Mark Versallion

Born in Cornwall, Mark set up his first business in 1988, Global E., a music promotions and equipment hire company. He moved to London to study at the University of Westminster and graduated with a bachelor's honours degree in Business and Economics. Mark then studied at the University of Reading where he was awarded a master's degree in Politics under the renowned Professors John Cottingham and Barry Jones. During this time he was twice elected as the University's Post-Graduate Chairman.

He was admitted to the Royal Institute of International Affairs (Chatham House) in 1996 and also became a member of the Carlton Club during this time. He continued for two years in a joint doctorate at St Antony's College Oxford and Reading University, though had to put it on hold when his business and political careers took off.

Travel and Writing

A published author and poet, in 1992 Mark spent three months in the USA "philosophising with a hammer", debating life, the universe and everything. After a writing holiday in Rome in 1994 he 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 also travelled to Eastern Europe. While in Warsaw he joined the Polish-Lithuanian team that discovered plundered Christian remains and burial vaults in Vilnius. Seeing first hand the communists' repression and attempted destruction of the Church crystalised Mark's belief in the importance of spiritual illumination, honour and courage in politics and society. He completed his travels with teaching in Poland in 1996.

Early Career

Having worked in the House of Commons as Parliamentary Aide to Cabinet Office minister Robert Hughes MP, Mark then joined blue chip companies BAE Systems and later Capgemini in high profile marketing roles. During this time he also served as Deputy-Chairman of Harrow West Conservative Association, and for seven years was also Chairman of the Harrow on the Hill ward.

After working for Republican Senator Rod Grams in the 2000 U.S. elections he returned to the UK and founded the VML marketing agency, and was Managing Director for ten years. In 2011 he handed over operational control and became Chairman of the company. Mark also advises the boards of other companies and is a non-exec board director of an NHS Hospitals Trust.

Military Service

A strong believer in duty and service to country, Mark joined H.M. Armed Forces in 1996 and is a commissioned officer in the Royal Navy Reserve. He has served with UK and NATO forces, overseas, at sea and at national military headquarters in Northwood.

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 being a MP." Click picture for more info.

Political Career

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 elected to the London Borough of Harrow in 2002, representing the ward of Harrow on the Hill. He topped the poll and denied Labour absolute control of the Council.

He was quickly promoted, being made Chief Whip three months into his first term, a role which he served in for three years, and then in 2005 was appointed Chairman of the scrutiny select 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 and also provides a media free environment where foreign affairs can be debated and 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 four children. Two weeks after his election he was appointed Executive Member for Children's Services and Schools. 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 Central Bedfordshire.

Personal Life

Mark was for many years involved in a national race relations charity with his British-born Indian wife and also served on the Board of Trustees of another charity. Both Mark and his wife have been school governors since the 1990s.

A qualified musician with a Grade 8 from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, outside politics Mark spends time with his wife and four sons.