|Secretary of State for Defence|
24 July 2019
|Minister of State for Security and Economic Crime|
17 July 2016 - 24 July 2019
|Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Northern Ireland|
12 May 2015 - 17 July 2016
|Member of Parliament |
for Wyre and Preston North
Lancaster and Wyre (2005-2010)
5 May 2005
|Member of the Scottish Parliament |
for North East Scotland
(1 of 7 Regional MSPs)
6 May 1999 - 31 March 2003
Robert Ben Lobban Wallace
15 May 1970
Farnborough, London, England
Liza Cooke (m. 2001)
|Alma mater||Royal Military Academy Sandhurst|
|Years of service||1991-1998|
|Awards||Mentioned in dispatches|
Robert Ben Lobban Wallace (born 15 May 1970) is a British politician serving as Secretary of State for Defence since 24 July 2019. He previously was the UK's longest-serving Minister of State for Security and Economic Crime from 2016 to 2019. A member of the Conservative Party, he has been the Member of Parliament (MP) for Wyre and Preston North in Lancashire since the 2010 United Kingdom general election. Wallace was first elected as the MP for Lancaster and Wyre in the 2005 United Kingdom general election, having previously served as a Captain in the Scots Guard regiment of the British Army, and as a Member of the Scottish Parliament (MSP) for North East Scotland.
Wallace was born on 15 May 1970 in Farnborough, Kent. He attended the independent school, Millfield in Somerset. After school, Wallace became a ski instructor with the Austrian National Ski School in the village of Alpbach in Austria.
Wallace attended the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, before he was commissioned in 1991 into the Scots Guards. From 1991 to 1998, he served in Germany, Cyprus, Belize, and Northern Ireland, rising to the rank of Captain. During his time in Northern Ireland, he was mentioned in dispatches in 1992.
After leaving the Army, Wallace became a Conservative Member of the Scottish Parliament in 1999, as a list MSP for North East Scotland. He stood down in 2003, as he sought selection for a Westminster constituency in England. Wallace was the Scottish Conservatives' shadow health spokesman during that time.
Wallace was elected as MP for the Lancaster and Wyre constituency in the 2005 general election. He won 22,266 votes with a majority of 4,171 (8.0%). The seat had previously been held by the Labour Party's Hilton Dawson. The constituency was abolished in 2010 and in the 2010 general election he was elected as MP in the new seat of Wyre and Preston North with 26,877 votes and a majority of 15,844 (30.9%). Wallace was re-elected in both the 2015 and 2017 general election.
From 2005 to 2010 Wallace was a member of the Scottish Affairs Select Committee. From 2006 to 2010 Wallace was the Shadow Minister of State for Scotland. He was Chairman of the British-Iran Parliamentary Group from 2006 to 2014. On 13 November 2008, Wallace was awarded Campaigner of the Year in the Spectator/Threadneedle Parliamentarian awards, for his work promoting transparency of MPs expenses.
Following his re-election to Parliament in 2010, Wallace was appointed as Parliamentary Private Secretary to the then-Justice Secretary and Lord Chancellor, and later Minister without Portfolio in the Cabinet Office, Ken Clarke MP. On 4 September 2012, Wallace turned down a position as a Lord Commissioner of the Treasury during the cabinet reshuffle. to remain Clarke's PPS. He voted against the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013, which legalised same-sex marriage in England and Wales.
In July 2014, as Clarke returned to the back benches, Wallace was again offered a job in Government as a whip. This time he accepted. In May 2015 he was promoted to Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State in the Northern Ireland Office.
After the EU referendum, the new Prime Minister, Theresa May, promoted him to Minister of State for Security in the Home Office. In December 2017 the Ministerial portfolio was extended to include Economic Crime. He was the Security Minister during the terror attacks of 2017 and the Salisbury attempted assassination of Sergei Skripal. Wallace was appointed to the Privy Council for his role in coordinating the government response to the 2017 Westminster attack.
Wallace supported the UK remaining within the European Union (EU) prior to the 2016 referendum. He voted for then Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit withdrawal agreement in early 2019, and voted against any referendum on a Brexit withdrawal agreement.
On 24 July 2019 Wallace was appointed Secretary of State for Defence by Prime Minister Boris Johnson, succeeding Penny Mordaunt. In August 2019, he was overheard discussing Prime Minister Johnson's controversial prorogation with Florence Parly, the French Minister of Armies. Wallace suggested that the reason for the prorogation of parliament for five weeks was to prevent MPs from blocking the government's Brexit plans rather than the government's official position that it was to introduce new legislative agenda. The government responded to his comments by stating that he had "misspoke". This prorogation was later deemed unlawful by the Supreme Court on 24 September.
On 13 October 2019, Wallace defended Turkey's offensive against the Syrian Democratic Forces in north-eastern Syria in a NATO meeting. He commented, "Turkey needs to do what it sometimes has to do to defend itself". His comments were condemned by other delegates at the meeting.
He married Liza Cooke in 2001 and they have three children. His wife worked as a part-time parliamentary assistant in his office until 30 April 2019. They met when she was a researcher in the Scottish Parliament and Wallace was a MSP.
|Parliament of the United Kingdom|
| Member of Parliament for Lancaster and Wyre
|New constituency|| Member of Parliament for Wyre and Preston North
| Secretary of State for Defence