Stuart Anderson (politician)

Summary

Stuart Anderson
Official portrait of Stuart Anderson MP crop 2.jpg
Official portrait, 2019
Member of Parliament
for Wolverhampton South West
Assumed office
12 December 2019
Preceded byEleanor Smith
Majority1,661 (4.0%)
Personal details
Born (1976-07-17) 17 July 1976 (age 45)
Hereford, Herefordshire, England
NationalityBritish
Political partyConservative
Websitewww.stuartanderson.org.uk
Military career
Allegiance United Kingdom
Service/branch British Army
Years of service1993–2001
UnitThe Royal Green Jackets

Stuart Paul Anderson[1] (born 17 July 1976)[2] is a British Conservative Party politician who has been the Member of Parliament (MP) for Wolverhampton South West since the 2019 general election.[3]

Early life

When he was eight his father, Samuel, died from a brain tumour that was triggered by skin cancer blamed on his time spent in the sun deployed overseas. Samuel was a corporal in the Special Air Service Regiment (22 SAS) for 12 years, going on tours to Northern Ireland, Borneo and Oman before he returned to the UK and met Stuart's mother, Leslie, who was an army nurse. His father is buried at the SAS graveyard at St Martin's Church in Hereford.[4]

Military service

Anderson joined the army after leaving school at 16, and was shot in the foot by a friend during a training exercise when he was 17.[5] Subsequent tours of duty included Northern Ireland, Bosnia and Kosovo.[6] At one point, Anderson attempted the SAS selection, but was not successful.[5] He was in the army for nine years.[7]

Business career

After leaving the army at the age of 25, Anderson worked in close protection for high-profile clients in the UK, Africa, and the Middle East, including Qatari Prime Minister Abdullah bin Khalifa Al Thani.[8] He worked in over 50 countries[5] and ran security for US federal government officials in Baghdad during the 2003 invasion of Iraq.[8]

Anubis Associates

In 2005, Anderson co-founded Anubis Associates in Herefordshire.[9][8][10] The company offered courses in close protection training, "operational protection" for corporate VIPs, and "discreet personal protection" and consultancy services for petrochemical groups, financial institutions and stadiums. For six years during the War on Terror, Anubis had "quite a sensitive" government contract to provide Five Eyes training.[5]

Anubis Associates collapsed in 2012, which Anderson attributes to the end of the War on Terror. He describes himself as having gone from a "paper millionaire" to being in receipt of food parcels within a month.[5] At the time of its collapse, Anubis Associates owed £271,000 in unpaid tax.[11] Administrators noted that Anderson, a director and major shareholder, had received £54,000 in illegal dividends[11] "based on forecasted profits for a future period" that never materialised.[12] Ordered to repay the money in full, Anderson only offered £2,000, arguing that he might otherwise go personally bankrupt.[11] Anderson said that he lost his house and ended up needing to use a food bank as a result, stating, "It was painful, but I have never hid away from what happened and have spoken many times about it."[13]

eTravelSafety

Within a week of the collapse of his previous company,[5] Anderson founded another start-up based on personal security, eTravelSafety,[14] of which he was "currently operating as CEO" at the time of the 2019 United Kingdom general election, according to his LinkedIn page.[12] In December 2019 Private Eye reported that despite Anderson's professed enthusiasm for Brexit, his company had received £500,000 from the Midlands Engine Investment Fund,[12] a government fund which receives its financial backing from the European Union, with £79 million coming from the European Development Fund and £123 million from the European Investment Bank. The article also noted that whatever the next government decides should happen to EU-funded programmes such as the Midlands Engine Investment Fund, eTravelSafety was now guaranteed its share of EU money.[12]

According to Anderson's entry in the Register of Members' Financial Interests, on 27 February 2020, his shareholding in eTravelSafety was not more than 15% and, on 18 May 2020, his shareholdings were no longer valued at more than £70,000.[15]

Political career

Anderson has claimed that he had no knowledge or interest in politics during his military career. For example, at the time he went to Northern Ireland, he says that he had no knowledge of the background of The Troubles. He first developed an interest in a political career around 2005, but did not act on it for another nine years, when, after discussing it with his wife, he bought a book called Politics For Dummies and googled "how to become an MP". He voted for the Conservative Party in 2015, because in Hereford "you don't vote for Labour" and claimed there was no one else running. In fact, several other party candidates stood in Hereford and South Herefordshire at the 2015 general election. Anderson says that he did not know anything else about the political parties.[5] He joined the Conservative Party in 2016.[8] He had previously ridiculed party activists, but found that although he did not always have the depth of knowledge required, he enjoyed speaking to voters on the doorstep.[5]

Herefordshire Council

Anderson was elected to Herefordshire Council at a by-election in October 2017,[16] although failed to attend almost half of his first 13 scheduled council meetings.[17] He did not stand for re-election in May 2019.

House of Commons

Anderson was selected as the Conservative Party prospective parliamentary candidate for Wolverhampton South West in December 2018,[17] and after moving there, he contested the 2019 UK general election as its candidate.[1] He won the seat by 1,661 votes.[3] Following the election, he was named by The Guardian as one of the seven "most controversial" new Conservative MPs, due to his receipt of an illegal dividend as a director of a now defunct company.[18]

Anderson initially found speaking in Parliament daunting, as there were some "seasoned boys" there. He has commented that two of the things which have stood out to him in Parliament were influence and access, suggesting that he can get an appointment with anyone he wants to. An example he gives is when a senior member of an aerospace company offered to take him to dinner. He claims that this is the kind of meeting he was never able to get during his business career.[5]

In January 2020, The Independent reported that Anderson appeared to have edited his own Wikipedia article (with an account named "Stuart Anderson MP") to remove information about the unlawful payments he had accepted, and made a minor correction about the directorship of one of his companies.[10] Anderson is a member of the Defence Select Committee.[19]

During the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, Anderson criticised his government's imposition of tier 2 local lockdown measures on Wolverhampton, saying, "As a city we are unified in the view that we don't want these new measures, as we believe they are unfair and won't make a difference".[20]

In October 2020, Anderson voted against an opposition day motion calling on the government to continue funding free school meals for 1.4 million disadvantaged children over the school holidays until Easter 2021 during the COVID-19 pandemic. Labour accused the Conservatives of voting to let children go hungry; Anderson said he opposed the motion, as he believed it was "the role of the wider welfare system to help families that require extra support" outside school term. He said that the government had temporarily increased Universal Credit by £20 a week until April 2021,[21] although he abstained on a later opposition day motion calling on the government to stop the planned cut in Universal Credit and Working Tax Credit in April.[22] Following the vote, empty plates were left outside his constituency office in protest.[23]

Anderson said that he had received death threats following the vote, stating, "I've been told to watch myself if I turn up anywhere. Other MPs have had a lot worse than me and some are afraid to go outside their house at the moment."[24] The following month, the government U-turned on the policy,[25] which Anderson welcomed.[26]

Expenses claims

Following the 2009 parliamentary expenses scandal, MPs have been under more scrutiny for their expenses claims. Expenses claims by Anderson notable enough to have attracted media comment include £60.42 on Grammarly software,[27] and £4,108 for accommodation, including rent, constituency home Council Tax, gas and electricity for his constituency home, and staying in a London hotel to attend Parliament.[28]

Political positions

During the 2019 general election campaign, Anderson repeatedly pledged his support for Boris Johnson's Brexit withdrawal agreement and said he would support a no-deal Brexit if Johnson's Withdrawal Agreement Bill were not passed.[29]

Anderson has hardly ever rebelled against his party,[30] with two exceptions to date: a free vote on a bill seeking to ban demonstrations outside abortion clinics (in which 56 Conservative MPs voted for the bill and 43 against),[31] and a vote on the Abortion (Northern Ireland) Regulations 2021 (in which 223 Conservative MPs voted in favour and 79 voted against, Anderson among them).[32]

Anderson cites Winston Churchill, Margaret Thatcher and Labour prime minister Clement Attlee as his political inspirations.[5]

Personal life

Anderson is married and has five children.[8]

In his maiden speech, Anderson spoke about his experience of suicidal ideation and alcoholism following his military career, and how it led to him finding religion.[33] Anderson is a member[34] of the controversial evangelical Freedom Church,[35] and his former business eTravelSafety shares the same registered business address as Freedom Church Hereford.[36]

References

  1. ^ a b "Statements of Persons Nominated Wolverhampton South West". City of Wolverhampton Council. Retrieved 19 November 2019.
  2. ^ Brunskill, Ian (2020). The Times Guide to the House of Commons 2019. Glasgow: Times Books. p. 390. ISBN 978-0-00-839258-1. OCLC 1129682574.
  3. ^ a b "Wolverhampton South West parliamentary constituency – Election 2019". BBC News. BBC. Retrieved 13 December 2019.
  4. ^ Larisa Brown (February 2021). "Soldier turned MP Stuart Anderson fought his hardest battle against suicidal thoughts". The Times. p. 15. ISSN 0140-0460. Retrieved 21 July 2021.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Jonny Ball (18 November 2020). "Stuart Anderson MP". Veterans in Politics (Podcast). CampaignForce. Retrieved 2 January 2021.
  6. ^ "Global Britain". Hansard. Retrieved 27 April 2020.
  7. ^ Madeley, Peter. "MP spurred on in gruelling challenge by heartbreaking loss". Express and Star. Retrieved 21 July 2021.
  8. ^ a b c d e Madeley, Peter (8 February 2019). "Tory ex-Army sniper sets sights on Wolverhampton seat". Express & Star. Wolverhampton: Midland News Association. Retrieved 15 December 2019.
  9. ^ Revill, John (23 July 2007). "SAS men crack the world of business". Birmingham Post. Trinity Mirror. Retrieved 11 January 2020 – via The Free Library. Anubis Associates, which was set up by Stuart Anderson, "Ginge" Johnson, Trevor Easley and Geoffrey Pagham, has enjoyed rapid growth over the last two years.
  10. ^ a b Kentish, Benjamin (11 January 2020). "Tory Brexiteer MP appears to edit his own Wikipedia page to remove reference to EU grant and unlawful payments". The Independent. London. ISSN 0951-9467. Retrieved 11 January 2020.
  11. ^ a b c Syal, Rajeev (22 November 2019). "Tory candidate got illegal dividend from firm that went bust". The Guardian. London: Guardian Media Group. ISSN 1756-3224. Retrieved 14 December 2019.
  12. ^ a b c d "Candid Candidates". HP Sauce. Private Eye. No. 1511. London: Pressdram. 13 December 2019. p. 9. ISSN 0032-888X. The fund receives its backing from, er, the European Union [...] whatever the next government decides should happen to EU-funded programmes such as the Midlands Engine Investment Fund, at least eTravelSafety is now guaranteed its share of EU money. Hurrah for Brexit!
  13. ^ Madeley, Peter (22 November 2019). "Wolverhampton Tory candidate got illegal dividend after 'losing everything' in bust company". Express & Star. Wolverhampton. Retrieved 11 November 2020.
  14. ^ "Travel security – protecting travellers in an uncertain world". Security News Desk. 2 February 2016. Retrieved 15 December 2019.
  15. ^ "The Register of Members' Financial Interests As at 26 May 2020". House of Commons. 28 May 2020. Retrieved 8 July 2020.
  16. ^ "Declaration of Result of Poll Kings Acre Ward Byelection" (PDF). Herefordshire.gov.uk. Retrieved 12 January 2020.
  17. ^ a b Garcia, Carmelo (19 February 2019). "Herefordshire councillor to stand as MP". Sunshine Radio. Hereford: Murfin Media. Retrieved 15 December 2019. Kings Acre ward councillor Stuart Anderson has been selected as the Conservative Party parliamentary candidate for Wolverhampton South West. [...] As a county councillor, Anderson has missed five of the 13 meetings he was scheduled to attend since being elected, according to official records.
  18. ^ Syal, Rajeev; Mason, Rowena (16 December 2019). "Who are the Conservatives' most controversial new MPs?". The Guardian. London: Guardian Media Group. ISSN 1756-3224. Retrieved 16 December 2019.
  19. ^ "Defence Committee - Membership". UK Parliament.
  20. ^ Madeley, Peter (9 October 2020). "Leave us alone – region's leaders united in opposition to planned Covid lockdown measures". Express & Star. Wolverhampton. Retrieved 19 October 2020.
  21. ^ Madeley, Peter (22 October 2020). "Tory MPs defend opposition to Rashford's free school meals campaign". Express & Star. Wolverhampton. Retrieved 23 October 2020.
  22. ^ Read, Jonathon (18 January 2021). "The Tory MPs who failed to vote against a Universal Credit cut". The New European. Retrieved 6 February 2021.
  23. ^ "Empty plates left at Wolverhampton MP's office in protest over free school meals". Express & Star. Wolverhampton. 26 October 2020. Retrieved 26 October 2020.
  24. ^ Madeley, Peter (26 October 2020). "Wolverhampton MP says he and his family have had death threats over school meals vote". Express & Star. Wolverhampton. Retrieved 11 November 2020.
  25. ^ Abbit, Beth (8 November 2020). "Marcus Rashford 'proud' as government U-turns on providing free meals to disadvantaged children over Christmas". Manchester Evening News. Manchester. Retrieved 11 November 2020.
  26. ^ Madeley, Peter (10 November 2020). "School holiday support U-turn welcomed by MPs". Express & Star. Wolverhampton. Retrieved 11 November 2020.
  27. ^ Marriott, Shelley (20 January 2021). "Here's how much Derbyshire Dales MP has claimed in expenses". Matlock Mercury. Matlock, Derbyshire. Retrieved 6 February 2021.
  28. ^ Bassil, Ryan (24 November 2020). "The Tory MPs Who Voted Against Free School Meals Claimed Thousands on Living Expenses". VICE News. New York City. Retrieved 6 February 2021.
  29. ^ Madeley, Peter (23 August 2019). "Tory chairman James Cleverly: We can thrive under no-deal Brexit". Express & Star. Wolverhampton: Midland News Association. Retrieved 15 December 2019. Wolverhampton South West parliamentary candidate Stuart Anderson, said: 'Wolverhampton will thrive, and will continue to go from strength to strength whether we have a deal of not. This is because the people here want to move forward with Brexit. We will be out of the EU on October 31 and we can have a brighter future than we have ever had before.'
  30. ^ "Stuart Anderson MP, Wolverhampton South West". TheyWorkForYou. Retrieved 3 July 2020.
  31. ^ "Division 59, Demonstrations (Abortion Clinics)". Hansard. 24 June 2020. Retrieved 3 July 2020.
  32. ^ "Delegated Legislation (Division 280)". Hansard. 27 April 2021. Retrieved 31 May 2021.
  33. ^ Madeley, Peter (30 January 2020). "'I felt a failure not being able to take my own life': City MP reveals mental health struggle after leaving Army". Express & Star. Wolverhampton. Retrieved 2 January 2021.
  34. ^ "Hereford". Songs of Praise. 29 October 2017. BBC. BBC One. Retrieved 4 June 2020.
  35. ^ Ferguson, Paul (4 March 2011). "The Freedom Church in Hereford: church or cult?". Hereford Times. Hereford. Retrieved 5 June 2020.
    - ""Turn to Church, not Family", says Hereford Freedom Church Founder". Hereford Times. Hereford. 10 March 2011. Retrieved 9 June 2020.
    - "Petition questions Herefordshire Council's links with youth project". Hereford Times. Hereford. 21 March 2011. Retrieved 9 June 2020.
    - "Church group targets pupils: Police called as Freedom Church volunteers hand out sweets to Whitecross High School pupils". Hereford Times. Hereford. 26 October 2012. Retrieved 9 June 2020.
    - "What's wrong with Hereford's Freedom Church?". Anorak News. Harrow. 27 October 2012. Retrieved 9 June 2020.
    - Walsh, Alistair (1 March 2013). "Unholy war of words". The Phnom Penh Post. Phnom Penh. Retrieved 9 June 2020.
    - Fiteni, Laura (1 December 2014). "Cult-like church is banned from campus". The Waterfront (247). Swansea: Swansea University Students' Union.
    - McCarthy, James (16 January 2015). "'Cult' Welsh university tells controversial church: 'You're not welcome here'". Wales Online. Cardiff. Retrieved 9 June 2020.
    - Busteed, Desmond (7 January 2015). "Church banned from Swansea University". Premier Christian News.
    - Keumars, Afifi-Sabet (7 January 2015). "Swansea University Bans 'Cultic' Religious Group Freedom Church From Campus". Huffingdon Post.
  36. ^ Garcia, Carmelo (17 December 2019). "Former councillor is elected as Wolverhampton MP". Sunshine Radio. Hereford. Retrieved 4 June 2020.

External links

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by Member of Parliament
for Wolverhampton South West

2019–present
Incumbent