James Jacob Gilchrist Berry (born 29 December 1978) is a British Conservative Party politician and former solicitor who served as Minister for the Northern Powerhouse, from 2017 to 2020, in the governments of Theresa May and Boris Johnson.
|Minister of State for the Northern Powerhouse and Local Growth|
14 June 2017 – 13 February 2020
|Prime Minister||Theresa May|
|Preceded by||Andrew Percy|
|Succeeded by||Simon Clarke|
|Member of Parliament|
for Rossendale and Darwen
|Assumed office |
6 May 2010
|Preceded by||Janet Anderson|
James Jacob Gilchrist Berry
29 December 1978
(m. 2009; div. 2016)
|Alma mater||University of Sheffield and College of Law|
Berry was born on 29 December 1978 in Liverpool and educated at Liverpool College, before studying for a Law degree at Sheffield University. He trained to be a lawyer in Chester and in the City of London, before becoming a solicitor in 2003. He worked for a number of legal practices, specialising in housing and development law.
Berry was elected in the general election of 2010 as MP for Rossendale and Darwen. He won against incumbent MP Janet Anderson, who held the position for eighteen years, in an 8.9% swing to the Conservatives. Berry overturned a Labour majority of 3,616 to win by 4,493 votes.
In 2010, he was appointed as the Parliamentary Private Secretary (PPS) to Grant Shapps, the Minister for Housing and Local Government at the Department of Communities and Local Government, following Shapps to the Cabinet Office in 2012.
In April 2013, the Prime Minister, David Cameron, asked Berry to join the Number 10 Policy Unit, headed by Jo Johnson. His roles in this position include advising the Prime Minister on housing, regional growth and local government.
Berry sponsored legislation, the Local Government (Religious etc. Observances) Bill, which gave councils the right to hold religious prayers at the start of meetings.
In the general election of 2015, Berry was returned as MP for Rossendale and Darwen, with an increased majority of 5,654. From July 2015 until January 2017, Berry served on the Parliamentary Finance Committee.
In January 2016, the Labour Party unsuccessfully proposed an amendment in Parliament that would have required private landlords to make their homes "fit for human habitation". According to Parliament's register of interests, Berry was one of 72 Conservative MPs who voted against the amendment who personally derived an income from renting out property. The Conservative government responded to the amendment that they believed homes should be fit for human habitation but did not want to pass the new law that would explicitly require it.
In May 2016, it emerged that Berry was one of a number of Conservative MPs being investigated by police in the United Kingdom general election, 2015 party spending investigation, for allegedly spending more than the legal limit on constituency election campaign expenses. However, in April 2017, Lancashire Police confirmed that no further action would be taken.
Berry was opposed to Brexit prior to the 2016 Referendum. Berry was again returned as MP in June 2017, but with a reduced majority of 3,216.
Following the election, Berry was appointed Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Northern Powerhouse and Local Growth, making him the third Northern Powerhouse minister in the space of two years. In March 2018, he described campaigners who forced the aerospace firm BAE Systems to withdraw as a sponsor of a flagship arts festival in North East England as "subsidy addicted artists" and "snowflakes".
Berry lives in Rossendale and London. He married Charlotte Alexa in 2009, but they divorced in September 2016. He has been married to Alice Robinson since May 2018. She was previously Boris Johnson's parliamentary office manager. The couple have three children.
- Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (2017–19)
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- Thomson, Alice; Swinford, Steven (1 November 2020). "Jake Berry: 'I have one political job left in me . . . and it's to help the north rise again'". The Times.(subscription required)