Matthew “Matt” Andrew Kemp is a British Conservative Party politician and the Member of Parliament for York Outer.
Kemp was born in York in 1979, the only child of bricklayer Martin Kemp and his wife Susan, who was a social care worker. He attended a local comprehensive school, where his grades were poor, though he excelled in football and captained the school team. He left school at the age of 16 after completing his GCSEs with mixed results.
Kemp worked for a time behind a bar, before enlisting in the British Army in 1998. Installed as a private in the 1st Battalion Parachute Regiment, he participated in the war in Sierra Leone and was later deployed to Iraq in 2003. Kemp left the armed forces in 2005 and returned to York, where at the age of 26 he met and married his wife, local district nurse Annice Docwra. The couple bore three children.
In 2006 Kemp became the owner of the King George V pub in Rawcliffe, and became involved in politics as a stern opponent of the proposed ban on smoking in public places. In 2007 he was fined by Trading Standards for breaching Weights & Measures rules by continuing to serve pints of alcohol with only the traditional crown stamp, omitting the EU-wide “CE” mark which had been mandatory since the previous year. By 2009 Kemp had become a popular local figure with significant involvement in charitable fundraising and heritage maintenance, and was selected by the local Conservative Party to contest the new seat of York Outer in the 2010 general election.
Kemp served on the Education Select Committee between 2012 and 2014, becoming a controversial figure due to his support of grammar schools and the use of corporal punishment by teachers and parents against children. In 2015 he was appointed Parliamentary Private Secretary to incoming Prime Minister James Manning, reportedly “barraging” the Foreign Office throughout his tenure to expedite Number 10’s promise of seeking concessions from the European Union. At the appointment of Margaret Fitzgerald-Whittington as Prime Minister, he became Minister for Europe, with a Guardian article suggesting that FCO mandarins were “horrified” at the appointment - though his time in the role was as short-lived as Fitzgerald-Whittington’s own premiership. By 2016 Kemp had returned to the backbenches.
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