Brandon Lewis
Official portrait of Rt Hon Brandon Lewis MP crop 2.jpg
Official portrait, 2020
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
Assumed office
13 February 2020
Prime MinisterBoris Johnson
Preceded byJulian Smith
Minister of State for Security
Deputy for Exiting the European Union & No Deal Preparation
In office
24 July 2019 – 13 February 2020
Prime MinisterBoris Johnson
Preceded byBen Wallace
Succeeded byJames Brokenshire
Minister without Portfolio
In office
8 January 2018 – 24 July 2019
Prime MinisterTheresa May
Preceded byRobert Halfon
Succeeded byJames Cleverly
Chairman of the Conservative Party
In office
8 January 2018 – 24 July 2019
LeaderTheresa May
Preceded byPatrick McLoughlin
Succeeded byJames Cleverly
Minister of State for Immigration
In office
11 June 2017 – 8 January 2018
Prime MinisterTheresa May
Preceded byRobert Goodwill
Succeeded byCaroline Nokes
Minister of State for Policing and the Fire Service
In office
16 July 2016 – 11 June 2017
Prime MinisterTheresa May
Preceded byMike Penning
Succeeded byNick Hurd
Minister of State for Housing and Planning[1]
In office
15 July 2014 – 16 July 2016
Prime MinisterDavid Cameron
Preceded byKris Hopkins
Succeeded byGavin Barwell
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government
In office
4 September 2012 – 15 July 2014
Prime MinisterDavid Cameron
Preceded byBob Neill
Succeeded byKris Hopkins
Member of Parliament
for Great Yarmouth
Assumed office
6 May 2010
Preceded byTony Wright
Majority17,663 (40.6%)
Personal details
Born (1971-06-20) 20 June 1971 (age 50)
Harold Wood, London, England
Political partyConservative
Justine Rappolt
(m. 1999)
Alma materUniversity of Buckingham
King's College London
Inns of Court School of Law
Inner Temple

Brandon Kenneth Lewis CBE MP (born 20 June 1971) is a British Conservative Party politician serving as Secretary of State for Northern Ireland since 2020 and has served as Member of Parliament (MP) for Great Yarmouth since 2010.

Lewis previously served as Minister of State for Housing and Planning from 2014 to 2016, Minister of State for Immigration from 2017 to 2018, Minister for Security and Deputy for EU Exit from 2019 to 2020, and Chairman of the Conservative Party and Minister without Portfolio from 2018 to 2019.[2]

Early life and career

Lewis was born on 20 June 1971 in Harold Wood in London. He was educated at Forest School in Walthamstow.[3] He received a degree in economics from the University of Buckingham, an LLB in law from the same institution,[4] and an LLM in Commercial Law from King's College London.[3] He was called to the bar by the Inner Temple.

He was a director of Woodlands Schools Limited, a provider of private primary schools based in Hutton, Essex until September 2012 when he resigned his position.[5]

Local government

In May 1998 Lewis was first elected as a representative of the Conservative Party when he became a Borough Councillor for Hutton South on Brentwood Borough Council. He was re-elected in 2002 and 2006 with an increased vote share.[6] He later became Conservative Group leader in 2002 and leader of the council in 2004, after his party took control of the local authority. He remained in this position until 2009, when he resigned as a councillor in Essex to focus on seeking election as an MP in Norfolk.[3]

During his time as leader of the council he co-hosted The Eric and Brandon Show with local MP Eric Pickles on Phoenix FM, a local radio station in Brentwood.[7]

Parliamentary career

He stood unsuccessfully as the Conservative Party candidate for election in the Sherwood constituency in the 2001 general election; he lost to Paddy Tipping, the Labour Party candidate, with 34% of the vote.[8][9] In 2006, Lewis was selected as Conservative prospective parliamentary candidate in the Great Yarmouth constituency; he was elected at the 2010 general election, defeating sitting Labour MP Tony Wright with a majority of just over 4000 – a swing to the Conservatives of 8.7% in the seat which was number 66 on their list of target seats.[10][11]

Lewis served on the Work and Pensions Select Committee and the Regulatory Reform Select Committee from his election until 2012.[12] He has been a member of a number of All Party Parliamentary Groups, including time as the chair of the Local Growth group and co-chair of a group discussing coastal erosion. A report by the Local Growth group in September 2012, when it was chaired by Lewis, criticised the government for an "uncoordinated" approach to its Local Enterprise Partnership policy which, according to Lewis, left "gaps and weaknesses".[13][14]

In 2013 Lewis was critical of local councils, including many Conservative run councils, planning council tax rises in 2013 against the wishes of the government, saying that there was "still massive scope" for councils to cut "waste and inefficiency".[15][16][17] He has also criticised the Local Government Association for producing proposals to give local councils more freedom over their levels of council tax in the future.[18]

In the House of Commons he has previously sat on the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, the Work and Pensions Committee and the Regulatory Reform Committee.[19]

Ministerial career

In September 2012 Lewis, was appointed Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Communities and Local Government, working under Eric Pickles. In July 2014, Lewis was promoted to Minister of State for Housing and Planning, when the Prime Minister brought the portfolios of Housing and Planning together for the first time under his premiership.[20] He claimed that there had been a "dramatic swing" in public opinion - with almost half of people now in favour of new housing in their area.[21] This related to the new National Planning Policy Framework, the primary framework for town planning in the country, which some argued made it substantially easier for developers to build on greenfield land.

In January 2016, the Labour Party unsuccessfully proposed an amendment in Parliament that would have required private landlords to make their homes "fit for human habitation". According to Parliament's register of interests, Lewis was one of 72 Conservative MPs who voted against the amendment who personally derived an income from renting out property. The Conservative Government had responded to the amendment that they believed homes should be fit for human habitation but did not want to pass the new law that would explicitly require it.[22]

He supported the United Kingdom remaining a member of the European Union in the 2016 EU membership referendum.[23] In July 2016, Lewis was promoted to be the Minister of State for the Home Office with a portfolio including Police and Fire services, as well as Europol and Interpol.[24]

On 29 September 2016, he was appointed to the Privy Council of the United Kingdom and may therefore use the title "The Right Honourable".[25]

Following the Grenfell disaster, Lewis was criticised for having rejected calls to increase fire safety regulations in his former role as housing minister. He had argued that legislating to mandate sprinklers in high rise buildings was the wrong approach as water-based sprinklers were inappropriate for electrical fires.[26]

Chairman of the Conservative Party

In a January 2018 cabinet reshuffle, Lewis was promoted to chairman of the Conservative Party, succeeding long-time cabinet member Patrick McLoughlin. Lewis was also appointed Minister without portfolio.[27]

On 19 July, Government Chief Whip Julian Smith was reported to be resisting calls to resign his position, following allegations that he had instructed five Conservative Party MPs to break "pairing" agreements in an important parliamentary vote the previous day. Lewis was the only one to comply with the instruction. Subsequent reports indicated that Smith had given similar instructions to five MPs, but that Lewis had been the only one willing to break what one commentator described later as "a centuries old ‘code of honour’". Before it became known that the affair had involved approaches by Smith to more than one MP, the then Prime Minister Theresa May backed Lewis by stating that "The breaking of the pair was done in error. It wasn't good enough and will not be repeated."[28]


In 2019, Lewis voted for May's Brexit withdrawal agreement.[29] In July 2019, Lewis was appointed Minister of State for Security and Deputy for EU Exit by new Prime Minister Boris Johnson.[30] In February 2020 he moved to be the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland as part of a cabinet reshuffle under Johnson.[31]

In September 2020, Lewis provoked controversy when he conceded that a bill designed to amend the United Kingdom's withdrawal agreement with the European Union would "break international law" in a "specific and limited way".[32]


Lewis has run a variety of campaigns as Member of Parliament for Great Yarmouth. Campaigns have included opposing the removal of free bus passes for school children in Belton & Burgh Castle,[33] cutting fuel duty,[34] protecting Norfolk bus services,[35] and improving Great Yarmouth railway station.[36]

As the local MP, Lewis declined initially to support local campaigners who were fighting against the Conservative run county council's controversial plans for the proposed King's Lynn incinerator. By 2012 he had joined all fellow local MPs in expressing concern with the proposal and, after a change in leadership of the county council, the plans for the incinerator were dropped in 2014.[37][38][39]


Lewis stood for Parliament in 2010 on a "clean expenses pledge", pledging to be "completely open about my expenses".[40] In 2010–2011 Lewis claimed just over £15,000 in accommodation expenses and in 2011–12 and 2012–13 he claimed just under £21,500 for accommodation.[41] Labour MPs called upon IPSA to investigate whether Lewis was using taxpayer funds for inappropriate political purposes after it was revealed that he had claimed £37,000 for "research briefing and other parliamentary associated assistance" to a political campaign consultancy.[42][needs update]

In August 2015, it was reported that Lewis claimed £31,000 of hotel expenses over a two-year period following stays at the Park Plaza hotel near Parliament. Lewis stated that he opted to stay in London rather than travel home to Essex and all the claims complied with parliamentary rules.[43]

Personal life

Lewis married Justine Rappolt in 1999; the couple have two children.[3] He completed the London Marathon in 2005 and 2008 and lists triathlon as an interest.[3][44] He is a member of the Carlton Club.[3]


  1. ^ styled as Minister of State for Housing and Local Government (2014-2015)
  2. ^ "Lewis made Tory chairman in reshuffle". BBC News. 2018. Retrieved 8 January 2018.
  3. ^ a b c d e f ‘LEWIS, Brandon’, Who's Who 2013, A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc, 2013; online edn, Oxford University Press, Dec 2012 ; online edn, Nov 2012 accessed 2013-05-28.
  4. ^ "The Rt Hon Brandon Lewis MP". Government UK. Retrieved 8 January 2018.
  5. ^ Lewis, Brandon (Great Yarmouth), Register of Members' Financial Interests: Part 1. As of 7 May 2013, Retrieved 28 May 2013.
  6. ^ "Brentwood Council Election Results 1973-2012" (PDF). Plymouth University. Retrieved 24 October 2018.
  7. ^ Walker, Tim (2 November 2009). "The Couch Surfer: 'If political parties insist on invading pop culture, they won't re-engage anybody'". The Independent. Independent News and Media Limited. Retrieved 14 January 2010.
  8. ^ Brandon Lewis: Electoral history and profile The Guardian. Retrieved 28 May 2013
  9. ^ "Vote 2001: Sherwood". BBC News Online. British Broadcasting Corporation. 2001. Retrieved 14 January 2010.
  10. ^ Election rivals fight for support in Great Yarmouth, BBC Election 2010, 29 April 2010. Retrieved 28 May 2013.
  11. ^ Great Yarmouth, BBC Election 2010. Retrieved 28 May 2013.
  12. ^ Brandon Lewis, Retrieved 28 May 2012.
  13. ^ Impartiality of local enterprise partnerships 'at risk', Daily Telegraph, 11 September 2012. Retrieved 28 May 2013.
  14. ^ 'Unco-ordinated' government is a barrier to business engagement, Guardian - Local government network, 13 September 2012. Retrieved 28 May 2013.
  15. ^ Defiant councils planning tax rises, Daily Telegraph, 14 February 2013. Retrieved 28 May 2013.
  16. ^ One in three town halls to defy Eric Pickles and hike council tax in April, The Daily Telegraph, 14 February 2013. Retrieved 28 May 2013.
  17. ^ Council tax revolt forces up bills, The Daily Telegraph, 28 February 2013. Retrieved 28 May 2013.
  18. ^ Minister attacks councils for pushing for tax hikes, The Daily Telegraph, 9 May 2013. Retrieved 28 May 2013.
  19. ^ "Brandon Lewis". Parliament UK. Retrieved 24 October 2018.
  20. ^ Kelly, Liam (15 July 2014). "Brandon Lewis promoted to housing and planning minister in reshuffle". The Guardian. Retrieved 20 August 2014.
  21. ^ Hope, Christopher (25 July 2014). "New planning minister suggests Nimbys have had their day". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 27 July 2014.
  22. ^ "Tories vote down law requiring landlords make their homes fit for human habitation". Independent. 9 November 2012. Retrieved 24 October 2018.
  23. ^ "EU vote: Where the cabinet and other MPs stand". BBC News. 22 June 2016. Retrieved 13 September 2019.
  24. ^ "The Rt Hon Brandon Lewis MP - GOV.UK".
  25. ^ "Privy Council appointments: Oliver Heald, Brandon Lewis and John McDonnell". GOV.UK. Prime Minister's Office, 10 Downing Street. 29 September 2016. Retrieved 29 September 2016.
  26. ^ "Grenfell Tower: Tory minister urged against including sprinklers in fire safety rules as it could discourage house building". Independent. 15 June 2017. Retrieved 24 October 2018.
  27. ^ "Lewis promoted in reshuffle".
  28. ^ Joe Murphy; Nicholas Cecil (19 July 2018). "Tory chief whip Julian Smith urged to quit over pairing deal 'error'". Evening Standard, London. Retrieved 19 July 2018.
  29. ^ "How MPs voted on May's withdrawal deal defeat". Financial Times. 29 March 2019. Archived from the original on 2 September 2019.
  30. ^ Minister of State for Security and Deputy for EU Exit and No Deal Preparation - GOV.UK
  31. ^ "Brandon Lewis named new NI Secretary of State".
  32. ^ "Minister: New bill will 'break international law'". BBC News. 8 September 2020. Retrieved 9 September 2020.
  33. ^ "Belton Burgh Castle School Bus Services". Brandon Lewis. Archived from the original on 5 November 2013. Retrieved 15 June 2017.
  34. ^ "Fair Fuel UK". Brandon Lewis. Archived from the original on 5 November 2013. Retrieved 15 June 2017.
  35. ^ "Fair Fares Protecting our buses". Brandon Lewis. Archived from the original on 5 November 2013. Retrieved 15 June 2017.
  36. ^ "Fix Great Yarmouth Station". Brandon Lewis. Archived from the original on 5 November 2013. Retrieved 15 June 2017.
  37. ^ "Six Norfolk MPs urge communities secretary Eric Pickles to call in King's Lynn incinerator plan". Eastern Daily Press. 22 May 2012. Retrieved 24 October 2018.
  38. ^ "All nine Norfolk MPs back King's Lynn incinerator call-in". Eastern Daily Press. 28 June 2012. Retrieved 24 October 2018.
  39. ^ "King's Lynn incinerator: Plans for £500m scheme abandoned". BBC News. BBC. Retrieved 24 October 2018.
  40. ^ About my Parliamentary expenses Archived 4 May 2013 at the Wayback Machine, Brandon Lewis. Retrieved 28 May 2013.
  41. ^ Brandon Lewis, Conservative, Great Yarmouth CC, Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority. Retrieved 28 May 2013. Archived 18 May 2015 at the Wayback Machine
  42. ^ Fisher, Lucy (10 March 2015). "Row over £37,000 expenses engulfs housing minister". The Times. Retrieved 7 May 2015.
  43. ^ Sinclair, Andrew (24 August 2015). "Housing Minister Brandon Lewis defends £31,000 hotel claims". BBC News. Retrieved 25 August 2015.
  44. ^ Brandon Lewis, Biography, Retrieved 28 May 2013.
Parliament of the United Kingdom Preceded byTony Wright Member of Parliamentfor Great Yarmouth 2010–present Incumbent Political offices Preceded byKris Hopkins Minister of State for Housing and Planning 2014–2016 Succeeded byGavin Barwell Preceded byMike Penningas Minister of State for Policing, Fire and Criminal Justice Minister of State for Policing and the Fire Services 2016–2017 Succeeded byNick Hurd Preceded byRobert Goodwill Minister of State for Immigration 2017–2018 Succeeded byCaroline Nokes Preceded bySir Patrick McLoughlin Chairman of the Conservative Party 2018–2019 Succeeded byJames Cleverly Preceded byRobert Halfon Minister without Portfolio 2018–2019 Preceded byJulian Smith Secretary of State for Northern Ireland 2020–present Incumbent