James Heappey

James Heappey
MP
Member of Parliament
for Wells
Assumed office
8 May 2015
Preceded by Tessa Munt
Majority 7,582 (13.5%)
Personal details
Born (1981-01-30) 30 January 1981
Political party Conservative
Alma mater University of Birmingham
Website www.jamesheappey.org.uk
Military service
Allegiance  United Kingdom
Service/branch  British Army
Rank Major

James Stephen Heappey[1] MP (born 30 January 1981) is a British Conservative Party politician. A former British Army officer,[2] he has been the Member of Parliament (MP) for Wells in Somerset since 2015.

Early life

James Heappey grew up in Nailsea, Somerset. He attended Queen Elizabeth's Hospital in Bristol and graduated from the University of Birmingham having studied Political Science.[3][4]

Military career

Following university, Heappey attended the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst.[5] He then served as an officer in the Royal Gloucestershire, Berkshire and Wiltshire Regiment and then The Rifles, the county regiment for Somerset, in Kabul in 2005, Northern Ireland in 2006, Basra in 2007 and Sangin in Helmund Province in 2009.[6] He also served in Kenya, and in 2011 he was posted to the Ministry of Defence in London,[2] where he worked as executive officer on the General Staff and was promoted to Major in 2012.[7] After leaving the army, he worked as a researcher for North Somerset MP Liam Fox.[7]

Political career

Heappey was first elected as the Member of Parliament (MP) for Wells in the 2015 general election,[8] having been selected as the Conservative Prospective Parliamentary Candidate two years earlier.[9] He used his maiden speech in the House of Commons to encourage the Government to continue addressing the problems that many rural communities face, including poor road connecitons, limited access to the rail network, weak phone signals and slow broadband speeds.[10]

In October 2015, Heappey succeeded Nick de Bois as the Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group for the UK Events Industry.[11] He also serves as Vice Chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Rural Business, a group which seeks to secure policy outcomes that promote the sustainable growth of the rural economy.[12]

From July 2015[13][14] to October 2016, Heappey served on the House of Commons' Energy and Climate Change Select Committee.[15] He backed the Government's decision to give the go-ahead for the Hinkley Point C nuclear power station, in particular citing the benefits for the local economy of Somerset.[16] Heappey has also called for greater exploitation of the resources and expertise available in the marine energy sector.[17]

Although sceptical about some aspects of the European Union, he was opposed to Brexit prior to the 2016 EU membership referendum.[18][19] However, he voted in favour of the Government's timetable to trigger Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union before the end of March 2017.[20][21]

2017 general election

During the 2017 general election, he apologised for an incident when meeting the sixth form at Millfield school in Street, Somerset.[22] Heappey asked pupils how they would vote in the proposed second Scottish independence referendum, and a Scottish girl said she would support independence.[23] Most reports assert that Heappey then asked her "Why don’t you fuck off back to Scotland?",[22][23][24][25][26] but The Guardian reports Heappey's claim that he told her to "fuck off", but did not say "back to Scotland".[27] In his apology, Heappey claimed that the comment had been intended as a joke.[25]

The Liberal Democrat candidate for Wells, Tessa Munt, condemned Heappey's use of what she called "bullying, racist and abusive language to dismiss a teenage schoolgirl engaging in political debate."[24] In Scotland, Heappey's conduct was described as "appalling behaviour" by the Scottish National Party leader Nicola Sturgeon, and as "utterly inappropriate" by Ruth Davidson, leader of the Scottish Conservative Party.[26] Sturgeon claimed that Heappey's conduct was part of a wider problem with Tories, noting that several Scottish Conservative councillors had been exposed as having expressed racist views on social media.[25]

Personal life

Heappey lives in the Somerset town of Axbridge with his wife and two children.[2]

References

  1. "No. 61230". The London Gazette. 18 May 2015. p. 9125.
  2. 1 2 3 "About James". James Heappey. Archived from the original on 17 May 2017. Retrieved 8 May 2015.
  3. "Wells". UK Polling Report. Archived from the original on 13 June 2016. Retrieved 8 May 2015.
  4. "Wells MP Conservative hopeful James Heappey meets Compton Bishop and Cross Conservatives". Western Daily Press. 11 March 2013. Archived from the original on 18 May 2015. Retrieved 8 May 2015.
  5. Carr, Tim (2015). The Politicos Guide to the New House of Commons 2015: Profiles of the New MPs and Analysis of the 2015 General Election Results. Biteback. ISBN 9781849549240.
  6. Carr, Tim (2015). The Politicos Guide to the New House of Commons 2015. Biteback. ISBN 1849549230.
  7. 1 2 "James Heappey selected as Conservative candidate for Wells". James Heappey. Retrieved 23 May 2017.
  8. "Election 2015: Wells". BBC. Archived from the original on 3 July 2015. Retrieved 8 May 2015.
  9. "Three more Tory Associations select candidates: James Heappey in Wells, Lee Rowley for NE Derbyshire and John Bell for Wirrall South". ConservativeHome. Archived from the original on 11 May 2015. Retrieved 4 February 2013.
  10. "Britain in the world". Parliamentary Debates (Hansard). House of Commons. 1 June 2015. col. 402–403.
  11. Cernik, Lizzie (20 October 2015). "James Heappey announced as chairman for All Party Parliamentary Group". Archived from the original on 27 November 2015. Retrieved 2017-05-16.
  12. The Committee Office, House of Commons. "House of Commons — Register Of All-Party Parliamentary Groups as at 29 September 2015 : Rural Business". parliament.uk. Archived from the original on 17 May 2017. Retrieved 16 May 2017.
  13. "Meet the new Energy and Climate Change Committee". parliament.uk. 15 July 2015. Archived from the original on 31 August 2015. Retrieved 17 May 2017.
  14. "House of Commons Votes and Proceedings, Wednesday". parliament.uk. 8 July 2015. Archived from the original on 17 May 2017. Retrieved 17 May 2017.
  15. "James Heappey". They Work for You. Retrieved 31 May 2017.
  16. "James Heappey: May is right to give Hinkley the green light". ConservativeHome. Archived from the original on 8 October 2016. Retrieved 15 September 2016.
  17. Bairstow, Jonny (24 February 2017). "MP says 'Industrial Strategy must exploit marine resources'". Energy Live News. Archived from the original on 26 February 2017. Retrieved 2017-05-16.
  18. Heappey, James (13 June 2016). "James Heappey: The EU needs major change, but leaving isn't worth the risk". Conservative Home. Archived from the original on 9 April 2017. Retrieved 2017-05-15.
  19. 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 3 February 2017. Retrieved 11 October 2016.
  20. "Division 102, The Government's Plan for Brexit — Hansard Online". hansard.parliament.uk. Retrieved 2017-05-15.
  21. "MPs back government's Brexit timetable". BBC News. 2016-12-07. Retrieved 2017-05-15.
  22. 1 2 King, Diane (14 May 2017). "Indy supporter told to 'F*** off back to Scotland' by Tory candidate". The Scotsman. Retrieved 14 May 2017.
  23. 1 2 Warbuton, Dan (13 May 2017). "'Why don't you f*** off back to Scotland': Tory MP blasts schoolgirl wanting Scottish independence". Daily Mirror. Archived from the original on 14 May 2017. Retrieved 14 May 2017.
  24. 1 2 Doyle, Andrew (14 May 2017). "Wells MP tells Millfield 6th former - 'why don't you f*** off back to Scotland'". Somerset Live. Archived from the original on 16 May 2017. Retrieved 14 May 2017.
  25. 1 2 3 Kirkaldy, Liam (15 May 2017). "Nicola Sturgeon accuses Tory candidate of "appalling behaviour" after reports he swore at a school child". Holyrood. Archived from the original on 17 May 2017.
  26. 1 2 "Ruth Davidson condemns candidate who swore at schoolgirl". The Herald. 16 May 2017. Archived from the original on 16 May 2017.
  27. Morris, Steven (15 May 2017). "Tory MP swore at Scottish schoolgirl who said she was pro-independence". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 17 May 2017.
Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Tessa Munt
Member of Parliament
for Wells

2015–present
Incumbent
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