Andrew Griffiths (politician)
Andrew James Griffiths (born 19 October 1970) is a British Conservative Party politician. He served as the Member of Parliament (MP) for Burton from 2010 to 2019. He was succeeded by his estranged wife, Kate Griffiths. Prior to his political career, he worked for the Leeds Permanent Building Society and for his family's engineering business.
|Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Small Business, Consumers and Corporate Responsibility|
9 January 2018 – 13 July 2018
|Prime Minister||Theresa May|
|Preceded by||Margot James|
|Succeeded by||Kelly Tolhurst|
|Lord Commissioner of the Treasury|
17 July 2016 – 9 January 2018
|Prime Minister||Theresa May|
|Preceded by||Mel Stride|
|Succeeded by||Nigel Adams|
|Member of Parliament |
6 May 2010 – 6 November 2019
|Preceded by||Janet Dean|
|Succeeded by||Kate Griffiths|
|Born||19 October 1970|
Dudley, Staffordshire, England
(m. 2013; sep. 2018)
During his parliamentary career, he was the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Small Business, Consumers and Corporate Responsibility at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy from January 2018 until his resignation in July 2018 after the Sunday Mirror reported that Griffiths had sent up to 2,000 sexually explicit text messages to two female constituents.
Early life and career
Andrew James Griffiths was born on 19 October 1970 in Dudley, Staffordshire to Robert and Harriet Griffiths (née Du'Rose). He attended Bramford Primary School and High Arcal School. He is the youngest of their five children. His father was a local councillor for 34 years and served as Mayor of Dudley in 1982. After finishing secondary school, Griffiths joined the family engineering business. He then worked for the Leeds Permanent Building Society (now merged with the bank Halifax).
In 1999, Griffiths began to work for the West Midlands MEP team in the European Parliament in Brussels, before being appointed adviser on farming. He worked for the European Agricultural Spokesman Neil Parish MEP. Griffiths stood as a Conservative council candidate on three separate occasions, but was not elected. He first contested the safe Labour seat of Dudley North at the 2001 general election, coming in 6,800 votes behind Labour's Ross Cranston. Griffiths unsuccessfully stood as a Conservative candidate at the 2004 European Parliament election in the West Midlands constituency.
After the election, he became chief of staff to MP Theresa May. In 2006, he moved to work for the Culture, Media and Sport team, working as Chief of Staff to MP Hugo Swire. After Swire was sacked as part of a cabinet reshuffle, Griffiths became Chief of Staff to Eric Pickles, Shadow Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, and remained Pickles' Chief of Staff when he became the Party chairman. He was a member of the A-List and was selected as a parliamentary candidate for Burton in November 2006.
Griffiths was elected at the 2010 general election for Burton, regaining the seat for the Conservatives for the first time since 1997 when it was held by Ivan Lawrence from 1974. Griffiths was re-elected at the 2015 General Election He served as Secretary of the All-party parliamentary group (APPG) for the Misuse of Drugs and Alcohol, Additional General Secretary of the APPG for Kashmir, and Vice-Chairman of the APPG for Home Education. He was Chairman of the APPG for Beer for five years and campaigned against increased taxes on beer (the beer duty escalator). He was a member of the Political and Constitutional Reform Select Committee between 2010 and 2013.
Griffiths has not joined fellow local Conservative MPs Andrew Bridgen and Heather Wheeler in campaigning for the return of passenger rail services on the Burton to Leicester railway line - the Ivanhoe Line. However, he has campaigned for improvements to be made to Burton Station.
In February 2015, Griffiths was awarded Parliamentarian of the Year by the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) in recognition of his role in campaigning for the reduction of tax increases on beer. The award sparked controversy from some CAMRA campaigners due to Griffiths' opposition to other CAMRA campaigns on increasing planning controls on public houses, to prevent their loss, and for opposing reform to the controversial system of "beer ties" which oblige landlords to pay higher prices to the chain owners (pubcos) for their beer supplies.
Griffths supported the UK remaining within the EU in the 2016 EU membership referendum.
Following Theresa May becoming Prime Minister in July 2016, Griffiths was appointed as a Government Whip and Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury on 17 July 2016.
During Jeremy Corbyn's response to the November 2017 Budget on 22 November 2017, Griffiths heckled him over his comments on the lack of adequate Government funding for care homes. Labour MPs accused Griffiths of ageism and abusive language for shouting that Corbyn belonged in a care home. Griffiths denied this, instead suggesting that he was responding to Corbyn's statement "there are elderly people in need of help," and that he said: "That's you!" Corbyn responded with the comment: "The uncaring, uncouth attitude of certain members of parliament needs to be called out".
On 12 February 2018, Griffiths received media coverage after he was interviewed on BBC Radio 5 Live to promote shared parental leave and said that he would not be able to take it himself when his own baby was due to be born later that year, saying, "Unfortunately, as a minister, I'm not allowed... Ministers are not allowed to take shared parental leave." The presenter, Emma Barnett, said: "Hang on a minute, back up a second, you’ve just come on the radio to promote Shared Parental Leave and you’re in a job where the rules could be changed because you are the rule-makers, where you’re not allowed to take Shared Parental Leave?" "That’s right," responded Griffiths. "How can you say that without laughing?" asked Barnett. Griffiths said his main concern was for other parents to take advantage of the system.
In March 2018, Griffiths was criticised by opposition MPs for blocking an SNP proposal for a bill that would secure the national minimum wage for those working on a "trial period" basis. It was revealed that Griffiths had previously advertised for an unpaid intern position in his own office. In response, Griffiths admitted he had used unpaid interns, but argued that the bill was not needed because existing law was already adequate in this area.
Sexual misconduct allegations
On 14 July 2018, the Sunday Mirror reported that Griffiths had sent up to 2,000 sexually explicit texts in a three-week period to two of his female constituents. In response to this, he resigned from his ministerial position and he was suspended by the Conservative Party. He had previously been accused of inappropriate touching and bullying of a Conservative borough councillor and the bullying of the leader of another council as well as his former campaign manager.
In November 2018, during an interview with The Sunday Times, Griffiths reported that he planned to kill himself after the sexual misconduct allegations came to light. During the same interview, Griffiths said that the texts that he had sent to the women were "the result of my mental breakdown" following a "battle with my own mental health". He disclosed that he had a long history of mental health problems resulting from being allegedly abused at the age of eight by a fifteen-year-old boy. On 12 December 2018, Griffiths had the Conservative whip restored, ending his suspension from the party. His reinstation was widely criticised for being announced hours before a confidence vote in Conservative leader Theresa May, making Griffiths eligible to participate.
On 8 September 2019, Griffiths was cleared of breaching the House of Commons' code of conduct by the parliamentary standards watchdog as it could not find any evidence that he sent messages while carrying out parliamentary activities.
Griffiths married Kate Kniveton in 2013, the two have one daughter born in April 2018. They separated in 2018 and are in the process of finalising a divorce.
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