Mel’s involvement in politics stems from his upbringing. His parents, due to economic hardship, had to leave school at 15 and 14 and this shaped his views on the importance of a good education and the role of government in facilitating it. Mel was awarded a free place at Portsmouth Grammar School and won a place at Oxford University - initially to study Chemistry but changing to Politics, Philosophy and Economics. He was a keen debater, having been elected, along with William Hague, as President of the Oxford Union. Mel believes strongly in the power of education to promote social mobility and improve the life-chances of young people.
Mel set up his own business in 1987 specialising in trade exhibitions, conferences and publishing. He expanded this venture into the United States working there before selling the US company. Mel believes that it is valuable for politicians to have had career experience outside of politics before entering Parliament - he became an MP at 48 - and his background in entrepreneurship has made him a valuable contributor in Westminster on business issues.
Mel has a strong interest in our history and as a hobby is a qualified tour guide entitled to guide several national sites including The British Museum, Westminster Abbey, the Tower of London, Tate Britain, Windsor Castle and Stonehenge. Over several years he has given dozens of history talks in aid of local charities and organisations. Mel’s constituency home is in Ashburton. He is married to Michelle and is the proud father of three daughters.