Ranil Jayawardena
Official portrait, 2022
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
In office
6 September 2022 – 25 October 2022
Prime MinisterLiz Truss
Preceded byGeorge Eustice
Succeeded byThérèse Coffey
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for International Trade
In office
5 May 2020 – 6 September 2022
Prime MinisterBoris Johnson
Preceded byOffice established
Succeeded byJames Duddridge
Deputy Chairman of the Conservative Party
In office
13 February 2020 – 5 May 2020
LeaderBoris Johnson
Preceded byPaul Scully
Succeeded byLee Rowley
Member of Parliament
for North East Hampshire
Assumed office
7 May 2015
Preceded byJames Arbuthnot
Majority20,211 (34.1%)[1]
Councillor of the Borough of
Basingstoke and Deane
In office
5 May 2008 – 11 May 2015
Personal details
Born (1986-09-03) 3 September 1986 (age 37)
London, England
Political partyConservative
Spouse
Alison Lyn Jayawardena
(m. 2011)
Children3
Alma materLondon School of Economics
WebsiteOfficial website

Ranil Malcolm Jayawardena[2] (born 3 September 1986) is a British politician who has been the Member of Parliament (MP) for North East Hampshire since 2015. A member of the Conservative Party, he served under Prime Minister Liz Truss as Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs from September to October 2022. He previously served as Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for International Trade from 2020 to 2022.

Born in London, Jayawardena moved to Hampshire before starting school. His education was at his local comprehensive in North East Hampshire, Robert May's School, followed by Alton College. Jayawardena graduated from the London School of Economics and worked for Lloyds Banking Group, where he became a senior manager.

Early life and career

Jayawardena was born on 3 September 1986 in London, England.[3][4] His father, Nalin Jayawardena,[5] is of Sri Lankan origin and moved to the United Kingdom in 1978 to pursue a career in accountancy.[6] His mother, Indira Das Jayawardena,[5] has Indian heritage; he also has a brother and sister.[7] His early education was at Hook Infant School and Hook Junior School in Hook,[8] Robert May's School, a state comprehensive school in the village of Odiham,[9] and Alton College in the town of Alton (all in Hampshire).[10] At the London School of Economics, he graduated with a BSc in government in 2008.[11] After university, Jayawardena worked for the Lloyds Banking Group and according to The Guardian was involved in lobbying Members of the European Parliament on imminent legislation affecting the European banking sector. He also worked on a voluntary basis in the office of North East Hampshire MP James Arbuthnot.[12]

Jayawardena served as a councillor of the Borough of Basingstoke and Deane in Hampshire from 2008 to 2015.[13] During his time as a councillor, he was also the Cabinet Member for Finance and Property, before being made Deputy Leader of the council.[14] He invested in "community safety patrollers" to target anti-social behaviour and littering[15] and provided half an hour free parking in "short stay car parks in Top of the Town".[16]

Parliamentary career

James Arbuthnot, the MP for North East Hampshire, indicated in 2011 that he would retire at the next parliamentary election which was due to be held in 2015.[17] Jayawardena was selected in an open primary as the parliamentary candidate for the constituency in 2013. Other short-listed individuals for the seat included future MPs Victoria Atkins and Helen Whately.[18] He went on to be elected as the MP for the constituency at the 2015 general election with 35,573 votes (65.9% share) and a majority of 29,916.[19] This was the largest margin of victory by any Conservative MP in the election.[20] During the election, the candidate for the UK Independence Party was suspended after making a death threat towards Jayawardena.[21]

In his maiden speech, he outlined his belief in the rule of law, in human rights and in equality before the law being matched by equality in opportunity, and that rights must be balanced by responsibilities.[22] In December 2015, he voted to support Prime Minister David Cameron's plans to carry out airstrikes against ISIL targets in Syria.[23] In the 2015–17 parliament, he was part of the Home Affairs Committee and the International Trade Committee.[24] After becoming an MP, he continued to be vocal about local issues that he had supported as a councillor such as protecting weekly bin collections.[25][26] Jayawardena supported Brexit in the June 2016 United Kingdom European Union membership referendum.[27]

He held his seat in the 2017 general election with 37,754 (65.5%) votes and a majority of 27,772.[28] In June 2017, he shut down his Twitter account after labelling it as "a platform full of trolls, extremists – and worse".[29] After the 2017 election, he was re-appointed to the International Trade Committee and also joined the House of Commons' Procedure Committee.[24]

In January 2018, Jayawardena was made Parliamentary Private Secretary to the ministerial team at the Department for Work and Pensions.[30] In September 2018, he was made Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Ministry of Justice. He resigned from this post on 15 November 2018 in protest at the government's proposed Brexit deal.[31] In March 2019, Jayawardena was one of 21 MPs who voted against the teaching of LGBT-inclusive relationship and sex education in English schools.[32] He explained his vote as supporting parents' rights to choose their children's education.[33] Jayawardena supported Boris Johnson in the 2019 leadership election.[34] In the same year, he was appointed as a Vice Chairman of the Conservative Party.[35]

He was re-elected in the 2019 general election with 35,280 votes, a very similar number of votes to 2015 and 2017, but with reduced majority of 20,211 (34.1%) votes.[1] He was appointed Deputy Chairman of the Conservative Party in 2020.[36]

Jayawardena at the Indiana Global Economic Summit in 2022

In May 2020, he was appointed as Minister for International Trade, at the Department for International Trade,[37] by Boris Johnson following the resignation of Conor Burns.

In November 2020, the Basingstoke Gazette reported that Jayawardena earned £40,000 in share options from eight days consulting for PepTcell, a pharmaceuticals company and £1,400 plus free travel from Great Western Railway.[38]

In September 2022, he was appointed as Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs by Prime Minister Liz Truss. Jayawardena is considered a close ally of Truss, and was one her earliest supporters during the 2022 leadership election.[39] Farmers Weekly noted at the time that he was "relatively unknown" in agriculture and had no direct experience.[40] He was sworn in as a member of the Privy Council on 13 September 2022 following his appointment.[41]

Personal life

Jayawardena lives in Bramley, Hampshire.[42] He has been married to Alison (née Roberts), a solicitor, since 2011.[5][43] The couple have two daughters and a son.[44] His wife works part-time as a Senior Researcher for his parliamentary office.[38] He is a Christian and occasionally goes to church.[3]

References

  1. ^ a b "North East Hampshire". BBC News. Retrieved 13 December 2019.
  2. ^ "Declaration of Results" (PDF). Electoral Commission. p. 1. Archived (PDF) from the original on 18 September 2017. Retrieved 14 May 2017.
  3. ^ a b Bennett, Owen. "Ranil Jayawardena: I Never Got An Apology From Ukip After One Of Its Candidates Said He Wanted To Shoot Me". The Huffington Post. Archived from the original on 10 June 2017. Retrieved 14 May 2017.
  4. ^ "Ranil Jayawardena". MyParliament. Archived from the original on 25 September 2017. Retrieved 14 May 2017.
  5. ^ a b c Jayawardena, Ranil Malcolm (Who's Who, online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ww/9780199540884.013.U283996. ISBN 978-0-19-954088-4. Retrieved 11 February 2018.
  6. ^ "Ukip candidate suspended for threatening to 'put a bullet in' Tory rival". The Guardian. 5 May 2015. Archived from the original on 10 May 2017. Retrieved 14 May 2017.
  7. ^ "'Ranil's election great honour to Sri Lanka'". Daily News. 12 May 2015. Archived from the original on 12 May 2015.
  8. ^ Harrison-Fisher, Andre (12 December 2017). "MP returns to old school to open new building". Basingstoke Gazette. Retrieved 12 December 2017.
  9. ^ Richards, Adam (19 March 2013). "Cllr Ranil Jayawardena says too many children in the borough are being let down". Southern Daily Echo. Archived from the original on 24 September 2017. Retrieved 14 May 2017.
  10. ^ "Alton to leave East Hampshire in boundary shake up". Farnham Herald. 16 September 2016. Archived from the original on 10 November 2017. Retrieved 14 May 2017.
  11. ^ "LSE alumni elected in the UK general election". London School of Economics. Retrieved 14 May 2017.
  12. ^ Syal, Rajeev; Barr, Caelainn (5 March 2015). "300 staff working for peers and MPs have lobbying interests, analysis reveals". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 11 September 2017. Retrieved 14 May 2017.
  13. ^ "North East Hampshire". UK Polling Report. Archived from the original on 13 June 2017. Retrieved 14 May 2017.
  14. ^ Bave, Jessica (5 June 2014). "Clive Sanders to remain as leader of Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council". Southern Daily Echo. Archived from the original on 10 November 2017. Retrieved 14 May 2017.
  15. ^ Bave, Jessica (11 February 2015). "Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council launches crackdown on litter at Basingstoke Leisure Park". County Press. Retrieved 4 January 2019.
  16. ^ Stanley, John (7 November 2013). "Top of the Town 'set to get free parking'". Basingstoke Observer. Retrieved 4 January 2019.
  17. ^ "Tory MP James Arbuthnot to step down for 'new challenge'". BBC News. 6 June 2011. Archived from the original on 25 September 2015. Retrieved 24 September 2017.
  18. ^ "Ranil Jayawardena selected as James Arbuthnot's successor". Ranil Jayawardena. 18 November 2013. Archived from the original on 24 September 2017.
  19. ^ "Hampshire North East parliamentary constituency — Election 2015". BBC News. Archived from the original on 30 December 2016. Retrieved 17 May 2015.
  20. ^ Williams, Zoe. "In the country's safest Tory seat, prosperity seeks a steady hand". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 26 June 2017. Retrieved 20 June 2017.
  21. ^ Dutta, Kunal (5 May 2015). "Ukip sacks candidate Robert Blay for threatening to shoot his Tory rival". The Independent. Archived from the original on 28 August 2017. Retrieved 14 May 2017.
  22. ^ Jayawardena, Ranil (3 June 2015). "House of Commons". Hansard.
  23. ^ "Syria strikes: Find out how your MP voted". BBC News. 3 December 2015. Archived from the original on 3 December 2015.
  24. ^ a b "Mr Ranil Jayawardena". parliament.uk. Archived from the original on 8 June 2017. Retrieved 14 May 2017.
  25. ^ "Council's bin collection change idea branded 'junk' by former deputy". Basingstoke Observer. 13 February 2017. Retrieved 20 July 2019.
  26. ^ Pamely, Harry (17 February 2017). "Ranil Jayawardena MP rubbishes idea of fortnightly bin collection". Basingstoke Gazette. Retrieved 20 July 2019.
  27. ^ Goodenough, Tom (16 February 2016). "Which Tory MPs back Brexit, who doesn't and who is still on the fence?". The Spectator. Archived from the original on 22 October 2016. Retrieved 11 October 2016.
  28. ^ "Hampshire North East". BBC News. Archived from the original on 17 June 2017. Retrieved 10 June 2017.
  29. ^ Brown, Matthew (26 June 2017). "MP Jayawardena quits Twitter over 'trolling, extremists – and worse'". Basingstoke Observer. Archived from the original on 28 August 2017. Retrieved 28 August 2017.
  30. ^ "List of PPS's | Conservative Home". Conservative Home. Retrieved 10 September 2018.
  31. ^ Birkbeck, Tim (15 November 2018). "Ranil Jayawardena resigns from PPS post over the UK's draft Brexit agreement with the EU". Basingstoke Gazette.
  32. ^ Butterworth, Benjamin (28 March 2019). "MPs vote for LGBT inclusive sex and relationship education from primary school". i.
  33. ^ "MP one of just 21 to vote against changes to sex education proposal". Basingstoke Gazette. 3 April 2019.
  34. ^ Jayawardena, Ranil (8 July 2019). "MP'S COLUMN: Why I am backing Boris". Basingstoke Gazette. Retrieved 7 September 2022.
  35. ^ Wallace, Mark (5 August 2019). "The Party's new line-up of Deputy and Vice Chairmen". ConservativeHome. Retrieved 13 December 2019.
  36. ^ Papworth, Bethany (6 May 2020). "MP Ranil Jayawardena will serve as trade minister during pandemic". Basingstoke Gazette. Retrieved 7 September 2022.
  37. ^ "Parliamentary Under Secretary of State". Gov.uk. 5 May 2020. Retrieved 6 May 2020.
  38. ^ a b Hinton, Megan; Evans, Ryan (19 November 2020). "REVEALED: MP paid £40,000 in share options for eight days of consultancy at drug company". Basingstoke Gazette. Retrieved 7 September 2022.
  39. ^ "Liz Truss cabinet: who are the key players in PM's top team?". the Guardian. 7 September 2022. Retrieved 26 October 2022.
  40. ^ James, Debbie (6 September 2022). "Ranil Jayawardena announced as new Defra secretary". Farmers Weekly. Retrieved 7 September 2022.
  41. ^ "Orders for 13 September 2022" (PDF). Privy Council Office. Retrieved 14 September 2022.
  42. ^ "Ranil Jayawardena MP visits HLF supported RSPB reserve at Hazeley Heath". Heritage Lottery Fund. 12 November 2015.
  43. ^ "Alison Lyn Jayawardena". The Law Society. Archived from the original on 28 August 2017. Retrieved 14 May 2017.
  44. ^ "About Ranil". Ranil Jayawardena. Archived from the original on 9 June 2017. Retrieved 14 May 2017.