Christopher Stephen "Chris" Grayling, MP (born 1 April 1962) is a British Conservative Party politician. He served in the Shadow Cabinet from 2005 to 2010 and was the party's Shadow Home Secretary from 2009 to 2010. As of September 2012 he is serving as Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for
Justice, the first non-lawyer as Lord Chancellor since 1558.
Following the 2010 general election, Grayling was appointed Minister of State for Work and Pensions. Grayling has been a Member of Parliament (MP) representing the constituency of Epsom and Ewell since 2001.
Grayling was born in London and grew up in Buckinghamshire, where he was educated at the Royal Grammar School, High Wycombe. He then went to Sidney Sussex College where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in history from Cambridge University in 1984.
Life and career
Grayling joined BBC News in 1985 as a trainee, becoming a producer in 1986. He left the BBC in 1988 to join Channel 4 as an editor on its Business Daily programme. He rejoined the BBC in 1991 as a business development manager on BBC Select. On leaving the BBC again in 1993, he ran several television production companies, including managing the corporate communications division of Workhouse Ltd from 1992–95 and SSVC Group in Gerrards Cross from 1995–97. He became a management consultant in 1997 with Burson Marsteller, where he remained until his election to Parliament.
Prior to joining the Conservative Party, Grayling was a member of the Social Democratic Party, like other Cameron frontbenchers.
In April 1987 Grayling married Susan Clare Dillistone in Surrey: they have a daughter (born December 1992), and a son (born August 1996).
Grayling supports Manchester United and Lancashire CCC. He once hit a four off the Australian fast bowler Dennis Lillee. He is a member of MCC.
Grayling was selected to contest the Labour-held marginal seat of Warrington South at the 1997 general election, but was defeated by Labour candidate Helen Southworth by 10,807 votes. He was elected as a councillor in the London Borough of Merton in 1998 and remained on the council until 2002.
Member of Parliament
Grayling was elected to the House of Commons to represent the Surrey seat of Epsom and Ewell at the 2001 general election following the retirement of the veteran Tory MP Archie Hamilton. Grayling held the seat with a majority of 10,080 and has been returned as MP there since. He made his maiden speech on 25 June 2001.
Grayling served on the Environment, Transport and the Regions Select Committee from 2001 until he was promoted to the Opposition Whips' Office by Iain Duncan Smith in 2002, moving to become a Spokesman for Health later in the year. He became a Spokesman for Education and Skills by Michael Howard in 2003. Following the 2005 general election he became a member of Howard's Shadow Cabinet as Shadow Leader of the House of Commons, and since the election of David Cameron as the leader of the Conservative Party in December 2005 he has served as the Shadow Secretary of State for Transport. In June 2007, he was made Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, a post he held until January 2009 when he became Shadow Home Secretary.
Grayling became known as a national politician through his “attack dog” pressure on leading Labour politicians. He was heavily involved in the questioning of David Blunkett, the then Work and Pensions Secretary, over his business affairs which led to Blunkett's resignation in 2005. Grayling also challenged Tony Blair and his wife Cherie over the money they made from lectures while Blair was Prime Minister. He also challenged former minister Stephen Byers over his handling of the Railtrack collapse.
Grayling served as Minister of State for Work and Pensions from 2010 until 2012, before being promoted to the Cabinet, on 4 September 2012, as Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice. Sworn in as Lord Chancellor on 1 October 2012 at Westminster Abbey, he was elected an Honorary Bencher of Gray's Inn on 11 December 2012.
Between 2001 and 2009, Grayling claimed expenses for his flat in Pimlico, close to the Houses of Parliament, despite having a constituency home no further than 17 miles away and owning two buy to let properties in Wimbledon. Grayling says he uses the flat when "working very late" because he needs to "work very erratic and late hours most days when the House of Commons is sitting."
During the Parliamentary expenses scandal, The Daily Telegraph reported that Grayling refitted and redecorated the flat in 2005 costing over £1,000. Grayling said that both the water and electrical systems failed "leaving the place needing a major overhaul".
Comparing Moss Side to The Wire
As Shadow Home Secretary, Grayling provoked controversy in August 2009 when he compared Manchester's Moss Side area to the American TV crime drama The Wire. His comments received angry responses from Manchester locals and police. Having been out on patrol for a day with the police, observing the results of a shooting at a house, he described himself as having witnessed an "urban war". Police responded that gang-related shootings in Greater Manchester had fallen by 82 percent from the previous year and that to speak of "urban war" was "sensationalistic". A local councillor, Roy Walters, complained of Moss Side unfairly being a "negative target" due to historical associations. He was, however, defended by right wing commentators who said he spoke for the “mainstream majority”.
Sticking by his comments, Grayling said, "I didn't say Moss Side equals Baltimore. What I said is that we have in Moss Side symptoms of a gang conflict in this country which I find profoundly disturbing." Baltimore, with a population of about 600,000, was noted as having 191 gun related murders in the previous year, in comparison to Moss Side, population 17,537, which had none.
Grayling came under fire as Shadow Home Secretary over the Conservative Party's use of statistics on violent crime. In February 2010, the Conservative Party issued press releases to every constituency in the UK claiming that crime had "risen sharply" in the UK. They failed, however, to take into account the more rigorous system for recording crime. The chairman of the UK Statistics Authority, Sir Michael Scholar, said that the figures Grayling was using were "likely to mislead the public" and "likely to damage public trust in official statistics". Scholar further added that reliable statistics showed that there had not been an increase in crime during Labour's period in office. However a subsequent report produced by the independent House of Commons library confirmed that Grayling and the Conservative Party had been right to say that violent crime had risen significantly.
Gay couples in B&Bs controversy
In March 2010, Grayling was recorded at an open meeting of the Centre for Policy Studies think tank saying that during the debates on civil liberties under the Labour Government, he had felt that Christians should have the right to live by their consciences and that Christian owners of bed and breakfasts should have the right to turn away gay
couples. Grayling said:
"I personally always took the view that, if you look at the case of should a Christian hotel owner have the right to exclude a gay couple from a hotel, I took the view that if it's a question of somebody who's doing a B&B in their own home, that individual should have the right to decide who does and who doesn't come into their own home. If they are running a hotel on the high street, I really don’t think that it is right in this day and age that a gay couple should walk into a hotel and be turned away because they are a gay couple, and I think that is where the dividing line comes."
When the recording was released by The Observer, on 3 April 2010, Grayling's comments caused uproar, with Ben Summerskill, Chief Executive of the gay rights group Stonewall, saying that this position would be "illegal" and "very alarming to a lot of gay people who may have been thinking of voting Conservative". Lord Mandelson, the most senior gay minister in the (then Labour) Government, added that the comment showed that the Conservative Party had not changed, that "when the camera is on they say one thing, but when the camera is off they say another". There were calls calls for Grayling to resign after this incident. Conservative Party leader David Cameron was subsequently urged to "back or sack" Grayling, with gay rights campaigner Peter Tatchell saying that "Cameron's silence is worrying.
Many voters – gay and straight – will be disturbed by his failure to swiftly disown Grayling's support for homophobic discrimination. What does this say about the sincerity and seriousness of his commitment to gay equality?" A poll for the website www.pinknews.co.uk released on 5 April found that support for the Conservatives in the LGBT community had fallen drastically since Grayling's comments. Author Douglas Murray has dubbed Grayling "a political buffoon, unsure of what he is saying and with little idea of how to say it." Anastasia Beaumont-Bott, founder of LGBTory, a gay rights group which campaigns for the Conservatives, announced that she would be voting for Labour, not the Conservatives, in response to Grayling's comments. She said, "I feel guilty because as a gay woman affected by LGBT rights I am on record saying you should vote Conservative, and I want to reverse that. I want to go on record to say don't vote Conservative. I'd go as far to say that I'll vote Labour at this general election." Beaumont-Bott was joined in defecting from the Conservatives to Labour a week later by prominent gay rights campaigner David Heathcote. Grayling’s comments, however, were defended by a number of commentators, including the Today Programme presenter and leading gay broadcaster Evan Davis and leading Christian groups.
Grayling apologised on 9 April, saying "I am sorry if what I said gave the wrong impression, I certainly didn't intend to offend anyone... I voted for gay rights, I voted for this particular measure." In the 12 April edition of The Daily Politics, presenter Andrew Neil claimed the programme makers had been unable to contact Grayling about an appearance and suggested that he had gone to ground since his comments were published. Since the start of the 2010 general election campaign on 6 April, Grayling has been "hidden away" by the Conservatives, making very few public appearances.
During the launch of the Labour Party's "LGBT Manifesto" on 15 April the Deputy Leader, Harriet Harman, renewed calls for Grayling to be sacked, saying "We don't want to wake up and find we have a homophobic home secretary. David Cameron should have sacked him as soon as he said that." It is unclear whether his remarks were the reason that David Cameron chose to appoint Theresa May as Home Secretary in his new Cabinet, rather than Grayling who held the position in the Shadow Cabinet; Grayling was not given any Cabinet post, as had been predicted by some media commentators prior to the election.
On 31 January 2013 it was reported that Grayling would vote in favour of same-sex marriage in England and Wales.
Appointment to Privy Council
On 28 May 2010, Grayling was appointed to the Privy Council in the 2010 Dissolution of Parliament Honours List.
Prison should not be a place where convicts can fritter away hours on end watching satellite
television in their cells, new justice secretary Chris Grayling has said.
Grayling, who replaced Kenneth Clarke at the Ministry of Justice in the cabinet reshuffle earlier this month, said he also had no intention of cutting prisoner numbers.
He said he did not want inmates to enjoy prison, telling the Daily Mail the criminal justice system needed to be one in which the public could have confidence.
He said: "I'm bringing a fresh pair of eyes to the job. I'm very mindful of the need to have a criminal justice system in which people have confidence. I think they very often don't have confidence in it."
Grayling added: "Prison is not meant to be a place that people enjoy being in. I don't [want to] see prisoners in this country sitting in cells watching the Sunday afternoon match on Sky Sports.
"Am I planning to reduce the number of prison places? No I'm not. I do not want to set a target to reduce the prison population.
"What I do want to do is bring down the cost of prison. The whole philosophy I will bring to the department is getting more for less."
The decision by David Cameron to appoint Grayling was seen as a nod to the
Conservative right, who have long seen a tough justice system as central plank of any Tory agenda and saw Clarke as a soft justice secretary.
Clarke oversaw the scrapping of indeterminate sentences for the most serious offenders, while apparently embarking on policies aimed at reducing prison numbers.
But despite his tough stance on prison numbers, Grayling said he was supportive of Clarke's policies to rehabilitate inmates.
Private firms could be paid according to results, he said, in a nod to a policy introduced by Clarke.
He also promised to bring an end to the stalking of victims by inmates using social media after they have successfully smuggled mobile phones in to prison.
"It's completely unacceptable," he said. "I've talked to victims of crime who are effectively being stalked by the person who attacked them.
"It is the case that mobile phones are smuggled into prisons. We have powers to take tough action on that front, blocking signals, other ways of clamping down on it."
prisoners are wrongly convicted. That is a statistical fact. In the
1990s David Blunkett and other Ministers, such as Jack Straw, introduced
new statute designed to increase the rate of convictions of sex
offenders, at the expense of giving those accused a fair trial.
particular the arbrogation of the duty of a trial judge to warn Jury
members about the danger of convicting on the evidence of a claimant,
without supporting evidence, was removed. That meant that Article 6 was
no longer being complied with, inasmuch as the defendant was now in a
position to have to prove innocence - otherwise conviction is
real problem is that is putting defendants in that position, there is no
increase in the level of Legal Aid, hence barristers and solicitors
faced with a complex case will cut corners, not interview witnesses and
not obtain specialist evidence.
still, in the UK medical forensic evidence is lagging far behind that in
the USA, where in many cases the medical evidence proves the innocence
of a defendant accused by girlfriend, or maybe even a casual
acquaintance. This is a matter for the Lord Chancellor to look into,
because the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC) has developed a
barrage of Ostrich caselaw, that allows them to look the other way. And
that, as it turns out is a funding related issue is part, and in part
laziness/incompetence of the investigators that they employ.
fact is that for whatever reason, thousands of men and women in the
United Kingdom have served time when they were innocent of the crime
they were accused of, and many thousands more will continue to do so
until this important issue is tackled by the Secretary of State.
now, it is only with extreme luck that DNA
is preserved such as to prove innocence in a very few cases.
ACT 2006 - COUNTERFEIT GOODS and IP CRIME
The Intellectual Property (IP) Crime Report (the Report)
is an annual Report which provides an overview of the
initiatives and activities to tackle IP crime during the reporting year. This year’s Report covering the period
1 April 2011 – 31 March 2012 has seen an increase in the volume of contributions received. These have
been received not only from industry (IP right owners), government departments and enforcement agencies
(trading standards, customs authorities and police) within the IP Crime Group but also from those outside of
the Group - indicating that awareness is being raised at both industries and consumers on the importance and
affects of IP crime. All the data and figures have been provided by those contributors.
Whilst there is no simple measurement of the scale of IP crime, this Report shows the breadth of it and the
vast scale reaching every part of society. Enforcement of IP rights is a complex matter, with so many products
and services involved and the different roles and responsibilities of law enforcement agencies, the
need to coordinate and cooperate across institutions is fundamentally important. There is good evidence
throughout the Report of this and the development of structures and processes that make them sustainable.
The Bridgewater Heritage: The Story of Bridgewater Estates by Chris Grayling, 1983, Bridgewater Estates PLC
A Land Fit for Heroes: Life in England After the Great War by Christopher Grayling, 1985, Buchan & Enright ISBN 0-907675-68-9
Holt's: The Story of Joseph Holt by Christopher Grayling, 1985, Joseph Holt PLC
Just Another Star?: Anglo-American Relations Since 1945 by Christopher Grayling and Christopher Langdon, 1987, Virgin Books ISBN 0-245-54603-0
Insight Guide Waterways of Europe contribution by Chris Grayling, 1989, Apa Publications ISBN 0-88729-825-7