David has previously held a number of positions in government including (during the years of the Labour government) parliamentary private secretary to William Hague, the then Leader of the Opposition, and Opposition Spokesman on home affairs, treasury matters, environment and agriculture, Northern Ireland and the Middle East successively. He was then Minister for Europe at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office under David Cameron and Leader of the House of Commons and Lord President of the Council under Theresa May. He has also been the member of Parliament for the Aylesbury constituency since 1992.
David has a degree in history and a doctorate in Elizabethan history from Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge.
He is married to Helen, a local primary school teacher, and has four grown up sons.
While at university he captained the Sidney Sussex College team in University Challenge which he won (1979). He then went on to captain the winning team again during a reunion episode in 2002.
While he was an MP, he successfully piloted the Chiropractors Act 1994 through Parliament which placed chiropractic on a professional, self-regulated basis for the first time.
Whilst David appears to have limited experience with prisons, probation and courts, he has strong, proficient experience within the political sector. Our Justice sector has recently been going through a challenging period with high levels of overcrowding, increased suicide rates and a number of disturbances within our prisons. David will have to hit the ground running to combat many of the difficulties that the sector has been facing and ensure that a focus on positive change, reform and rehabilitation continues.
We hope that one of the most important things that our new Justice Secretary focuses on is prison education. This is irrefutably one of the key ways to reduce some of the existing pressures on the prison system. Prison education and training schemes gives prisoners the skills they need to find sustainable employment and stop reoffending. It provides prisoners with something to do, restores self-confidence, gives them a sense of achievement and the motivation to strive for a brighter future upon release. It shows them that they can succeed.
The people in our prison system offer a wealth of untapped potential. Many have developed skills prior to their time in custody from previous work experience, and the majority have the potential to succeed in a variety of fields if they are given the opportunity and training to do so. The UK is currently struggling with an ever-widening skills gap; our prisoners provide a viable way to solve this problem.
All in all, we can only wait and see what David will do for the Justice Sector, but we wish him the best of luck and hope that he continues to focus on offender rehabilitation.