"A former army officer, Tom Tugendhat served in both Iraq and Afghanistan as an Arabic-speaking intelligence officer attached to the Royal Marines, rising to the rank of Territorial Army Lieutenant Colonel by the time of his decommissioning in 2013. He subsequently also served in Afghanistan, in a civilian capacity, for the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO), and helped set up the National Security Council of Afghanistan and the government in Helmand Province. He later served as one of the military assistants to the Chief of the Defence Staff.
Before his military career, Tugendhat worked in journalism and public relations in Beirut, at a management consultancy in London, and also spent time as an Energy Analyst for Bloomberg. He was awarded an MBE for operations in Afghanistan in January 2010."
"Tugendhat was elected to the safe Conservative seat of Tonbridge and Malling in 2015. Unsurprisingly, given his background, he quickly demonstrated an extensive interest in and knowledge of military and foreign affairs.
Quickly identified as 'one to watch', he became the first of the 2015 intake to lead a select committee, elected Chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee in July 2017. Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, his profile grew extensively as he became one of the leading voices on the topic in British politics. Such a profile led him to run for Leader of the Conservative Party in the Summer 2022 election. While his performances in the early debates were widely praised – he was the only person to make it through to the final five contenders not to hold ministerial office – he was voted out in one of the contest’s preliminary rounds, subsequently throwing his support behind eventual victor Liz Truss. Such support led to his appointment to his current role as Minister for Security – his first frontbench role."
View on portfolio
Tugendhat is notoriously hawkish on foreign policy issues, accusing Iran of arming terrorists around the world and advocating stronger action against Russia even before its invasion of Ukraine. He has also been particularly critical of China – a viewpoint shared by the new Prime Minister – and founded the China Research Group of Conservative MPs in 2020 to gain a 'better understanding of China’s economic ambitions and global role'. In March 2021, he was one of five MPs to be sanctioned by China for his criticism of the country. His views on China are likely to shape his views of the UK security landscape.