INSIGHT PUBLIC AFFAIRS: Andrew Mitchell MP

Andrew Mitchell MP - Shadow Secretary of State for International Development Conservative MP for Sutton Coldfield

A Conservative Ministerial casualty in the 1997 Labour landslide, Andrew Mitchell has extensive political experience and enjoyed a successful career in the military before entering the Commons. After leaving school, Mitchell joined the Royal Tanks Regiment where he served in a United Nations Peace Keeping Force in Cyprus.

Initially entering Parliament in 1987 as MP for Gedling in Nottinghamshire, Mitchell was soon promoted to PPS for William Waldegrave MP in the Foreign Office before taking up the same role in 1990 for then Secretary of State for Energy, John Wakeham MP. He is the son of David Mitchell, the former Conservative MP with both father and son sitting in the Commons together until 1997.

1992 saw Mitchell enter the Whips Office as Assistant Whip before being promoted to a full Whip in 1993. It wasn’t long before he entered the Government, joining as Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State in the Department for Social Security in 1995. However, his steady career progression was brought to an abrupt end in 1997 when he lost his seat to Vernon Coaker.

Following his departure from the Commons, Mitchell returned to his pre-1987 career as a merchant banker. He rejoined Lazard Brothers as a director and held directorships at a number of other companies. He was also a strategic advisor to Boots and financial services giant Accenture.

2001 saw Mitchell return to Westminster, representing the safe Conservative seat of Sutton Coldfield, in the commuter belt south of Birmingham. His economic expertise ensured his promotion to Shadow Economics Minister in 2003 by the then Conservative Leader Michael Howard MP, before moving to the Shadow Home Office team where he worked under his close friend, David Davis MP. In May 2005, departing Tory leader Michael Howard promoted Mitchell to Shadow Secretary of State for International Development, a role in which he has remained under David Cameron’s leadership.

Since 2007 Mitchell has organised Project Umubano, in which Conservative MPs and other volunteers travel to Rwanda to help develop capacity in the country’s education, health, legal and private sectors. Mitchell’s position in the Shadow Cabinet is underlined by the high profile figures that have joined the project including Francis Maude, Jeremy Hunt and David Cameron himself, who participated in the project in 2007.

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