Justin Tomlinson

Justin Paul Tomlinson[2] (born 5 November 1976) is a Conservative Party politician and former marketing executive serving as Minister of State for Disabled People, Work and Health since 2019. He has been the Member of Parliament (MP) for North Swindon since 2010.

Justin Tomlinson

Minister of State for Disabled People, Work and Health
Assumed office
4 April 2019
Prime MinisterTheresa May
Boris Johnson
Preceded bySarah Newton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Family Support, Housing and Child Maintenance
In office
9 July 2018  4 April 2019
Prime MinisterTheresa May
Preceded byKit Malthouse
Succeeded byWill Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Disabled People
In office
8 May 2015  15 July 2016
Prime MinisterDavid Cameron
Preceded byMark Harper
Succeeded byPenny Mordaunt
Member of Parliament
for North Swindon
Assumed office
6 May 2010
Preceded byMichael Wills
Majority16,171 (29.3%)
Personal details
Born (1976-11-05) 5 November 1976 (age 44)[1]
Blackburn, Lancashire, England
Political partyConservative
Joanne Wheeler
(m. 2012; div. 2016)

Kate Bennett
(m. 2018)
Alma materOxford Brookes

A former Conservative Councillor on Swindon Borough Council, he previously served as Parliamentary Private Secretary to Ed Vaizey.[3] He served in David Cameron’s government as Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Disabled People from 2015 to 2016.[3] He was a junior minister under Theresa May at the Department for Work and Pensions as Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Family Support, Housing and Child Maintenance from 2018 to 2019.[4][5]

Early life and career

Tomlinson was born in Blackburn, Lancashire on 5 November 1976. His mother Vera represents St. Andrews ward on Swindon Borough Council.[6][7] He studied at Harry Cheshire High School, a state comprehensive in Kidderminster, Worcestershire, and Oxford Brookes University, where he was Chairman of its Conservative Student Branch from 1995 to 1999. He was National Chairman of Conservative Future, the youth-wing of the Conservative Party, between 2002 and 2003.[8]

Tomlinson used to work on the coaches for a nightclub called Eros in Swindon, Wiltshire. He also operated a small marketing business.[9]

Tomlinson stood as the Conservative Party candidate for Abbey Meads ward on Swindon Borough Council and was elected in 2000, before being re-elected in the same ward in 2002 and 2006.[10]

Parliamentary career

Tomlinson unsuccessfully stood in North Swindon at the 2005 general election, losing to the defending Labour MP Michael Wills by 2,571 votes. However, he won the seat from Labour at the 2010 general election, defeating the new Labour candidate Victor Agarwall by 7,060 votes. In total, Tomlinson received 22,408 votes (44.6% of the vote), with a swing of 10.1% from Labour to the Conservatives.[11]

Along with fellow Conservative MP Chris Kelly, Tomlinson placed a bet while at university that he would be Prime Minister before the year 2038. He stands to win £500,000 should this happen.[12] Kelly stood down at the 2015 general election after having served a single term.

He reported the Labour MP Sadiq Khan to the police in 2014 after Khan was photographed apparently driving whilst using a mobile phone. Tomlinson said "those who make the laws should certainly not be above them".[13] Khan was not prosecuted and went on to become elected as Mayor of London in 2016.

He was appointed Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Disabled People following the 2015 General Election victory of the Conservative Party, serving until the new Prime Minister, Theresa May, reshuffled the government in 2016.[3] Prior to that he was Parliamentary Private Secretary to Ed Vaizey.[3] On 9 July 2018, Tomlinson was appointed as a junior minister in the Department for Work and Pensions as Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Family Support, Housing and Child Maintenance.[4][5]

In May 2015, it was reported by The Huffington Post that his appointment as Minister for Disabled People was controversial as he had previously voted against protecting the benefits of disabled children and those undergoing cancer treatment.[14]

Tomlinson faced calls[by whom?] for his resignation in October 2015 after it was reported that he had leaked information from the Public Accounts committee regarding regulation of short term high cost credit "payday lenders" to Wonga.com back in 2013. Tomlinson accepted he had broken the rules and apologised, stating that his "strongly-held belief that action needed to be taken on payday lenders" had caused his "judgement to be clouded".[15] Tomlinson arranged £30,000 of sponsorship for Swindon Supermarine F.C., a local football team by the same payday lender wonga.com. The football club's chairman, Jez Webb, has made donations of £30,218 to both Tomlinson's and local Conservative Party funds since 2014. Webb stated that he donated in a personal capacity and that the very similar amounts "were coincindental."[16] Tomlinson was subsequently accused of trying to remove references to previous links to Wonga from his website, including the arrangement of a sponsorship deal with Swindon Supermarine F.C. in 2011.[16]

Tomlinson voted for the UK to leave the European Union in the 2016 referendum.[17]

In the House of Commons he sits on the Work and Pensions Committee. He has sat on the Public Accounts Committee and Consolidation Bills (Joint Committee).[18]

Tomlinson employs his partner as Office Manager on a salary up to £40,000.[19] The practice of MPs employing family members, has been criticised by some sections of the media on the lines that it promotes nepotism.[20][21] Although MPs who were first elected in 2017 have been banned from employing family members, the restriction is not retrospective – meaning that Tomlinson's employment of his partner is lawful.[22]

In September 2016, Tomlinson apologised for leaking a draft of a public accounts committee report on the credit industry to someone he knew who worked for payday lender Wonga.[23]

In November 2018, Tomlinson was criticised by Labour MP Ruth George after appearing to suggest that families facing a cap under the Universal Credit scheme could take in a lodger. A Department for Work and Pensions spokesperson later said that Tomlinson was giving "illustrative examples of how some households subject to the cap may have supplemented income" and denied that Tomlinson said households under the cap could or should consider taking a lodger.[24] Tomlinson is Parliamentary Under-Secretary (junior government minister) for Family Support, Housing and Child Maintenance within the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

Personal life

Tomlinson announced his engagement to Jo Wheeler in August 2011, having proposed on The Peak, the highest point on Hong Kong Island.[25] The couple married at the House of Commons on 2 June 2012.[26] In July 2016, Tomlinson confirmed that he had divorced his wife and was in a relationship with his office manager, Kate Bennett.[27] They married in October 2018 and have one daughter born in August 2019.[28][29]


  1. "Justin Tomlinson MP". BBC Democracy Live. BBC. Retrieved 25 July 2010.
  2. "No. 59418". The London Gazette. 13 May 2010. p. 8745.
  3. "Justin Tomlinson MP". UK.GOV. Retrieved 3 August 2016.
  4. "Jeremy Hunt named new Foreign Secretary after Boris Johnson quits". PoliticsHome.com. Retrieved 22 November 2018.
  5. UK Prime Minister (9 July 2018). "UK Prime Minister on Twitter: "The Queen has been pleased to approve the appointment of @JustinTomlinson MP as a Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Work and Pensions."". Twitter.com. Retrieved 22 November 2018.
  6. "Coronavirus: Community spirit in Swindon delights MPs". Swindon Advertiser. 6 April 2020.
  7. Thomas, Aled (24 April 2019). "Swindon Election 2019: St Andrew's ward is Conservative banker". Swindon Advertiser.
  8. The Telegraph Election 2010 UK Political Database – Justin Tomlinson (Conservative, Swindon North). Published by: The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved: 14 November 2011.
  9. "Biography – Justin Tomlinson". www.justintomlinson.com. Retrieved 25 October 2015.
  10. "Swindon Council Election Results 1996–2012" (PDF). Plymouth University. Retrieved 16 September 2018.
  11. McPherson, Scott (7 May 2010). "Swindon turns Blue as Labour suffer double dose of defeat". Swindon Advertiser. Retrieved 12 May 2010.
  12. "The curious world of long-term bets". BBC News.
  13. "Sadiq Khan faces police inquiry over mobile phone claims". Telegraph. Press Association. 4 November 2014. Retrieved 29 March 2015.
  14. "Justin Tomlinson, New Disabilities Minister, Voted Against Protecting Disabled Child Benefits". Huffington Post. 13 May 2015. Retrieved 16 September 2018.
  15. "MP Justin Tomlinson sent Wonga draft parliamentary report". BBC News. 21 October 2015. Retrieved 2 November 2015.
  16. Cork, Tristan (25 October 2015). "Tory minister denies cover-up over Wonga sponsorship of local football club". Western Daily Press. Retrieved 2 November 2015.
  17. "Wiltshire and Swindon vote to leave EU". BBC News. 24 June 2016. Retrieved 2 September 2018.
  18. "Justin Tomlinson". Parliament UK. Retrieved 16 September 2018.
  19. "IPSA". GOV.UK. Retrieved 16 September 2018.
  20. "One in five MPs employs a family member: the full list revealed". The Daily Telegraph. 29 June 2015. Retrieved 16 September 2018.
  21. Mason, Rowena (29 June 2015). "Keeping it in the family: new MPs continue to hire relatives as staff". The Guardian. Retrieved 16 September 2018.
  22. "MPs banned from employing spouses after election in expenses crackdown". London Evening Standard. 21 April 2017. Retrieved 16 September 2018.
  23. Grace, John (15 September 2016). "Justin Tomlinson shows sorry seems to be the easiest word". The Guardian.
  24. "Minister tells families to take in a lodger to beat benefits cap". Evening Standard. Retrieved 26 November 2018.
  25. "Love at first sight brings MP Justin together with Jo". Swindon Link. Archived from the original on 7 November 2011. Retrieved 11 January 2012.
  26. "North Swindon MP Justin Tomlinson weds in Parliament". Swindon Link. Archived from the original on 16 June 2012. Retrieved 6 January 2013.
  27. "MP confirms new romance after splitting from wife". Swindon Link. Retrieved 31 October 2017.
  28. Seaward, Tom (2 January 2019). "North Swindon MP Justin Tomlinson and wife Kate expecting their first child". Swindon Advertiser.
  29. Mehrez, Hedi (7 August 2019). "MP Justin Tomlinson announces birth of baby girl". Swindon Advertiser.