Greg Hands
Official portrait of Greg Hands crop 2.jpg
Official portrait, 2017
Minister of State for Business, Energy and Clean Growth
Assumed office
16 September 2021
Prime MinisterBoris Johnson
Preceded byAnne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State for Trade Policy
In office
13 February 2020 – 15 September 2021
Prime MinisterBoris Johnson
Preceded byConor Burns
Succeeded byPenny Mordaunt
In office
15 July 2016 – 21 June 2018
Prime MinisterTheresa May
Preceded byOffice established
Succeeded byGeorge Hollingbery
Minister for London
In office
13 June 2017 – 9 January 2018
Prime MinisterTheresa May
Preceded byGavin Barwell
Succeeded byJo Johnson
Chief Secretary to the Treasury
In office
11 May 2015 – 14 July 2016
Prime MinisterDavid Cameron
Preceded byDanny Alexander
Succeeded byDavid Gauke
Government Deputy Chief Whip in the House of Commons
Treasurer of the Household
In office
7 October 2013 – 11 May 2015
Prime MinisterDavid Cameron
Preceded byJohn Randall
Succeeded byAnne Milton
Member of Parliament
for Chelsea and Fulham
Hammersmith and Fulham (2005–2010)
Assumed office
5 May 2005
Preceded byIain Coleman
Majority11,241 (24.0%)
Member of Hammersmith and Fulham London Borough Council
for Town
In office
2 May 2002 – 4 May 2006
Serving with Stephen Greenhalgh
Antony Lillis
Preceded byStephen Greenhalgh
Antony Lillis
Succeeded byStephen Greenhalgh
Greg Smith
Antony Lillis
Member of Hammersmith and Fulham London Borough Council
for Eel Brook
In office
7 May 1998 – 2 May 2002
Serving with Donal Blaney
Preceded byAlexandra E. Sugden
Simon G. D. Thompson
Succeeded byWard abolished
Personal details
Born (1965-11-14) 14 November 1965 (age 56)
New York City, United States
CitizenshipBritish
American
Political partyConservative
Spouse(s)Irina Hundt
Children2
EducationDr Challoner's Grammar School
Alma materRobinson College, Cambridge

Gregory William Hands (born 14 November 1965) is a British Conservative Party politician serving as Minister of State for Business, Energy and Clean Growth since 2021 and as Member of Parliament (MP) for Chelsea and Fulham, previously Hammersmith and Fulham, since 2005. Hands was a minister of state for trade policy, from 2016 to 2018 and again from February 2020 to September 2021.

Hands has been MP for Chelsea and Fulham since 2010; the constituency was created that year by the splitting of the former constituencies of Kensington and Chelsea and Hammersmith and Fulham. Prior to these boundary changes, he served as the member of Parliament for the Hammersmith and Fulham constituency from 2005 to 2010.

Hands served in Prime Minister David Cameron's Cabinet as Chief Secretary to the Treasury from 2015 until 2016. He voted for the UK to remain in the EU during the 2016 Brexit referendum.[1] Following the 2016 referendum vote to leave the European Union and Cameron's consequent resignation, Hands was demoted by newly appointed Prime Minister Theresa May to a junior ministerial position at the Department for International Trade. Following the 2017 general election, Hands retained his position as Minister of State for Trade and Investment but also undertook the minister for London role, replacing Gavin Barwell who lost his seat. Hands resigned in 2018 but returned to the position as Minister of State for Trade Policy in 2020 under Prime Minister Boris Johnson. In 2021 he was appointed Minister of State for Business, Energy and Clean Growth.

Early life and career

Hands was born on 14 November 1965 to British parents in New York City.[2] He lived in the United States until he was seven years old and his family moved back to the UK.[3] He was educated at state schools in England, and according to his website, "the family was constantly on the move, due to the Labour Government of 1974-1979 closing down grammar schools".[4] Hands completed his secondary education at Dr Challoner's Grammar School, Amersham in 1984.[3]

During his gap year he worked in a swimming pool in Berlin, and became interested in the Eastern Bloc, visiting Prague and other Eastern European cities on future holidays.[3]

He went on to attend Robinson College, Cambridge, where he graduated with a first in Modern History in 1989.[citation needed] He joined the Conservative Party as a student, served as the chairman of the Cambridge University Conservative Association, and was on the Executive Committee of the Cambridge University Students' Union.[3]

Hands spent eight years after university in banking.[4] He worked on trading floors in derivatives at the City of London and New York City until 1997.[3]

Political career

Hands was elected as a councillor in the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham in 1998. He became the leader of the Conservative group in 1999, remaining in that capacity until 2003.[3]

In opposition

Hands stood down as councillor for the Town ward in Fulham at the local elections in 2006,[citation needed] having been elected to the House of Commons at the 2005 general election when he gained Hammersmith and Fulham from the Labour Party with a majority of 5,029 votes.[5] The sitting Labour MP Iain Coleman retired due to ill-health, and was replaced as Labour's candidate by Melanie Smallman. During March 2010, the Daily Mirror reported that Lord Ashcroft donated over £42,000 to fund Hands' 2005 campaign in Hammersmith and Fulham.[6][better source needed]

Hands made his maiden speech on 26 May 2005, in which he referred to the fact that the BBC was the largest employer in his constituency, and that Hammersmith Broadway was the busiest road interchange in Europe.[7]

Hands was early in his interest in the subject of MPs expenses, causing the whips to attempt to dissuade him.[4]

In 2007, Hands was selected to be the Conservative candidate for the new Chelsea and Fulham parliamentary constituency. His previous seat of Hammersmith and Fulham was abolished for the 2010 general election, with Hammersmith having its own seat (being fought by Shaun Bailey for the Conservatives), and Fulham joining Chelsea in a new seat. In January 2009, Hands was appointed to the Conservative front bench team as a shadow Treasury minister. He is also the Parliamentary chairman of Conservative Friends of Poland.[8]

In government

Cameron-Clegg coalition

Having been elected in 2010 for Chelsea and Fulham, he served as Parliamentary Private Secretary to the chancellor of the exchequer George Osborne, having shadowed the Treasury in opposition.[9][10]

On 14 October 2011, Hands was appointed as an assistant government whip in the House of Commons as a consequence of the mini-reshuffle following the resignation of Liam Fox as Secretary of State for Defence.[11]

In 2013, Hands voted in favour of legalising same-sex marriage in England and Wales.[12]

Majority Cameron government

In May 2015, following the Conservatives' general election win under the stewardship of David Cameron, Hands was promoted by him to the position of Chief Secretary to the Treasury and thus the Cabinet. He was made a privy councillor in the process.

Hands campaigned for the UK to remain in the European Union in the 2016 referendum vote to leave the European Union.[1] In the lead-up to the referendum, Hands led the Chelsea and Fulham Britain Stronger In Europe campaign.[13] During the campaign, Hands issued warnings of the consequences for the UK should it leave the European Union, saying that the country would face "profound consequences" including "fewer jobs, higher prices in our shops and less money for our public services like the NHS".[14] A strong advocate of international trade, he asserted that the European Union's Single Market as being the "most complete commitment to free trade that exists".[15]

May government

Hands meeting Turkmenistani Minister of Finance and Economy Batyr Bazarov in London on 22 January 2018
Hands meeting Turkmenistani Minister of Finance and Economy Batyr Bazarov in London on 22 January 2018

In the 2016 reshuffle following the EU referendum and Theresa May's appointment as Prime Minister, he was made Minister of State for Trade Policy at the newly formed Department for International Trade.[16]

Following the referendum, Hands argued that the UK should leave the European Union with a deal.[17] To justify his changed position regarding the UK outside of the European Union, Hands argued that in "the long term" the UK could "independently conclude better contracts with third countries".[18] Hands voted against the Withdrawal Agreement in the first Meaningful Vote, but voted in favour of it in the second and third meaningful votes, stating that the deal had been improved.[19][20]

Following the Grenfell Tower fire which killed 71 people, Hands called for the Notting Hill Carnival to be moved. He said, "We have to ask ourselves if it is appropriate to stage a Carnival in the near proximity of a major national disaster." Event organisers and the Labour MP for Kensington rejected his suggestion.[citation needed] Justice4Grenfell coordinator Yvette Williams stated, "The Carnival route does not go near Grenfell and I'm failing to find the link between the Grenfell Tower fire and Carnival."[21] The mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, dismissed Hands' proposal.[22]

On 21 June 2018, Hands resigned his ministerial post to vote against a third runway at Heathrow Airport.[23]

Following the third defeat of the Brexit withdrawal agreement in the House of Commons in March 2019, Hands co-chaired the Prosperity UK Alternative Arrangements Commission. This body looked at alternatives to the Irish backstop.[24]

Alongside former neighbouring MPs Justine Greening and Zac Goldsmith, Hands has been critical of the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham's April 2019 decision to close Hammersmith Bridge to motor vehicles, and has called for the bridge to be promptly repaired and re-opened.[25]

During the 2019 Conservative Party leadership election, Hands was one of the first MPs to declare their support for Jeremy Hunt.[26] During the campaign, Hands wrote to Boris Johnson requesting that he review the Government's decision to build a third runway at Heathrow Airport.[27] Hunt ultimately lost the contest to Johnson in the final round.

Johnson government

Hands was re-elected as MP for Chelsea and Fulham at the 2019 general election.[28]

Hands was appointed Minister of State for Trade Policy in the second Johnson ministry during the 2020 cabinet reshuffle.[29]

In May 2020, Parliament's Standards and Privileges Committee censured Hands for misusing public funds relating to stationery and pre-paid House of Commons envelopes.[30] In November 2021, Hands followed his party three line whip to vote to overhaul the Standards and Privileges Committee.[31]

Personal life

Hands has dual American/British nationality.[32] He lives in Fulham[3] with his German wife Irina,[33] and their son and daughter.[3] Hands says that he speaks five European languages, including German and Czech.[34] He is a member of the Romanian Orthodox Church.[4]

Hands supports Plymouth Argyle and has appeared as a guest at supporters' association events.[35]

During the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic, Hands said that his father, Edward Hands, had died with Coronavirus in a UK care home.[36]

References

  1. ^ a b "EU vote: Where the cabinet and other MPs stand". BBC News. 22 June 2016. Retrieved 9 September 2019.
  2. ^ Sylvester, Rachel (30 June 2018). "Greg Hands: 'I was true to my word on Heathrow. People have a right to expect that'". The Times. Retrieved 12 May 2022.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h "About Greg". Greg Hands MP. Retrieved 26 April 2020.
  4. ^ a b c d Gimson, Andrew (16 April 2014). "Profile: Greg Hands – the next Conservative Chief Whip?". Conservative Home. Retrieved 12 May 2022.
  5. ^ "Result: Hammersmith & Fulham". BBC News. 6 May 2005. Retrieved 8 July 2019.
  6. ^ "Cashcroft bought 19 seats". Mirror Online. 7 March 2010. Archived from the original on 5 June 2011.
  7. ^ "Hansard Debates for 26 May 2005". parliament.uk. 26 May 2005. Archived from the original on 2 June 2016.
  8. ^ "Who We Are". Conservative Friends of Poland. Archived from the original on 3 November 2012.
  9. ^ "Profiles: David Cameron's ministerial line-up". Financial Times. 11 May 2015. Retrieved 9 February 2017.
  10. ^ "Brown slow to defend bail-out chief". Financial Times. 12 February 2009. Retrieved 9 February 2017.[dead link]
  11. ^ "Ministerial Appointments". GOV.UK. 14 October 2011.
  12. ^ "MP-by-MP: Gay marriage vote". BBC News. 5 February 2013. Retrieved 9 September 2019.
  13. ^ Hands, Greg [@GregHands] (8 January 2019). "I led the Remain campaign locally" (Tweet). Retrieved 12 May 2022 – via Twitter.
  14. ^ Cooper, Goolistan (7 May 2016). "MP campaigns against Brexit, says could cost 100k jobs & harm NHS". getwestlondon. Retrieved 22 May 2020.
  15. ^ Swinford, Steven (3 May 2016). "Brexit will cost 100,000 jobs, Cabinet minister warns". The Telegraph. ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 22 May 2020.
  16. ^ "PM Theresa May makes more ministerial changes". BBC News. 17 July 2016. Retrieved 8 July 2019.
  17. ^ "September Brexit Update from Greg Hands". Greg Hands MP. 6 September 2019.
  18. ^ Reichert, Isabella. "Brexit: Wahlkampf mit dem Konservativen Greg Hands". www.spiegel.de (in German). Retrieved 23 May 2020.
  19. ^ "Brexit: How did my MP vote on the withdrawal agreement?". BBC News. 29 March 2019. Retrieved 9 September 2019.
  20. ^ "Summer Brexit Update from Greg Hands MP". Greg Hands MP. 20 August 2019.
  21. ^ Pasha-Robinson, Lucy (7 July 2017). "Tory minister wants to move Notting Hill Carnival because of Grenfell Tower fire disaster". The Independent. Retrieved 15 July 2017.
  22. ^ Rawlinson, Kevin (7 July 2017). "Sadiq Khan rejects call to move Notting Hill carnival after Grenfell fire". The Guardian. Retrieved 8 July 2019.
  23. ^ "Greg Hands quits as minister over Heathrow expansion". BBC News. 21 June 2018. Retrieved 8 July 2019.
  24. ^ "Tory MP Greg Hands: We've found a solution to the Brexit backstop". Belfast Telegraph. 23 August 2019. Retrieved 9 September 2019.
  25. ^ Sheppard, Owen (19 April 2019). "'We demand Hammersmith Bridge is repaired and re-opened' say MPs". MyLondon. Retrieved 9 September 2019.
  26. ^ Hands, Greg (4 June 2019). "I cannot imagine a better prime minister than Jeremy Hunt". The Times. Retrieved 9 September 2019.
  27. ^ Hands, Greg [@GregHands] (23 June 2019). "I have today written to @BorisJohnson asking him to set up a Review into the Heathrow 3rd Runway, similar to the one he announced yesterday on HS2, if he becomes Prime Minister" (Tweet). Retrieved 12 May 2022 – via Twitter.
  28. ^ "BBC News: Chelsea & Fulham Parliamentary constituency". BBC News. December 2019.
  29. ^ "Minister of State for Trade Policy". GOV.UK. 23 February 2020. Retrieved 7 May 2020.
  30. ^ "Committee on Standards Publishes Report on Greg Hands". UK Parliament. 4 May 2020. Retrieved 7 May 2020.
  31. ^ "Committee on Standards - Motion as amended". TheyWorkForYou. mySociety. 3 November 2021. Retrieved 4 November 2021.
  32. ^ Muir, Hugh (6 November 2008). "Diary". The Guardian. Retrieved 12 May 2022.
  33. ^ Waugh, Paul (17 January 2018). "International Trade Minister Greg Hands Reveals His Son Wept Over Brexit Vote". HuffPost. Oath. Retrieved 8 July 2019.
  34. ^ Hands, Greg [@GregHands] (18 October 2017). "This is the letter I wrote to all 11,000+ EU nationals in Chelsea & Fulham last month. Very good response. Blew the postage budget though" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  35. ^ "40th Anniversary Celebration". PLYMOUTH ARGYLE SUPPORTERS ASSOCIATION LONDON BRANCH. 27 November 2016. Retrieved 9 April 2020.
  36. ^ McGuinness, Alan (17 April 2020). "Coronavirus: Government minister Greg Hands reveals father's death linked to COVID-19". Sky News. Retrieved 12 May 2020.
Parliament of the United Kingdom Preceded byIain Coleman Member of Parliamentfor Hammersmith and Fulham 2005–2010 Constituency abolished New constituency Member of Parliamentfor Chelsea and Fulham 2010–present Incumbent Political offices Preceded byJohn Randall Deputy Chief Whip of the House of Commons 2013–2015 Succeeded byAnne Milton Treasurer of the Household 2013–2015 Preceded byDanny Alexander Chief Secretary to the Treasury 2015–2016 Succeeded byDavid Gauke Office established Minister of State for Trade Policy 2016–2018 Succeeded byGeorge Hollingbery Preceded byGavin Barwell Minister for London 2017–2018 Succeeded byJo Johnson Preceded byConor Burns Minister of State for Trade Policy 2020–2021 Succeeded byPenny Mordaunt Preceded byAnne-Marie Trevelyan Minister of State for Business, Energy and Clean Growth 2021–present Incumbent Party political offices Preceded byJohn Randall Conservative Deputy Chief Whip of the House of Commons 2013–2015 Succeeded byAnne Milton