Bill Cash

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This article is about the British politician. For other people, see Bill Cash (disambiguation).
Sir Bill Cash
Member of Parliament
for Stone
Assumed office
1 May 1997
Preceded by Constituency Created
Majority 13,292 (28.1%)
Member of Parliament
for Stafford
In office
3 May 1984 – 1 May 1997
Preceded by Hugh Fraser
Succeeded by David Kidney
Personal details
Born (1940-05-10) 10 May 1940 (age 74)
Finsbury, London, England
Nationality British
Political party Conservative
Spouse(s) Bridget Mary Lee
Children 3
Alma mater Stonyhurst College
Lincoln College, Oxford
Profession Solicitor
Religion Roman Catholicism
Insignia of a Knight Bachelor

Sir William Nigel Paul "Bill" Cash (born 10 May 1940) is a British Conservative politician and Member of Parliament for Stone. Cash is a prominent Eurosceptic in the House of Commons. Cash was the founder of the Maastricht Referendum Campaign in the early 1990s, and is now the elected Chair of the House of Commons' European Scrutiny Committee.

He was knighted in the 2014 Birthday Honours for political services.[1]


Cash was born in London to a political family, which included seven Liberal Members of Parliament, including John Bright.[2] He grew up in Sheffield and was educated at Stonyhurst College in Lancashire before attending Lincoln College, Oxford where he took a MA in History. He qualified as a solicitor in 1967, and since 1979 has practised as a solicitor in his own account (i.e. he is not employed by a law firm or a member of a partnership).[3]


Cash's father, Paul Trevor Cash, fought in World War II and was killed in Normandy during Jupiter: he was awarded the Military Cross for his actions during the campaign.

Cash married Bridget Mary (née Lee) in 1965, and they have two sons and a daughter. One of his sons is the controversial journalist William Cash, who lives at Upton Cressett Hall, near Bridgnorth, Shropshire. Along with his wife Biddy, Cash senior restored the now Grade 1 Upton Cressett Hall in the 1970s. The Hall was subsequently voted the 'Best Hidden Gem' heritage destination in the UK at the 2011 Hudson's Heritage awards.[4] Cash junior is married to society milliner, Lady Laura Cathcart, daughter of Charles Cathcart, 7th Earl Cathcart.[5]


Cash entered Parliament in 1984, when he was elected as MP for Stafford at a by-election in May following the death of Sir Hugh Fraser. Since the 1997 election he has been MP for Stone, Staffordshire. Stone was a then newly (re-)created constituency, the previous version of which had been abolished in 1950, at which time it was, incidentally, also represented by Hugh Fraser, whom Cash thus succeeded a second time.

He has been chairman of various parliamentary committees. He was elected unopposed as Chairman of the European Scrutiny Committee on 8 September 2010.,[6] and has been a member of the Select Committee on European Legislation since 1985. Cash was elected chairman of the Conservative Backbench Committee on European Affairs (1989–91).

International development[edit]

Cash is chairman of a number of All Party African committees, including those on Kenya and Uganda. He is also chairman of the All Party Committee on Malaysia. He has also served as Chairman on the All-Party Group for the Jubilee 2000 (1997–2000).[7]

He is Chairman of the All Party Sanitation and Water Committee (Third World) in which he works closely with Wateraid and Tearfund.[8] He introduced the Gender Equality (International Development) Bill, 2013,[9] which, although only 18th in the Private Members Ballot, was enacted in March 2014.

Mariella Frostrup wrote in The Times, "The new law that puts gender equality at the heart of our overseas aid policy will be as historic as the Slave Trade Act."[10] Justine Greening, Secretary of State for International Development, wrote in The Telegraph blog "Yet for assiduously steering his Gender Equality in International Development Bill through Parliament over recent months, Bill Cash deserves the recognition of women everywhere. … It’s also a proud legacy for a Parliamentary champion of women’s rights, the Member of Parliament for Stone in Staffordshire, Bill Cash."[11] The day after the Act came into force, the Prime Minister told Cash in the House of Commons, "I am sure the whole House will want to join me in commending my hon. Friend on his Bill, and on his legislative achievement to get that important measure on the statute book."[12]

Euroscepticism and the Maastricht Rebellion[edit]

Cash is known as a strong Eurosceptic: he was described by Kenneth Clarke as the most "Eurosceptic" Member of Parliament. In the book by Lord Robert Blake - the acclaimed historian of the Conservative Party - titled "The Conservative Party: from Peel to Major", Cash is described as the leader of the Eurosceptics during the Maastricht Rebellion and as being "indefatigable... a constitutional lawyer of great expertise".[13]

The Maastricht Rebellion took place in the early 1990s, and reached its height in 1993. British Members of Parliament (MPs) belonging to the then governing Conservative Party refused to support the government of John Major in the votes in the House of Commons on the issue of the implementation of the Maastricht Treaty (Treaty on European Union) in British law.The Rebellion was a major event in the life of John Major's troubled second term as Prime Minister (1992–1997). Major's party had a small majority, thus giving the relatively small number of rebels great influence: for example, there were 22 rebels on the second reading of the European Communities (Amendment) Bill in May 1992, and the government's majority at the time was only 18.The rebellion (as Major later complained in his memoirs) had the support of the former Prime Minister Lady Thatcher and Lord Tebbit. Thatcher declared in a speech in the House of Lords that she "could never have signed that Treaty" and that it was "a recipe for national suicide".[14]

In 1993 he founded and remains chairman of the eurosceptic European Foundation which was created during the Maastricht Rebellion, the funding for which he organised. During 1994–1995 Cash was member of the Tindemans group. He was Secretary of the European Reform Forum, and has been Vice-President of the Conservative Small Business Bureau.[15]

After he became leader, fellow Maastricht rebel Iain Duncan Smith gave him the post of shadow Attorney General in 2001, and in 2003 was Shadow Secretary of State for Constitutional Affairs, but he returned to the backbenches later that year after Duncan Smith was ousted as party leader.


In November 2011, he published a biography of John Bright, whom he described as "one of the greatest parliamentarians of all time",[16] to coincide with the 200th anniversary of Bright's birth. The biography was received with critical acclaim: reviewer Andrew Roberts notes that Bright's legacy "was largely forgotten until this first-class, encapsulating biography".[17] Amanda Foreman states that "Bill Cash not only breathes new life into Bright but delivers an entirely fresh view of both the man himself and his stance as the professional scourge of the upper classes... Bright's character receives[s its] full due in Cash's nuanced portrait".[17]

In addition to his historical writing, Cash has also published a number of books, pamphlets and essays on Britain's relationship with the European Union, and the Eurosceptic movement. These include: It's the EU, Stupid (2011), The Challenge for the Conservative Party: The future for Britain and Europe (2004), Associated, Not Absorbed: The Associated European Area: a constructive alternative to a single European state (2000), Visions of Europe (Duckworth, 1993) and Against a Federal Europe: The Battle for Britain (Duckworth, 1991).

Expenses claims[edit]

Cash was cleared on appeal in February 2010 by former High Court judge and President of the Court of Appeal, the Rt Hon Sir Paul Kennedy[18] after it was reported on 28 May 2009, in the swirl of stories surrounding the 2009 Parliamentary Expenses scandal, that Cash had claimed £15,000 which he paid his daughter, Laetitia Cash, a prospective Conservative candidate, as rent for a Notting Hill flat, when he had a mortgaged flat of his own a few miles away, which his son Sam Cash was staying in rent-free. "It was only for a year, she was getting married, she wasn't there. My other flat wasn't round the corner, it was in Westminster. It was done through the rules," he said on Newsnight.[19] The following day Cash announced that he had agreed to pay the money back. Cash rejected calls for his resignation and said he was hopeful of getting a fair hearing. David Cameron was said to have ordered Cash to co-operate or risk having the Conservative whip withdrawn.[20]

Cash faced a no-confidence vote by secret ballot by his constituency party on 2 July 2009. He was, however, re-selected with the overwhelming support over 98% of the vote. Cash also received a personal letter of support from Conservative leader David Cameron before the meeting thanking Cash for "the tireless contribution you make to the work of Parliament. You have a long record of serving your constituents with commitment and integrity."[21] Kennedy, in his letter to Cash regarding his appeal, wrote: "In my judgment there are special reasons why it would not be fair and equitable to require repayment of any money. They are that in 2004–05 you paid rent for accommodation. Such rent was recoverable under the Rules as they existed at the time unless there was some evidence of impropriety. There is no such evidence in your case."[18]

References and publications[edit]

  • Black, A & C, Who's Who, published annually in London.
  • Cash, William, Against a Federal Europe - The Battle for Britain, London, 1991.
  • Cash, William, Europe: the Crunch, London, 1992.
  • Cash, Bill, "John Bright: Statesman, Orator, Agitator", IB Tauris, November 2011


  1. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 60895. p. b2. 14 June 2014.
  2. ^ Sky News 11 May 2010
  3. ^ "Website of the Law Society of England & Wales". Retrieved 2014-01-14. 
  4. ^
  5. ^ "Liz Hurley among guests at Shropshire man's big day". Shropshire Start. 
  6. ^ The Committee Office, House of Commons. "He was named chairman of the European Scrutiny Committee in 2010". Retrieved 2014-01-14. 
  7. ^ "About Bill". 1940-05-10. Retrieved 2014-01-14. 
  8. ^ "House of Commons - Register Of All-Party Groups as at 5 December 2013: Water and Sanitation in the Third World". Retrieved 2014-01-14. 
  9. ^
  10. ^ Mariella Frostrup. ‘Britain shows the world the way – again.’ The Times, 2014-03-08
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^ Peel, Robert "The Conservative Party: From Peel to Major" page 399
  14. ^ "HL S [European Communities (Amendment) Bill] | Margaret Thatcher Foundation". 1992-12-31. Retrieved 2014-01-14. 
  15. ^ "Past Speakers - Bill Cash". the biz club. Retrieved 2014-01-14. 
  16. ^ Cash, Bill (18 November 2011). "We need John Bright's democratic message today". Guardian Northerner Blog. Retrieved 2011-12-06. 
  17. ^ a b Cash, Bill "John Bright: Statesman, Orator, Agitator" cover
  18. ^ a b
  19. ^ Bill Cash speaking on Newsnight 28 May 2009
  20. ^ Jagger, Suzy (30 May 2009). "Bill Cash will pay back £15,000 he claimed if asked for it". London: times online. Retrieved 2009-05-30. 
  21. ^ Staffordshire Newsletter, 3 July 2009[dead link]

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Sir Hugh Fraser
Member of Parliament for Stafford
Succeeded by
David Kidney
New constituency Member of Parliament for Stone