Mark is a married father-of-four who was elected as the Member of Parliament for Workington in December 2019. Prior to his election he worked as a self-employed contractor in the nuclear supply chain. Born and raised in Workington, Mark chose the village of Seaton to settle with his wife Dawn, and their children.
Mark was also a local parish councillor in both Seaton, where he was latterly Chairman of the council, and in Camerton, as well as borough councillor for the Seaton and Northside ward, becoming Deputy Leader of Allerdale Borough Council in May 2019. Mark is a former charity trustee and school governor. He was incredibly active at a grassroots level, often organising clean-up days in his village, and helping the Seaton in Bloom group which was formed as a result of his efforts in council. You will see that those traits haven't left him as he continues to organise clean up days around the constituency and runs his 'Grot Spot' reporting.
After leaving St Joseph's RC Secondary School, Mark attended Newton Rigg College to pursue agricultural studies, later joining British Steel as an apprentice. Following several years gaining valuable experience in various sales, training and management positions across a number of sectors - particularly the pub trade, he updated his qualifications and returned to his trade as an Electrician so that he could spend more time with his family.
It was watching the decline of Workington Hall that brought Mark into politics - dealing with politicians as he helped to create a group to save what remained of the old building, he realised Workington was being failed on a number of levels. His work with the Hall and subsequently with Workington Heritage Group and the Helena Thompson Museum that led him to realise that Workington had long been at the forefront, and had only been let down more recently by poor representation.
Workington was the birthplace of modern agricultural practices under John Christian Curwen, of Workington Hall. He also introduced the first social insurance scheme locally, and attempted to do so nationally as our MP - nearly 100 years before Lloyd-George again put forward the scheme we now know as National Insurance. Later, Henry Bessemer chose Workington to base his company, and we went on to send steel around the world.
Times change, and while the sectors may be different – now nuclear, low-carbon energy, and some of the finest packaging materials in the world – Workington is once again at the forefront, under a Conservative MP.
In Parliament, Mark's main interests lie in Energy, Nuclear and Education. He was elected by his colleagues to the BEIS Select Committee, whose role was to scrutinise the work and spending of the department, in March 2020 - shortly after his arrival in Westminster. He now sits on the successor to the BEIS committee - the Energy Security and Net Zero Select Committee, and on the Women and Equalities Select Committee.
Mark is the Parliamentary Private Secretary (PPS) to the Scotland Office, having previously served in the Whips' office and as a PPS to the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA). He serves as the Vice-Chair of the Conservative backbench Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (EFRA) committee; as a Vice-Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Upland Farming, a Vice-Chair of the APPG Nuclear and as Treasurer of the APPG Cyprus.