Born in Cornwall, Mark established his first business in 1988, a music promotions and equipment company. He was educated at the University of Westminster with a bachelor's honours degree in Business and Economics and then the University of Reading where he was awarded a master's degree in Politics under renowned Professors John Cottingham and Barry Jones. He was twice elected the University's Post-Graduate Chairman. He continued his studies with a joint doctorate at Reading and St Antony's College, Oxford. He was admitted to the Royal Institute of International Affairs (Chatham House) and also became a member of the Carlton Club before going up to Oxford.
Travel and Writing
A published author and poet, in 1992 Mark spent three months in the USA writing and after another writing vacation in Rome in 1994 was awarded the Poetry Guild 'Editor's Choice Award' of 1995. His first book on socio-political philosophy, A Conquest of Thoughts, was published later that year.
After the fall of the Soviet Union, Mark travelled to Eastern Europe and while in Warsaw joined the Polish-Lithuanian team that discovered plundered Christian burial vaults in Vilnius. Seeing first hand the communists' destruction of the Church crystalised Mark's commitment to spiritual illumination, honour and courage in political life. He completed his travels in Poland in 1996.
Mark founded his first business in 1988 and it continued to run alongside his working in the House of Commons from 1996 as Parliamentary Aide to Cabinet Office minister Robert Hughes MP. Mark then joined blue chip companies BAE Systems plc and later Capgemini plc in high profile marketing roles. During this time he was Deputy-Chairman of the Harrow West Constituency and Ward Chairman of Harrow on the Hill.
After working for Senator Rod Grams in the 2000 USA elections Mark returned to the UK and founded the London marketing agency VML, creating a dozen jobs in its first year and winning business from overseas as well as at home. He was its Managing Director in London and Minneapolis for ten years. In 2011 he handed over operational control and became Company Chairman. Mark also advises the boards of other companies and has been a Non-Executive Director of NHS Hospital Trusts since 2008.
A strong believer in duty and service to country, Mark was recruited by the Royal Navy Reserve in 1996. He resigned in 2000 due to business and family commitments but rejoined in 2003. In 2005 he won the Best Shot trophy for his marksmanship with the SA80. In 2009 he served in Operation Pearl, a counter-piracy mission off the Horn of Africa. In 2010 he was awarded the VRS medal. He is a graduate of the Joint Services Command and Staff College and of the NATO School at Oberammergau, Germany.
He served with UK and NATO forces, overseas, at sea and at various military headquarters. Upon selection as a Parliamentary Candidate in 2007 Mark said, "Integrity and moral courage are not meaningless words... they go to the heart of what a miltary officer is... and I believe the same is true of what a politician is." Click picture for more info.
With over a decade's past experience in various community roles - Chairman of a conservation committee, Director of a residents' association, Board of Trustees of a heritage charity, and a school governor - Mark first stood for public office in 1998 and was eventually elected a London Borough Councillor in 2002, in one of the most affluent parts of London, Harrow on the Hill. He topped the poll and denied Labour absolute control of the Council for the next four years.
He was quickly promoted, being made Chief Whip three months into his first term, a role he served in for three years, and then in 2005 was appointed Chairman of the Scrutiny Committee on Children and Young People. In 2006 he was re-elected by the people of Harrow with an increased majority and in May 2007 was promoted to Chairman of the influential Performance and Finance Scrutiny Committee, which oversaw the Council's £620 million budget.
In July 2007 he was selected in an open primary as the Conservative Parliamentary Candidate for the Manchester constituency of Stretford and Urmston. Mark fought various campaigns such as saving Trafford General's maternity unit and having David Cameron visit the hospital in January 2008, stopping the Manchester congestion charge, and helping to win medication funding for local residents in a high profile case in 2007. After two and a half years as candidate, and changing business commitments in London at the height of the recession, the distance to Manchester became an issue. Mark announced he would step down in October 2009.
In December 2009 Mark became Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Forum of the Conservative Party. His first official overseas engagement was in Macedonia in January 2010 representing the Conservative Party, with Lord Foulkes representing the Labour Party, in meetings with the country's President and Parliament.
The Foreign Affairs Forum is a Peers, MPs, and Parliamentary Candidate only group that facilitates relationship building with individuals in foreign governments and parliaments, providing a media free environment where foreign affairs can be discussed among politicians from different countries.
Central Bedfordshire Council
In May 2011 Mark was elected to Central Bedfordshire Council representing the ward of Heath and Reach, where he lives with his wife and children. Two weeks after his election he was appointed Executive Member for Children's Services and Schools. Simultaneously in May 2011 he resigned his seat on Harrow Council and also resigned as Managing Director of VML, to dedicate himself to his new role in Bedfordshire.
For several years he was involved in a national race relations charity with his British-born Goan wife and also served on the Board of Trustees of another charity. Both he and his wife have been school governors since the 1990s.
In 2000 Versallion married convent-educated artist, model and fashion designer Caroline Jennifer Elizabeth Marques, only daughter of London lawyer A.M.A. Marques, a member of the minor aristocratic Catholic family from India. They have four children:
A qualified musician from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, outside politics Mark spends time with his wife and four sons.