Robert was first elected Member of Parliament for the Newark Constituency in June 2014, when he won the hotly contested parliamentary by-election. He became the first Conservative to win a by-election in Government since William Hague was elected in the 1989 Richmond by-election.He was re-elected in May 2015 with a majority of almost 18,474 or 57% of the vote, the largest majority in the history of the Newark constituency and more than double that achieved in the by-election.
Robert is Parliamentary Private Secretary (or Ministerial aide) to the Lord Chancellor and Justice Secretary, Rt. Hon. Liz Truss MP. Previously he served as Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Justice Secretary, Rt. Hon Michael Gove MP, the Energy Minister, Rt. Hon. Amber Rudd MP and to the Employment Minister, Rt.Hon. Esther McVey MP. He served on the House of Commons Health Committee from 2014-15.
Robert was born in Wolverhampton in 1982 and grew up in Shropshire and Herefordshire. He went to school at Wolverhampton Grammar School. He read History at St. John’s College, Cambridge University, gaining a First Class degree. With a Thouron scholarship he then spent a year in the USA, studying Political Science at the University of Pennsylvania.
Returning to the UK he studied law as a postgraduate at the College of Law and BPP Law School before joining the leading international law firm, Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom where he trained and qualified as a Solicitor. He practised law, advising businesses and governments on corporate law in London and Moscow.
He went on to pursue a business career, holding a range of senior commercial management roles at the leading art business, Christie’s. His last role was as International Managing Director of a global division of the company, managing sales and staff in London, Paris, Amsterdam, Hong Kong and New York and in developing new markets, particularly China.
Robert stood for Parliament at the 2010 General Election for the Newcastle-under-Lyme Constituency, at which he achieved one of the strongest results in the country. His campaign turned what was considered a Labour stronghold with an 8,100 majority for the sitting MP into a marginal constituency, with a majority of just 1,550.
Robert has been active at all levels of the Conservative Party prior to his election, including as Association Chairman in North Herefordshire.
In November 2013 Robert was selected by local Conservatives in Newark to be their candidate following the decision of the sitting MP, Patrick Mercer to stand down. He went on to fight and win the subsequent parliamentary by-election.
Robert is married with three young daughters.
Robert’s interests in politics include securing a strong and competitive economy, creating the conditions for small businesses to thrive, building a socially mobile, meritocratic country in which every child has the opportunity to succeed, ensuring Britain continues to play a leading role in the world with a strong armed forces to support it, protecting the beautiful countryside of the British Isles and a vibrant rural economy, and celebrating and enabling our national arts, heritage and creative industries.
In the constituency Robert has fought successful campaigns for investment in our local roads to try to end the gridlock around Newark, to upgrade the Castle Line railway that connects Newark to Lincoln and Nottingham, to provide flood protection schemes and grants to hundreds of residents in Southwell, Lowdham and other Nottinghamshire communities at risk of flooding and has championed local healthcare provision, especially a secure future for Newark Hospital.
He has sought to make politics as accessible as possible with regular surgeries at Newark ASDA, Southwell Co-op, Bingham Sainsbury’s, McDonalds at Newark and Markham Moor and with his mobile surgery bus which has held surgeries in over 100 villages. Robert holds regular community ‘Fish and Chip’ suppers in Southwell and Bingham. And Robert’s popular bus trips to Parliament have enabled over 1,000 residents to visit Westminster in the past six months alone.