The Rt Hon. Benedict Michael Gummer PC (born 19 February 1978) is a British Conservative Party politician and candidate for the Ipswich constituency in the 2017 UK General Election. He was previously the Member of Parliament (MP) for Ipswich from 2010–17 and in 2016 became the youngest minister attending Cabinet meetings.
Early life and education
Gummer is the eldest child of former Conservative Cabinet Minister John Gummer, Baron Deben, and Penelope Jane (née Gardner). John Gummer was MP for Suffolk Coastal until the 2010 general election, when he moved to the House of Lords. Gummer attended St Saviour’s Church of England Primary School in Ealing, west London. Between 1987 and 1991, he was a chorister at St John’s College School, Cambridge, where he sang under George Guest and Christopher Robinson. Gummer was a music scholar at Tonbridge School in Kent. Having won the Vellacott Historical Essay Prize, he took a starred double first in History at Peterhouse, Cambridge, where he was an exhibitioner and scholar.
Gummer was selected by open primary as the Conservative candidate in August 2007 for the Ipswich constituency. His top 3 pledges were the retention of services at Ipswich Hospital, a crack-down on binge drinking and no new housing without provision of infrastructure. Gummer defeated incumbent Labour MP Chris Mole and became MP for the Ipswich constituency in the general election of 2010, enjoying the largest majority of any Conservative in Ipswich since 1935. In the 2015 election, Gummer was re-elected with an increased majority.
Renaming National Insurance
In February 2014, Gummer brought in a ten minute rule bill to rename National Insurance Contributions as an Earnings Tax. Although back-benchers were reported to be enthusiastic, the Treasury, which had launched a consultation exercise on it in 2011, is believed to consider it too expensive.
Parliamentary Private Secretary
In May 2012, Gummer was appointed Parliamentary Adviser to Lord Andrew Feldman, the Conservative Party co-chairman, helping him to develop the relationship between Conservative Campaign Headquarters and Conservative MPs. In September 2012, Gummer was promoted to Parliamentary Private Secretary to Alan Duncan, Minister of State for International Development, in the government reshuffle. Duncan was responsible for Asia, the Middle East, Caribbean and Overseas Territories, International Finance, International Relations (except the EU), Trade, and Corporate Performance Divisions.
In October 2013, he became PPS to the Education Secretary, Michael Gove. When Gove became Chief Whip in the 2014 reshuffle, Gummer became PPS to Nicky Morgan. In May 2015 he was appointed Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Health.
Following the 2015 general election, Gummer became Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Care Quality in the Department of Health, one of the broadest junior ministerial briefs. Gummer’s ministerial responsibilities included end of life care, maternity care, patient safety and the NHS workforce. Gummer’s achievements include the government commitment to ensure high quality, compassionate end of life care across the health system by 2020 and the introduction of reforms to nursing training and bursaries, which aim to create 10,000 more nursing, midwifery and allied health degree places and launching a consultation on a new nursing associate role.
Gummer lives in Ipswich, not far from Portman Road, with his wife Sarah and their two sons. He is also associate governor of Ravenswood Primary School. He is a member of The Ipswich Society and the Ipswich Maritime Trust.
From Ben Gummer’s website…
I grew up in the Suffolk countryside, first in Fressingfield, near Diss, and then after I was eight years old, just outside Debenham, in the little village of Winston. I remember, when I was very little, going to Norwich with my family for Christmas shopping but my real memories as a boy are of Ipswich, which was our local town. We shopped in Ipswich, went to church in Ipswich, and all of us seemed constantly to be at Ipswich Hospital, with some broken bone or tending on an ailing ageing relative. I sat for hours in the car park of the old County Hall, waiting for my father to finish meetings, counting the ramparts that run along the roofline. I first went clubbing in Ipswich – something I remember not too well, and I had my first date in Ipswich – at the Odeon – an experience that I can recall as clearly as if it were yesterday. Ipswich has been a place of my growing-up, therefore, and I felt emotionally attached to the town long before it consumed much of my waking day.
What we do know…
Unlike predecessor Chris Mole who was more open about his address, Ben Gummer is very silent. He has never disclosed his address only a correspondence address just outside Ipswich pre-2010 General Election and his constituency office in Fore Street.