Ben Wallace (politician)
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Ben Wallace Politician

Ben Wallace

Official portrait of Mr Ben Wallace crop 2.jpg
Secretary of State for Defence

24 July 2019
Boris Johnson
Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State for Security and Economic Crime

17 July 2016 - 24 July 2019
Theresa May
John Hayes
Brandon Lewis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Northern Ireland

12 May 2015 - 17 July 2016
David Cameron
Andrew Murrison
Kris Hopkins
Member of Parliament
for Wyre and Preston North
Lancaster and Wyre (2005-2010)

5 May 2005
Hilton Dawson
Majority12,246 (23.3%)
Member of the Scottish Parliament
for North East Scotland
(1 of 7 Regional MSPs)

6 May 1999 - 31 March 2003
Personal details
Robert Ben Lobban Wallace

(1970-05-15) 15 May 1970 (age 49)
Farnborough, London, England
Political partyConservative
Liza Cooke (m. 2001)
Alma materRoyal Military Academy Sandhurst
WebsitePersonal website
Military service
AllegianceUnited Kingdom
Branch/serviceBritish Army
Years of service1991-1998
UnitScots Guards
Battles/warsThe Troubles
AwardsMentioned 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.[1][2]

Early life and career

Wallace was born on 15 May 1970 in Farnborough, Kent.[3][4] He attended the independent school, Millfield in Somerset.[5] After school, Wallace became a ski instructor with the Austrian National Ski School in the village of Alpbach in Austria.[6]

Wallace attended the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, before he was commissioned in 1991 into the Scots Guards.[7] 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.[2]

Political career

Scottish Parliament

After leaving the Army, Wallace became a Conservative Member of the Scottish Parliament in 1999, as a list MSP for North East Scotland.[8][7] He stood down in 2003, as he sought selection for a Westminster constituency in England.[8][7] Wallace was the Scottish Conservatives' shadow health spokesman during that time.[7]

From 2003 to 2005 he was overseas director of the aerospace company QinetiQ, the UK's former Defence Evaluation and Research Agency (DERA).[5]

United Kingdom Parliament

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%).[9] The seat had previously been held by the Labour Party's Hilton Dawson.[10] 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%).[11] Wallace was re-elected in both the 2015 and 2017 general election.[12]

From 2005 to 2010 Wallace was a member of the Scottish Affairs Select Committee.[13] 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.[14][15]

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.[16] He voted against the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013, which legalised same-sex marriage in England and Wales.[17]

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.[18]

Wallace supported the UK remaining within the European Union (EU) prior to the 2016 referendum.[19] 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.[20]

On 24 July 2019 Wallace was appointed Secretary of State for Defence by Prime Minister Boris Johnson, succeeding Penny Mordaunt.[21] 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".[22][23] This prorogation was later deemed unlawful by the Supreme Court on 24 September.[24]

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.[25][26]

Personal life

He married Liza Cooke in 2001 and they have three children.[3] His wife worked as a part-time parliamentary assistant in his office until 30 April 2019.[27] They met when she was a researcher in the Scottish Parliament and Wallace was a MSP.[28]

Wallace resides near Lancaster and in London.[29][30]


  1. ^ "New defence secretary Ben Wallace has defended Stracathro Hospital and fox hunting". The Courier. The Courier. 26 April 2019. Retrieved 2019.
  2. ^ a b Sabbagh, Dan (8 September 2019). "Defence secretary under fire for appearing to condone torture". The Guardian. Retrieved 2019.
  3. ^ a b "Wallace, Rt Hon. (Robert) Ben (Lobban)". UK Who's Who. Retrieved 2019.
  4. ^ Thomson, Alice; Sylvester, Rachel (9 June 2018). "Ben Wallace: we don't set out to kill terrorists". The Times.
  5. ^ a b "Ben Wallace: Electoral history and profile". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 2 September 2014. Retrieved 2010.
  6. ^ "Minister of State for Security and Economic Crime - The Rt Hon Ben Wallace MP". Retrieved 2019.
  7. ^ a b c d "Farewell to the parliament". BBC News. 2 April 2003. Retrieved 2019.
  8. ^ a b "Ben Wallace: Captain Fantastic heads south of the border". The Scotsman. 26 March 2002. Retrieved 2019.
  9. ^ "Result: Lancaster & Wyre". BBC News. 6 May 2005. Retrieved 2019.
  10. ^ "Mr Hilton Dawson". Retrieved 2019.
  11. ^ "Wyre and Preston North". UK Polling Report. Retrieved 2019.
  12. ^ "Wyre & Preston North". BBC News. Retrieved 2019.
  13. ^ "Mr Ben Wallace MP - UK Parliament". 20 July 2015. Retrieved 2016.
  14. ^ "Matthew d'Ancona's Parliamentarian awards speech". 13 November 2008. Archived from the original on 29 May 2010. Retrieved 2018.
  15. ^ Andrew Gimson (13 November 2008). "Sketch: George Osborne laughs it off". The Telegraph. Retrieved 2018.
  16. ^ "Cameron: Man or mouse? Man - and butcher! The Tory Diary". 6 September 2012. Retrieved 2016.
  17. ^ "MP-by-MP: Gay marriage vote". BBC News. 5 February 2013. Retrieved 2019.
  18. ^ Agerholm, Harriet (24 March 2017). "MPs Tobias Ellwood and Ben Wallace appointed to Privy Council in honour of Westminster response". The Independent. Retrieved 2017.
  19. ^ Goodenough, Tom (16 February 2016). "Which Tory MPs back Brexit, who doesn't and who is still on the fence?". The Spectator. Retrieved 2018.
  20. ^ "How MPs voted on May's withdrawal deal defeat". Financial Times. 29 March 2019. Archived from the original on 2 September 2019.
  21. ^ "Ben Wallace Named New Defence Secretary". Forces Network. 25 July 2019. Retrieved 2019.
  22. ^ "Defence Secretary Ben Wallace overheard discussing Parliament suspension". BBC News. 29 August 2019. Retrieved 2019.
  23. ^ Sheridan, Danielle (29 August 2019). "Defence Secretary caught on camera suggesting Boris Johnson prorogued Parliament because he has 'no majority'". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 2019.
  24. ^ "Supreme Court: Suspending Parliament was unlawful, judges rule". BBC News. 24 September 2019. Retrieved 2019.
  25. ^ Nicholls, Dominic; Crisp, James (14 October 2019). "Britain accused of putting trade deals before condemnation of Turkey". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 2019.
  26. ^ Fisher, Lucy (15 October 2019). "Defence secretary Ben Wallace's support for Turkey surprises Nato". The Times. Retrieved 2019.
  27. ^ "Register of Members' Financial Interests" (PDF). p. 460. Retrieved 2019.
  28. ^ "Outrage at ban threat on MP family workers". Lancashire Post. 1 February 2008. Retrieved 2019.
  29. ^ "About Ben". Personal website. Retrieved 2018.
  30. ^ "IPSA record". IPSA. Retrieved 2018.

External links

News articles
Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Hilton Dawson
Member of Parliament for Lancaster and Wyre
Constituency abolished
New constituency Member of Parliament for Wyre and Preston North
Political offices
Preceded by
Penny Mordaunt
Secretary of State for Defence

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