Richard was elected as Member of Parliament for Watford in May 2010.
In Richard’s first term as Watford’s MP he achieved several things for the town:
He secured funding from the Treasury for the Croxley Rail Link creating two new tube stations in Watford and linking the Junction to the Met Line. He is now campaigning to save Watford Met from closure, for the complete redevelopment of Watford Junction, a higher frequency of trains on the Abbey Line, improvements at Bushey station and a link to London’s Crossrail. He has been pushing London Midland to improve their services.
Richard lobbied Ministers for 5 new wards and upgrades to the buildings at Watford General and £7m to build a new road that will reduce ambulance attendance times. Under the Conservatives, the budget for Watford’s health services will rise by 5.5% next year, on top of annual increases which have paid for 160 new nurses.
Richard has been working with local GPs who, with government funding, are opening their surgeries 8am to 8pm and on weekends, creating 16000 more appointments in our area. The Conservative Party has pledged to expand this to Carpenders Park and Abbots Langley soon.
Richard has been working with the Department for Education to get four new schools opened in Watford – the University Technical College Secondary School, Lanchester and Ascot Road Free Schools and St John’s Free School (opening September). Garston Manor’s facilities have been upgraded and Westfield Academy is being entirely rebuilt. Many schools have expanded, creating in total over 2500 new school places. Apprenticeships are now a real option for young people in our town and 3000 have been funded in the last 5 years.
In Watford, Richard has run five Jobs Fairs attended by over 10000 people in total helping hundreds of people to get a job on the day. Unemployment has halved in the 5 years that Richard has been the MP. He established the Community Exchange for our local charities to network and runs a Reading Challenge each year for primary schools.
In Parliament, Richard was a member of the International Development Select Committee, General Secretary of the All Party Kashmir Group and Vice Chairman of the All Party Film Group. He has hosted thousands of local people to visit Parliament and invites a different Watford school each week. In 2013 Richard successfully got a new law passed which criminalises the unlawful subletting of social housing – in Watford this has already led to more properties being available to local families.
In September 2015, Richard was appointed Minister for Syrian Refugees jointly at the Home Office, Department for International Development and Department for Communities and Local Government where he will be responsible for working across government to resettle 20,000 vulnerable Syrian refugees in the UK who are fleeing persecution in the Middle East.
In July 2016, Richard was appointed Minister for Pensions by new Prime Minister, Theresa May, working at the Department for Work and Pensions.
Richard was born in 1957, eldest son to his parents who ran market stalls in Leeds. He worked with them on weekends and over the holidays from the age of 10.
He attended Leeds Grammar school and was awarded a scholarship to Oxford University, studying law at Keble College.
When he came down from Oxford, Richard moved to Watford to join his parents who had moved there and worked in the Trewins Department store (now John Lewis) for three years. He then started a business with two friends which at its peak employed 2000 people.
In 2000, he stood down from these positions to work as fundraising director for the Variety Club Children’s Charity. He is a Patron of the Peace Hospice and an honorary Watford Rotarian. He supports Watford and Chelsea FCs.