Chris Skidmore

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Person.png Chris Skidmore   Amazon Powerbase WebsiteRdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
(politician, author, historian)
Chris Skidmore.jpg
Longwell Green, Avon, UK
Alma materChrist Church (Oxford)

Christopher James Skidmore is a British politician, and author of popular history. He was Minister of State for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation from December 2018 to July 2019, and from September 2019 to February 2020.

Skidmore was first elected in 2010 as the Conservative Member of Parliament (MP) for Kingswood, South Gloucestershire, and became vice-chairman of the Conservative Party for Policy in 2018.

Early life and education

Skidmore was born on 17 May 1981 at Longwell Green in South Gloucestershire (then in the county of Avon), in the West of England. As a teenager, he became a member of the Conservative Party in 1996.[1] Skidmore was educated at Bristol Grammar School, an independent day school (public school), before attending Christ Church, Oxford, graduating in 2002 with a first-class degree in Modern History (BA).[citation needed]

Skidmore worked for David Willetts and Michael Gove as an advisor, and served as chairman of the Bow Group for 2007–08,[2] before being appointed by another right-leaning think tank, Policy Exchange, as a research fellow.[3]

Parliamentary career

After being selected to contest the marginal seat of Kingswood for the Conservatives in 2009, he was elected as its Member of Parliament in 2010, defeating incumbent Roger Berry of the Labour Party.[4]

Skidmore served as a member of the Health Select Committee, leaving that committee on 17 June 2013 (being replaced by Charlotte Leslie),[5] to sit on the Education Select Committee.[6] He is also a member of the Free Enterprise Group of MPs, and along with colleagues co-authored After the Coalition (2011) and Britannia Unchained (2012). The authors of Britannia Unchained claimed that "Once they enter the workplace, the British are among the worst idlers in the world".[7]

He was re-elected with an increased majority at the general election in 2015 and became Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Chancellor of the Exchequer.[8]

From 2016 to 2018, Skidmore was Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Cabinet Office, where he served as Minister for the Constitution.[9] Following the 2018 Cabinet reshuffle, he was sacked from his Cabinet Office role, but gained the role of vice-chairman of the Conservative Party for Policy.[10]

Skidmore was named by the ConservativeHome website in 2012 as one of a minority of loyal Conservative backbench MPs not to have voted against the government in any significant rebellions.[11] He is a regular guest on BBC political programmes, such as The Daily Politics.

Skidmore was opposed to Brexit prior to the 2016 EU membership referendum.[12] In February 2018, he argued in a speech to the Centre for Policy Studies that his party needed a broad and positive policy programme to gain wider support, further stating: "If we are just going to talk about Brexit then the Conservative Party will rapidly decline".[13]

Skidmore was appointed Minister of State for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation on 5 December 2018, following Sam Gyimah's resignation over the government's Brexit policy.[14]

Following the appointment of Boris Johnson to Prime Minister of the United Kingdom in July 2019, Skidmore was moved to the Department for Health and Social Care, serving as the Minister of State for Health.

Following the resignation of Jo Johnson from cabinet, Skidmore re-assumed his position of Minister of State for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation in September 2019. However, he was dismissed from government and replaced by Michelle Donelan in the cabinet reshuffle of February 2020.