Bernard was first elected to Parliament in 1992 and was elected as Chairman of the Public Administration Committee in May 2010, which scrutinises "good government" across Whitehall.
He has served on the House of Commons Defence Committee, and speaks and writes extensively about defence matters. He is also Chairman of the All Party Group on Homeland Security, and for an informal group supporting a Thames Estuary Airport. He is a member of the Executive of the 1922 Committee of backbench Conservative MPs.
He was first elected as Member of Parliament for North Colchester in 1992, and then for North Essex in 1997, 2001 and 2005. In 2010, following the Boundary review, he was elected as MP for Harwich and North Essex, and re-elected in 2015.
While an MP, Bernard served five years in the Shadow Cabinet. William Hague appointed him Shadow Transport Secretary (1998-2001). He ran successful campaigns against Labour's "Standstill Britain" and rising fuel taxes. He served as Shadow Defence Secretary under Iain Duncan Smith (2001-03). In Defence, he campaigned against armed forces overstretch and for more equipment and funding. When Michael Howard appointed Bernard as Shadow Regions Secretary (2003-05), he was tasked to de-rail John Prescott's plans for elected regional assemblies in Yorkshire, the North West and in the North East. Bernard's campaign forced the government to cancel two of the three referendums, and he masterminded the North East Says No campaign in 2004, which spectacularly overturned a substantial "yes" vote poll lead and defeated the "yes" campaign by four-to-one. When the BBC's John Humphrys asked John Prescott, "What do you most regret?" Prescott replied, "Losing the vote in the North-East over regional government."
Since the 2005 election, following a spell as Shadow Energy Minister, David Cameron appointed him Deputy Chairman of the Conservative Party with responsibility for Candidates.
Bernard has also served on the Social Security Select Committee (1993-97) and as Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Rt Hon Michael Forsyth, the Secretary of State for Scotland (1995-97).
He was born and brought up in North London and trained as a professional singer, gaining entry to Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, with a Choral Exhibition, where he read Music and English Literature.
Prior to his election to the House of Commons, Bernard worked in industry and commerce: in sales and marketing with the Ford Motor Company Ltd (1983-86) and for venture capital provider 3i PLC (1986-88) before being appointed manager of Legal and General Ventures Ltd (1989-92).
Bernard was appointed to the Council of St Paul's Cathedral in 2006; is a Vice President of the armed forces mental welfare charity, Combat Stress; and is a trustee of the Parliament Choir and sings in their concerts. He also sings with the Essex and Suffolk based Laurentian Ensemble and with the Coggeshall Camerata. He periodically gives other solo performances for charity and in Essex.
His political interests include foreign affairs and defence, terrorism and security, the constitution, trade, small businesses and the future of the EU.
In his spare time, Bernard enjoys sailing, music, DIY, fishing and spending time with his family.