Tom Brake

Thomas Anthony Brake (born 6 May 1962) is a British Liberal Democrat politician. He was the Member of Parliament (MP) for Carshalton and Wallington in London from 1997 to 2019.

Tom Brake
Brake in 2017
Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
In office
4 November 2014  8 May 2015
Prime MinisterDavid Cameron
Preceded byMark Hunter
Succeeded byJulian Smith
Deputy Leader of the House of Commons
In office
4 September 2012  8 May 2015
Prime MinisterDavid Cameron
Preceded byDavid Heath
Succeeded byThérèse Coffey
Lib Dem Spokesperson
Liberal Democrat Spokesman for the Duchy of Lancaster
In office
21 August 2019  13 December 2019
LeaderJo Swinson
Davey · Brinton
Preceded byOffice established
Succeeded byOffice abolished
Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Exiting the European Union
In office
16 June 2017  13 December 2019
LeaderTim Farron
Vince Cable
Jo Swinson
Davey · Brinton
Preceded byNick Clegg
Succeeded byAlistair Carmichael
Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for International Trade
In office
16 June 2017  21 August 2019
LeaderTim Farron
Vince Cable
Jo Swinson
Preceded byNick Clegg
Succeeded byChuka Umunna
Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for the Office of First Secretary of State
In office
16 June 2017  20 December 2017
LeaderTim Farron
Vince Cable
Preceded byAlistair Carmichael
Succeeded bySir Ed Davey (2019) (de facto)
Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs
In office
29 July 2015  16 June 2017
LeaderTim Farron
Preceded byTim Farron
Succeeded byJo Swinson
Chief Whip of the Liberal Democrats
In office
29 July 2015  16 June 2017
LeaderTim Farron
Preceded byDon Foster
Succeeded byAlistair Carmichael
Liberal Democrat Leader of the House of Commons
In office
7 January 2015  16 June 2017
LeaderNick Clegg
Tim Farron
Preceded byDavid Heath (2010)
Succeeded byWera Hobhouse (2020)
Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Transport
In office
16 May 2005  8 March 2006
LeaderCharles Kennedy
Menzies Campbell
Preceded byJohn Thurso
Succeeded bySusan Kramer
Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for International Development
In office
12 October 2003  16 May 2005
LeaderCharles Kennedy
Preceded byJenny Tonge
Succeeded byAndrew George
Member of Parliament
for Carshalton and Wallington
In office
1 May 1997  6 November 2019
Preceded byNigel Forman
Succeeded byElliot Colburn
Personal details
Thomas Anthony Brake

(1962-05-06) 6 May 1962 (age 59)
Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire, England
Political partyLiberal Democrats
Candida Goulden
(m. 1998)
EducationImperial College London
WebsiteOfficial website
Commons website

He was appointed Director of the cross party pressure group Unlock Democracy in October 2020.[1]

Early life

Brake was born in Melton Mowbray and moved to France when he was eight. He was educated at the Lycée International school in Saint-Germain-en-Laye in the western suburbs of Paris, and Imperial College London, where he obtained a BSc in Physics in 1983. He was a computer software consultant with Hoskyns (Capgemini) from 1983 until his election to the UK Parliament in 1997.

Political career

Early career

Brake was actively involved in human rights issues as a student. He was elected as a councillor in the London Borough of Hackney in 1988, leaving the council in 1990. In 1994 Brake was elected as a councillor in the London Borough of Sutton and sat on the council until 1998.

Brake stood for election to Parliament at the 1992 general election in Carshalton and Wallington, but was defeated by Conservative Nigel Forman.

Parliamentary career

In what proved to be a close contest, Brake was elected at the 1997 general election as the Liberal Democrat MP for Carshalton and Wallington, beating Nigel Forman with a majority of 2,267, and remained MP there until he lost the seat at the 2019 general election. He made his maiden speech on 10 June 1997. Brake defeated Conservative Ken Andrew in 2001, 2005 and again in 2010 with an increased majority. In 2015 his majority was lessened to 1,510, narrowly ahead of Conservative Matthew Maxwell-Scott.

After the 1997 election, party leader Paddy Ashdown placed Brake on the frontbench as a spokesman on the Environment, Transport and the Regions. Following the 2001 General Election, then party leader Charles Kennedy appointed him a spokesman on Transport, Local Government and the Regions. In 2002 he became a Transport spokesman. He joined the Liberal Democrat frontbench team in 2003 as the lead International Development spokesman. After the 2005 General Election he became the Transport spokesman. He was relieved of this position under the new leadership of Sir Menzies Campbell in March 2006, and later that year became spokesperson for local government. In 2007 Brake became spokesperson for London and the Olympics. In 2008 he was also appointed as a Home Affairs spokesperson.

In June 2010 Brake was named Co-Chair of the new Liberal Democrat Backbench Committee on Home Affairs, Justice and Equalities. Brake Co-Chaired the committee alongside Baroness Hamwee and Lord Thomas of Gresford OBE QC.[2]

In September 2010 Brake attempted to introduce a bill "to amend the Freedom of Information Act 2000 to remove provisions permitting Ministers to overrule decisions of the Information Commissioner and Information Tribunal; to limit the time allowed for public authorities to respond to requests involving consideration of the public interest; to amend the definition of public authorities; and for connected purposes."[3]

On 11 June 2011, it was announced Brake would be appointed a Privy Counsellor in the Queen's 2011 Birthday Honours list.[4]

On 4 September 2012 he was appointed Deputy Leader of the House of Commons, replacing Liberal Democrat David Heath MP who was promoted to Minister of State in DEFRA. Before he was appointed Deputy Leader of the House of Commons, Brake was the Secretary of the All-Party Group for World Government, Treasurer of the All-Party Human Rights group, a member of the Franco British Parliamentary Relations group.[5]

Between 2014 and 2015, Brake was an Assistant Whip for HM's Treasury. In January 2015, Brake was appointed to the Liberal Democrat General Election Cabinet as the party's Leader of the House of Commons and London spokesperson.

On 29 July 2015, Brake was named as foreign affairs spokesperson and party chief whip.[6]

In June 2017, Brake was appointed as a Liberal Democrat spokesperson for international trade and European affairs.[7]

In interview with British-American centrist Owen Prell, who was visiting on behalf of Unite America, in Brake's Westminster office in June 2017, Brake greatly attributed the inability of his party to perform better in House of Commons elections to first-past-the-post.[8]

He is an honorary associate of the National Secular Society.[9]

Brake lost his seat in the 2019 general election to Elliot Colburn of the Conservative Party.[10]


  1. "Tom Brake appointed Director of Unlock Democracy". Retrieved 6 October 2020.
  2. "Biography at". Archived from the original on 22 October 2010.
  3. "House of Commons Hansard Debates for 07 Sep 2010 (pt 0002)". Archived from the original on 25 October 2016. Retrieved 17 September 2017.
  4. "No. 59808". The London Gazette (Supplement). 11 June 2011. p. 1.
  5. All Party Parliamentary Group for World Governance Archived 6 February 2007 at the Wayback MachineOne World Trust Website
  6. BBC News Archived 22 November 2018 at the Wayback Machine – ' 'BBC News' '
  7. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 17 June 2017. Retrieved 17 June 2017.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  8. Prell, Owen (7 July 2020). "An American Centrist Looks Across the Pond". Medium.
  9. "National Secular Society Honorary Associates". National Secular Society. Retrieved 26 August 2019.
  10. "London's longest serving Lib Dem MP is ousted in just a handful of political changes in the capital". ITV News. Retrieved 19 January 2020.