We begin a feature shinning the spotlight on our MPs with Mark Jenkinson MP for Workington.
Mark Jenkinson was educated at St Joseph’s Catholic High School, Workington and Newton Rigg College, Penrith, and joined British Steel as an apprentice. Eventually working as a self-employed contractor in the nuclear supply chain. He is a husband and father of 4.
Mark joined the Conservative Party in 2009 and was elected in 2015 for the Seaton and Northside Ward of Allerdale Borough Council, where he became deputy leader in 2019. He was also chairman of Seaton Parish Council but stood down after being elected to Parliament.
He has served as chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Issues Affecting Men and Boys, parliamentary private secretary for DEFRA, and an Assistant Government Whip. He was elected to the BEIS Select Committee and in December 2022 he also joined the Women and Equalities Committee.
His Private Members Bill Education (Careers Guidance in Schools), will raise aspiration in young people by providing earlier and better access to support – received Royal Assent in 2022. Which is a rare and outstanding achievement.
But what has he done for Workington?
He’s secured £11.5m from the Government to help regenerate Maryport through the Future High Streets Fund. And £23m from the Towns Fund for Workington which will fund a Sports Village, a job-creating renewable energy hub, and an enterprise zone.
It is important that Conservative MPs stand up for their local area. A year into his tenure he had already surpassed the number of times his predecessor Sue Hayman had mentioned Workington in the House of Commons in her entire five-year team.
He played an important role in securing the future of local company Sealy Beds which saved 260 jobs. This saw him work closely with stakeholders, including Silent Night and the new owner Tempur Sealy as well as with Allerdale Borough Council and Cumbria Partnerships to secure that purchase and enable the protection of those jobs.
He also placed considerable pressure on Cumbria County Council to complete the overdue repair works to Heathfield Bridge, ending two years of commuter misery under his predecessor.
Mark has supported efforts to deliver strategic road improvements on the A595 at Bothel, which is now underway.
The Government approved the application in December 2022 for West Cumbria Mine after tireless lobbying from Mark. As one of the mine’s most outspoken champions, he spoke in support of the project at the Public Inquiry and challenged some of the environmental misconceptions. He appeared on GB News, Channel 4, BBC Radio Cumbria and ITV Border, and set out its vital importance in the House.
- The mine will see the direct creation of 532 well paid and skilled jobs on site with this project, with 80 per cent of these expected to come from within 20 miles of the project site Woodhouse Colliery.
- The mine itself will make £1.8bn contribution to UK Gross domestic product (GDP) in the first 10 years, £2.5bn worth of exports and would deliver a 1.8 per cent reduction in the UK balance of trade deficit over the same period
- It will see £130 million annual project spend in the region each year when in full production, and a £500m tax contribution to Government in first 10 years.
Mark oversaw the Workington Gateway project, which has been approved by the Levelling Up Fund, delivering a further £9.6m of government funding to the area. This came after Mark made a formal priority support for Allerdale Borough Council’s bid on the 21st June 2022. The Project will fundamentally improve road infrastructure, making access to the Port of Workington easier for large lorries.
Workington is a coastal town, in Cumbria at the mouth of the river Derwent. A town with a Roman history that looks westward towards the Irish Sea. Like many parts of our beautiful country, it has it’s own unique charms. Workington has a strong tradition of sport and is the home to a medieval ball game called Uppies and Downies.
All Members of Parliament have been effected by boundary change, and Mark is now facing selection for the newly formed Penrith and Solway constituency.
We asked Mark for a quote for the piece and he said:
“The key to many of our historic 2019 election wins was the move to select active candidates with proper local connections. Living in the constituency with my family, using the same services as my constituents on a daily basis and seeking out constituents views on the doorstep every week is key to being able to fight for them and the things they want to see.”
By Steven Barrett, Councillor for Tyles Green & Loudwater, BUCKS Unitary Council.
Photo credits: Mark Jenkinson MP Press Team