Early Years and Career
Mark was born in October 1964 in the British Military Hospital in Hannover, Germany. His late father, Peter, was serving in the British Army at the time. His late mother, Ulrike, hailed from the part of Germany which is now in Poland.
Mark grew up with his brother, Dominic, and his sister, Antonia, and was a grammar school boy educated at Reading School. He later took a degree in law at St Edmund Hall, Oxford in 1987.
After leaving university, Mark went on to practise as a solicitor with leading international law firm, Freshfields. In the mid-1990s he set up a successful publishing and recruitment business in the City. Following his election as MP for the Cities of London and Westminster, Mark divested himself of his business interests to a consortium led by his former business partner.
Before being elected in 2001 to represent the Cities of London & Westminster in Parliament, Mark was an elected councillor in the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea and stood as the Conservative candidate in Enfield North in 1997. Prior to his involvement with Kensington & Chelsea Council, Mark lived in Islington North where he spent two years as Deputy Chairman of the local Conservatives.
Mark was first elected as the MP for the Cities of London and Westminster in 2001. He was promoted to the Conservative Party frontbench in June 2003 and served as an Opposition Whip until March 2004.
In November 2003, Mark was appointed Shadow Minister for London, his role included liaising with Greater London Assembly Conservative members and parliamentary candidates in the capital. during which time the Conservatives achieved the largest regional swing and secured eight MPs in seats previously held by Labour.
Between May and December 2005 Mark was the Shadow Financial Secretary to the Treasury. During this busy time, he served as the main Opposition spokesman on the floor of the House and in committee on the Registration of Financial Services (Land Transactions) Bill 2005 and National Insurance Contributions Bill 2005.
In the 11 months to November 2006, Mark was the Shadow Minister for Culture and the Arts. During his tenure he led the Opposition on the National Lottery Act 2006 and promoted the policy of safeguarding lottery funds for the four original causes of the arts, heritage, charities and sport. He also led debates and strong opposition to the lack of leadership and vision in Britain’s declining public library service. His other responsibilities included the Arts, Heritage, Architecture and Design, Museums and Galleries, the Royal Parks, Regional Policy and Local Government, as well as aspects of broadcasting.
In September 2010 Mark was appointed by the Prime Minister to the prestigious Intelligence and Security Committee. He was the youngest MP serving on the Committee which oversees and scrutinises the work of Britain’s intelligence services. He was made a Privy Counsellor in March 2015 in recognition of his service on the Committee.
In the same year Mark was made a Privy Counsellor, he was asked by the Prime Minister to become Vice Chairman (International) of the Conservative Party. In this role he led the Party’s outreach work in the UK and acted as Chairman of its International Office, building alliances with centre-right sister parties abroad, primarily through our memberships of the International Democratic Union and Alliance of European Conservatives & Reformists, as well as working with the Westminster Foundation for Democracy to promote good governance in developing nations.
Following the 2017 General Election and having been returned for a fifth time to represent the seat, Mark was promoted to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office where he was appointed Minister of State for Asia and the Pacific.
A prominent supporter of the United Kingdom remaining in the European Union during the 2016 referendum and of Jeremy Hunt’s leadership bid in the 2019 contest, he left office and returned to the back benches when Boris Johnson’s premiership began at the end of July.
Mark is very interested in international affairs, particularly British relations with China and Russia. He has also visited the Indian subcontinent and China with local constituents on a number of occasions to better understand and build links with these important regions.
Being the Member for the City, Mark naturally has a strong interest in financial matters and has served on the Standing Committees of several important pieces of economic legislation. He has also raised concerns in Parliament about European interference in London’s hedge fund industry, the future of the City of London as a world leader in financial services and the problems associated with national debt.
Outside his political activities, Mark enjoys urban walking, pop music and researching local London history. He is a lifelong sports fan, his first love being cricket. Mark also follows football avidly and is a passionate supporter of Bury F.C., the team he has supported since he was a young boy.
Mark currently lives in Westminster with his wife, Vicki, who works in PR, their son, Frederick, born in December 2007, and their daughter, Arabella, who was born in June 2011.
Mark has released two publications about the financial crisis and its aftermath: The Road to Recovery? and The Financial Crisis. He has also published two books; 2013's Between the Crashes, a collection of short contemporary essays and speeches from 2007 to 2012, and 2016's The Best of Times, his newest collection of essays which charts the challenges and triumphs in British politics, economics and foreign affairs from 2013 to 2015.