Phillip Lee (politician)


Phillip James Lee (born 28 September 1970) is a British doctor and Liberal Democrat politician. He was the Member of Parliament for the Bracknell constituency from the 2010 general election to the 2019 dissolution of parliament. He stood unsuccessfully for the neighbouring Wokingham constituency in the 2019 general election.

Dr Phillip Lee
Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Justice
In office
21 October 2019  13 December 2019
LeaderJo Swinson
Preceded byChristine Jardine
Succeeded byDaisy Cooper
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Victims, Youth and Family Justice
In office
17 July 2016  12 June 2018[1]
Prime MinisterTheresa May
Preceded byDominic Raab
Succeeded byEdward Argar
Member of Parliament
for Bracknell
In office
7 May 2010  6 November 2019
Preceded byAndrew MacKay
Succeeded byJames Sunderland
Chairman of Right to Vote
In office
17 January 2019  12 September 2019[2]
Preceded byPosition established
Succeeded byPosition abolished
Personal details
Born
Phillip James Lee

(1970-09-28) 28 September 1970 (age 50)
Taplow, Buckinghamshire, England[3]
Political partyLiberal Democrats
Other political
affiliations
Conservative (1992–2019)
Spouse(s)Catherine Day
Alma materKing's College London
Keble College, Oxford
Imperial College London
ProfessionPhysician
Websitephillip-lee.com

Elected as a Conservative candidate, he served as Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State responsible for youth justice, victims, female offenders and offender health at the Ministry of Justice.[4] He resigned from the government in July 2018 in response to the government's handling of Brexit.[5] On 3 September 2019, he resigned from the Conservative party to join the Liberal Democrats.[6]

Early life and career


Phillip Lee was born and raised in Buckinghamshire, England, and went to his local grammar school, Sir William Borlase's Grammar School in Marlow. Lee studied Human Biology and Biological Anthropology at King's College London and Keble College, Oxford, where his research interests included the psychodynamics of anti-Semitism; the psychology of the child sex offender; the influence of the pre-natal environment on adult disease; and infertility clinic outcomes.[7]

He went on to study medicine at Imperial College London[3] and qualified as a physician in 1999. He has worked in hospitals across the Thames Valley, including Wexham Park Hospital, Stoke Mandeville Hospital, Wycombe Hospital, St Mark's (Maidenhead) and Heatherwood Hospital as well as at St Mary's Hospital, London. Lee qualified as a general practitioner (GP) in 2004 and continues to practise locally part-time.[8]

Political career


Conservative Party

Supporters of Lee's resignation stand at the 2018 People's Vote march.

Lee's political career began in local politics. He joined the Conservatives in Beaconsfield in 1992, becoming a member of its executive board in 1997 and its deputy chairman in 2005. Lee ran successfully for the local council in 2001. In the 2005 general election, he campaigned as the party's candidate for what was the safest Labour seat in Wales of Blaenau Gwent in South Wales. He polled just 816 votes - all other parties had been put by the wayside when there was a prominent and bitter campaign between Labour, who had imposed an all-women shortlist on the constituency, and the Independent candidate Peter Law, who took the seat. After being appointed a priority national candidate on the party's first A-List in 2006,[9] Lee was elected in an open primary in 2009 to be the candidate to represent the local seat of Bracknell in Berkshire at the 2010 general election. The seven-person short-list also included prominent Conservative commentator Iain Dale, and Rory Stewart.[8][10] At the 2010 general election, Lee retained the seat for his party with a majority of 15,704 votes.[11]

Lee's parliamentary interests include:

Energy
He served as a member of the Energy and Climate Change Select Committee and was at the forefront of questioning UK energy companies' price hikes.[12] Lee has called for energy efficiency to be the primary target of the UK Government's policy and supports increasing energy security with more nuclear power and an interconnector with Norway. He drew attention to the limited potential of free markets in the energy sector and called for cooperative ways of retailing and distributing electricity and gas.[13]
Health
Lee warned in 2011 that the National Health Service as then configured would not meet future demand for healthcare and campaigned for healthcare services in the United Kingdom and funding to be reconfigured.[14] His 2012 publication "The Royal Thames Valley Hospital – a Vision of a Sustainable Healthcare Plan" is a proposal for improving clinical outcomes while building capacity to meet future healthcare demand across the Thames Valley.[15] The then Home Secretary, Theresa May, also a Thames Valley MP, gave the plan her support at a public meeting in January 2013.[16] Lee sparked controversy in 2013 when he suggested that provision of free medicine by the NHS would need to be restricted because Britons are less willing than previous generations to tolerate discomfort,[17] and again in 2014 when he called for migrants with HIV and hepatitis B to be banned from entering the UK.[18] He proposed introducing individual healthcare statements in a Ten Minute Rule Bill in 2012.[19] In 2014, Lee stood for election as Chairman of the Health Select Committee, coming a close second.
At the Social Market Foundation fringe meeting at the 2017 Conservative party conference, he referred to pensions, health and social care as a Ponzi scheme which was about to collapse.[20]
Foreign affairs
Lee served as vice chair of the Conservative Middle East Council from 2010. He argued for a comprehensive approach to foreign policy, pointing out that energy policy should be an important element in foreign and defence policies.[21] In 2012, he warned of rising threats from China's domestic vulnerabilities.[22] He regularly participated in the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung's exchange programme with members of the German Bundestag and has called for a closer relationship with Germany.[23] He voted against military action in Syria in 2013 as he believed there needed to be a more thought-through strategy towards Syria and the wider region before the United Kingdom involved itself.[24] In July 2014, he argued for a strong response to the shooting down of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 on Europe's border and for Britain's role in the world to be redefined saying, "I fear that because of our level of debt and of dependence, and our complete absence of any vision or leadership, we are being less of a country than we should be and most certainly less of a country than the globe desperately needs".[21]
Science, technology and space
Lee was vice chair of the Parliamentary Space Committee. Lee was also a member of the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology in the 2010–2015 Parliament. He has long campaigned for a British space port and supported Reaction Engines' breakthrough in aerospace technology with its SABRE. His 2011 Adjournment debate on microgravity spurred £60m state investment into the European Space Agency's ELIPS programme.[25] This funding played a significant part in the European Space Agency's decision to grant Timothy Peake a place in space. Lee was a Member of the Administration Committee from July 2010 to December 2012 and sits on the Parliamentary Medical Panel. He has driven improvements to mental health services for parliamentarians.[citation needed] Lee served as Chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Environment Group (2010–2013).

Lee's voting record was loyal. He rarely rebelled against the Conservative whip and did not vote against anything in the Conservative's manifesto.[26] However, he did not support the UK Government's High Speed 2 project which he said is of the past and not of the future, profligate and not a priority for infrastructure investment.[27] Neither did he support the Government's proposals for House of Lords reform or military action in Syria in 2013.[24] Lee abstained over Same-sex marriage legislation, noting that Parliament's role should be limited to legislating for equal civil union while calling on the Church to find a way to recognise same-sex relationships.[28][29]

In his constituency of Bracknell, Lee campaigned for better services and facilities. He called for improved health service outcomes and in 2012 launched a plan to achieve this which would consolidate acute healthcare in a new, regional centre of excellence and deliver a greater proportion of care in the community – including through the recently opened Bracknell Urgent Care Centre.[15] He lobbied for better transport links into, and across, the region and South West Trains is now increasing passenger rail capacity from Bracknell.[30] Lee supports expanding London Heathrow Airport and has endorsed the Heathrow Hub proposal to extend capacity[31] alongside the extension of Crossrail to Reading. Lee lobbied BT Group to improve the delivery of superfast broadband and coverage across the constituency in 2012 was almost 90%.[32]

Lee was opposed to Brexit prior to the 2016 referendum.[33] He resigned as a minister on 12 June 2018. In a widely reported resignation statement, he said that his reason was so he could "better speak up for my constituents and country over how Brexit is currently being delivered". He went on to warn that the current approach to Brexit would damage businesses in his constituency, and that he could not support the government's opposition to Parliament deciding what happens if it rejects the final deal "because doing so breaches such fundamental principles of human rights and Parliamentary sovereignty".[1] In early 2019 he became chair of Right to Vote,[34] having already joined the People's Vote campaign for a public vote on the final Brexit deal between the UK and the European Union.[35] On 1 June 2019 Lee's local Conservative Association passed a motion of no confidence in Lee, due to clashes over Lee's stance on Brexit.[36]

Liberal Democrats

On 3 September 2019, Lee crossed the floor to join the Liberal Democrats during a speech by the Prime Minister over disagreements with the Conservative Party's handling of Brexit.[6][37] His resignation left the Conservative government with no working majority in the House of Commons.[38] In his letter of resignation to the Prime Minister, Lee stated that he had "reached the conclusion that it [was] no longer possible to serve [his] constituents' and country's best interests as a Conservative Member of Parliament."[39] He went on to state: "Sadly, the Brexit process has helped to transform this once great [Conservative] Party in to something more akin to a narrow faction, where an individual's 'conservatism' is measured by how recklessly one wishes to leave the European Union. Perhaps most disappointingly, it has increasingly become infected with the twin diseases of populism and English nationalism."[40] In the letter, Lee described the Liberal Democrats as being "best placed to build the unifying and inspiring political force needed to heal our divisions, unleash our talents, equip us to take the opportunities and overcome the challenges that we face as a society — and leave our country and our world in a better place for the next generations."[41]

Lee's admission to the Lib Dems caused a number of LGBT+ members to quit the party, due to their perception of his voting record on LGBT+ rights. Lee responded saying that his record on LGBT+ rights had been misrepresented.[42][43]

Lee contested the Wokingham constituency, adjoining his previous Bracknell seat and held by the strongly pro-brexit John Redwood, in the 2019 general election;[44][45] but he was not elected.[46]

Personal life


Lee is a keen sportsman. He has played competitive football, and followed Queens Park Rangers F.C. since the age of six. He has played competitive rugby union for Marlow Rugby Union Football Club and was a member of Oxford University RFC and has also played cricket for the Old Grumblers. Lee played for the Conservative Party's Parliamentary football team and is a member of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Boxing.[citation needed]

References


  1. "Minister Phillip Lee quits over Brexit". BBC. 12 June 2018. Archived from the original on 12 January 2019. Retrieved 12 June 2018.
  2. https://order-order.com/2019/09/12/tory-mps-peoples-vote-campaign-no-longer-contains-tories/
  3. "LEE, Phillip James". Who's Who. Retrieved 5 January 2013.
  4. "Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Youth Justice, Victims, Female Offenders and Offender Health - GOV.UK". www.gov.uk. Archived from the original on 12 January 2018. Retrieved 11 January 2018.
  5. "Ministerial Resignation Statement – Dr Phillip Lee MP – Caring for Bracknell Constituency". Bracknell Conservative Association. 12 June 2019. Archived from the original on 29 August 2019. Retrieved 29 August 2019.
  6. Zeffman, Henry (3 September 2019). "NEW: Tory MP Phillip Lee just crossed the floor to join the Lib Dems during Boris Johnson's G7 statements". @hzeffman. Archived from the original on 11 September 2019. Retrieved 3 September 2019.
  7. "Phillip Lee". Conservatives.com. Archived from the original on 21 February 2019. Retrieved 21 February 2019.
  8. "Dr Phillip Lee – Caring for Bracknell Constituency : Biography". Bracknell Conservative Association. 1 January 2010. Archived from the original on 17 April 2010. Retrieved 4 May 2010.
  9. "ConservativeHome's Seats & Candidates blog: Where are the original A-Listers now? The 27 who are still looking for a seat". Conservativehome.blogs.com. 23 April 2009. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 5 January 2013.
  10. Fort, Hugh (12 October 2009). "Tory hopefuls stress links to Bracknell Forest". Bracknell Forest Standard. Archived from the original on 25 July 2011. Retrieved 4 May 2010.
  11. "Phillip Lee wins Bracknell General Election 2010". The Wokingham Times. 7 May 2010. Retrieved 7 May 2010.
  12. Morris, Nigel (29 October 2013). "All in it together? Big Six energy chiefs feel heat from MPs". The Independent. London. Archived from the original on 28 February 2014. Retrieved 10 September 2014.
  13. "Only full-scale reform of our energy market will prevent endless price rises". The Guardian. 26 October 2013. Comment is free. Archived from the original on 31 August 2014. Retrieved 10 September 2014.
  14. Lee, Phillip (11 June 2014). "The NHS is collapsing under the weight of demand". The Daily Telegraph. London. Archived from the original on 13 August 2014. Retrieved 10 September 2014.
  15. "Bracknell News: MP plans hospital vision meeting". Bracknell News. 14 July 2012. Archived from the original on 18 December 2014. Retrieved 10 September 2014.
  16. "BBC News: Theresa May MP supports calls for new M4 hospital". bbc.co.uk/news. 10 January 2013. Archived from the original on 25 September 2015. Retrieved 17 September 2014.
  17. Hope, Christopher (26 November 2012). "Spending on medicines must be cut because Britons cannot put up with aches and pains like their wartime forebears says Tory MP". The Daily Telegraph. London. Telegraph Media Group. Archived from the original on 2 December 2014. Retrieved 21 November 2014.
  18. "HIV positive immigrants should be banned from entering UK, Tory MPs say". HuffPost. 30 January 2014. Archived from the original on 12 October 2014. Retrieved 17 September 2014.
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  20. "Tax-funded NHS a Ponzi scheme, says minister Phillip Lee". BBC News. 2 October 2017. Archived from the original on 14 October 2017. Retrieved 14 October 2017.
  21. "They Work For You: Backbench Business — Summer Adjournment". theyworkforyou.com/. 22 July 2014. Archived from the original on 7 September 2017. Retrieved 17 September 2014.
  22. "ConservativeHome: Dr Philip Lee MP: China may be big – but it has big, big problems". conservativehome.com/. 16 November 2012. Archived from the original on 11 May 2015. Retrieved 17 September 2014.
  23. "ConservativeHome: Dr Phillip Lee MP: When it comes to Germany, yesterday should be no guide for tomorrow". conservativehome.com/. 28 November 2012. Archived from the original on 11 May 2015. Retrieved 17 September 2014.
  24. "If we must fight in Syria, we must have a plan". telegraph.co.uk/. London. 6 September 2013. Archived from the original on 20 September 2016. Retrieved 17 September 2014.
  25. "They Work For You: Microgravity Research". theyworkforyou.com/. 13 September 2011. Archived from the original on 26 May 2015. Retrieved 17 September 2014.
  26. "They Work For You: Voting Summary". theyworkforyou.com/. 5 May 2010. Archived from the original on 17 August 2014. Retrieved 17 September 2014.
  27. "They Work For You: High Speed Rail (London – West Midlands) Bill". theyworkforyou.com/. 28 April 2014. Retrieved 17 September 2014.
  28. "Voting Record – Phillip Lee MP, Bracknell". publicwhip.org. Archived from the original on 29 November 2014. Retrieved 21 November 2014.
  29. Lowther, Ed (5 March 2013). "Yes but, no but... MPs who vote both ways". BBC News. Archived from the original on 7 January 2016. Retrieved 21 November 2014.
  30. "MP Dr Phillip Lee campaigns for better train services to and from Bracknell". getreading.co.uk/. 5 May 2013. Archived from the original on 22 September 2013. Retrieved 10 September 2014.
  31. "They Work For You: Thames Valley, Berkshire". theyworkforyou.com/. 1 May 2014. Archived from the original on 5 March 2016. Retrieved 17 September 2014.
  32. "Dr Phillip Lee hears broadband concerns". Get Reading. 31 July 2012. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 10 September 2014.
  33. Goodenough, Tom (16 February 2016). "Which Tory MPs back Brexit, who doesn't and who is still on the fence?". The Spectator. Archived from the original on 3 February 2017. Retrieved 11 October 2016.
  34. Lee, Phillip (19 March 2019). "Archived copy" (pdf). Letter to Theresa May. Archived (PDF) from the original on 4 April 2019. Retrieved 4 April 2019.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  35. Wheeler, Brian (11 September 2018). "The Brexit factions reshaping UK politics". BBC News. Archived from the original on 7 September 2018. Retrieved 15 September 2018. Sarah Wollaston, has joined the People's Vote campaign along with Phillip Lee and Guto Bebb
  36. Perrin, Isabella (1 June 2019). "Bracknell Conservative Association pass motion of no confidence in Phillip Lee MP". Bracknell News. Newsquest Media Group Ltd. Archived from the original on 1 June 2019. Retrieved 1 June 2019.
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  38. "Boris Johnson loses majority after Tory MP defects during speech". The Independent. 3 September 2019. Archived from the original on 2 December 2019. Retrieved 3 September 2019.
  39. Lee, Dr Phillip (3 September 2019). "After a great deal of thought, I have reached the conclusion that it is no longer possible to serve my constituents' and country's best interests as a Conservative Member of Parliament. My letter to the Prime Minister". Twitter.com @DrPhillipLeeMP. Archived from the original on 3 September 2019. Retrieved 3 September 2019. pic.twitter.com/0QreSbSdwR
  40. Dwyer, Colin; Langfitt, Frank (3 September 2019). "Johnson To Call For Snap Election After Conservatives Suffer Key Parliamentary Defeat". NPR.org. Archived from the original on 4 September 2019. Retrieved 3 September 2019.
  41. Rosza, Matthew (3 September 2019). "A Conservative MP's defection just cost Boris Johnson his parliamentary majority". Salon. Archived from the original on 4 September 2019. Retrieved 3 September 2019.
  42. Powys Maurice, Emma (4 September 2019). "LGBT Liberal Democrats are quitting the party over the decision to admit 'homophobic' Phillip Lee". PinkNews. Archived from the original on 4 September 2019. Retrieved 4 September 2019.
  43. Proctor, Kate (16 September 2019). "Phillip Lee says record on LGBT rights has been misrepresented". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 23 November 2019. Retrieved 13 November 2019.
  44. "Wokingham has a new Liberal Democrat candidate ahead of general election concerns". 28 September 2019. Archived from the original on 22 October 2019. Retrieved 12 November 2019.
  45. Buchan, Lizzy (28 September 2019). "Ex-Tory minister to contest Brexiteer John Redwood's seat for Lib Dems". The Independent. Archived from the original on 29 September 2019. Retrieved 29 September 2019.
  46. "Theresa May re-elected with reduced majority". BBC. 13 December 2019. Archived from the original on 14 December 2019. Retrieved 14 December 2019.