Dr. Stephen Bates grew up in the North East of England before going on to Nottingham University to study History. He then undertook a Masters Degree in International Food Marketing at Newcastle University before completing a PhD in Agricultural Economics at Wye College near Ashford in Kent (Imperial College's Wye Campus). Stephen went on to become a Lecturer at Wye College where, amongst many other things, he wrote for the Farmers Weekly magazine, contributed to the John Nix pocket book, won a Fellowship with the New Zealand Dairy Board and advised the UK's Office of Fair Trading on agricultural affairs.
Stephen then moved into the business world, to take up a research role for large food distribution business Brake Brothers in Kent. Stephen worked his way up the company into Group Strategic Planning in London, where he worked across the UK, Ireland, France and Sweden for Brake Brothers Chief Operating Officer. Stephen has subsequently held a variety of senior roles in Strategy and Insight across the European food and beverage industry. He has undertaken professional business training at Harvard Business School in the United States and travelled regularly across Europe with work.
In his spare time, Stephen retains a love of history, is a lifelong Newcastle United supporter, is a member of the local tennis club and enjoys all other sports, especially golf and rugby. Stephen is a founder member of the Gusbourne Vineyard in Appledore, Kent. Until recently, Stephen was also on his local Parochial Church Council in the Benefice of Calehill with Westwell. Stephen has also served his local community as a Parish Councillor and also as a primary school governor.
Stephen has been a consistent and active member of his local Constituency Conservative Association for over 20 years. Stephen has fought an ‘unwinnable’ Westminster seat previously to cut his political teeth at a General Election against tough opposition, increasing the Conservative share of the vote by over 5%. He has served as Deputy Chair Political for the Ashford Association, before becoming Deputy Chair Political for Kent Area Conservatives, supporting campaigning activity across Kent, the South East and the wider country.