Steve Baker: who is Conservative MP who could take over from Boris Johnson - his views on Brexit explained
The Conservative MP for Wycombe has said that he has had people ‘imploring’ him to throw his hat into the race
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Conservative MP for Wycombe Steve Baker has announced that he is considering running in the leadership race to replace Boris Johnson. It comes after the Prime Minister revealed that he will be resigning from his position.
Talking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Baker said: “I have to think about it very seriously.
“As a working class kid from Cornwall I would never have imagined I’d seriously be on your programme, talking to you, about becoming Prime Minister.
“But the reality is some people I deeply respect are telling me, even imploring me, to do it. I must consider it seriously. The Conservative Home poll keeps putting me in the top 10 and I respect that.”
This is what you need to know.
Who is Steve Baker?
Baker is a British politician who had acted as the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Exiting the European Union from June 2017 to 9 July 2018. He currently serves as the Conservative MP for Wycombe, and has done since 6 May 2010.
He was born in St Austell in Cornwall on 6 June 1971, and attended Poltair School and St Austell Sixth Form College before enrolling at the University of Southampton.
Whilst at university, Baker earned a BEng in Aerospace Engineering. He then later gained an MSc in Computation from St Cross College in Oxford.
In 1989, Baker joined the Royal Air Force as an engineer before becoming an Engineering Officer. He eventually left the RAF in 1999 before going on to work as a consulting software engineer and manager.
He is married to his wife Beth, who was a former RAF officer in the medical branch whom he met on his first tour.
On his website, Baker states: “We have no children but five wonderful Godchildren plus their siblings.”
What has his political career been like?
In 2009, Baker was chosen as the Conservative candidate for Wycombe, following former Conversative MP Paul Goodman standing down. He held the seat for the Tories and was reelected at the 2015 and 2017 general elections.
In 2012, Baker was elected to the executive of the 1922 Committee. From 2010 to 2013, he served on the Transport Select Committee and has been on the Treasury Select Committee since 2014.
In 2017, as a minister in the Department for Exiting the European Union, Baker resigned from his position after his boss, Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union David Davis, also quit.
Baker submitted a letter of no confidence in then-Prime Minister Theresa May in 2018 over her Brexit Withdrawal Agreement proposals. He stated that he felt it had become impossible to “separate the person from the policy”.
He was also one of the first MPs to call for Dominic Cummings resignation after it was revealed that the former senior aide had travelled from London to Durham during nationwide Covid-19 lockdown restrictions.
On 24 May 2020, Barker wrote in a piece for The Critic: “Dominic Cummings must go before he does any more harm to the UK, the Government, the Prime Minister, our institutions or the Conservative Party.
“Time is up. It is time for Dom to resign so Boris can govern within the conventions and norms which will see us through.”
Following Johnson’s Partygate scandal, Baker told the House of Commons in April 2022 that the Prime Minister should be “long gone”.
He said: “The Prime Minister should just know the gig’s up.”
What are his views on Brexit?
Before and during the 2016 referendum, Baker campaigned for Brexit - he has said in the past that he originally joined the Conservative party with the explicit intention of getting the UK out of the EU.
Speaking to the New Statesman in 2018, Baker said: “I came into politics because for me, the absolutely fundamental issue of political economy is that the ordinary, everyday person’s vote must count for something.”
Prior to the Vote Leave campaign becoming official, Baker chaired its predecessor group, Conservatives for Britain, as well as the Eurosceptic European Research Group until he became a minister.
In 2010, at a meeting of the Libertarian Alliance, Baker said that he thinks that the European Union needs “to be wholly torn down” and argued that the EU was an obstacle to “free trade and peace among all nations of Europe”.
In an interview with Sky News in 2019, Baker also referred to himself as “Brexit hard man”.
What are his views on climate change?
Baker has repeatedly expressed his scepticism about the human impact on climate change. He is a leading member of the Net Zero Scrutiny Group.
Earlier this year, he shared a paper on his social media that claimed the climate crisis wasn’t real.
The non-peer reviewed report, produced by the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF), said that only “gentle warming” had occurred and that there was no climate emergency.
GWPF director, Dr Benny Peiser, said: “It’s extraordinary that anyone should think there is a climate crisis.
“Year after year our annual assessment of climate trends document just how little has been changing in the last 30 years. The habitual climate alarmism is mainly driven by scientists’ computer modelling rather than observational evidence.”
What is his voting record like?
You can see how Baker, and other MPs, have voted by looking at the website They Work For You.
According to Baker’s profile on the site, he votes on the vast majority of issues in the same way as his fellow Conservative MPs.
His voting record includes:
- Consistently voting for ending financial support for some 16-19 year olds in training and further education - two votes for and zero against in 2011
- Consistently voting against smoking bans - zero votes for and four votes against between 2010 and 2015
- Almost always voting against UK membership of the EU - one vote for, 21 votes against and two absences between 2016 and 2019
- Generally voting against a right to remain for EU nationals already in living in the UK - one vote for, 18 votes against and three absences between 2016 and 2020
- Generally voting against laws to promote equality and human rights - two votes for, 11 votes against and one absence between 2011 and 2019
- Consistently voting for mass surveillance of people’s communications and activities - three votes for and zero votes against in 2016
- Almost always voting for a stricter asylum system - 10 votes for, zero votes against and one absence between 2015 and 2020
- Generally voting against measures to prevent climate change - three votes for, 19 votes against and two absences between 2011 and 2020
- Consistently voting for selling England’s state owned forests - two votes for and zero votes against in 2011
- Consistently voting for a reduction in spending on welfare benefits - 52 votes for, zero votes against and two absences between 2012 and 2016