The Conservative MP for Braintree, Brooks Newmark, was appointed minister for civil society in yesterday’s government reshuffle and has promised to build on his predecessor’s ‘excellent work’.
He tweeted last night to say that he is “absolutely delighted to have been made minister for civil society working with our country’s great charities and voluntary sector”.
Newmark also thanked the previous minister for civil society, Nick Hurd, who he described as a “great friend” and said that he “will build on his excellent work”.
Hurd had previously tweeted his congratulations saying that Brooks Newmark "is an old friend and I am relieved and delighted that he is picking up the baton. A very decent and thoughtful man".
Involvement with charities
In 2010 Newmark co-founded the charity A Partner in Education, of which he is a trustee, which was set up to furnish a new school in Rwanda. Over the three years since it has been registered with the Charity Commission its total income has been £4,200 with an expenditure of £24,000.
He is also involved with two local charities Farleigh Hospice and PARC, a play centre for children with additional needs.
In February this year he pledged his support for the ‘Mind the Gap’ fuel poverty campaign being run by the charity Turn2us and has also supported Breast Cancer Campaign’s Wear it Pink day (pictured).
Two years ago he praised the efforts of a local food bank and took part in collecting donations outside a supermarket.
At the time he said: “I am delighted to be able to support this excellent new project in our area. I commend Christ Church in Braintree for coordinating this local community initiative which continues to serve so many in need.”
The Braintree food bank is part of the Trussell Trust network, which recently revealed that it had been threatened with closure by “someone in power”.
Political career so far
Newmark entered Parliament at the 2005 election as the MP for Braintree and served on the Science and Technology Committee and Treasury Select Committee. He was promoted to the whips’ office in 2007.
Between 2010 and 2012 he was as a senior government whip with responsibility for the Department of Business and the Wales Office and was later given responsibility for the Department for International Affairs and the Deputy Prime Minister’s Office.
Newmark lists his special interests as economic policy, foreign affairs, poverty reduction and international development (microfinance) special needs education and women and equality.
He is the founder and co-chair of Women2Win, the campaign to increase the number of Conservative women in Parliament.
He has travelled to Syria a number of times and earlier this year was caught up in the aftermath of a bomb blast in the Iraqi capital Baghdad while on a fact-finding mission. In 2011 he was criticised by the Labour party for conducting meetings with the Syrian president Bashir Al Assad, and in 2013 he called on the government to arm Syrian rebels.
The Treasury confirmed today that Priti Patel will be responsible for charity tax issues, in her role as exchequer secretary that was also announced in yesterday's reshuffle.