Wales politics

Profile: Welsh Conservative MP Stephen Crabb

Stephen Crabb Image copyright Getty Images

It is not a typical backstory for a Conservative cabinet member.

Stephen Crabb, who has served as Welsh secretary and is currently secretary of state for work and pensions, grew up on a council estate in Haverfordwest, raised by his single mother.

He went to university and earned a first class degree, but reportedly once worked as a labourer in Newport docks.

His accommodation for that job: a tent.

His background is one reason why Mr Crabb has long been tipped for the top job.

Backers include Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson, who told a newspaper earlier this year she would "find it very hard to vote for anyone else".


Stephen Crabb MP

43 years old

MP for Preseli Pembrokeshire since 2005

Promoted to Welsh secretary in July 2014 having been a minister in the Wales Office, then to Work and Pensions Secretary in March 2016

Was previously a government whip

Has worked for the National Council for Voluntary Youth Services and the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry

Keen rugby player and has run the London Marathon three times

He reportedly lived in a tent when he worked as a labourer in Newport docks.


After attending Tasker Milward school in Haverfordwest, he studied at Bristol University, gaining a first-class degree in politics and joining the Conservative Party after graduating.

Mr Crabb entered the Commons in 2005, working his way up from backbencher to whip, minister in the Wales Office and secretary of state for Wales in July 2014.

His signature task in that role was getting agreement around a shake-up of how the assembly is governed - what started as the St David's Day Agreement and became the draft Wales Bill.

That was not without its troubles. The resulting draft was roundly criticised as making assembly law potentially legally contestable and even reducing the powers of the devolved legislature.

Mr Crabb announced changes to overhaul the bill, but after the resignation of Iain Duncan Smith over disability benefit cuts the MP was promoted to work and pensions secretary.

At the time of the appointment many saw his personal story as well suited to the role.

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Media captionJames Williams visits the council estate where Stephen Crabb grew up

In a previous interview with BBC Wales Westminster correspondent David Cornock, the MP for Preseli Pembrokeshire described how the welfare system provided a "genuine safety net at a time of crisis" for his family.

"I had a mother who, as we got older, moved progressively from a position of complete welfare dependency to being fully economically independent, working full-time," he said.

"And that has to be the model of the way the welfare system should work."

Married with two children, Mr Crabb lives near Haverfordwest. A keen rugby player, he still turns out for the Commons and Lords RFC.

Mr Crabb himself has been modest about his own leadership chances, batting away questions when asked by WalesOnline in 2015.

"I can't see that happening. I can't see there being any vacancy at all," he said.

"I really don't have time to engage in fantasy politics about my own career."

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