Parliamentary Career, 2015 - Present
Alex Chalk was first elected as the Member of Parliament (MP) for Cheltenham in May 2015. He was re-elected in 2017 and 2019.
As the Member of Parliament for Cheltenham, Alex has Alex addressed the House of Commons on hundreds of issues affecting both Cheltenham on a local level and the UK as a whole. A full list of all of Alex's appearances in Parliament can be found here.
Alex was appointed as Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Ministry of Justice in February 2020. In March 2021, Chalk was temporarily appointed as Prisons and Probations Minister.
Below is a summary of some of Alex’s major parliamentary milestones:
Stalking- Increasing the Maximum Sentence
Alex teamed up with neighbouring Gloucester MP, Richard Graham, throughout the 2015-2017 Parliament to see an increase in the maximum sentencing for stalking from five to ten years' imprisonment. You can find our report supporting the call for an increase in sentencing here.
This campaign was a direct result of the conversations Chalk and Graham had with a local GP who had been through a harrowing ordeal in which she was stalked for eight years. Both Chalk and Graham believed that the maximum sentence of five years' imprisonment was too lenient and did not do enough to protect victims of stalking, and was not adequate to successfully rehabilitate stalkers. The campaign was backed by renowned stalking charities Suzy Lamplugh Trust, Paladin and Hollie Gazzard Trust as well as Parliamentarians of both Houses, industry experts and academics, survivors of stalking and family members of victims.
Following a debate in Parliament on stalking, tabled and led by Chalk; a Private Member's Bill on Increasing the Maximum Sentencing for Stalking sponsored by Chalk; meetings with the then Secretary of State for Justice Lord Chancellor Rt Hon Michael Gove MP; talks with the then Minister for Sentencing Dominic Raab MP; discussions with Secretary of State for Justice Lord Chancellor Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss MP; and conversations with Minister for Sentencing Sam Gyimah MP, Chalk and Graham persuaded the Government to increase the maximum sentence for stalking.
The sentence for stalking was doubled from five to ten years' imprisonment by way of Amendment 134A, introduced to the House of Commons by Home Secretary Rt Hon Amber Rudd MP, to the Policing and Crime Bill. The Policing and Crime Bill became The Policing and Crime Act (2017) when it passed into law by Royal Assent on 31st January 2017.
Commenting on the increase in sentencing after the campaign achieved success, Alex wrote:
"I am absolutely delighted that on Tuesday evening the House of Commons voted to double the maximum sentence for stalking from five to ten years. This was the culmination of a sixteen-month campaign which began when I was first contacted in summer 2015 about the injustice that my constituent, a Cheltenham GP, had suffered at the hands of the criminal justice system."
If you have been affected by stalking, please call the National Stalking Helpline on 0808 802 0300 for advice and support.
Cyberbullying and Young People's Mental Health
From his experiences as a constituency MP, Alex became concerned about the apparent decline the mental health of children and young people.
This phenomenon felt like a lasting surge, instead of a temporary spike, and so Alex teamed up with The Children's Society and Young Minds in 2017 to set up a cross-party inquiry investigating the role that cyberbullying plays in this drop in mental health.
Over 1,000 young people provided evidence and the inquiry also took evidence from the big social media giants, along with experts and medical professionals in the field. A staggering 83% of young people said that companies should do more to tackle the issue of cyberbullying, and a shocking 68% of the respondents said that they had experienced cyberbullying at one point.
At the report launch in March 2018, Alex called for to stop "Social Media companies marking their own homework". Alex hosted an adjournment debate on the matter, which you can watch here.
You can find out more about the inquiry by emailing email@example.com.
Alex was responsible for the Government’s commitment to the Net Zero carbon emissions target.
In 2018, he tabled a Ten Minute Rule Bill seeking to enshrine in law that the UK reaches a net zero carbon account by 2050.
During his speech in Parliament, Alex said: “Climate change is not some theoretical future possibility – it is a present reality.
“The five warmest years in recorded history have been since 2010. Easter Monday was the hottest on record. This January Australia experienced its warmest month ever, with power stations forced to shut down. Last year wildfires broke out in the Arctic Circle.
“We can choose to dismiss these events as a coincidence. We can ignore the fact that they have taken place alongside soaring levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide. Or we can listen to the overwhelming majority of climate science which concludes that the evidence of humankind’s influence on the climate is now unanswerable.
“This Bill will limit the UK’s carbon emissions to net zero by 2050. If passed, we would become the first nation in the G20 to enshrine this target in law, showing radical leadership to the rest of the world. Our country may only be responsible for around one per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions, but we have a responsibility to act.
“The time for action is now. We must protect Planet A because there is no Planet B.
"We have a tradition of global leadership too. The Climate Change Act 2008 was pioneering legislation which mandated the reduction of emissions by 80% on 1990 levels. As a result carbon emissions have dropped by 42% - the best performance, according to PWC, of any major economy. "
Alex’s Bill received cross-party support and received Royal Assent in 2019 as the Government has committed the UK to the Net Zero carbon emissions target.
Alex is a strong believer in the highest standards of animal welfare.
Alex was one of a group of backbenchers that campaigned to increase the penalties for people who abuse animals from six months in prison to five years.
Alex also spoke out in favour of a ban on the ivory trade, later announced by the Government in October 2017 and championed the ban on third-party puppy and kitten sales in England to help drive up animal welfare standards.
Marc Abraham, the vet who led the campaign, was kind enough to say publicly that Alex’s support for the campaign was "of phenomenal use”.
Justice Select Committee
In June 2015, Alex was appointed to the Justice Select Committee, which scrutinises the Government's decisions relating to the justice system. Alex's membership of the Committee continued until he was appointed as PPS to the Department of Education in 2018.
During Alex’s membership of the Committee, the committee has held inquiries into:
- Courts and Tribunals Fees and Charges
- Disclosure of Youth Criminal Records
- Implications of Brexit for the Crown Dependencies
- Implications of Brexit for the Justice System
- Personal Injury: Whiplash and Small Claims Limits
- Pre-Appointment Scrutiny of HM Chief Inspector of Prisons and HM Chief Inspector of Probation
- Pre-Appointment Scrutiny of the Chair of Judicial Appointments Commission
- Prison Reform
- Restorative Justice
- Role of the Magistracy
- Transforming Rehabilitation
- Youth Adult Offenders
Please click on each topic to find the publications which the Committee published in relation to each inquiry.
All Party Parliamentary Groups
In addition to his role on the Justice Select Committee, Alex was active in a number of All Party Parliamentary Groups (APPGs). APPGs are informal groups of Members who join together to pursue a particular topic or interest regardless of the individual's Party membership. They are essentially run by and for Members of the Commons and Lords, although many groups involve individuals and organisations from outside Parliament in their administration and activities.
In the 2015-2017 Parliament, Alex was Chair of the APPG on Pro Bono; Co- Chair of the APPG on Cycling; Vice Chair of the APPG on Public Legal Education; Vice Chair of the APPG on Bees; Vice Chair of the APPG on Lyme Disease; and was a member of the APPG for Highways Maintenance.
Alex was also Vice-Chair of the APPG for Ancient Woodland and Veteran Trees, and Vice-Chair of the APPG for Town and City Centres.
In 2018, Chalk was appointed Parliamentary Private Secretary (PPS) to the Department of Education. He was then appointed PPS to the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care later in 2018. In May 2019, Alex became PPS to the new Secretary of State for Defence.
Alex was appointed as Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice in February 2020.
During the pandemic, Alex was responsible for mitigating the impact of Covid-19 on the justice system – working to restart the courts system in a safe manner whilst providing ongoing support to the funeral sector, the legal sector and the charitable sector.
Alex was also responsible for helping to protect victims of crime, and during the COVID-19 crisis, he worked to ensure that victims of domestic could get legal remedies and protections that they needed, including injunctions, non-molestation orders and Domestic Violence Protection Orders.
Alex was also responsible for progressing the Domestic Abuse Bill through the Commons. For the first time in history, the Bill includes a wide-ranging legal definition of domestic abuse which incorporates a range of abuses beyond physical violence, including emotional, coercive or controlling behaviour, and economic abuse. The Bill also helps transform the response to domestic abuse by helping to prevent offending, protect victims and ensure they have the support they need.
In March 2021, Alex was appointed as Prisons and Probation Minister.
In that time, he has announced that new prisons will be ‘net zero’ in future whilst also recruiting 1,000 new trainee probation officers – a record number for a single year in the history of probation.
Alex also announced an overhaul of the unpaid work that offenders are ordered to do as part of community service so that the public can see with their own eyes that such punishments are tough and genuinely pay back to the community that has been affected.