Mark Reckless

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Person.png Mark Reckless   Powerbase WebsiteRdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
Mark Reckless.jpg
BornMark John Reckless
City of London, United Kingdom
Alma materMarlborough College, Christ Church (Oxford), The University of Law, Columbia Business School
SpouseCatriona Brown
PartyUKIP, Conservative
A former Conservative MP who defected to UK Independence Party

Employment.png Member of Parliament for Rochester and Strood

In office
20 November 2014 - 30 March 2015

Employment.png Member of Parliament for Rochester and Strood

In office
6 May 2010 - 30 September 2014

Employment.png Economics Spokesman

In office
12 August 2015 - Present

Mark John Reckless is a British UK Independence Party (UKIP) politician. He was elected as the Conservative Member of Parliament for Rochester and Strood in the 2010 General Election,[1] joined UKIP in September 2014,[2] won re-election as a UKIP member in November 2014, but lost his seat to the Conservatives in the May 2015 UK General Election.

While a Conservative MP, Reckless was noted for his rebelliousness; he cast 56 votes against the whip between 2010 and 2014, making him the 13th most rebellious Conservative in the period.[3] He led a rebellion of 53 Conservative MPs on the EU Budget, which inflicted the first House of Commons defeat on the Coalition government.[4] He was also a member (from November 2010) of the Home Affairs Select Committee.


Mark Reckless attended Marlborough College and Christ Church (Oxford), where he graduated in Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE), with upper second class honours. He then received an MBA from Columbia Business School in the United States. At Columbia, he studied alongside writer Jacob Appel and is the subject of several thinly-veiled anecdotes in Appel's satire, The Man Who Wouldn't Stand Up.[5] He trained as a barrister at the College of Law, gaining an LLB, and was called to the Bar in 2007.

Early career

In the mid-1990s, Reckless worked for UBS Warburg[6] In the late 1990s he worked as a strategy consultant and associate in Financial Services Group at Booz, Allen & Hamilton.[7]

Between 2002 and 2004, Reckless was a member of the policy unit at Conservative Central Office where he published a book on deregulation policy[8] as well as overseeing the development of the policy on directly elected police commissioners.[9] The first PCC elections took place on 15 November 2012.

Until his election in May 2010, Reckless had been a solicitor at Herbert Smith[10] and had worked on legal matters that had had dealings with private investigators.[11] He was a member of the Kent Police Authority from 2007 to 2011.

Political career

Mark Reckless was elected as the member of Parliament for Rochester and Strood in 2010 with a 9,953 majority for the Conservative Party, having previously stood in the Medway constituency in 2001 and 2005, reducing the majority of the serving Labour MP to 3,780 in 2001 and 213 in 2005. He was a Medway Councillor between 2007-2011.[12]

Reckless was elected to the Home Affairs Select Committee in 2010[13] and has been one of its most visible members often appearing on Newsnight and other political programmes, recently arguing for the deportation of clerics Abu Hamza[14] and Abu Qatada.[15] He is rated as one of Parliament's most rebellious MPs,[16] He was one of only six Conservative MPs to vote against the increase of University tuition fees.[17][18] and has been a vocal critic of the governments energy policy, arguing that the government's energy bill introduced in December 2012 was 'a sad retreat for Conservatives'.[19]

In July 2010, Reckless apologised for missing a vote on the budget after having had too much to drink.[20] He said that he "did not feel it was appropriate to take part in the vote because of the amount he had drunk".[21]

A vociferous Eurosceptic,[22] Reckless is a noted critic of the European Court of Human Rights seeing it as 'eroding British freedom and democracy'.[23]

He was also chair of the All-party parliamentary group on Georgia.[24] The groups aims are 'to facilitate greater parliamentary awareness of developments in Georgia'.

EU budget rebellion

On 31 October 2012, Reckless led a rebellion of 53 Conservative MPs which inflicted the first House of Commons defeat (307 votes to 294) on the Coalition Government. The Tory rebels voted with Labour MPs to pass an amendment calling for a real-terms cut in the 2014-2020 EU budget multi-annual financial framework. The Coalition Government supported only a real-terms freeze in the EU budget as a minimum. The amendment was not binding on the government, but damaged Prime Minister David Cameron's authority on Europe before key EU Budget negotiations in November 2012.[25] As a result of leading the successful rebellion, Reckless was voted 'Backbencher of the Year' by the Conservatives[26] and finished 3rd in a Conservative Home poll of 'backbencher of the year', though the site's editor Tim Montgomerie announced that "if UKIP readers had been included in the poll Mark Reckless would have topped the vote."[27]

Defection to UKIP

On 27 September 2014, Reckless defected to the UK Independence Party at its party conference in Doncaster, and announced his resignation in order to seek re-election in a by-election. He was the second Conservative MP in the space of one month to defect to the party, the first being Douglas Carswell. In a speech delivered to the conference, Reckless claimed that the Conservative leadership was "not serious about real change on Europe", and that "Britain could be better".

Personal life

Reckless is the grandson of Henry McDevitt, a Fianna Fáil Teachta Dála (TD) for Donegal East in the Irish Parliament, from 1938 until 1943.[28] On 1 October 2011 he married Catriona Brown at Westminster Cathedral, with a reception held at the Palace of Westminster. His best man was Daniel Hannan MEP.[29] He was best man to Hannan at his wedding.[30]

Support for Muammar Gaddafi

At a by-election rally in the Rochester and Strood constituency, Mark Reckless said:

"Whatever people say about Colonel Gaddafi, one thing is he didn’t allow those boats to come across. He had an agreement with Italy that stopped it. Since he’s gone we’ve no idea what’s going on in Libya, it’s too dangerous for anyone to go there."

UKIP leader Nigel Farage agreed with the comments and said the dictator, accused of killing hundreds of his own people, brought ‘stability’ to the country. Farage claimed helping remove Gaddafi was one of David Cameron’s biggest mistakes. He added:

"We bombed them, that’s what we did. That’s how this government helped Libya. It got rid of somebody, albeit an Arab nationalist dictator, who actually gave a level of stability to the area."

Colonel Gaddafi died after the UN Security Council approved bombing raids led by Britain, France and the U.S. designed to assist rebel militias battling against forces loyal to Gaddafi on the ground. He was eventually captured and shot dead by the victorious rebels in 2011. During his rule his government supplied weapons to the IRA and other terrorist groups, was behind the Lockerbie bombing - the biggest act of "terrorism" in Britain history, which killed 270 people in 1988 – and the 1984 murder of Yvonne Fletcher.[31]


  4. Cameron Commons Defeat on EU Budget 31 October 2012
  5. Columbia Spectator, 1 October 2014
  6. Mark Reckless: Government borrowing is preventing private lending ConservativeHome 28 November 2008.
  7. Mark Reckless MP Your Local Guardian 26 September 2012.
  8. The Drivers of Regulation Google Books 2004.
  9. Mark Reckless MP: Police and Crime Commissioners are one of the great reforms of this Conservative-led government ConservativeHome 27 May 2012.
  10. Solicitors stand as MP The Law Society Gazette 29 April 2012.
  11. Home-Affairs-Committee-Formal-Minutes Tuesday 15 May 2012
  12. Mark Reckless Cllr, Medway Council, 2001
  13. Members of the Home Affairs Select Committee, November 2010
  14. Mark Reckless welcomes Abu Hamza Deportation, BBC Newsnight, 5 October 2012.
  15. Deport Abu Qatada, BBC Newsnight, 18 April 2012.
  16. Order Order: Why the newest Tories are a major headache for Cameron, The Independent, 30 December 2011.
  17. The Tories Who Rebelled Over Tuition Fees, Financial Times, 9 December 2010.
  18. Voting Record Tuition Fees, Public Whip, 9 December 2010.
  19. The Energy Bill is a sad retreat for Conservatives, ConservativeHome, 19 December 2012
  20. I was too drunk to vote on Budget, confesses Tories' Mr Reckless (or should that be Legless?), Daily Mail, 11 July 2010.
  21. Mark Reckless MP sorry for being 'too drunk to vote, BBC News, 11 July 2010.
  23. European Court of Human Rights gets out begging bowl, The Telegraph, 21 June 2012
  24. All Party Parliamentary Group on Georgia, House of Commons Register, December 2012.
  26. Mark Reckless Named Pin Up of the Year, Rochester People, 27 December 2012
  27. Backbencher of the year, ConservativeHome, 27 December 2012
  28. Over A Third Of Irish Want To Leave Euro For Pound | Mark Reckless MP. Retrieved on 6 February 2012.
  29. Mark Reckless MP Wedding, Kent Online, 3 October 2011
  30. Mark Reckless the best kind of MP Dan Hannan, Telegraph Blog, 28 July 2008.
  31. "Ukip under fire after Mark Reckless says that dictator Colonel Gaddafi was good for immigration as he didn't allow boats of North Africans to travel to Europe"

External links