Karl Ian McCartney (born 25 October 1968) is the Conservative Member of Parliament for Lincoln. He was first elected at the 2010 general election and represented the constituency until he was defeated by Labour's Karen Lee at the 2017 general election. He was re-elected at the 2019 general election.
|Member of Parliament |
|Assumed office |
12 December 2019
|Preceded by||Karen Lee|
6 May 2010 – 3 May 2017
|Preceded by||Gillian Merron|
|Succeeded by||Karen Lee|
|Born||25 October 1968|
Birkenhead, Cheshire, England
|Alma mater||University of Wales, Lampeter|
Early life and career
McCartney was born St Catherine's Hospital in Birkenhead in October 1968 to parents John McCartney and Brenda McCartney (née Weir). He attended Birkenhead School from 1980 to 1986, before joining the Sixth Form at Neston County Comprehensive School. He studied geography at St David's University College in Lampeter (now University of Wales, Lampeter) from 1988 to 1992. At Lampeter, he was student union president from 1991 to 1992, and captained the Welsh Universities First XI football team from 1990 to 1991. He later worked in the City of London. From 1993 to 1996, he was an agent and researcher for Conservative Central Office. He has been a school governor since 1995. In 1999, he completed an MBA from Kingston Business School, also becoming a magistrate. He was a justice of the peace (JP) in Dartford, Maidstone, then Lincoln.
McCartney was elected to parliament as MP for Lincoln at the 2010 general election, ousting Labour's incumbent, Gillian Merron. He made his maiden speech on 12 July, where he set out his vision for what he wanted to achieve whilst an MP, during the debate on Corporation Tax. Following his re-election in 2019, McCartney spoke in 25 debates in his first six months, with a particular interest in Devolution for Lincolnshire.
In 2012, McCartney was elected by Conservative MP colleagues to the Executive of the influential 1922 Committee and the Transport Select Committee and then after the 2015 general election, he was re-elected to the same positions. As a prominent Leave campaigner, he was elected by his colleagues as a member of the Exiting the European Union Select Committee (known colloquially as the 'Brexit Committee') and led the successful campaign across Greater Lincolnshire during the EU referendum.
McCartney claimed a total £1,159,047.08 in expenses between 2010 and 2017, alongside his annual salary of £74,962. His expenses rose each year he was MP, until 2017 when he accumulated over £90,000 in expenses in just six months before he was voted out at the 2017 general election. He employed his wife as an "office manager" and paid her between £40,000–£45,000 in 2015–16.
Electoral Commission and police investigation
In March 2017, the Electoral Commission fined the Conservative party £70,000 following the United Kingdom general election, 2015 party spending investigation. During the 2015 general election coaches of activists were transported to marginal constituencies including Lincoln to campaign alongside or in close proximity to local campaigners. The inclusion in the Party national return of what in the commission's view should have been reported as candidate spending meant that there was a realistic prospect that this enabled its candidates to gain a financial advantage over opponents. In consequence, Karl McCartney was investigated by Lincolnshire Police over whether he breached election spending rules. Lincolnshire Police subsequently passed a file to the Crown Prosecution Service for a decision on whether McCartney should be prosecuted for electoral fraud in relation to the 2015 general election.
In May 2017, the CPS announced that no further action would be taken in respect of the allegations. In advance of the 2017 general election, McCartney issued a letter to all other candidates for the Lincoln seat, warning of legal action against false, misleading or defamatory statements in the wake of investigations into the party's spending.
Judicial Conduct Investigation Office (JCIO)
In January 2021 the JCIO issued a formal warning to McCartney for referring to his role as a Magistrate in election material, despite having been reprimanded for this previously. This reprimand was "for allowing his judicial status to be referred to on a political leaflet in a way that gave the appearance of seeking to gain advantage, which is contrary to guidance that is intended to protect judicial independence and impartiality." In reaching their decision, the JCIO noted that McCartney had previously received a disciplinary sanction for similar behaviour and was unwilling to acknowledge the inappropriateness of his actions.
McCartney is opposed to the idea of same-sex marriage, arguing in a 2012 reply to a constituent's letter on the matter that he felt it would next lead to "multi-partnership marriages... [and] a reduction in the age of permitted marriage".
Following an interim report on the connections between colonialism and properties now in the care of the National Trust, including links with historic slavery, McCartney was among the signatories of a letter to The Telegraph from the "Common Sense Group" of Conservative Parliamentarians. The letter accused the National Trust of being "coloured by cultural Marxist dogma, colloquially known as the 'woke agenda'".
McCartney was a leading advocate in Parliament for tackling the educational underperformance for boys/gender education gap. In April 2012 McCartney said that publication of the results of the Department for Education's investigation into allegations of misuse of funds at Lincoln's Priory Federation of Academies Trust should be delayed.
By late November 2014 work had commenced on the pedestrian footbridge over the level crossing on High Street with a further footbridge over the railway due to be constructed in 2015 following years of campaigning by McCartney (and his predecessor) and Lincoln City Council to Network Rail. It was announced in the same month that InterCity Railways, the new operator of the East Coast Rail Franchise, would increase the number of direct trains to London from Lincoln to six per day during their operating timeframe, thereby finally providing a service originally planned for the 2011 "Eureka" timetable, but dropped shortly after McCartney was elected in May 2010, when it was announced that the services would be cut back to just one, after DOR took over operations from National Express.
On 4 December 2014 McCartney was able to confirm that the £49.5m of funding for the Eastern Bypass was secure and that the Government would support in principle a future bid for the bypass to be a dual carriageway.[needs update]
On 28 February 2013, McCartney apologised to the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) for the content of notes he had sent to staff. The notes were described by IPSA Chief Executive, Andrew McDonald as 'abusive', 'offensive' and 'condescending'. McCartney's apology stated, "I apologise unreservedly to IPSA for my comments which were inappropriate, and which I regret having made. I accept that such comments have given cause for offence. You will not see me making similar remarks in the future in respect of IPSA, which has a difficult and important job to do." The following month he claimed that IPSA's incompetence had forced MPs from all parties to borrow money and that he had had to ask his parents for financial assistance. McCartney also said that he had been told by a "senior IPSA official" that the organisation intended to "damage MPs as much as possible," a claim that IPSA said was "wild ..simply untrue."
In November 2014, McCartney complained to Twitter about its "security changes". He denied claims of "favouriting" a pornographic image on Twitter. He said he never used the "favourite" function on the social networking site.
McCartney's attitude to women was criticised after a councillor sent him a tweet comparing the 2015 election all female Labour Party shortlist in his constituency to women modelling underwear. After a hostile response, the councillor, a Conservative chairman in Margaret Thatcher's home town of Grantham deleted the remark and apologised. Selected Labour party candidate Lucy Rigby, noting that only 1 in 5 Tory MPs were women, retweeted 'Here's Karl McCartney MP & Tory Cllr discussing my selection to stand as a MP. & ppl q why aren't more women in politics.' McCartney replied that those with a sense of humour would appreciate the remark though he said the comment was addressed to another Twitter user joining the debate.
In 1999, McCartney married Cordelia Pyne. The couple have two sons. He lists his recreations as "myriad of sports—football, Rugby, cricket, croquet, snowboarding, shooting; classic cars, green laning, trains, gardens, architecture, history, dance music, relaxing with family and friends, cooking".
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- "Lincoln MP Karl McCartney defiant over his views on same-sex marriage". Lincolnshire Echo. 26 April 2012. Retrieved 25 May 2012.
- "Tory MP Karl McCartney's Letter To Constituent On Gay Marriage Leaks". The Huffington Post. 21 April 2012. Retrieved 25 May 2012.
- Stephen Gray (20 April 2012). "Tory MP tells constituent marriage equality could mean 'polygamy and child marriages'". Pink News. Retrieved 25 May 2012.
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- "Schools and colleges failing boys". The Guardian 06 September 2016
- "In Post Brexit Britain it is time to end the gender education gap". The Daily Telegraph. 6 September 2016
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- Christopher Hope (28 February 2013). "'You're talking s****': Tory MP Karl McCartney rebuked for insulting expenses watchdog in notes". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 27 March 2013.
- Peter Dominiczak (27 March 2013). "Karl McCartney MP claims expenses watchdog incompetence forced him to borrow money from mum and dad". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 27 March 2013.
- "MP Karl McCartney denies 'favouriting' bondage porn tweet". BBC Lincoln. 27 November 2014. Retrieved 10 December 2014.
- "Tory MP Karl McCartney favourites NSFW bondage image of naked woman, denies all knowledge". The Independent. 27 November 2014. Retrieved 10 December 2014.
- Keith Perry (26 March 2014). "Tory councillor in sexism row after tweeting glamour photo". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 10 August 2014.