Desmond Swayne

Sir Desmond Angus Swayne TD VR (born 20 August 1956)[1] is a Conservative Party politician. He is the Member of Parliament for the constituency of New Forest West in Hampshire.[2] He was formerly also Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Prime Minister, David Cameron, having been his PPS during his time as Leader of the Opposition, 2005–10, prior to his appointment in September 2012 to the office of Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury. In June 2016, it was announced Swayne would receive a knighthood in the Queen's Birthday Honours for political service. He is a supporter of the Eurosceptic pressure group Leave Means Leave.[3] Prior to his political career, he was a schoolteacher, and manager at Royal Bank of Scotland.

Sir Desmond Swayne

Minister of State for International Development
In office
14 July 2014  17 July 2016
Prime MinisterDavid Cameron
Preceded byAlan Duncan
Succeeded byRory Stewart
Vice-Chamberlain of the Household
In office
7 October 2013  14 July 2014
Prime MinisterDavid Cameron
Preceded byGreg Knight
Succeeded byAnne Milton
Lord Commissioner of the Treasury
In office
4 September 2012  7 October 2013
Prime MinisterDavid Cameron
Preceded byMichael Fabricant
Succeeded bySam Gyimah
Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Prime Minister
In office
12 May 2010  4 September 2012
Prime MinisterDavid Cameron
Preceded byJon Trickett &
Anne Snelgrove
Succeeded bySam Gyimah
Member of Parliament
for New Forest West
Assumed office
1 May 1997
Preceded byConstituency created
Majority24,403 (48.5%)
Personal details
Born (1956-08-20) 20 August 1956[1]
Political partyConservative
Moira Cecily Teek (m. 1987)
Alma materUniversity of St Andrews
AwardsTerritorial Decoration
Iraq Medal
Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal
Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal
Volunteer Reserve Service Medal
Military service
AllegianceUnited Kingdom
Branch/serviceRoyal Mercian and Lancastrian Yeomanry
Years of service1978–

Early life and career

Desmond Angus Swayne was born on 20 August 1956 to George Joseph and Elizabeth McAlister Swayne (née Gibson).[4] He was privately educated at Drumley House Preparatory School at Mossblown in South Ayrshire and Bedford School. He studied Theology at St Mary’s College at the University of St Andrews.[5]

He taught economics at the Charterhouse School for one year followed by seven years at Wrekin College (both independent boarding schools).[6] From 1987 to 1997, he was a computer systems manager at Royal Bank of Scotland.[6][7]

Military career

On 2 August 1987, he was commissioned into the Royal Armoured Corps, Territorial Army in the rank of second lieutenant (on probation).[8] He served with the Queen's Own Mercian Yeomanry.[9] He was promoted to lieutenant on 2 August 1989,[10] and to captain on 1 August 1992.[11] On 1 November 1992, he transferred to the newly formed Royal Mercian and Lancastrian Yeomanry.[12] He was promoted to major on 14 December 1996 with seniority from 1 January 1996.[13]

In 2003, he was called up and posted to Iraq as part of the Iraq War.[14] He served for six months before returning to the House of Commons.[7]

Blackface controversy

On 28 September 2019, he remarked that "blackface" was an "entirely acceptable bit of fun".[15] On 30 September, it was reported that he wore blackface while attending a Blues Brothers themed party, where he was pictured posing as James Brown.[16] Swayne later said he "went to some trouble to be as authentic as possible" in creating the costume, before refusing to apologise.[17]

Parliamentary career

Swayne unsuccessfully contested the constituency of Pontypridd for the Conservative Party in the 1987 general election, before seeking office in the constituency of West Bromwich West in the 1992 general election, where he was defeated by the Labour incumbent Betty Boothroyd. However, he was successfully elected to the seat of New Forest West at the 1997 general election. In the 1997 Conservative Party leadership election, Swayne supported Michael Howard, and later John Redwood.[6] He held the seat to serve his sixth consecutive term in the 2017 General Election.

From 1997 to 2001, he held shadow ministerial portfolios for Northern Ireland, health and defence and as a senior opposition whip. From 2001 to 2005, Swayne was Parliamentary Private Secretary to both Iain Duncan Smith and Michael Howard in their role as Leader of the Opposition.[5]

Following the election of David Cameron as leader of the Conservative Party in December 2005, he was appointed as his PPS.[5] This position involved being the eyes and ears of Cameron in the House of Commons and reporting back on observations and requests from colleagues. In 2006, a series of Swayne's e-mails to Cameron with unflattering descriptions of fellow Conservatives were leaked to the media.[18]

He maintained his role as a PPS in government.[19] On 11 June 2011, it was announced Swayne would be appointed a Privy Counsellor in the Queen's 2011 Birthday Honours List.[20] On 13 July 2011, Swayne was duly sworn of Council.[21] In 2014, he was appointed as a minister for international development.[22]

In addition to his salary as an MP, Swayne earns £12,000 a year as a director of property development firm Lewis Charles Sofia Property Fund, which predominantly specialises in holiday developments in Bulgaria; and around £5,000 in his role as a major in the Army Reserve.[23]

In the House of Commons he sits on the Ecclesiastical Committee (Joint Committee). He has previously sat on the International Trade Committee, the Administration Committee, the Defence Committee, the Procedure Committee, the Social Security Committee and Scottish Affairs Committee.[24]

As a result of the expenses scandal, Swayne repaid £6,131 he claimed for a new kitchen in 2006 on his second-home flat in North Kensington, and £60.66 over claimed for a water bill.[23] Swayne employs his wife Moira as part-time Executive Secretary/Office Manager.[25] Swayne provided a full breakdown of his expenses on his website, and was found by local media in New Forest/South Dorset to be the lowest claiming of the local MP expenses' league table, after claiming £94,754 expenses in 2007/08, compared with £91,737 in 2006/07.[26]

In January 2016, the Labour Party unsuccessfully proposed an amendment in Parliament that would have required private landlords to make their homes "fit for human habitation". According to Parliament's register of interests, Swayne was one of 72 Conservative MPs who voted against the amendment who personally derived an income from renting out property. The Conservative Government had responded to the amendment that they believed homes should be fit for human habitation but did not want to pass the new law that would explicitly require it.[27]

Personal life

Swayne married Moira Cecily Teek in 1987. They have one son and two daughters.[4][7]

Honours and decorations

Swayne is a recipient of the Queen's Golden Jubilee Medal, the Iraq Medal, and the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Medal. He has also received the Territorial Decoration for 12 years' service in the Territorial Army. In June 2009, he was awarded the Volunteer Reserves Service Medal.[28]

Swayne was knighted in the 2016 Birthday Honours for political and parliamentary service.[29]

Knight Bachelor (Kt)
  • 10 June 2016
  • For Political and Parliamentary Service
Iraq Medal
Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal
  • 2002
  • UK Version of this Medal
Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal
  • 2012
  • UK Version of this Medal
Territorial Decoration (TD)
Volunteer Reserves Service Medal


  1. "Desmond Swayne". BBC News. 17 October 2002. Retrieved 14 July 2010.
  2. "Desmond Swayne retains New Forest West seat - but issues warning to his party". Southern Daily Echo. Newsquest Media Group. 9 June 2017. Retrieved 25 July 2017.
  3. "Co-Chairmen - Political Advisory Board - Supporters". Leave Means Leave. Archived from the original on 24 October 2017. Retrieved 14 December 2017.
  4. "Swayne, Rt Hon. Sir Desmond (Angus)". A & C Black. Retrieved 23 October 2019.
  5. "Desmond Swayne". The Daily Telegraph. Archived from the original on 6 March 2012. Retrieved 14 July 2010.
  6. Waller, Robert; Criddle, Byron (1999). The Almanac of British Politics. Psychology Press. p. 502. ISBN 978-0-415-18541-7.
  7. Bax, Tahmeena; Anyangwe, Eliza (16 July 2014). "Who is Desmond Swayne? Introducing Britain's new development minister". The Guardian. Retrieved 23 October 2019.
  8. "No. 51115". The London Gazette (Supplement). 9 November 1987. p. 13839.
  9. "No. 51609". The London Gazette (Supplement). 9 January 1989. p. 328.
  10. "No. 51890". The London Gazette (Supplement). 2 October 1989. p. 11305.
  11. "No. 53054". The London Gazette (Supplement). 21 September 1992. p. 15840.
  12. "No. 53192". The London Gazette (Supplement). 1 February 1993. p. 1866.
  13. "No. 54718". The London Gazette (Supplement). 27 March 1997. p. 3878.
  14. "MP to serve in Iraq". BBC News. 19 June 2003. Retrieved 5 August 2014.
  15. Swayne, Desmond (28 September 2019). "Blackface is an 'entirely acceptable bit of fun', says Conservative MP". MSN UK. Archived from the original on 29 September 2019. Retrieved 28 September 2019.
  16. Ward, Victoria; Hope, Christopher (30 September 2019). "Exclusive picture: Tory MP Sir Desmond Swayne 'blacked up' as soul singer James Brown". The Telegraph. ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 1 October 2019.
  17. "Trudeau's Turban". Retrieved 1 October 2019.
  18. Oakeshott, Isabel (9 July 2006). "Tories lost in swirl of backbiting". The Times. Retrieved 15 July 2010.
  19. Government publishes list of Parliamentary Private Secretaries (PPS) Prime Minister's Office, 17 November 2010
  20. "No. 59808". The London Gazette (Supplement). 11 June 2011. p. 1.
  21. Privy Council Office — Orders for 13 July 2011 Privy Council, 13 July 2011
  22. "Who is Desmond Swayne? Introducing Britain's new development minister". The Guardian. 16 July 2014. Retrieved 7 April 2015.
  23. ""Politicians should rely on taxpayer" says New Forest West MP Desmond Swayne". This is Hampshire. 29 June 2009. Retrieved 15 July 2010.
  24. "Desmond Swayne". Parliament UK. Retrieved 2 October 2018.
  25. "Desmond Swayne". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 15 July 2010.
  26. "What is the cost of our MPs?". Dorset Echo. 15 May 2009. Archived from the original on 28 September 2011. Retrieved 15 July 2010.
  27. "Tories vote down law requiring landlords make their homes fit for human habitation". Independent. 9 November 2012. Retrieved 2 October 2018.
  28. "No. 59106". The London Gazette (Supplement). 23 June 2009. pp. 10705–10706.
  29. "No. 61608". The London Gazette (Supplement). 11 June 2016. p. B2.
Parliament of the United Kingdom
New constituency Member of Parliament for New Forest West
This article is issued from Wikipedia. The text is licensed under Creative Commons - Attribution - Sharealike. Additional terms may apply for the media files.