Between 2001-2019 he was MP for North-East Bedfordshire. He held ministerial office for eleven years in total in three Governments. He was Opposition Front Bencher for HE and FE between 2001-2, and completed an Industry and Parliamentary Trust Fellowship in Higher Education at that time.
After retiring from the Commons in 2019, he became Pro-Chancellor at Lancaster in October 2020.
He is a Distinguished Fellow at RUSI, and is the UKs Commissioner on the International Commission on Missing Persons.