is not just the damage done by criminals but the huge expense and effort we have to put into protecting ourselves from it.