Sam Gyimah: Rising star who grew disillusioned with Conservatives over Brexit

Sam Gyimah has been considered a "rising star" for nearly two decades.

The East Surrey MP and Remain supporter defected from the Conservatives to the Liberal Democrats after growing disillusioned with the Tories under Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

The 43-year-old has described a no-deal Brexit as "disorderly and damaging", and is a vocal advocate for a second referendum.

Mr Gyimah was born in Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire, but split from his single mother aged six and was sent to live in Ghana, before returning to a state comprehensive to complete his GCSEs and A-levels.

He credited "good schools with great teachers" as he earned a place at Somerville College, Oxford, to read philosophy, politics and economics.

His political teeth were cut at the Oxford Union, where he served as president, and sharpened as he stood for Camden council elections unsuccessfully.

Initially employed by Goldman Sachs as an investment banker, where he worked on mergers and acquisitions, Mr Gyimah was added to the Conservative party A-list and selected as the prospective parliamentary candidate for East Surrey in 2010 following the retirement of Peter Ainsworth.

He took the seat with a 17,000-vote majority and had only been in Westminster for two years when he was made parliamentary private secretary to then Prime Minister David Cameron.

But he pushed for a bigger role in Government, becoming a whip in 2013 and childcare minister in 2014, with promotions to prisons minister and universities minister following.

He briefly joined the race to replace Theresa May as party leader this summer before withdrawing.

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Former Tory minister Sam Gyimah, who has defected to the Liberal Democrats, with leader Jo Swinson during the Liberal Democrats autumn conference at the Bournemouth International Centre in Bournemouth. (Photo by Jonathan Brady/PA Images via Getty Images)
Former Tory minister Sam Gyimah, who has defected to the Liberal Democrats, with leader Jo Swinson during the Liberal Democrats autumn conference at the Bournemouth International Centre in Bournemouth. (Photo by Jonathan Brady/PA Images via Getty Images)
BOURNEMOUTH, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 14: Former Conservative MP Sam Gyimah talks on stage after joining the Liberal Democrats party at the Liberal Democrat Party Conference at the Bournemouth International Centre on September 14, 2019 in Bournemouth, England. (Photo by Finnbarr Webster/Getty Images)
BOURNEMOUTH, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 14: Former Conservative MP Sam Gyimah talks on stage after joining the Liberal Democrats party at the Liberal Democrat Party Conference at the Bournemouth International Centre on September 14, 2019 in Bournemouth, England. (Photo by Finnbarr Webster/Getty Images)
BOURNEMOUTH, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 14: Former Conservative MP Sam Gyimah talks on stage after joining the Liberal Democrats party at the Liberal Democrat Party Conference at the Bournemouth International Centre on September 14, 2019 in Bournemouth, England. (Photo by Finnbarr Webster/Getty Images)
BOURNEMOUTH, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 14: Former Conservative MP Sam Gyimah joins the Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson on stage at the Liberal Democrat Party Conference at the Bournemouth International Centre on September 14, 2019 in Bournemouth, England. (Photo by Finnbarr Webster/Getty Images)
Former Tory minister Sam Gyimah, who has defected to the Liberal Democrats, with leader Jo Swinson during the Liberal Democrats autumn conference at the Bournemouth International Centre in Bournemouth. (Photo by Jonathan Brady/PA Images via Getty Images)
Former Tory minister Sam Gyimah, who has defected to the Liberal Democrats, with leader Jo Swinson during the Liberal Democrats autumn conference at the Bournemouth International Centre in Bournemouth. (Photo by Jonathan Brady/PA Images via Getty Images)
European Parliament's Brexit co-ordinator Guy Verhofstadt speaking during the Liberal Democrats autumn conference at the Bournemouth International Centre in Bournemouth. (Photo by Jonathan Brady/PA Images via Getty Images)
Chuka Umunna during the Liberal Democrats autumn conference at the Bournemouth International Centre in Bournemouth. (Photo by Jonathan Brady/PA Images via Getty Images)
Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson with European Parliament's Brexit co-ordinator Guy Verhofstadt during the Liberal Democrats autumn conference at the Bournemouth International Centre in Bournemouth. (Photo by Jonathan Brady/PA Images via Getty Images)
Tim Farron speaking during the Liberal Democrats autumn conference at the Bournemouth International Centre in Bournemouth. (Photo by Jonathan Brady/PA Images via Getty Images)
Jane Dodds speaking during the Liberal Democrats autumn conference at the Bournemouth International Centre in Bournemouth. (Photo by Jonathan Brady/PA Images via Getty Images)
Lib Dem MEP's on stage during the Liberal Democrats autumn conference at the Bournemouth International Centre in Bournemouth. (Photo by Jonathan Brady/PA Images via Getty Images)
BOURNEMOUTH, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 14: Chairman of the European Parliament's fisheries committee, Chris Davies MEP, wears a fish costume to gain support for his 'Fish for the Future' campaign at the Liberal Democrat Party Conference at the Bournemouth International Centre on September 14, 2019 in Bournemouth, England. (Photo by Finnbarr Webster/Getty Images)
BOURNEMOUTH, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 14: Former leader of the Liberal Democrats Menzies Campbell is seen at the Liberal Democrat Party Conference at the Bournemouth International Centre on September 14, 2019 in Bournemouth, England. (Photo by Finnbarr Webster/Getty Images)
BOURNEMOUTH, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 14: Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson at the Liberal Democrat Party Conference at the Bournemouth International Centre on September 14, 2019 in Bournemouth, England. (Photo by Finnbarr Webster/Getty Images)
BOURNEMOUTH, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 14: President of the Liberal Democrats Baroness Sal Brinton speaks at the Liberal Democrat Party Conference at the Bournemouth International Centre on September 14, 2019 in Bournemouth, England. (Photo by Finnbarr Webster/Getty Images)
Former leader of the Liberal Democrats Sir Menzies "Ming" Campbell speaks to a lady outside the conference centre at the Liberal Democrats autumn conference at the Bournemouth International Centre in Bournemouth. (Photo by Jonathan Brady/PA Images via Getty Images)
Jo Swinson makes an entry in the guest book of the Government of Gibraltar's exhibition stand at the Bournemouth International Centre in Bournemouth. (Photo by Jonathan Brady/PA Images via Getty Images)
BOURNEMOUTH, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 14: Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson tours the trade stands in the exhibition hall at the Liberal Democrat Party Conference at the Bournemouth International Centre on September 14, 2019 in Bournemouth, England. (Photo by Finnbarr Webster/Getty Images)
BOURNEMOUTH, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 14: Wera Hobhouse MP, Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Environment and Climate Change speaks at the Liberal Democrat Party Conference at the Bournemouth International Centre on September 14, 2019 in Bournemouth, England. (Photo by Finnbarr Webster/Getty Images)
BOURNEMOUTH, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 14: Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson with Councillor Vikki Slade in Bournemouth town centre during the Liberal Democrat Party Conference at the Bournemouth International Centre on September 14, 2019 in Bournemouth, England. (Photo by Finnbarr Webster/Getty Images)
BOURNEMOUTH, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 14: Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson with Lush shop manager Charlotte Mills, left and Councillor Vikki Slade during her visit to the shop in Bournemouth town centre during the Liberal Democrat Party Conference at the Bournemouth International Centre on September 14, 2019 in Bournemouth, England. (Photo by Finnbarr Webster/Getty Images)
BOURNEMOUTH, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 14: Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson arrives at the Liberal Democrat Party Conference at the Bournemouth International Centre on September 14, 2019 in Bournemouth, England. (Photo by Finnbarr Webster/Getty Images)
Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson during a visit to a local Lush store, as the Liberal Democrats autumn conference gets underway at the Bournemouth International Centre in Bournemouth. (Photo by Jonathan Brady/PA Images via Getty Images)
Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson (centre) is greeted by party members as she arrives for the Liberal Democrats autumn conference at the Bournemouth International Centre in Bournemouth. (Photo by Jonathan Brady/PA Images via Getty Images)
A general view of the opening session during the Liberal Democrats autumn conference at the Bournemouth International Centre in Bournemouth. (Photo by Jonathan Brady/PA Images via Getty Images)
People start to arrive for the opening session of the Liberal Democrats autumn conference at the Bournemouth International Centre in Bournemouth. (Photo by Jonathan Brady/PA Images via Getty Images)
A man hands out Remain stickers at the Liberal Democrats autumn conference at the Bournemouth International Centre in Bournemouth. (Photo by Jonathan Brady/PA Images via Getty Images)
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Before defecting, he sat as an Independent after losing the Tory whip when he backed a move by opposition parties to prevent a no-deal Brexit earlier this month.

Outside Westminster circles, the Arsenal fan increased his following after he appeared to quote from Harry Potter during Question Time.

When discussing US President Donald Trump's Britain First retweets and Theresa May's condemnation, he channelled Albus Dumbledore and said: "It takes great bravery to stand up to your enemies, it takes even more bravery to stand up to your friends."

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