Mark Lancaster

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Mark Lancaster

Rt Hon Mark Lancaster TD MP.jpg
Minister of State for the Armed Forces
In office
13 June 2017 – 16 December 2019
Prime MinisterTheresa May
Boris Johnson
Preceded byMike Penning
Succeeded byAnne-Marie Trevelyan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence Veterans, Reserves and Personnel
In office
12 May 2015 – 13 June 2017
Prime MinisterDavid Cameron
Theresa May
Preceded byAnna Soubry
Succeeded byTobias Ellwood
Lord Commissioner of the Treasury
In office
9 September 2012 – 12 May 2015
Prime MinisterDavid Cameron
Preceded byJeremy Wright
Succeeded byCharlie Elphicke
Member of Parliament
for Milton Keynes North
North East Milton Keynes
In office
5 May 2005 – 6 November 2019
Preceded byBrian White
Succeeded byBen Everitt
Personal details
Born (1970-05-12) 12 May 1970 (age 49)[1]
Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, England
Political partyConservative
Katherine Reader
(m. 1995; div. 2007)

ResidenceOlney, Buckinghamshire
Alma materUniversity of Buckingham
University of Exeter
Military service
AllegianceUnited Kingdom
Branch/serviceBritish Army Reserve
Years of service1988–present
UnitLate Royal Engineers
Commands217 (London) Field Squadron (EOD)
Battles/warsWar in Afghanistan
AwardsEfficiency Decoration
Volunteer Reserves Service Medal

Colonel John Mark Lancaster[2], TD, VR (born 12 May 1970) is a British Conservative Party politician, who served as Member of Parliament for Milton Keynes North from the seat's creation at the 2010 general election until his retirement in 2019, having been Member of Parliament for the North East Milton Keynes constituency between 2005 and 2010. He served as a Minister in several appointments after the formation of the Coalition Government in 2010, first as Lord Commissioner of Her Majesty’s Treasury, before in May 2015 moving to the Ministry of Defence as the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Veterans, Reserves and Personnel, then on the 13 June 2017, he was appointed Minister of State for the Armed Forces in the Second May ministry and was reappointed by Boris Johnson at the start of his Premiership in July 2019, he served in this role until his retirement from Government on the 16th Dec 2019.

Ministerial career[edit]

After his re-election in 2010, he was initially appointed as the PPS to the Secretary of State for International Development,[3] Lancaster was appointed Lord Commissioner of Her Majesty's Treasury in September 2012. He was appointed Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence Personnel, and Veterans at the Ministry of Defence following the formation of the second Cameron ministry on 12 May 2015. He was reappointed by Theresa May on her becoming prime minister in June 2016 and had Reserves added to his portfolio, changing job title to Minister for Defence Veterans, Reserves and Personnel. He was promoted to Minister of State for the Armed Forces after the 2017 general election. He was appointed to the Privy Council in November 2017. In November 2019 he announced his retirement from Parliament.[4]

Early life[edit]

Lancaster was born on 12 May 1970 in Cambridge. He was privately educated at Kimbolton School in Huntingdonshire where his father Ronald Lancaster was chaplain.[5] He graduated as a BSc in Business Studies from the University of Buckingham and MBA from the University of Exeter Business School. He was awarded an Honorary PhD from Buckingham in 2008.[6]

He was a company director for the family firm Kimbolton Fireworks before he was elected to Parliament.[5]

Military career[edit]

Between 1988 and 1990 Lancaster served in the British Army on an extended gap year Commission in Hong Kong with the Queen's Gurkha Engineers before going to university. He then transferred his Commission to the Army Reserve where he continues to serve as a in the General Staff Corps ( Late Royal Engineers ), having previously commanded an Explosive Ordnance Disposal unit.[7] He has been on active service three times in Kosovo (1999–2000), Bosnia (2001–2002) and Afghanistan (2006).[5] He is currently Deputy Commander of 77th Brigade.[8]

He received a number of military honours and decorations between 2000 and 2016, including the Territorial Decoration (TD) in 2002 and the Volunteer Reserves Service Medal (VRSM) in 2011. He was awarded the Bar for a further five years service in 2016.

He was appointed as the Deputy Colonel Commandant Brigade of Gurkhas on 1 September 2019.[9]

He was appointed Chair of the Reserve Forces 2030 review in January 2020.[citation needed]

Non-Ministerial political career[edit]

Lancaster stood unsuccessfully as the Conservative candidate for the Huntingdon West ward on Huntingdonshire District Council in 1994, before being elected in the Ellington ward in 1995. He served as the chairman of the Leisure Committee (1996–1999). He lost his council seat in the local elections in 1999.[10]

Lancaster stood unsuccessfully as the Conservative candidate for Nuneaton at the 2001 general election. He was defeated by the Labour candidate Bill Olner.

Lancaster was elected as Member of Parliament gaining North East Milton Keynes for the Conservatives in the 2005 general election, and succeeding Brian White of the Labour Party.

During his time as a backbench MP, He served on the Office of Deputy Prime Minister Select Committee, (2005), Defence Select Committee (2006),[11] Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee (2008–09) and the International Development Select Committee (2009–10).[12]

In 2006, he introduced a Ten Minute Rule Bill in the House that would allow local councils to ban glasses and bottles in late night clubs and bars and replace them with plastic in support of his constituent Blake Golding. Lancaster also submitted an early day motion in 2006 calling for the government to ban sales of alcohol in glass containers in bars after 11 pm.[13][14]

He was the (unpaid) parliamentary advisor to the Royal Society of Chemistry until his promotion to minister in 2012.[15]

In 2011, he was a member of the special select committee set up to scrutinise the Bill that became the Armed Forces Act 2011.[16] He was also a member of the Public Bill Committee for the Defence Reform Act 2014.[17]

In November 2017, he was made a member of the Privy Council.[18]

Political views[edit]

Lancaster has stated his disagreement with the UK Government's policy on the 2003 invasion of Iraq. In an interview with the BBC, he stated "It may well be much harder to get the British public to back other overseas adventures by the military because of what's happened in Iraq".[19] According to the Public Whip, he voted strongly against the introduction of ID cards and in favour of a smoking ban and an investigation into the Iraq war. In votes involving transparency of parliament (including MPs expenses),[20] gay rights, and climate change his voting record is not easily categorized by obvious stereotypes, although in early 2013, Lancaster voted against legislation allowing gay couples to marry at second reading but supported minor 'tidying up' legislation supporting the principle once the main Bill had passed through the House of Commons.[15] He later tweeted in July 2016 that he had been wrong to have opposed second reading.

In 2011 Lancaster introduced his own Private Members Bill, which enabled special Olympic 1 kg gold and silver coins to be struck by the Royal Mint as part of the 2012 Olympic legacy. These were launched by the Royal Mint. In 2013 Lancaster was successful in his four-year campaign to get Khat classified as a category C drug following calls from his constituents.

Personal life[edit]

Lancaster lives in Gosport with his wife, Conservative MP for Gosport Caroline Dinenage.[21] He previously married Katherine Reader 1995 before separating in 2006 and divorcing in 2009. He briefly partnered Amanda Evans with whom he has a daughter. In February 2014, he married Caroline Dinenage, who had also been previously married.[22][23] Lancaster is a supporter of MK Dons, and enjoys playing cricket, which includes the House of Commons team.[5][24]


Ribbon Description Notes
NATO Medal w Służbie Pokoju i Wolności BAR.svg NATO Medal for Kosovo
  • 2000
NATO Medal Yugoslavia ribbon bar.svg NATO Former Republic of Yugoslavia Medal
  • 2002

With clasp ' Former Yugoslavia '

OSM for Afghanistan w bar.svg OSM for Afghanistan
  • 2006
  • With "AFGHANISTAN" Clasp
Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal ribbon.png Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal
  • 2002
  • UK Version of this Medal
QEII Diamond Jubilee Medal ribbon.png Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal
  • 2012
  • UK Version of this Medal
Efficiency Decoration (Territorial & Volunteer Reserve).png Efficiency Decoration (TD)
Volunteer Reserves Service Medal.png Volunteer Reserves Service Medal
  • 2011
  • 2016 bar for 5 years further service
  • 10 Years Service in the Army Reserves


  1. ^ "Mark Lancaster". BBC News. 13 February 2007. Archived from the original on 5 June 2009. Retrieved 1 April 2008.
  2. ^ "No. 62069". The London Gazette. 3 October 2017. p. 18307.
  3. ^ "Ministers and Senior Management Organisation Chart" (PDF). Department for International Development. November 2017. Retrieved 7 December 2017.
  4. ^ "Mark Lancaster to stand down as Milton Keynes North MP". BBC News. 2 November 2019.
  5. ^ a b c d Dolan, Andy (7 March 2009). "Lover splits from high-flying Tory MP and says she'll now vote Labour". Daily Mail. London. Retrieved 5 March 2014.
  6. ^ "Biography of Mark Lancaster". Conservative Party. Retrieved 18 July 2009.
  7. ^ "Bomb Disposal and Search Specialists". British Army. Retrieved 7 December 2017.
  8. ^ "The New Line Up At The Ministry Of Defence". Ministry of Defence. 10 January 2018. Retrieved 16 July 2018.
  9. ^ . 5 November 2019. p. 19879 Retrieved 23 November 2019. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  10. ^ "Huntingdonshire Council Election Results 1973–2011" (PDF). Plymouth University. Retrieved 8 September 2018.
  11. ^ "Mark Lancaster: Electoral history and profile". The Guardian. London: Guardian News and Media. Retrieved 30 July 2009.
  12. ^ "International Development Committee: Members". Parliament of the United Kingdom. Archived from the original on 25 September 2009. Retrieved 30 July 2009.
  13. ^ "A year in the life of Milton Keynes". Peterborough Evening Telegraph. 27 December 2006. Retrieved 7 April 2015.
  14. ^ "House of Commons 19 Jun 2006 : Column 1047". Parliament of the United Kingdom. Retrieved 7 April 2015.
  15. ^ a b "Mark Lancaster MP, Milton Keynes North". TheyWorkForYou. Retrieved 15 September 2010.
  16. ^ "Select Committee on the Armed Forces Bill". Parliament of the United Kingdom. Retrieved 20 September 2013.
  17. ^ "House of Commons Public Bill Committee on the Defence Reform Bill 2013–14". Parliament of the United Kingdom. Retrieved 17 September 2013.
  18. ^ "Queen approves new members of the Privy Council". GOV.UK. 14 November 2017. Retrieved 7 December 2017.
  19. ^ Easton, Mark (20 March 2007). "Iraq: has it changed UK politics?". BBC News. Retrieved 15 September 2010.
  20. ^ "Mark Lancaster compared to 'Transparency of Parliament'". Public Whip. Retrieved 15 September 2010.
  21. ^ "IPSA record". IPSA. Retrieved 8 September 2018.
  22. ^ "GCity MP splits from mother of his baby". MK Citizen. 5 March 2009. Retrieved 8 September 2018.
  23. ^ "Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage weds fellow politician at House of Commons chapel". Portsmouth News. 17 February 2014. Retrieved 5 March 2014.
  24. ^ "The home of cricket resounds to the sound of leather on Campbell Park willow". MK News. Local Sunday Newspapers. 4 July 2007. Retrieved 8 July 2009.

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Brian White
Member of Parliament for North East Milton Keynes
Constituency replaced by Milton Keynes North
Constituency created from North East Milton Keynes Member of Parliament for Milton Keynes North
Succeeded by
Ben Everitt
Political offices
Preceded by
Mike Penning
Minister of State for the Armed Forces
Succeeded by
Anne-Marie Trevelyan