Mark's father, Reginald Francois, served in a minesweeper on D-Day, HMS Bressay, which swept the approaches to the landing beaches very early in the morning of 6th June. Therefore, throughout his life, Mark's belief that you should never take living in a free country for granted and that the defence of the realm is number one priority for a Government has been instilled in him from an early age. 

In September 2012, Mark was promoted to become Minister of State for Defence Personnel, Welfare and Veterans (Min DPWV) in the Ministry of Defence. In this role Mark liaised with service charities and was also instrumental in the provision of the latest generation of prosthetics (what The Sun newspaper christened 'Bionic Legs') for service personnel injured in Iraq and Afghanistan.


Mark pictured with the  world class “Genium” prosthetic for wounded veterans from Operation Telic (Iraq) and Operation Herrick (Afghanistan).

In October 2013, a year after joining the Ministry of Defence, Mark was again promoted to the role of Minister of State for the Armed Forces (Min AF) with responsibility for operations, operational policy, operational legal matters, training and force generation.


Mark at the naming ceremony of HMS Queen Elizabeth, Britain’s largest ever warship,

Following the appointment of the Rt Hon Theresa May MP as Prime Minister, Mark was tasked by the Prime Minister to carry out a study regarding the future recruitment of regulars and reserves into the Armed Forces. The study, entitled "Filling the Ranks" was completed and submitted to the Rt Hon Theresa May MP in June 2017 before being published on Mark's website in September 2017.

However, Mark raised the topic of Recruitment, he soon found ourselves engaged in a conversation about Retention – which is unsurprising, as there is little point in widening the aperture of the “Recruitment tap” if you cannot do something about putting a “Retention plug” in the sink. As a result, Mark requested permission from the Prime Minister to be effectively recommissioned to undertake a second report, at no cost to the public purse, into the whole subject of Retention. We were subsequently formally recommissioned to do so in December 2018.

Mark subsequently released a second report entitled "Stick or Twist" in February 2020. The report argues for more spending on Armed Forces Personnel and their families to improve Retention, even at the expense of new equipment. It also concluded that:

“Defence will have to take some difficult balance of investment decisions in order to spend more money on Armed Forces personnel and their families and less on shiny new equipment – because if not, within several years, there are unlikely to be sufficient qualified and experienced personnel in Defence to operate the highly expensive kit in the first place.”