Reckless in 2016
|Leader of the Brexit Party in the Senedd|
|Assumed office |
15 May 2019
|Preceded by||Office established|
|Member of the Senedd |
for South Wales East
|Assumed office |
5 May 2016
|Preceded by||William Graham|
|UKIP Spokesperson for Economics|
18 August 2015 – 6 April 2017
|Preceded by||Patrick O'Flynn|
|Succeeded by||Patrick O'Flynn|
|Member of Parliament |
for Rochester and Strood
6 May 2010 – 30 March 2015
|Preceded by||Bob Marshall-Andrews (Medway)|
|Succeeded by||Kelly Tolhurst|
Mark John Reckless
6 December 1970
|Political party||Brexit Party (2019–present)|
UK Independence Party (2014–2017)
|Alma mater||Christ Church, Oxford|
The University of Law
Columbia Business School
He was previously elected as the Conservative Member of Parliament for Rochester and Strood in the 2010 general election. Reckless crossed the floor to join the UK Independence Party (UKIP) in September 2014; he won re-election as a UKIP member in a by-election held in November 2014, but lost his seat to the Conservatives in the 2015 general election.
Whilst a member of the House of Commons, Reckless was noted for his rebelliousness; he cast 56 votes against the whip between 2010 and 2014, making him the 13th-most rebellious Conservative in the period. He led a rebellion of 53 Conservative MPs on the EU budget, which inflicted the first House of Commons defeat on the coalition government. From November 2010, he served as a member of the Home Affairs Select Committee.
A Eurosceptic, he was elected to the National Assembly for Wales, now known as the Senedd, in 2016. He campaigned for the Leave side in the 2016 referendum on membership of the European Union. He subsequently joined the Brexit Party and was appointed Leader in the National Assembly by Nigel Farage in 2019.
Reckless was educated at Marlborough College before going up to Christ Church, Oxford, where he read philosophy, politics and economics. He then pursued postgraduate studies at Columbia Business School in the United States, receiving an MBA. At Columbia he studied alongside writer Jacob Appel, and is the subject of several thinly-veiled anecdotes in Appel's satire The Man Who Wouldn't Stand Up.
Until his election in May 2010, Reckless had been a solicitor at Herbert Smith and had worked on legal matters that had had dealings with private investigators. He was a member of the Kent Police Authority from 2007 to 2011.
Member of Parliament
Between 2002 and 2004, Reckless was a member of the policy unit at Conservative Central Office where he wrote a book on deregulation policy as well as overseeing the development of the policy on directly elected police commissioners. The first police and crime commissioner elections took place on 15 November 2012.
Reckless was elected as the member of parliament for Rochester and Strood in 2010 with a 9,953 majority for the Conservative Party, having previously contested the Medway constituency in 2001 and 2005, reducing the majority of the incumbent Labour MP to 3,780 in 2001 and 213 in 2005. He had served as a Medway councillor between 2007 and 2011.
Reckless was elected to the Home Affairs Select Committee in 2010 often appearing on Newsnight and other political programmes, arguing for the deportation of clerics Abu Hamza and Abu Qatada. He was one of parliament's most rebellious MPs. He was one of only six Conservative MPs to vote against increase of university tuition fees, and was a critic of the government's energy policy, arguing that the government's Energy Bill introduced in December 2012 was "a sad retreat for Conservatives".
On 30 September 2014, Reckless applied for the Stewardship of the Chiltern Hundreds and therefore ceased to be an MP. A by-election was called on 20 November, at which Reckless was nominated to stand as the UKIP candidate. He was returned as a member of parliament for UKIP, becoming the party's second elected MP.
European Union budget rebellion
On 31 October 2012, Reckless led a rebellion of 53 Conservative MPs which inflicted the first House of Commons defeat (307 votes to 294) on the coalition government. The Tory rebels voted with Labour MPs to pass an amendment calling for a real-terms cut in the 2014–2020 EU budget multi-annual financial framework. The coalition government supported only a real-terms freeze in the EU budget as a minimum. The amendment was not binding on the government, but damaged prime minister David Cameron's authority on Europe before key EU budget negotiations in November 2012. As a result of leading the successful rebellion, Reckless was voted 'Backbencher of the Year' by the Conservatives and finished third in a ConservativeHome poll of 'Backbencher of the Year', although the site's editor Tim Montgomerie announced that 'if UKIP readers had been included in the poll Mark Reckless would have topped the vote.'
Defection to UKIP
On 27 September 2014, Reckless defected to the UK Independence Party at its party conference in Doncaster, and announced his resignation in order to seek re-election at a by-election. He became the second Conservative MP in the space of a month to defect to UKIP, the first being his close friend Douglas Carswell. In a speech delivered to the conference, Reckless claimed that the Conservative leadership was 'not serious about real change on Europe', and that 'Britain could be better'.
In June 2015, Reckless was made Director of Policy Development by UKIP.
Member of the Senedd
In March 2016, Reckless was announced as UKIP's lead candidate for the regional seat of South Wales East. He was elected on 5 May 2016.
On 6 April 2017, Reckless left UKIP to join the Conservative Group; however, he did not rejoin the Conservative Party. This move made the Conservative group the second-largest in the Welsh Assembly. Upon leaving, he said, "I leave UKIP positively, having achieved our joint aim, a successful referendum to leave the EU".
On 14 April 2019, Reckless left the Conservative Party Group over the party's failure to deliver Brexit. He then sat as an independent member before joining until the Brexit Party the following month.
On 15 May 2019, Reckless stated his intention to form a new Brexit Party political group, along with Caroline Jones, Mandy Jones, and David Rowlands. He is the current leader of the Brexit Party in the Senedd.
Rochester and Strood, 2015
|Liberal Democrats||Prue Bray||1,251||2.4||-13.9|
|Conservative gain from UKIP||Swing||-17.8|
- Rochester and Strood 2014
|Liberal Democrats||Geoff Juby||349||0.9||-15.5|
|Monster Raving Loony||Hairy Knorm Davidson||151||0.4||N/A|
|People Before Profit||Nick Long||69||0.2||N/A|
|Britain First||Jayda Fransen||56||0.1||N/A|
|Patriotic Socialist Party||Dave Osborn||33||0.1||N/A|
|UKIP gain from Conservative||Swing||28.3%|
- Rochester and Strood 2010
The Rochester and Strood seat was fought for the first time at the 2010 general election. Following its boundary review of parliamentary representation in Kent, the Boundary Commission for England renamed the Medway (UK Parliament constituency) seat to Rochester and Strood. This is because the commission agreed that the term Medway is now primarily used for the larger unitary authority.
|Liberal Democrats||Geoff Juby||7,800||16.3||+3.9|
|English Democrat||Ron Sands||2,182||4.5||N/A|
|Conservative gain from Labour||Swing||+9.8|
- Medway 2005
|Liberal Democrats||Geoffrey Juby||5,152||12.5||+3.2|
- Medway 2001
|Liberal Democrats||Geoffrey Juby||3,604||9.3||-0.8|
Reckless is a grandson of Henry McDevitt, who served as a Fianna Fáil TD for Donegal East in Dáil Éireann, the Irish parliament, from 1938 until 1943. His mother emigrated to England when she was 17 to train as a nurse; however, Reckless has said that he doesn't see his mother as an "immigrant" and stated "I don't consider myself to have an immigrant background".
He married Catriona Brown at Westminster Cathedral on 1 October 2011; the reception was held in the Palace of Westminster. His best man was Daniel Hannan MEP. Reckless had been the best man at Hannan's wedding.
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- Columbia Spectator, 1 October 2014
- Mark Reckless: Government borrowing is preventing private lending ConservativeHome 28 November 2008.
- Mark Reckless MP Your Local Guardian 26 September 2012.
- Solicitors stand as MP Archived 1 May 2010 at the Wayback Machine The Law Society Gazette 29 April 2012.
- Home-Affairs-Committee-Formal-Minutes Tuesday 15 May 2012
- The Drivers of Regulation Google Books 2004.
- Mark Reckless MP: Police and Crime Commissioners are one of the great reforms of this Conservative-led government ConservativeHome 27 May 2012.
- Mark Reckless Cllr, Medway Council, 2001
- Members of the Home Affairs Select Committee, November 2010
- Mark Reckless welcomes Abu Hamza Deportation, BBC Newsnight, 5 October 2012.
- Deport Abu Qatada, BBC Newsnight, 18 April 2012.
- Order Order: Why the newest Tories are a major headache for Cameron, The Independent, 30 December 2011.
- The Tories Who Rebelled Over Tuition Fees, Financial Times, 9 December 2010.
- Voting Record Tuition Fees, Public Whip, 9 December 2010.
- The Energy Bill is a sad retreat for Conservatives, ConservativeHome, 19 December 2012
- Mark Reckless MP sorry for being 'too drunk to vote, BBC News, 11 July 2010.
- Wintour, Patrick (30 October 2011). "Conservative Eurosceptics turn fire on UK negotiator". The Guardian. Retrieved 28 February 2014.
- European Court of Human Rights gets out begging bowl, The Daily Telegraph, 21 June 2012
- All Party Parliamentary Group on Georgia, House of Commons Register, December 2012.
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- Mark Reckless Named Pin Up of the Year Archived 13 April 2014 at the Wayback Machine, Rochester People, 27 December 2012
- Backbencher of the year, ConservativeHome, 27 December 2012
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- "Mark Reckless quits Ukip to rejoin Conservatives". ITV News. 6 April 2017. Retrieved 6 April 2017.
- Reckless, Mark [@MarkReckless] (6 April 2017). "Job done: Why I am joining the Conservative Group in the Welsh Assembly" (Tweet). Retrieved 6 April 2017 – via Twitter.
- "New Ukip turmoil as Conservative defector Mark Reckless quits and rejoins Tories". The Daily Telegraph.
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- "Mark Reckless wins Rochester by-election for Ukip with 2,900 majority". Telegraph.co.uk. 21 November 2014. Retrieved 21 November 2014.
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- Fifth Periodical Report, Volume I: Report, Cm 7032-i (PDF). London: The Stationery Office. 2007. p. 347. ISBN 978-0-10-170322-2. Archived from the original (PDF) on 26 July 2011. Retrieved 13 April 2009.
- "Rochester & Strood". BBC News. 7 May 2010.
- "UK General Election results May 2005". Political Science Resources. University of Keele. 11 March 2008. Retrieved 13 April 2009.
- "Medway". Political Science Resources. University of Keele. 3 November 2008. Retrieved 13 April 2009.
- Over A Third Of Irish Want To Leave Euro For Pound | Mark Reckless MP Archived 19 September 2018 at the Wayback Machine. Markreckless.com. Retrieved on 6 February 2012.
- Ukip’s Mark Reckless on the party’s ‘Irish policy’ Irish Post. Retrieved on 21 November 2014.
- Rochester and Strood MP Mark Reckless weds Catriona Brown at Westminster Cathedral 3 October 2011
- Mark Reckless MP Wedding, Kent Online, 3 October 2011
- Mark Reckless the best kind of MP Dan Hannan, Telegraph Blog, 28 July 2008.