Bill Wiggin

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Bill Wiggin
MP
Shadow Secretary of State for Wales
In office
11 November 2003 – 8 December 2005
Leader Michael Howard
Preceded by Nigel Evans
Succeeded by Cheryl Gillan
Member of Parliament
for North Herefordshire
Leominster (2001–2010)
Incumbent
Assumed office
7 June 2001
Preceded by Peter Temple-Morris
Majority 9,887 (20.8%)
Personal details
Born (1966-06-04) 4 June 1966 (age 48)
City of Westminster, London
Nationality British
Political party Conservative
Spouse(s) Milly Wiggin
Alma mater Eton College
Bangor University
Website www.billwiggin.com

William David Wiggin (born 4 June 1966) is a British Conservative Party politician, Member of Parliament and a former Shadow Minister for Agriculture & Fisheries. He held the seat of Leominster from the 2001 election until the 2010 election, when the seat of Leominster was abolished. Wiggin now holds the seat of North Herefordshire having been elected in 2010.

Wiggin has strong roots in the constituency, and is a passionate campaigner for local issues such as agriculture, rural broadband and better rail links.[1]

Early life[edit]

Chapel of Eton College

Wiggin was born in London in 1966.[2] He attended Eton College and later read Economics at the Bangor University, gaining a Bachelor of Arts (Hons) in 1988.[3] He also served in the Royal Welch Fusiliers in the TA, being a platoon commander for Holyhead, Bangor and Caernarfon.

Following this, Wiggin worked as a Trader in Foreign Exchange Options for UBS from 1991–3, then was an Associate Director of Kleinwort Benson from 1994–8, then as a manager in the Foreign Exchange department of Commerzbank from 1998.[4]

Political career[edit]

Wiggin was selected as the Conservative candidate for Burnley for the 1997 election. He came second to Peter Pike, who recorded a 17,062 majority over him.[5] Returning to his roots, he was selected as the Conservative Party candidate in the safe seat of Leominster in April 1999, replacing Peter Temple-Morris, who had defected to the Labour Party. He won his seat in 2001 with a 10,367 majority over his Liberal Democrat opponent.

Initially a backbencher, he became a member of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs select committee in 2002. During 2003, Michael Howard appointed him to the position of Shadow Minister for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and Shadow Secretary of State for Wales.

In January 2009, Wiggin became a whip.

He was re-elected at the 2005 general election with a 2.4% swing in his favour. In the reshuffle following the election, he was moved to Shadow Minister of Agriculture & Fisheries, where he remained until the 2010 general election.

Wiggin has voted against a blanket ban on smoking in pubs and restaurants, the 2004 Hunting Bill, and some sections of the Prevention of Terrorism bills.

During parish council elections in Leominster during September 2009, Wiggin complained to the Returning Officer about the leaflets of a candidate who was standing to protest at Wiggin's parliamentary expenses. The candidate, Jim Miller, was disqualified by the returning officer, who was also the chief executive of the Tory-run Herefordshire County Council. This left the Conservative candidate unopposed. According to The Telegraph, Miller was disqualified over a technicality that the council previously told him had been resolved.[6] The Mayor of Leominster expressed his astonishment at Wiggin's intervention. "I was just stunned that Wiggin contacted the returning officer,” “It’s not totally blatant, but what in god’s name is an MP doing poking his nose into a little parish election? I can’t understand what he thinks he’s up to."[6]

In June 2013, Wiggin spoke in an Opposition Day debate in favour of the badger cull.

Local Campaigns[edit]

Within his constituency, Wiggin successfully campaigned for improved broadband to rural areas, and helped to secure funding for a new swimming pool.[4]

Wiggin has also campaigned for improved flood defences in Herefordshire, and frequently raises the issue in the Commons [7]

In 2007 he took Environment Secretary Hilary Benn MP on a tour including some of the areas affected by the summer 2007 floods, and in 2009 he took representatives from the Environment Agency on a series of visits to some of the villages and towns worst affected.

In 2014 Wiggin met with Dafydd Evans, Environment Agency Area Manager for the West Midlands, to press for action to enhance local flood defences.[8] It was then announced that £150,000 of work would take place in North Herefordshire over the following year.

One of Wiggin's longest-standing campaigns has been the improvement of rail services in North Herefordshire. In the past he has helped to secure disabled access at Leominster Station and in 2012 he held a consultation on the new Rail Franchise at Ledbury Station. He regularly petitions the Government for improved services in North Herefordshire and in 2014 he contributed to the Great Western Franchise consultation with his constituents' views.[9]

Campaigns for improved rural communications networks[edit]

Wiggn has long campaigned for faster broadband speeds and better mobile telephone coverage in Herefordshire, both of which are vocal issues in the constituency. Herefordshire is part of the Fastershire programme which aims to take faster broadband to areas not covered by any commercial rollout plans, although this has been very delayed. Wiggin has welcomed recent improvements to the network.[10]

Wiggin has also supported local residents in their campaign for a new mobile telephone mast in Fownhope. He has repeatedly petitioned the Government regarding the decision not to build a new mast, and met with Secretary of State Sajid Javid in June 2014.[11] He also collected a petition from local residents to present to the Government.[12]

Agricultural Accidents Bill[edit]

Wiggin has also campaigned for better recording of agricultural accidents, namely those involving cattle. In April 2014 he presented a 10 Minute Rule Bill in Parliament to require the Health and Safety Executive to record certain details of such accidents and to report these details annually.[13]

Following Wiggin’s meeting with Rick Brunt, Head of Agriculture at the HSE, Minister Mike Penning MP announced that the HSE would start to collect and publish the data.[14] This included TB testing, presence of a dog, breed of cattle and the proper circumstances and ages of cattle, details of those injured; whether a right of way was involved, whether the person was trespassing, and any other relevant and useful information.

On 25 May Wiggin appeared on BBC’s Countryfile with his herd of Hereford Cattle to discuss the campaign.[15]

Expense claims Investigations[edit]

During the parliamentary expenses scandal the Daily Telegraph reported that Wiggin had wrongly claimed more than £11,000 mortgage payments on his Herefordshire property.[16] This property had no mortgage and Wiggin who had made 23 declarations that it was his main home said the expenses were claimed in error.[16] The Committee found that Wiggin's mortgage claims were the result of "an unfortunate and unintended muddle" which should have been picked up much more quickly, though no cost to the public purse resulted. The committee expressed disappointment that Wiggin had not been cooperative with the enquiry as required by the Code of Conduct.[17]

His claims for household bills were also investigated following a complaint by Mr Miller.[18] Wiggin had routinely claimed £240 a month for household bills and whilst the Standards and Privileges Committee confirmed that he could claim up to £250 a month without a receipt, this was to cover costs actually incurred.[17]

Wiggin "chose not to" take up the Committee's invitation to check his expenses with his bank and service providers and, on balance of probability they found he overclaimed expenses for council tax, telephone and workmen's bills.[17]

In October 2010, Wiggin apologised to the House and was ordered to repay £4009 utility expenses.[19]

Register of Members' Interests[edit]

In addition to being an MP, Wiggin works for Apex Fund Services Holdings, seeking new clients for the firm. For this work, he is paid approx £3,268 per month. He is also a non-executive director of Philip T English International Financial Services Ltd, for which he works approx 60 hours and is paid £5,000 per year. In 2008, he was paid up to £5,000 for Parliamentary Advice, by the Green Lane Association, which promotes off-road driving in the countryside. He has acted as consultant for the Trail Riders Fellowship, for which he was paid between £5,001 and £10,000. He was also paid up to £5,000 for provision of advice on parliamentary affairs to Commerzbank in 2002.

Wiggin has accepted donations and donations in kind from a number of sources, including the British Association for Shooting and Conservation (two days' shooting and two nights' accommodation in 2011 and 2012 at Catton Hall, Derbyshire; total value £1,527) and one day of shooting with Cubitt Consulting in 2004.

In 2008, Wiggin accepted an expenses-paid trip to Malaysia, by palm oil conglomerate Sime Darby.[20]

Personal life[edit]

Wiggin is the son of Sir Jerry Wiggin, former MP for Weston-super-Mare. Wiggin lives in Ledbury with wife Milly and their three children. The family has strong roots in the area and Bill owns a farm where he keeps his Hereford cattle.[21]

In addition to acting as a Trustee of the Eveson Charitable Trust, which assigns funding to support medical research and the disadvantaged, Bill is patron to several local charities. His interests include motorbikes, DIY, shooting, fishing and Hereford cattle.[22]

Bibliography[edit]

  • A Better Agenda for the Environment published by Exposure Publishing, an imprint of Diggory Press ISBN 1-84685-067-3

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://billwiggin.wordpress.com/campaigns/
  2. ^ General Register Office Births 1966 April–June vol 5D page 1460
  3. ^ Robertson, David. "General Election 2005". The Times. Retrieved 18 October 2006. [dead link]
  4. ^ a b "Bill Wiggin MP profile". Conservative Party. Archived from the original on 5 October 2007. Retrieved 18 October 2006. 
  5. ^ "Burnley Constituency". Manchester: The Guardian. Retrieved 1 December 2009. [dead link]
  6. ^ a b Swaine, Jon (14 September 2009). "Bill Wiggin steps in to silence campaigning council candidate". The Telegraph (London). Retrieved 1 December 2009. 
  7. ^ "MP voices flood worries in Herefordshire". Hereford Times (Hereford). 11 February 2014. Retrieved 23 June 2014. 
  8. ^ "Prepare for more floods". Hereford Times (Hereford). 7 May 2014. Retrieved 23 June 2014. 
  9. ^ http://billwiggin.wordpress.com/campaigns/rail-services-in-north-herefordshire/
  10. ^ http://www.herefordtimes.com/news/regional/herefordshire/11049435.Internet_boost_is_welcomed_by_Bill_Wiggin_MP/
  11. ^ http://billwiggin.wordpress.com/2014/06/18/bill-meets-sos-over-fownhope/
  12. ^ http://www.herefordtimes.com/news/11338957.Fownhope_mobile_phone_mast_petition_handed_to_Herefordshire_MP_Bill_Wiggin/
  13. ^ agriculturalaccidentsrecords.html
  14. ^ https://billwiggin.files.wordpress.com/2014/06/mike-penning-letter-hse.pdf
  15. ^ http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b045gq6m
  16. ^ a b Robert Winnett, Martin Beckford and Nick Allen (20 May 2009). "MPs' expenses: Bill Wiggin claimed £11,000 in phantom mortgage payments". Telegraph (London). Retrieved 4 December 2009. 
  17. ^ a b c "Bill Wiggin - Standards and Privileges Committee Contents". Retrieved 12 October 2010. 
  18. ^ Swaine, Jon (17 November 2009). "MPs' expenses: Bill Wiggin questioned by parliamentary sleaze watchdog – Telegraph". London: www.telegraph.co.uk. Retrieved 1 December 2009. 
  19. ^ "MP Bill Wiggin investigated over expenses claim". BBC News. 9 March 2011. Retrieved 9 March 2011. 
  20. ^ http://www.theyworkforyou.com/regmem/?p=11318
  21. ^ About Bill
  22. ^ "About Bill". Bill Wiggin. Retrieved 17 March 2012. 

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Peter Temple-Morris
Member of Parliament for Leominster
20012010
Constituency abolished
New constituency Member of Parliament for North Herefordshire
2010–present
Incumbent