Andrew Phillips, Baron Phillips of Sudbury

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The Right Honourable
The Lord Phillips of Sudbury
Andrew Phillips Hinchingbrooke 2010.jpg
Born 15 March 1939
Education Trinity Hall, Cambridge
Occupation British solicitor and politician
Political party
Liberal Democrats
Spouse(s) Penelope Ann Bennett
Children 3

Andrew Wyndham Phillips, Baron Phillips of Sudbury, OBE (born 15 March 1939) is a solicitor and Liberal Democrat politician.

Education and Law Practice[edit]

He attended Culford School, Uppingham School and Trinity Hall, Cambridge, where he read Economics and Law, then became a solicitor. In 1970 he founded commercial law firm Bates Wells and Braithwaite and he remains a consultant to this day.

From 1976, he appeared on BBC Radio 2’s Jimmy Young Show as the “legal eagle,” giving legal advice to the show’s listeners. He continued in this role until the show ended upon Sir Jimmy’s retirement in 2002. Phillips has also appeared on other television and radio programmes such as Any Questions? and Newsnight. He was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 1996 New Year Honours.[1]

He was originally a member of the Labour Party, standing for parliament in Harwich in 1970, but he defected to the Liberals in the early 1970s, and later stood as a Liberal candidate in Saffron Walden in both a 1977 by-election and the 1979 general election, and later stood as a Liberal in Gainsborough and Horncastle in 1983.

House of Lords[edit]

On 25 July 1998, Phillips was made a life peer as Baron Phillips of Sudbury, of Sudbury in the County of Suffolk.[2] He sat in the House of Lords as a Liberal Democrat, and spoke on issues concerning civil liberties. He led the Liberal Democrats’ opposition in the Lords to the government’s identity card and counter-terrorism legislation.

Presiding as Chancellor over the 2012 University of Essex graduation ceremony

Phillips was appointed Chancellor of the University of Essex on 28 April 2003, succeeding Lord Nolan who had retired on 31 December 2002. He retired from the position in July 2013.[3]

In July 2006, to the surprise of many people, Lord Phillips of Sudbury announced his intention to resign from the House of Lords at the age of 67 (the average age of members being 68). He criticised the “cascades” of legislation that the Labour government had introduced:

“It is seriously counter-productive. No society can absorb a net increase of statute law of eight or nine thousand pages a year.”

He said he would pursue other interests, and would no longer be just a “weekend husband” to his wife.

He had wanted to vacate his seat in the House of Lords, revert to being known as Mr Phillips, and allow “new blood” from his party to take his seat. However, although hereditary peers may disclaim their titles under the Peerage Act 1963, life peers are unable to renounce their titles, and continue to hold them for life. Therefore, Phillips took leave of absence from the House, meaning he was unable to attend or vote, but could return at a month’s notice. There was not automatically a seat for a new Liberal Democrat peer in the House.

In 2009, Phillips's leave of absence ended, and he has since begun to attend and speak in the House of Lords again.

Family life[edit]

Andrew Phillips married Penelope Ann Bennett in 1968. They have a son and two daughters. He lists among his recreational interests theatre, local history (especially of Suffolk), arts, architecture (especially parish churches), golf, walking and reading.

Statements on Israel and Jews[edit]

In February 2011, Phillips, part of at a panel discussion on the Palestine Papers held at the University of London, gave the following statement on Jews:

"The world we are now moving into has been turned upside down. The Jews aren't lacking in intelligence, they may be deeply prejudiced, many of them, but they are going to be saying the same sort of thing as you on the panel are saying [about the Middle East after the Arab uprisings]."[4]

Jonathan Hoffman, co-vice chair of the Zionist Federation, who attended the meeting, sharply criticized Phillips, stating that: "Lord Phillips is an obnoxious man and his views are revolting."[4]

Several months earlier, in November 2010, Phillips told a Palestine Solidarity Campaign meeting that: “Europe cannot think straight about Israel because of the Holocaust and America is in the grip of the well-organised Jewish lobby”[4][5]

Phillips has called for economic and cultural boycotts of Israel.[6]


  1. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 54255. p. 13. 30 December 1995.
  2. ^ The London Gazette: no. 55210. p. 8287. 30 July 1998.
  3. ^ Anthony Forster (26 November 2013). "Celebrating Lord Phillips of Sudbury". University of Essex. Retrieved 17 September 2014. 
  4. ^ a b c Jews? Many are just prejudiced by Jessica Elgot, the Jewish Chronicle Online, February 24, 2011.
  5. ^ Lord Phillips: "America is in the grip of the well-organised Jewish Lobby" by Jonathan Hoffman, the Jewish Chronicle Online, November 3, 2010.
  6. ^ Andrew Phillips: No relief for the Palestinians while Israel enjoys impunity by Andrew Phillips, The Independent, February 1, 2010.

External links[edit]

Academic offices
Preceded by
The Lord Nolan
Chancellor of the University of Essex
Succeeded by
Shami Chakrabarti