Born in Cornwall, Mark established his first business in 1988, a music promotions and equipment company. He was educated at the University of Westminster with a bachelor's honours degree in Business and Economics and then the University of Reading where he was awarded a master's degree in Politics under Professors John Cottingham and Barry Jones and elected Post-Graduate Student Chairman. He continued his studies with a joint doctorate at Reading and St Antony's College, Oxford. He was admitted to the Royal Institute of International Affairs (Chatham House) and also became a member of the Carlton Club before going up to Oxford.
Travel and Writing
A published author and poet, in 1992 Mark spent three months in the USA writing and teaching and after another writing vacation in Rome in 1994, he completed many of his early essays and poems which were published shortly after. He was awarded the UK's Poetry Guild 'Editor's Choice Award' of 1995 and his first book on socio-political philosophy, A Conquest of Thoughts, was published later that year.
After the fall of the Soviet Union, Mark also travelled to Eastern Europe and while in Warsaw joined the Polish-Lithuanian team that discovered plundered Christian burial vaults in Vilnius. Seeing first hand the communists' destruction of the Church had a lasting effect on Mark's commitment to political life and to spiritual life. He completed his travels in Poland in 1996.
Mark founded his first business in 1988 and it continued to run alongside his working in the House of Commons from 1996 as Parliamentary Aide to Cabinet Office minister Robert Hughes MP. Mark then joined blue chip companies BAE Systems plc and later Capgemini plc in high profile marketing roles. During this time he was Deputy-Chairman of the Harrow West Constituency and Ward Chairman of Harrow on the Hill.
After working for Senator Rod Grams in the 2000 USA elections Mark returned to the UK and founded the London marketing agency VML, creating a dozen jobs in its first year and winning business from overseas as well as at home. He was its Managing Director in London and Minneapolis for ten years. In 2011 he handed over operational control and gave up his full-time business career to dedicate himself to public service in Bedfordshire. Mark has advised the boards of other private companies and has been a public non-executive director of NHS Hospitals for over a decade.
A strong believer in duty and service to country, Mark was recruited by the Royal Navy Reserve in 1996. He resigned in 2000 due to family and business commitments but rejoined in 2003 at the start of the Iraq War. In 2005 he won the Best Shot trophy for his marksmanship with the SA80. In 2009 he served in Operation Pearl, a counter-piracy mission off the Horn of Africa. In 2010 he was awarded the VRS medal. He is a graduate of the Joint Services Command and Staff College and of the NATO School at Oberammergau, Germany.
He served in several joint force commands and with NATO forces, overseas, at sea, and in various military headquarter commands. Upon selection as a Parliamentary Candidate in 2007 Mark said, "Integrity and moral courage are not meaningless words... they are at the heart of what a miltary officer is... and I believe the same is true of a politician."
With over a decade's
past experience in various community roles -
of a conservation committee,
director of a residents' association,
trustee of a heritage charity, and a school
governor - Mark first stood for public office in 1998 and was
eventually elected a London Borough Councillor in 2002, for Harrow on the
He was quickly promoted, being made Chief Whip three months into his first term, a role he served in for three years, and then in 2005 was appointed Chairman of the Scrutiny Committee on Children and Young People. In 2006 he was re-elected by the people of Harrow with an increased majority and in May 2007 was promoted Chairman of the influential Performance and Finance Scrutiny Committee, which oversaw the Council's £620 million budget.
In July 2007 he was selected in an open primary as the Conservative Parliamentary Candidate for the Manchester constituency of Stretford and Urmston. Mark fought various campaigns such as saving Trafford General's maternity unit and having David Cameron visit the hospital in January 2008, stopping the Manchester congestion charge, and helping to win medication funding for local residents in a high profile case in 2007. After almost three years as candidate and changing business commitments in London at the height of the recession, the distance to Manchester became an issue and Mark announced he would step down in October 2009.
In December 2009 Mark became Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Forum of the Conservative Party. His first official overseas engagement was in Macedonia in January 2010 representing the Conservative Party, with Lord Foulkes representing the Labour Party, in meetings with the country's President and Parliament.
The Foreign Affairs Forum is a Peers, MPs, and Parliamentary Candidate only group that facilitates relationship building with individuals in foreign governments and parliaments, providing a media free environment where foreign affairs can be discussed among politicians from different countries.
Central Bedfordshire Council
In May 2011 Mark was elected to Central Bedfordshire Council representing the ward of Heath and Reach, where he lives with his wife and children. Simultaneously in May 2011 he resigned his seat on Harrow Council and also resigned as Managing Director of VML, to dedicate himself to his new role in Bedfordshire. Two weeks after his election he was appointed Executive Member for Children's Services and Schools, a role his served in for five years, after which he became chairman of the overview and scrutiny committee. He is also Central Bedfordshire's Military Covenant Champion.
In 2000 Versallion married Kent-born, convent-educated, artist and fashion designer Caroline Marques, only daughter of London lawyer A.M.A. Marques, a member of the minor aristocratic Catholic family from Goa, India. They moved their home to Bedfordshire in 2004 and have four children:
For several years
Mark was involved in a national race relations charity with Caroline and they
school governors since the 1990s. A
qualified musician from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, outside politics
Mark spends time with his family, music and the garden.