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 politics. Before becoming an MP, he worked as Deputy Head of Press for the Conservative Party Headquarters and as a Special Adviser to the Secretaries of State for Education, Defence, Transport and in the House of Lords.
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.
Richard served on the Public Accounts Committee from 2019-2022, which holds the Government to account for how taxpayers’ money is spent. He 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. In addition, Richard was part of UK parliamentary delegations to overseas bodies for democracy, such as the Council of Europe and the Inter-Parliamentary Union.
Since being elected to Parliament, Richard has led successful campaigns to change Government policy. Within weeks of being elected he successfully convinced 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 employs almost 500 people in his constituency.
Subsequently Richard has helped introduce a new draught beer duty for pubs and changed the law through the Health and Care Act to ban Virginity Testing and so-called hymen repair procedures. Richard also successfully campaigned in Parliament to extent the Automatic Enrolment of Pensions to 18 year-olds in order to boost the financial retirement prospects of millions across the UK.
In February 2022 Richard was promoted to Parliamentary Private Secretary (PPS) to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. This is an unpaid assistant role, acting as the 'eyes and ears' for the Department in the House of Commons, carried out in addition to his role as a Backbench MP. In September 2022 Richard was promoted to be the lead PPS to the Department for International Trade.
Richard was graciously appointed Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Transport by HM The King on 28 October 2022. His brief includes roads, local transport, freight, and haulage. Richard proudly introduced the ‘Get Around for £2’ bus fair cap helping millions of people to save money on travel to work, and make the most of affordable days out.
Richard lives in Wolsingham. He enjoys cooking roasts, local pubs and walking in the Durham Dales.