Born in Cornwall on 12 June 1962, and educated at Truro School and Reading University. A Chartered Surveyor by profession, and former self-employed businessman and company director, Mark was elected as the Member of Parliament for Hertford and Stortford in 2001 with over 44% of the vote. In 2005, he increased his majority to over 13,000, or 50.5%. His parliamentary interests include small business and enterprise, urban planning and regeneration, as well as defence & foreign affairs. Since 2002, Mark has served on the Conservative frontbench as Shadow Financial Secretary to the Treasury, Shadow Paymaster General and then Home Affairs Whip. In December 2005, he was made Shadow Spokesman for Business & Enterprise and this role was confirmed in July 2007 with a wider brief on Enterprise, Deregulation and Competition. In July 2007 he was also appointed Shadow Minister for his home county of Cornwall.
Early political experience
Mark began his political life in Cornwall YCS. During the cruise missile crisis in the 1980s, Mark was at the forefront of campaigns supporting NATO, and against the anti-nuclear movement, firstly as vice chairman of the Federation of Conservative Students and then as the founding chairman of the cross-party Youth for Peace through NATO.
After graduation, Mark worked in the property & economic development markets, rising to become a director of a £3m practice. In 1991 he left to form his own strategic marketing and communication consultancy, serving professional firms in both the UK and overseas. As a self-employed businessman between 1991-2001, Mark advised a wide range of professional firms in the markets for property, construction and environmental services both in the UK and abroad.
Mark is married to Lesley and they live in Much Hadham in his constituency. In his spare time Mark watches rugby and cricket, and is a member of Saracens RFC. He also enjoys singing and is a Vice Chairman of the Parliamentary Choir. Mark and Lesley are keen theatre and cinema goers. When in the constituency he enjoys walking in the beautiful countryside in East Hertfordshire.
Since 2001 Mark has actively campaigned on constituency issues such as opposing a second runway at Stansted and plans for the development of Green Belt land north of Harlow. He has presented private members bills to help the self employed and to protect Green Belt land.
Mark has taken active involvement in all-party groups which support small businesses, entrepreneurship, commuters, urban regeneration and small shops. He is a trustee of the Industry & Parliament Trust. Mark takes especial interest in our political and economic links with China, Hong Kong, Germany, Italy and the USA.