Andrew George (politician)

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For other people named Andrew George, see Andrew George (disambiguation).
Andrew George
Andrew George at Sheffield 2011.jpg
Member of Parliament
for St Ives
Assumed office
1 May 1997
Preceded by David Harris
Majority 1,719 (3.7%)
Personal details
Born (1958-12-02) 2 December 1958 (age 56)
Mullion, Cornwall, England
Nationality British
Political party Liberal Democrat
Spouse(s) Jill Elizabeth Marshall
Alma mater University of Sussex
University College, Oxford

Andrew Henry George (born 2 December 1958[citation needed]) is a British Liberal Democrat politician. He has been the Member of Parliament (MP) for the constituency of St Ives in Cornwall since 1997. He is the current Vice-Chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Housing and Planning Group.[1] and a qualifying member of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Carers.[2]

Early life[edit]

George was born in the village of Mullion near The Lizard, on the southwest coast of Cornwall, one of eight children born to a horticulturist father and music teacher mother.


George was educated locally at Helston Grammar School,[3] in the town of Helston in Cornwall, before attending the University of Sussex where he received a Bachelor of Arts degree in cultural and community studies in 1980. He finished his education at University College at the University of Oxford, where he was awarded a master's degree in agricultural economics in 1981.

Life and career[edit]

George worked as a charity worker, initially, as a rural officer with the Nottinghamshire Rural Community Council in 1981, and held a number of appointments in charity, business and research, until he became the deputy director of the Cornwall Rural Community Council in 1987, where he remained until his election to the House of Commons. Before joining the Liberal Democrats he was a member of Mebyon Kernow, and was one of the founder members of the Cornish Constitutional Convention, campaigning for a Cornish Assembly.

He contested the seat of St Ives at the 1992 general election where he finished second, just 1,645 votes behind the sitting Conservative MP David Harris. Harris stood down at the 1997 general election and George won the seat with a majority of 7,170 and has remained as the MP there since. He made his maiden speech on 22 May 1997.[4]

In Parliament[edit]

In the House of Commons, George currently leads the Liberal Democrats' Parliamentary DEFRA and Environment team. [5] He has rebelled against the Conservative/Liberal Democrat coalition government more than any other Liberal Democrat MP[6]

MP's Expenses. In 2009 George was facing questions about his expenses claims for a £300,000 London flat used by his student daughter while several of his party colleagues were under similar scrutiny? He was claiming £847 a month from taxpayers on mortgage interest payments for the riverside flat. At the time it was one of the most 'Questionable' cases - In March 2006, he told the Fee's office he was going to lease a flat and started to use his second home allowance before the purchase (10 months later) However, he continued to Stay in Hotels whilst in Westminster. Eight months later he was asked by letter if he intended to still lease a flat. Eventually, he bought a Flat in a gated block overlooking the Thames for £308,000 in January 2007. He previously put in a bill to the taxpayer for £3,999 for furniture including a television, lamps, blinds, a bed and a futon before the Purchase, including a sofa and beds that were in fact delivered to his main home in Cornwall.

After purchase of the Flat he again claimed for a bed, but this was refused the Fee's office informing him “You have already claimed for a bed in anticipation of your purchase of a second home. You may not claim living costs for anyone other than yourself.” George complained, “I wanted two beds for the second bedroom when my family come to stay.” He was allowed to claim back £538 costs for the Futon. It was alleged that his student daughter was staying there and the Flats Insurance Policy was in her name? She worked in London as a model and an Intern for her father in Parliament. George admitted his daughter used the flat as a 'Bolt Hole' and some of her belongings were kept there... Neighbours confirmed they had seen Miss George regularly in the area, he admitted she did stay in his riverside flat but denied she was there more often than him.

He stated that he had Insurance through the Post Office at his home in Cornwall arranged by his wife, but the Insurers said they were not allowed to be named on another policy. We asked our daughter to be the named person as she occasionally keeps an eye on the flat for us.[7]

George was made the Liberal Democrats' Fisheries Spokesman by Paddy Ashdown in 1997, a role he undertook until 2007.[8] Under the new leadership of Charles Kennedy in 1999 he also became Shadow Disability Minister as part of the Department of Social Security team.[8] Following the 2001 General Election he joined the Liberal Democrat Shadow Cabinet team as Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Leader of the Liberal Democrats Kennedy.[8] He became Shadow Rural Affairs and Food Secretary in 2002, a role he held until 2005.[8] He was Shadow Secretary of State for International Development from the 2005 general election until 2006,[8]

On 6 January 2006, George was one of the first members of the Liberal Democrat frontbench team to threaten to resign his post if Charles Kennedy had not stood down as leader by 9 January 2006. He was replaced on the front bench on 8 March by Kennedy's successor, Sir Menzies Campbell.[citation needed]

George suffers from the autoimmune disease Ankylosing spondylitis and has campaigned for a TNF inhibitor drug treatment to be made available to all patients. He is a member of the National Ankylosing Spondylitis Society's experts panel.[9]

In the 2010 general election, George's majority was substantially reduced from 11,609 to 1,719 following boundary changes to his constituency.

Cornish Issues[edit]

From his election victory in 1997, George has campaigned in Parliament on many issues key to Cornwall. An early success was the campaign to win millions of pounds of European economic aid for Cornwall from the Objective One funding programme, for which he chaired the All Party Parliamentary Objective One Group.[10]

On 12 May 2005, George became the first MP to swear his oath of allegiance to the Queen in Cornish after a long campaign for the language's official recognition[11] George also claims to have been the first MP to use Cornish in his maiden speech back in 1997.[11]

George voted in Parliament against Cornwall becoming a Unitary Authority. Local polls commissioned by the District Councils indicated that approximately 80% of the public were opposed to the formation of the Cornish Unitary Authority.[12]

Opposition to Bedroom Tax[edit]

George sponsored a Private Member's Bill to limit the application of the "bedroom tax" benefit cut only to tenants that had rejected a "reasonable offer" of alternative accommodation with the correct number of bedrooms.[13] George opposed the "bedroom tax" in earlier votes, saying that those who supported it "should come down to meet some of my constituents who are affected by it and look them in the eye as they attempt to justify it"[14]


  • The Natives are Revolting Down in the Cornwall Theme Park by Andrew George, 1986
  • Cornwall at the Crossroads by Bernard Deacon, Andrew George et al., 1989 CoSERG, Redruth ISBN 0-9513918-0-1
  • A Vision of Cornwall by Andrew George, 1995
  • A View from the Bottom Left-Hand Corner by Andrew George, 2002, Patten Press, Penzance ISBN 1-872229-40-9

See also[edit]


  1. ^ The Committee Office, House of Commons. "House of Commons website". Retrieved 2010-09-30. 
  2. ^ The Committee Office, House of Commons. "House of Commons website". Retrieved 2010-09-30. 
  3. ^ "UK Polling Report – St. Ives". UK Polling Report. Retrieved 10 February 2015. 
  4. ^ "Hansard 22 May 1997 : Column 880–883". House of Commons. 22 May 1997. Retrieved 2007-12-25. 
  5. ^ "About". Andrew George MP. Retrieved 24 March 2015. 
  6. ^ From David Laws to Andrew George: The Lib Dem rebellion league table- Mark Pack; Left Foot Forward; 16 December 2011
  7. ^
  8. ^ a b c d e "Andrew George MP website". Archived from the original on 17 August 2010. Retrieved 2010-09-30. 
  9. ^ Elliott, Jane (14 December 2009). "MP Andrew George exercises to keep condition at bay". BBC News. Archived from the original on 17 December 2009. Retrieved 14 December 2009. 
  10. ^ "Liberal Democrats website". Retrieved 2010-09-30. 
  11. ^ a b "Local MP swears oath in Cornish". BBC News online. 12 May 2005. Retrieved 2007-12-24. 
  12. ^ "Cornish council shake up approved". BBC News online. 25 July 2007. Retrieved 2007-12-25. 
  13. ^ Syal, Rajeev (5 September 2014). "Bedroom tax bill splits coalition as Lib-Lab pact forces second reading". Guardian. Retrieved 24 March 2015. 
  14. ^ Eaton, George (12 November 2013). "Lib Dem MP Andrew George to vote against the bedroom tax – how many others will?". New Statesman. Retrieved 24 March 2015. 

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
David Harris
Member of Parliament for St Ives