Mike Penning

Mike Penning MP
Mike Penning at a Health Hotel session during the 2009 Conservative Party Conference
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport
Assumed office
15 May 2010
Prime Minister David Cameron
Preceded by Chris Mole
Member of Parliament
for Hemel Hempstead
Assumed office
5 May 2005
Preceded by Tony McWalter
Majority 13,406 (27.1%)
Personal details
Born 28 September 1957 (1957-09-28) (age 54)
Hendon, Middlesex, England
Nationality British
Political party Conservative
Spouse(s) Angela C Penning[1]
Children 2 daughters
Alma mater University of Reading
Occupation Grenadier Guards soldier
Profession Soldier, firefighter, journalist

Michael Alan "Mike" Penning MP (born 28 September 1957) is the Conservative Member of Parliament for Hemel Hempstead and is a junior Transport minister.[2][3]


Early life and career

Penning was born in Hendon and raised in Essex. He went to Appleton School in South Benfleet and King Edmund School in Rochford, Essex. He joined the British Army, serving as a Grenadier Guardsman in Northern Ireland, Kenya and Germany. One of his officers was Captain Robert Nairac who was abducted and killed by the IRA.[4] Penning subsequently worked as a firefighter for Essex County Fire and Rescue Service before going in his family business and a further career change took him into political journalism.[5]


In the mid-1990s, Penning was media advisor to the euro-rebels who had had the Conservative whip removed by John Major during the Maastricht Rebellion [6]

Penning was Sir Teddy Taylor's election agent during the 1997 general election. He stood for election in the safe Labour seat of Thurrock in the 2001 general election,[5] coming second behind Andrew MacKinlay.

Following this he became a chief adviser to former Conservative leader William Hague, most notably touring on the 'Keep the Pound' bus together, a move which in part caused tension within the Conservative Party over Britain's relationship with Europe.[citation needed] He later became the Conservative Party's deputy head of media under the brief and unpopular party leadership of Iain Duncan Smith. He was seen as one of his most trusted aides.[citation needed]

In the 2005 general election he stood in Hemel Hempstead, and narrowly defeated the Labour Co-operative incumbent Tony McWalter. Penning overturned McWalter's 2001 majority of 3,742 votes, winning (after a partial recount) by 499 votes.

In July 2007, Penning was promoted by David Cameron to Shadow Minister for Health.

According to theyworkforyou.com, Penning spoke in an "above average" number of debates last year and replied to a "very high number" of messages. He also received replies to an "above average" number of written questions.[7] However the quality of those questions was disputed by a 2006 Times article about the Theyworkforyou website which Penning used to email constituents.[8] His 624 questions in 10 months at an average cost of £138 each, included one on sales of lost property in Royal parks since records began. The newspaper suggested the objective was to increase ratings on the website though Penning denied this.[8]

Penning "occasionally rebels" with 2% of his votes being against the whip and was "very strongly" in favour of a smoking ban. Penning's parliamentary expenses details have been published as part of a general publication of all MPs' expenses. In 2008/2009, he claimed a total of £135,078 (502nd of all MPs).[7] The Legg Report found no problem with his expenses.[9] Penning, however, repaid £2.99 (for a dog bowl),[10] this is the lowest recorded repayment by an MP.[11]

2010 General Election

Penning's majority increased to 13,406 votes in the 2010 general election where he achieved 50% of the vote share.[12] The result pushed Labour's Ayfer Orhan into third place behind the Liberal Democrat candidate Richard Grayson [12] and was notable for the largest swing from Labour to Conservative (14.4%) in the country.[13][14] Following the election, he was appointed a junior Transport minister by David Cameron.[2]

Constituency issues

Buncefield fire

The Buncefield fire, occurred on 11 December 2005 and led to some 2700 claims for compensation.[15] In the words of Peter Lilley, "There is something providential about the fact that the worst fire in western Europe since the second world war should occur in a constituency represented by a fireman. It was undoubtedly in the interests of all his constituents and mine to have someone so knowledgeable, as well as so vigorous in their response, to represent their interests." [16]

Penning who arrived on the scene within half an hour of the explosion had himself been trained to deal with much smaller petroleum fires i.e. the scenario was that one tank not twenty was affected.[17]

Dexion pensions scheme

Dexion workers, 700 of whom worked in the constituency,[18] lost their pensions when the company went into receivership in 2003. Dexion played a prominent part in Ros Altmann's Pensionstheft campaign.[19] Penning, whose support for Dexion preceded his election, offered compensation from unclaimed assets in his 2005 Manifesto[20] and has spoken on the issue 26 times in Parliament.[21]

Dexion pensioners were featured celebrating a victory at the High Court in February 2007 which eventually led to increased compensation from the Government.[22]


  1. ^ http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm/cmregmem/110124/part2.htm
  2. ^ a b "Her Majesty’s Government" (in English). United Kingdom: Prime Minister's Office. 19 May 2010. http://www.number10.gov.uk/news/topstorynews/2010/05/her-majestys-government-49840. Retrieved 29 May 2010. 
  3. ^ "Democracy Live Mike Penning MP". BBC. http://news.bbc.co.uk/democracylive/hi/representatives/profiles/31734.stm. Retrieved 10-Apr-2010. 
  4. ^ Hansard
  5. ^ a b "Mike Penning Personal website". http://www.mikepenning.com/about. Retrieved 10-apr-2010. 
  6. ^ Wegg-Prosser, Benjamin (13 September 2001). "Guardian 7/9/2001, - What's cooking in the Tory kitchen cabinet". The Guardian (London). http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2001/sep/07/conservatives.uk1. Retrieved 15-apr-2010. 
  7. ^ a b "Michael Penning". http://www.theyworkforyou.com/mp/michael_penning/hemel_hempstead. Retrieved 18 March 2010. 
  8. ^ a b Hurst, Greg (2006-02-27). "The MPs who can't stop talking". London: Times Newspapers. http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/politics/article735429.ece. Retrieved 2011-02-17. 
  9. ^ "Review of past ACA payments" (PDF). House of Commons Members Estimate Committee. 4 February 2010. http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200910/cmselect/cmmemest/348/348.pdf. Retrieved 2010-02-05. 
  10. ^ "MPs' expenses in detail". BBC. 7 September 2009. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/8104383.stm. Retrieved 18 March 2010. 
  11. ^ "MPs' expenses in detail (repayments)". BBC. 14 May 2009. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/8050351.stm. Retrieved 14 April 2010. 
  12. ^ a b "BBC News Election 2010 Constituency Hemel Hempstead". http://news.bbc.co.uk/nol/shared/election2010/results/constituency/c12.stm. Retrieved 7 May 2010. 
  13. ^ Amie Mulderrig (11 May 2010). "Re-elected Hemel Hempstead MP Mike Penning achieves largest Labour to Conservative swing in country". WatfordObserver. http://www.watfordobserver.co.uk/news/8158911.Re_elected_MP_achieves_largest_Labour_to_Conservative_swing_in_country/. Retrieved 16-May-2010. 
  14. ^ "How Britain voted". Guardian Supplement: p. 8. 8-May-2010. 
  15. ^ "Buncefield victims in court move". BBC News. 17 March 2006. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/beds/bucks/herts/4816058.stm. Retrieved 17-May-2010. 
  16. ^ "Buncefield Debate Westminster Hall,Speaker=Peter Lilly". TheyWorkForYou.com. 9 January 2008. http://www.theyworkforyou.com/whall/?gid=2008-01-09c.83.0. 
  17. ^ "Buncefield Debate Westminster Hall,Speaker=Mike Penning". TheyWorkForYou.com. 9 January 2008. http://www.theyworkforyou.com/whall/?id=2008-01-09c.73.0. Retrieved 17-May-2010. 
  18. ^ "HC Deb, 22 July 2008". theyworkforyou. http://www.theyworkforyou.com/debates/?id=2008-07-22c.698.0&s=dexion+speaker%3A11626#g736.0. Retrieved 10-Apr-2010. 
  19. ^ Limbajee, Khevyn (28-Oct-2005). "London: Pension crisis". BBC. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/politics_show/4381202.stm. Retrieved 10-Apr-2010. 
  20. ^ "HC Deb, 18 April 2007, c361". theyworkforyou. http://www.theyworkforyou.com/debates/?id=2007-04-18b.316.3&s=dexion+speaker%3A11626#g361.1. Retrieved 10-Apr-2010. 
  21. ^ "dexion speaker:Michael Penning". theyworkforyou. http://www.theyworkforyou.com/search/?s=dexion&pid=11626. Retrieved 10-Apr-2010. 
  22. ^ Cowie, Ian (21-Feb-2007). "Pensioners win victory in High Court". London: Daily Telegraph. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/2804665/Pensioners-win-victory-in-High-Court.html. Retrieved 10-Apr-2010. 

External links

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Tony McWalter
Member of Parliament for Hemel Hempstead

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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