In May 1997 I was elected as the Conservative Member of Parliament for the constituency of Lichfield and was re-elected with a much increased majority in June 2001 and with a still higher majority in the May 2005 election. Prior to that, I had been Member of Parliament for Mid Staffordshire since 1992 until the Parliamentary boundaries were changed and the constituency was abolished. (Mid Staffordshire included the City of Lichfield.) In the 1987 General Election, I fought South Shields. And lost.
In May 2005 I was made a Whip with responsibility for ensuring the management for the Conservative Parliamentary Party of Government legislation from two Ministries as it passes through the House of Commons. I also have responsibility for a number of Conservative Members of Parliament. Immediately prior to that appointment, I was Shadow Minister for Economic Affairs with responsibilities overlapping Trade & Industry and the Treasury. My work included 'shadowing' E-Commerce, Technology, and The Post Office. I also headed up campaigning across three Shadow Government Departments: The Treasury, DTI, and Work and Pensions.
When I first became an MP, I was a member of the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee (originally known as 'National Heritage') under the chairmanship of Sir Gerald Kaufman MP. Select Committees are authorised to scrutinise the work of Government departments, to call witnesses for inquires, and to publish reports. My other interests include Trade, with special regard to the promotion of exports and high technology, and Foreign Relations particularly with respect to the United States and the European Union. In October 2001, I was appointed Chairman of the House of Commons Information Committee, but ceased to be its Chairman on my appointment as a Shadow Minister. And in May 2005, having been appointed a Whip, I ceased being a member of any Select Committee.