From QE to MP

After becoming an MP, James Cartlidge wasted no time before deploying his expertise in housing.

Within three months of winning the South Suffolk seat for the Conservatives in the May 2015 General Election, he was appointed chairman of a new All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Housing and Planning.

James (OE 1985–1992) is the founder and director of Share to Buy, a social housing business that was launched in 2004.

He also previously volunteered as a small-business advisor to the homelessness charity, St Mungo’s Broadway, which involved sitting on a panel to decide which of St Mungo’s clients would receive grants to start a small venture.

On his appointment as chairman, James said: “Having spent my working life in the shared-ownership housing sector, I am acutely aware of the challenges facing first-time buyers, particularly in London. Equally, as a rural MP, I recognise the need for development to be sustainable.

“Ultimately, there are a whole raft of complex issues in housing and planning today but I hope that our APPG can make a real contribution to the debate.”

After leaving QE, James read Economics at Manchester University, gaining a first-class degree. He joined Conservative campaign headquarters as a researcher, then became a freelance journalist, writing leaders for the Daily Telegraph and opinion pieces for the Guardian and The Spectator.

After that, he set up Share to Buy, which is described as a ‘one-stop shop’ for those needing affordable housing and for first-time buyers. The business includes a shared-ownership property portal and a mortgage broker, and it hosts the London Home Show. The portal lists all the properties available from the Mayor of London’s FIRST STEPS scheme, providing the platform at no cost to the taxpayer.

James Cartlidge lives in Assington, near Sudbury, with his wife Emily and four children. She is the daughter of Sir Gerald Howarth, Aldershot’s Conservative MP. The couple survived the Asian tsunami whilst on honeymoon in Sri Lanka in 2004 because their hotel was the only one in their resort left standing.

Until becoming an MP, James was a councillor for Babergh District Council in South Suffolk. He first stood for Parliament in 2005, in Lewisham Deptford, where he finished third.

As South Suffolk MP, he supports various campaigns relevant to his constituency, with causes ranging from rail and road improvements to a bid to secure Unesco World Heritage Site status for the historic village of Lavenham. At Westminster, in November 2015 he became a member of the Public Accounts Commission.

In his spare time, James is drummer for a local band, Tequila Mockingbird, and also enjoys cycling around South Suffolk.