Mark Lancaster, Baron Lancaster of Kimbolton

Brigadier John Mark Lancaster, Baron Lancaster of Kimbolton,[2] TD, VR, PC (born 12 May 1970) is a British Conservative Party politician, a Member of the House of Lords and a British Army reserve officer. He previously served as Member of Parliament for North East Milton Keynes from 2005 until 2010, and then its successor seat Milton Keynes North from the seat's creation at the 2010 general election until his retirement from the House of Commons at the 2019 general election.

The Lord Lancaster of Kimbolton

Minister of State for the Armed Forces
In office
13 June 2017  16 December 2019
Prime MinisterTheresa May
Boris Johnson
Preceded byMike Penning
Succeeded byAnne-Marie Trevelyan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence Veterans, Reserves and Personnel
In office
12 May 2015  13 June 2017
Prime MinisterDavid Cameron
Theresa May
Preceded byAnna Soubry
Succeeded byTobias Ellwood
Lord Commissioner of the Treasury
In office
9 September 2012  12 May 2015
Prime MinisterDavid Cameron
Preceded byJeremy Wright
Succeeded byCharlie Elphicke
Member of the House of Lords
Lord Temporal
Assumed office
12 October 2020
Life Peerage
Member of Parliament
for Milton Keynes North
North East Milton Keynes
In office
5 May 2005  6 November 2019
Preceded byBrian White
Succeeded byBen Everitt
Personal details
Born (1970-05-12) 12 May 1970 (age 51)[1]
Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, England
Political partyConservative
Katherine Reader
(m. 1995; div. 2007)

(m. 2014)
ResidenceGosport, Hampshire
Alma materUniversity of Buckingham
University of Exeter
Military service
AllegianceUnited Kingdom
Branch/serviceBritish Army
Years of service1988–present
UnitRoyal Engineers
British Army Reserve
Commands217 (London) Field Squadron (EOD)
AwardsEfficiency Decoration
Volunteer Reserves Service Medal

He served as a Minister in several appointments after the formation of the Coalition Government in 2010, first as Lord Commissioner of Her Majesty's Treasury, before in May 2015 moving to the Ministry of Defence, first as the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Veterans, Reserves and Personnel, and then, from 13 June 2017, as Minister of State for the Armed Forces. He served in this role until his retirement from Government on 16 December 2019. He was nominated for a peerage in the 2019 Dissolution Honours. He was created Baron Lancaster of Kimbolton on 16 September 2020 and 'Introduced' to the House of Lords on 12 October 2020.

Early life

Lancaster was born on 12 May 1970 in Cambridge. He was privately educated at Kimbolton School in Huntingdonshire where his father Ronald Lancaster was chaplain from 1963–88.[3] He graduated as a BSc in Business Studies from the University of Buckingham in 1992 and MBA from the University of Exeter Business School in 1993.[4][5]

He was a company director for the family firm Kimbolton Fireworks before he was elected to Parliament.[5]

Political career

Lancaster served on Huntingdonshire District Council between 1995 and 1999.[6][5]

Lancaster stood unsuccessfully as the Conservative candidate for Nuneaton at the 2001 general election. He was defeated by the Labour candidate Bill Olner.

House of Commons

Lancaster was elected as Member of Parliament gaining North East Milton Keynes for the Conservatives in the 2005 general election, and succeeding Brian White of the Labour Party.

Between 2005 and 2010 he served in Opposition, first as an Opposition Whip in 2006–2007, before moving to be the Shadow Minister for International Development in 2007 until the 2010 General Election.

During his time as a backbench MP, He served on the Office of Deputy Prime Minister Select Committee, (2005), Defence Select Committee (2006),[7] Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee (2008–09) and the International Development Select Committee (2009–10).[8]

After his re-election in 2010 and the formation of the Coalition Government, he was initially appointed as the PPS to the Secretary of State for International Development,[9] From 2012 to 2015, he was a government whip and a Lord Commissioner of the Treasury.[5] He then moved to the Ministry of Defence where he was Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence Veterans, Reserves and Personnel (2015–2017) and Minister for the Armed Forces (2017–2019).[5]

In November 2019, he announced his retirement from the House of Commons.[10]

House of Lords

Lancaster was nominated for a peerage in the 2019 Dissolution Honours.[11] On 16 September 2020, he was created Baron Lancaster of Kimbolton by Queen Elizabeth II.[12] He was Introduced to the House of Lords on 12 October 2020, and sits in the House as a Conservative Party life peer.[13] He made his maiden speech on 27 October 2020, while expressing regret that as a bomb disposal expert and with his family ties to fireworks making, that it didn't occur on 5 November.[14]

Political views

Lancaster has stated his disagreement with the UK Government's policy on the 2003 invasion of Iraq. In an interview with the BBC, he stated "It may well be much harder to get the British public to back other overseas adventures by the military because of what's happened in Iraq".[15] Lancaster voted against legislation allowing gay couples to marry at the Bill's second reading, but supported minor 'tidying up' legislation supporting the principle once the main Bill had passed through the House of Commons.[16] He later tweeted in July 2016 that he had been wrong to have opposed the second reading.[citation needed]

In 2011 Lancaster introduced his own private member's bill, which enabled special Olympic 1 kg gold and silver coins to be struck by the Royal Mint as part of the 2012 Olympic legacy. In 2013 Lancaster was successful in his four-year campaign to get Khat classified as a category C drug following calls from his constituents.[citation needed]

Military career

Lieutenant Colonel Lancaster, 2015

Lancaster was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Corps of Royal Engineers on 4 December 1988, holding a Short-Service Limited Commission (SSLC).[17] Between 1988 and 1990 Lancaster served in the British Army on an extended SSLC in Hong Kong with the Queen's Gurkha Engineers before going to university. On 1 March 1990, he transferred his commission to the Army Reserve and was promoted lieutenant on 1 July 1991.[18] He was promoted captain on 1 June 1997 (seniority from 16 October 1995),[19] with promotion to major on 13 May 2004 (seniority from 1 March 2002).[20]

Lancaster has been on active service three times, in Kosovo (1999–2000), Bosnia (2001–2002) and Afghanistan (2006).[21] He continues to serve in the General Staff Corps (late Royal Engineers), having previously commanded an Explosive Ordnance Disposal unit.[22]

Lancaster was promoted to lieutenant-colonel on 1 February 2012 and to colonel on 22 June 2017.[23][24] He was Deputy Commander of 77th Brigade from June 2018 to July 2020.[25] He was promoted to brigadier on 1 August 2020.[26] and currently serves as Deputy Director Joint Warfare at UK's Strategic Command.[27]

He was appointed as the Deputy Colonel Commandant Brigade of Gurkhas on 1 September 2019,[28] and was appointed Chair of the Reserve Forces 2030 review in January 2020.[29]

He received a number of military honours and decorations between 2000 and 2016, including the Territorial Decoration (TD) in 2002 and the Volunteer Reserves Service Medal (VRSM) in 2011. He was awarded a bar to the VRSM for a further five years service in 2016 and a second bar for a further five years service in 2021.

Personal life

Lancaster lives in Gosport with his wife, Conservative MP for Gosport Caroline Dinenage.[30] He previously married Katherine Reader 1995 before separating in 2006 and divorcing in 2009. He briefly partnered Amanda Evans with whom he has a daughter. In February 2014, he married Caroline Dinenage, who had also been previously married.[31][32] Lancaster is a supporter of MK Dons, and enjoys playing cricket, which includes the House of Commons team.[33]

He was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Buckingham in 2008.[4][5][27][34]


Lancaster wearing medals on Remembrance Day 2016
NATO Medal for Kosovo
  • 2000
NATO Former Republic of Yugoslavia Medal
  • 2002

With clasp ' Former Yugoslavia '

OSM for Afghanistan
  • 2006
  • With "AFGHANISTAN" Clasp
Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal
  • 2002
  • UK Version of this Medal
Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal
  • 2012
  • UK Version of this Medal
Efficiency Decoration (TD)
Volunteer Reserves Service Medal
  • 2011
  • 2016 bar for 5 years further service
  • 2021 2nd bar for 5 years further service
  • 10 Years Service in the Army Reserves


  1. "Mark Lancaster". BBC News. 13 February 2007. Archived from the original on 5 June 2009. Retrieved 1 April 2008.
  2. "No. 62069". The London Gazette. 3 October 2017. p. 18307.
  3. "Lancaster, Rev. Ronald, (born 9 March 1931), Founder, 1964, Managing Director, 1986–2006, Director and Chairman, 2007–19, Kimbolton Fireworks Limited". WHO'S WHO & WHO WAS WHO. doi:10.1093/ww/9780199540884.013.u42824. Retrieved 20 May 2021.
  4. "Biography of Mark Lancaster". Conservative Party. Archived from the original on 14 April 2009. Retrieved 18 July 2009.
  5. "Lancaster, (John) Mark, (born 12 May 1970), MP (C) Milton Keynes North, since 2010 (Milton Keynes North East, 2005–10); Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence, since 2015". Who's Who 2021. Oxford University Press. 1 December 2020. doi:10.1093/ww/9780199540884.013.U45442. Missing or empty |url= (help)
  6. "Huntingdonshire Council Election Results 1973–2011" (PDF). Plymouth University. Retrieved 8 September 2018.
  7. "Mark Lancaster: Electoral history and profile". The Guardian. London: Guardian News and Media. Retrieved 30 July 2009.
  8. "International Development Committee: Members". Parliament of the United Kingdom. Archived from the original on 25 September 2009. Retrieved 30 July 2009.
  9. "Ministers and Senior Management Organisation Chart" (PDF). Department for International Development. November 2017. Retrieved 7 December 2017.
  10. "Mark Lancaster to stand down as Milton Keynes North MP". BBC News. 2 November 2019.
  11. "Dissolution Peerages 2019" (pdf). GOV.UK. Prime Minister's Office, 10 Downing Street. 2019. Retrieved 27 January 2021.
  12. "Crown Office". The London Gazette (63117). 21 September 2020. p. 15966. Retrieved 27 January 2021.
  13. "MPs and Lords - Parliamentary career for Lord Lancaster of Kimbolton". UK Parliament. Retrieved 27 January 2021.
  14. Lord Lancaster of Kimbolton (27 October 2020). "Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) (Amendment) (No. 2) Order 2020". Parliamentary Debates (Hansard). United Kingdom: House of Lords. col. 157–158.
  15. Easton, Mark (20 March 2007). "Iraq: has it changed UK politics?". BBC News. Retrieved 15 September 2010.
  16. "Mark Lancaster MP, Milton Keynes North". TheyWorkForYou. Retrieved 15 September 2010.
  17. "No. 51616". The London Gazette (Supplement). 16 January 1989. p. 615.
  18. "No. 52740". The London Gazette (Supplement). 9 December 1991. p. 18966.
  19. "No. 55279". The London Gazette (Supplement). 12 October 1998. p. 11064.
  20. "No. 58580". The London Gazette (Supplement). 15 January 2008. p. 494.
  21. "The Rt Hon Mark Lancaster TD". GOV.UK. Retrieved 27 January 2021.
  22. "Bomb Disposal and Search Specialists". British Army. Retrieved 7 December 2017.
  23. "No. 60071". The London Gazette (Supplement). 28 February 2012. p. 3905.
  24. "No. 62069". The London Gazette (Supplement). 3 October 2017. p. 18307.
  25. "The New Line Up At The Ministry Of Defence". Ministry of Defence. 10 January 2018. Retrieved 16 July 2018.
  26. "No. 63145". The London Gazette (Supplement). 13 October 2020. p. 17255.
  27. "Mark Lancaster - Member of the House of Lords". LinkedIn. Retrieved 20 May 2021.
  28. "The Brigade of Gurkhas". The London Gazette. 5 November 2019. p. 19879. Retrieved 23 November 2019.
  29. The role of reserves in the foreseeable security environment. Strengthening Baltic Societal Resilience and Military Defence: The Annual Baltic Conference on Defence (ABCD) 2020. Tallinn, Estonia. 30 September 2020.
  30. "IPSA record". IPSA. Retrieved 8 September 2018.
  31. "GCity MP splits from mother of his baby". MK Citizen. 5 March 2009. Retrieved 8 September 2018.
  32. "Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage weds fellow politician at House of Commons chapel". Portsmouth News. 17 February 2014. Archived from the original on 12 September 2017. Retrieved 5 March 2014.
  33. "The home of cricket resounds to the sound of leather on Campbell Park willow". MK News. Local Sunday Newspapers. 4 July 2007. Retrieved 8 July 2009.
  34. "The Rt Hon Mark Lancaster TD". GOV.UK. Retrieved 20 May 2021.