British Conservative Politician
Gregory Barker is the Member of Parliament for Bexhill and Battle, currently the Shadow Enviroment Minister and a close political friend of David Cameron.
Early Life and Career
Born in Sussex on the 8th March 1966, Gregory Leonard George Barker, or Greg as he is more commonly known, was educated at the Steyning Grammar School and Lancing College, before attending the University of London where he read History, Economic History and Politics. After graduation he was briefly a researcher at the Centre for Policy Studies in 1987, before joining the stockbrokers Gerrard Vivian Gray as a smaller companies analyst in 1988. In 1990 he moved to the Australian owned International Pacific Securities as Corporate Finance Director, where he specialised in cross-border mergers and acquisitions.
In 1997 he joined the public relations firm Brunswick Group as an associate partner, but in the following year left to work in Russia as the Head of International Investor Relations for Sibneft, the Siberian oil and gas company controlled by Roman Abramovich. (At least until Abramovich sold his controlling stake to Gazprom in September 2005 for $13 billion.) Greg returned to Britain in May 2000 after two years in Russia and became political adviser to the aforementioned Roman Abramovich.
Although no doubt Greg was well paid during his business career, this is not how he made his money. In 1998 he helped lead a management buy in of the recruitment advertising business, Bartlett Scott Edgar which was subsequently sold to TMP Worldwide in 2001. It was the proceeds of selling his stake in this company that made Greg a multi-millionaire. He currently owns an £800,000 flat in Belgravia, and a home in Peasmarsh near Rye in East Sussex valued at around £1.5m and is worth an estimated £7.4 million in total, making him one of the wealthiest members of the House of Commons.
After his return from Russia Greg began seriously searching for a suitable Commons seat to make his entry into politics. He eventually succeeded in being chosen as the Conservative PPC for the constituency of Bexhill and Battle, one of the safest seats in the country which has consistently returned a member of the Conservative Party since 1874. The seat became vacant following the decision of his predecessor Charles Wardle to retire and become non-executive director of Harrods at a salary of £120,000. Wardle subsequently generated a little local excitement when he called on the local electors to support Nigel Farage of the United Kingdom Independence Party and was consequently thrown out of the Conservative Party in April 2001.
In the end Mr Wardle's intervention made little difference to the election as Greg was elected with much the same share of the vote as his predecessor. He subsequently served as a member of the Environmental Audit select committee during the 2001 to 2005 parliament and was additionally a Member of the Broadcasting select committee from 2003 to 2005. Greg became an Opposition Whip
in 2003 but resigned that position in July 2005 to work on David Cameron's leadership campaign. Following Cameron's victory received his reward when he was appointed Shadow Environment Minister in December 2005. He has since been engaged in assisting Cameron in promoting the new greener Conservative Party and most notably arranged Cameron's trip to Norway
in April to see the effects of global warming first hand.
Greg has been married to Celeste, described as an heiress to the Charles Wells brewing family, for a number of years and the couple have two sons and a daughter aged between six and eleven. Everything seemed fine until July 2006 when it was announced that they were separating after fourteen years of marriage. Naturally this announcement attracted little comment at the time since, of course, marital breakdown and divorce is something of an occupational hazard for members of the House of Commons.
No one paid the slightest notice to this change in Greg's circumstances until the 26th October 2006 when it was revealed that Greg had conducted a year long homosexual affair with the interior decorator he and his wife had engaged to do up their Sussex home. This news prompted such headlines as 'EXCLUSIVE: TOP TORY DUMPS WIFE FOR MAN '(Daily Mirror), 'Tories rocked by sex scandal as MP leaves wife for man' (Evening Standard) or 'Tory MP leaves his wife and three children for a man' (Daily Telegraph).
His mother-in-law, Georgina Harrison was quoted as saying "It's sad but it's not really unusual any more. It's modern life isn't it? Men seem to think they can get away with it now." Before going on to say that the couple remain "on good terms" and "still get on really well" and expressed the hope that they might, at some point in the future re-establish their relationship. Greg has limited himself to such statements as "It is true my marriage ended. I'm not commenting on anything else."
It has since been established that the 'other man' in question is thirty-two year old William Banks-Blaney from Kerry in Ireland, who is variously described as a "blonde siren" and a "young, very wealthy, gay gentleman". It is understood that David Cameron is standing by his colleague and there is no question of Greg losing his current position as Shadow Environment Minister. Indeed apart from a brief flurry of reports at the end of October, no one has paid that much attention to the news of Greg's new sexual orientation. There have been no calls for him to resign, and even his political opponents have not sought to make much capital from the news, other than to comment on the fact that his voting record on 'homosexual issues' does not meet the expected standard.
- Official biographical information at
- Tories rocked by sex scandal as MP leaves wife for man, 26.10.06
- Brendan Carlin and Anil Dawar, Tory MP leaves his wife and three children for a man, 26/10/2006
- Stephen Moyes and Victoria Ward, EXCLUSIVE: TOP TORY DUMPS WIFE FOR MAN, 26 October 2006