|Member of Parliament |
12 December 2019
6 May 2010 - 3 May 2017
|Born||25 October 1968|
Birkenhead, Cheshire, England
|Alma mater||University of Wales, Lampeter|
Karl Ian McCartney (born 25 October 1968, Birkenhead) is the Conservative Member of Parliament for Lincoln. He was first elected in the 2010 general election and represented the constituency until he was defeated by Labour's Karen Lee in the 2017 general election. He was re-elected in the 2019 general election.
McCartney attended Birkenhead School from 1980 to 1986, before joining the Sixth Form at Neston County Comprehensive School. He studied geography at St David's University College in Lampeter (now University of Wales, Lampeter) from 1988 to 1992. At Lampeter he was student union president from 1991 to 1992 and captained the Welsh Universities First XI football team from 1990 to 1991. He later worked in the City of London. He has been a school governor since 1995. In 1999 he completed an MBA from Kingston Business School and became a magistrate.
McCartney was elected to parliament as MP for Lincoln in the 2010 general election, ousting Gillian Merron. He made his maiden speech on 12 July during the debate on Corporation Tax. McCartney spoke in 11 debates in 2014 - "well below average amongst MPs" - but took part in an above average 79% of votes. In 2012 he was elected by Conservative MP colleagues to the Executive of the influential 1922 Committee and the Transport Select Committee and then after the 2015 general election, he was re-elected to the same positions. As a prominent Leave Campaigner he was elected by his colleagues as a member of the Exiting the European Union Select Committee (known colloquially as the 'Brexit Committee') and led the successful across Greater Lincolnshire during the EU Referendum. Following the 2019 general election he was named by The Guardian as one of the seven "most controversial" new Conservative MPs.
McCartney claimed a total £1,159,047.08 in expenses between 2010 and 2017, alongside his annual salary of £74,962. His expenses rose each year he was MP, until 2017 when he accumulated over £90,000 in expenses in just six months before the was voted out in the 2017 General Election. Controversy also surrounded his expenses, as he employed his wife as an "office manager," and paid her between £40,000-£45,000 in 2015-16.
In March 2017, the Electoral Commission fined the Conservative party £70,000 following the United Kingdom general election, 2015 party spending investigation. During the 2015 general election coaches of activists were transported to marginal constituencies including Lincoln to campaign alongside or in close proximity to local campaigners. The inclusion in the Party national return of what in the commission's view should have been reported as candidate spending meant that there was a realistic prospect that this enabled its candidates to gain a financial advantage over opponents. In consequence, Karl McCartney was investigated by Lincolnshire Police over whether he breached election spending rules. Lincolnshire Police subsequently passed a file to the Crown Prosecution Service for a decision on whether Mr McCartney should be prosecuted for electoral fraud in relation to the 2015 general election. In May 2017, the CPS announced that no further action would be taken in respect of the allegations. In advance of the 2017 general election, McCartney issued a letter to all other candidates for the Lincoln seat, warning of legal action against false, misleading or defamatory statements in the wake of investigations into the party's spending. One of the other candidates provided a "musical response" to the letter. 
McCartney is opposed to the idea of same-sex marriage arguing in a 2012 reply to a constituent's letter on the matter that he felt it would next lead to "multi-partnership marriages... [and] a reduction in the age of permitted marriage".
McCartney was a leading advocate in Parliament for tackling the educational underperformance for boys/gender education gap. In April 2012 McCartney said that publication of the results of the Department for Education's investigation into allegations of misuse of funds at Lincoln's Priory Federation of Academies Trust should be delayed.
By late November 2014 work had commenced on the pedestrian footbridge over the level crossing on High Street with a further footbridge over the railway due to be constructed in 2015 following years of campaigning by McCartney (and his predecessor) and Lincoln City Council to Network Rail. It was announced in the same month that InterCity Railways, the new operator of the East Coast Rail Franchise, would increase the number of direct trains to London from Lincoln to six per day during their operating timeframe, thereby finally providing a service originally planned for the 2011 "Eureka" timetable, but dropped shortly after McCartney was elected in May 2010, when it was announced that the services would be cut back to just one, after DOR took over operations from National Express.
On Thursday 4 December 2014 McCartney was able to confirm that the £49.5m of funding for the Eastern Bypass was secure and that the Government would support in principle a future bid for the bypass to be a dual carriageway. This funding comes nearly 5 years after the original plan for a dual carriageway bypass was cancelled by the Conservative led coalition for being too costly. As of April 2015 work has not commenced and it is unclear when or if it will as it does not feature in the Coalition's Road Investment Strategy. McCartney claimed however to have received verbal assurances from Government Ministers that the funding was secure and the project would go ahead.
On 28 February 2013 McCartney apologised to the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) for the content of notes he had sent to staff. The notes were described by IPSA Chief Executive, Andrew McDonald as 'abusive', 'offensive' and 'condescending'. McCartney's apology stated, "I apologise unreservedly to IPSA for my comments which were inappropriate, and which I regret having made. I accept that such comments have given cause for offence. You will not see me making similar remarks in the future in respect of IPSA, which has a difficult and important job to do." The following month he claimed that IPSA's incompetence had forced MPs from all parties to borrow money and that he had had to ask his parents for financial assistance. McCartney also said that he had been told by a "senior IPSA official" that the organisation intended to "damage MPs as much as possible," a claim that IPSA said was "wild ..simply untrue."
McCartney's attitude to women was criticised after a councillor sent him a tweet comparing the 2015 election all female Labour Party shortlist in his constituency to women modelling underwear. After a hostile response, the councillor, a Conservative chairman in Margaret Thatcher's home town of Grantham deleted the remark and apologised. Selected Labour party candidate Lucy Rigby, noting that only 1 in 5 Tory MPs were women, retweeted 'Here's Karl McCartney MP & Tory Cllr discussing my selection to stand as a MP. & ppl q why aren't more women in politics.' McCartney replied that those with a sense of humour would appreciate the remark though he said the comment was addressed to another Twitter user joining the debate.
McCartney apologised during the 2019 Election campaign for sharing social media posts from far right activist Tommy Robinson, who has been criticised for his Islamophobic views. One of Robinson's posts read: "I've always said I'd sacrifice my life tomorrow if it would end the Islamic takeover of our beautiful land." McCartney issued an apology, stating: "I apologise unreservedly. In no way do I endorse the tweets nor the accounts behind them. I accept retweeting them was ill-judged and could cause offence. This divisive figure [Mr Robinson] has no place in our politics or public life." Robinson has since stated that he has joined the Conservative Party.