David Morris (Conservative politician)

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David Morris
MP
Official portrait of David Morris crop 2.jpg
Official parliamentary portrait 2017
Member of Parliament
for Morecambe and Lunesdale
Assumed office
6 May 2010
Preceded by Geraldine Smith
Majority 1,399 (3.1%)
Personal details
Born (1966-01-03) 3 January 1966 (age 52)
Leigh, Lancashire, England[1]
Nationality British
Political party Conservative
Website David Morris

David Thomas Morris (born 3 January 1966, Leigh, Lancashire, England) is a British Conservative Party politician, former musician and businessman.[2] He is Member of Parliament (MP) for Morecambe and Lunesdale in Lancashire, England.[3]

Early life

The son of an ex-Royal Navy Lieutenant Commander and Director of Maritime Affairs for the Bahamas, David Morris spent much of his youth abroad. He was privately educated at St Andrew's School in Nassau, Bahamas, Kowloon School, Hong Kong and Lowton High School in Greater Manchester.[4]

An accomplished guitarist, Morris played in a band with Richard "Rick" Astley.[4][5] David Morris and Astley played the Northern club circuit at night in the band 'Give Way' – specialising in covering Beatles and Shadows songs – and 'FBI', a soul music band which won several local talent competitions.[5] He became a session musician and was shortlisted for Whitesnake and Duran Duran.[6] David Morris was signed under a separate management contract with the same management as Rick Astley. He wrote songs for Stock Aiken and Waterman,[7] including their roster of artists such as Sonia, Brother Beyond and Jason Donovan.[4]

Business career

Failing his attempt to join the Royal Navy as an officer due his shortsightedness, Morris followed creative pursuits. After leaving the music industry, he founded his stylist business, David Morris Hairdressing, in Leigh. He later expanded this to four other salons across the Greater Manchester area.[8] He worked as an international stylist for Pierre Alexandre International.[4]

Political career

David Morris unsuccessfully contested the seats of Blackpool South in 2001 and Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire in 2005, - although he decreased the Labour Party majority in both instances.[9]

Morris was selected as the Conservative candidate for the seat of Morecambe and Lunesdale at the 2010 general election and won it. Defeating Labour's Geraldine Smith by 866 votes, he took the constituency on a swing greater than the national average.[4] He was re-elected in 2015 with an increased majority of 4,590[10] and in 2017 with a reduced majority of 1,399.[11] At every election Morris increased his share of the vote as well as the total number of votes received by himself.[3]

In government David Morris has served as a Parliamentary Private Secretary (PPS) to the Wales and Scotland offices. He is the PPS to the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland. He is the only politician to serve in every department representing a devolved nation.[12] Morris was Prime Minister David Cameron’s first self-employment Tsar.[13]

Morris has served on the Science and Technology Select Committee from 2010–15, the Constitutional Affairs Select Committee from 2014–15 and the Administration Committee from 2014-15.[14] In Parliament, Morris currently serves on the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee.[15]

He is the Chairman of the Conservative Friends of Nuclear Energy, as part of his commitment to protecting jobs in the nuclear industry in his constituency.[16] Morris is actively involved in several All Party Parliamentary Groups (APPGs) including the Chairman of the Parliamentary Space Committee, the Coastal and Marine APPG, Classic Rock and Blues APPG and the Self Employment APPG.[17] Morris is a member of the Armed Forces Parliamentary Scheme, for which he has the honorary title Lieutenant Commander in the Royal Navy.

David Morris was opposed to Brexit prior to the 2016 referendum.[18] He stated his reason for supporting remaining in the European Union was because he was "standing at the side of the Prime Minister on this one, because the Prime Minister has always stood by me and my people in Morecambe".[19] Morecambe and Lunesdale voted narrowly to leave the European Union. Following the referendum he continues to support the position of his party and is now committed to the UK leaving the European Union.[20]

Constituency Campaigns

David Morris helped secure £120 million funding for the M6 link road in his constituency.[21][22] He helped secure £10 million in funding to build the sea wall defences in Morecambe and £3 million to reinvest in the West End Gardens. He successfully lobbied the Government to fund reinforcing the Sea Wall Defenses at Sunderland Point in his constituency.[23] He has been praised by his Conservative Party colleagues, such as the Chancellor George Osborne and Philip Hammond, as well as Prime Ministers David Cameron and Theresa May, for being a catalyst for regeneration in his constituency and helping to secure further funding.[24] Morris was credited by the Conservative Party as being pivotal in securing the site for a new nuclear power station alongside Heysham 1 and 2 and was congratulated for this work by Prime Ministers David Cameron and Theresa May.[25][26]

Controversy

In 2013, Morris' expenses attracted media attention after it was revealed that he had the second highest parliamentary expenses claim in the entire country. Criticised by his political rivals, he responded to his local newspaper that: “I am frankly insulted by the line of questioning your journalist has decided to take, especially the comment, have any of my expenses been on entertaining celebrities. My expenses are independently adjudicated by IPSA and are only paid for legitimate items." [27]

In May 2016, it emerged that Morris was one of a number of Conservative MPs being investigated by police in the United Kingdom general election, 2015 party spending investigation, for allegedly spending more than the legal limit on constituency election campaign expenses.[28] However, in March 2017, Lancashire Police confirmed that no further action would be taken.[29]

In November 2016 it was revealed that Morris was being investigated for claiming £1400 in car mileage expenses for trips in the UK on dates when he was abroad on parliamentary business. Morris disputed the allegations and claimed the allegations from the expenses watchdog were false.[30]

In August 2017 Morris was accused of nepotism by the publication Private Eye after it was revealed that he employed his partner as his Senior Parliamentary Assistant on a salary up to £45,000.[31] Morris argued that this was not nepotism as he had employed Emma Smith since 2010, which was before their relationship began. Although MPs who were first elected in 2017 have been banned from employing family members, the restriction is not retrospective - meaning that Morris' employment of his partner is lawful. The restrictions do though state that staff members who begin a relationship with an MP while working for them, will have their publicly funded contract terminated after two years as partner.[32]

In December 2017 Morris caused controversy and was accused of doubting local Labour activists and a doctor who appeared in an ITV news story about poverty in his Morecambe and Lunesdale constituency.[33] One interviewed told of hungry children and parents collapsing in the playground with hunger as well as local GP claiming rickets were being diagnosed.[34] David Morris posted on his Facebook page that “These claims are not those being experienced by myself or the jobcentre in the area”. Morris stated on ITV that there was no proof or validity to these claims from any official source and called for social services to investigate to sort the matter out.[34]

Personal life

Morris is divorced from his former wife, with whom he has two sons.[4] Morris' long-term partner Emma Smith has also served as his election agent and works as his Senior Parliamentary Assistant.[35]

David Morris is a friend of the actor and musician David Hasselhoff, whom he welcomed to the House of Commons in February 2011 as part of the campaign to reopen the Morecambe Winter Gardens.[36] He is also personal friends with musicians Brian May of Queen,[37] Bernie Marsden of Whitesnake[38] and Scott Gorham of Thin Lizzy, who have helped charitable causes in his constituency.

References

  1. ^ "Who's Who". Ukwhoswho.com. Retrieved 23 March 2013. 
  2. ^ "MP David Morris on his journey from pop to politics". BBC News. Retrieved 12 January 2018. 
  3. ^ a b "Morecambe & Lunesdale". Election 2017. BBC News. Retrieved 9 June 2017. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f "MP David Morris on his journey from pop to politics". BBC. 2 March 2011. Retrieved 2 March 2011. 
  5. ^ a b "Rick Astley – About". lookstudio.com. Archived from the original on 5 February 2002. Retrieved 16 May 2010. 
  6. ^ "Meet the new Welsh Secretary's wingman: He's already stormed Top of the Pops alongside Rick Astley!". Wales Online. Retrieved 12 January 2018. 
  7. ^ "House music: Which MPs are rock 'n' roll?". Total Politics. Retrieved 12 January 2018. 
  8. ^ "The Hit Fac-Tory". Lancashire Evening Post. 18 November 2010. Retrieved 22 November 2010. 
  9. ^ "David Morris – Your Parliamentary Candidate". Morecambe and Lunesdale Conservatives. 2010. Archived from the original on 3 May 2010. Retrieved 12 May 2010. 
  10. ^ "Morecambe & Lunesdale". Election 2015. BBC News. Archived from the original on 11 May 2015. Retrieved 26 July 2017. 
  11. ^ "Morecambe & Lunesdale". Election 2017. BBC News. Retrieved 26 July 2017. 
  12. ^ "Morecambe MP gets Northern Ireland job". Lancaster Guardian. Retrieved 12 January 2018. 
  13. ^ "David Morris MP becomes the first ever tsar for freelancers to be appointed". This Is Money. Retrieved 12 January 2018. 
  14. ^ "Members - Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee". UK Parliament. Retrieved 12 January 2018. 
  15. ^ "David Morris MP". GOV.UK. Retrieved 16 May 2018. 
  16. ^ "MP to host nuclear event". The Visitor. Retrieved 12 January 2018. 
  17. ^ "Register Of All-Party Parliamentary Groups [as at 13 November 2015] Self-Employment and Freelancing". UK Parliament. Retrieved 12 January 2018. 
  18. ^ Goodenough, Tom (16 February 2016). "Which Tory MPs back Brexit, who doesn't and who is still on the fence?". The Spectator. Retrieved 11 October 2016. 
  19. ^ http://www.thevisitor.co.uk/news/eurosceptic-morecambe-mp-backs-david-cameron-over-eu-referendum-1-7744663
  20. ^ "David Morris MP". They Work For You. Retrieved 12 January 2018. 
  21. ^ "Five prepare for the fight in Morecambe and Lunesdale". The Westmorland Gazette. 1 June 2017. Retrieved 12 January 2018. 
  22. ^ "Chancellor George Osborne congratulates David Morris on securing the M6 Link Road". David Morris MP. 17 June 2015. Retrieved 12 January 2018. 
  23. ^ "David Welcomes £10 Million Flood Defences". David Morris MP. 5 June 2014. Retrieved 12 January 2018. 
  24. ^ "PM's thumbs up to Lancashire link road". Lancashire Post. 13 December 2013. Retrieved 16 January 2018. 
  25. ^ "Morecambe MP asks Prime Minister for help with Heysham 3". The Visitor. 14 September 2017. Retrieved 12 January 2018. 
  26. ^ "PM: Heysham 3 will happen". Lancashire Post. 3 November 2015. Retrieved 12 January 2018. 
  27. ^ "MP's biscuit claim among expenses". The Visitor. The Visitor. 21 August 2013. Retrieved 16 May 2018. 
  28. ^ "Election Expenses Exposed". Channel 4 News. 23 June 2016. 
  29. ^ "David Morris: Conservative MP's expenses probe dropped by police". BBC. Retrieved 16 May 2018. 
  30. ^ "Tory MP David Morris claimed £1,400 for driving in the UK while on official foreign trips". The Daily Telegraph. 20 November 2016. Retrieved 15 February 2017. 
  31. ^ "Nepotism update". Private Eye. London: Pressdram Ltd. 11 August 2017. 
  32. ^ "MPs banned from employing spouses after election in expenses crackdown". London Evening Standard. 21 April 2017. Retrieved 16 May 2018. 
  33. ^ Staff writer (14 December 2017). "Morecambe MP questions poverty claims by local schools as our investigation sparks huge community response". ITV News. Retrieved 12 January 2018. 
  34. ^ a b Khomami, Nadia (15 December 2017). "Morecambe MP stirs row after doubting poverty claims by local schools". The Guardian. Retrieved 1 January 2018. 
  35. ^ "ELECTION UPDATE: Morecambe and Lancaster seats could be crucial to future government". lep.co.uk. 8 May 2015. Retrieved 5 February 2017. 
  36. ^ "David Hasselhoff in surprise meeting with David Cameron". BBC News. 8 February 2011. Retrieved 11 February 2011. 
  37. ^ "David Morris challenges Brian May for brave Heysham boy". The Visitor. 18 May 2017. Retrieved 12 January 2018. 
  38. ^ "Ex-Whitesnake star Bernie Marsden headlines Morecambe Winter Gardens gig". The Visitor. 30 March 2015. Retrieved 12 January 2018. 

External links

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Geraldine Smith
Member of Parliament for Morecambe and Lunesdale
2010–present
Incumbent
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