Richard was elected in December 2019 and is the first Conservative Member of Parliament ever to be elected by the people of North West Durham.
Born in Blackburn, Richard grew up in the Pennine village of Grindleton, near Clitheroe. He attended the local village primary school and passed the 11+ to go to a grammar school in Skipton, North Yorkshire. He went to sixth form in Blackburn before going on to study at the London School of Economics (LSE), where he graduated in 2007.
Since then he has worked in both the public and private sectors, as well as in political campaigning. Most recently, before becoming an MP, he worked in the Department for Education as a Special Adviser to the Secretary of State for Education.
Following his election, Richard has been very active on behalf of his constituency, both locally and in Parliament, raising issues such as transport infrastructure, jobs and the economy, farming, and lobbying for a replacement to Shotley Bridge Hospital. He is also involved in national campaigns to better regulate gambling, provide better mental health services and help prevent suicide, and for environmental protection. He serves on the Public Accounts Committee, which holds the Government to account for how taxpayers money is spent, and is also on the European Statutory Instruments Committee, which scrutinises all regulations that the Government is making during the transition period following our exit from the European Union.
Within weeks of being elected to Parliament, Richard led the successful campaign to convince the Chancellor of the Exchequer to reverse the 'Motorhomes Tax' - an EU regulation that had caused a huge rise in tax on motorhomes. This was severely impacting Elddis, a caravan and motorhome manufacturer that directly employs almost 500 people in Delves Lane, Consett, as well as supporting hundreds of other supply chain jobs locally. In the budget in March 2020, the Chancellor reversed the tax rise.
Richard has been living in Wolsingham since November. He enjoys cooking roasts, local pubs and walking in the Durham Dales.