Bob Russell (British politician)

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Sir Bob Russell
Bob Russell MP at Bournemouth.jpg
Member of Parliament
for Colchester
Assumed office
1 May 1997
Preceded by Constituency created
Majority 6,982 (15.1%)
Personal details
Born (1946-03-31) 31 March 1946 (age 69)
London, England
Nationality British
Political party Liberal Democrat (1988–present)
Other political
Labour (1971–1981)
SDP (1981–1988)
Religion Non-conformist Protestant

Sir Robert Edward Russell (born 31 March 1946) is a Liberal Democrat politician in the United Kingdom who has been an Member of Parliament for Colchester since 1997 (re-elected 2001, 2005 and 2010). He was knighted in the 2012 New Year Honours for public service.[1]


Before being elected to the House of Commons, Russell was a councillor for over twenty years, initially for the Labour Party, then for the Social Democrats, and finally for the Lib Dems. He represented Colchester's New Town ward. He was leader of Colchester Borough Council[when?] until 1991[citation needed] having previously served as Mayor of Colchester for the year 1986–87.

Russell stood unsuccessfully for Parliament for Colchester in 1979 as a Labour candidate.[citation needed]

He was the Liberal Democrat spokesman on Culture, Media and Sport from 2002 to 2005, but was succeeded by Don Foster and was a member of the Liberal Democrat Shadow Defence team until the formation of the Conservative – Liberal Democrat Coalition Government on 11 May 2010, at which point he became a backbencher.[2]

At the 2010 general election, Russell had a majority of 6,982 votes (15.1%).[3]

In 2011, he was a member of the special Select Committee set up to scrutinise the Bill that became the Armed Forces Act 2011.[4]

He is a member of the Beveridge Group, and vice-chair of the All Party Parliamentary Flag Group.[5] He also sits on the Defence Select Committee.


Russell is known for supporting unusual causes, such as petitioning the House for the return of Young's bitter to Parliament's Strangers' Bar.[6]

Russell has spoken out against celebrity tax exiles - including Lewis Hamilton.[7]

Russell is a supporter of Votes at 16.


In December 2010, a reply he wrote to a letter from a constituent concerned about the cost of the coming Royal Wedding was published in the press. In it Russell told his constituent to "get a life and stop whinging".[8] In 2011, he followed this up with another contentious letter to a constituent. Referring to him as a "rubbish man", Russell accused those in support of the Visual Arts Facility as "expecting the council to fund their social life".[9]


In 2012, Russell was found to have broken parliamentary expenses rules after claiming more than £70,000 over seven years for an office owned by a company in which he was a major shareholder. He was found to have acted in good faith, but found to be in "clear breach" of the rules.[10] Russell apologised, stating "I have not personally made a financial gain from the arrangements. Rather I have made a significant personal contribution to provide an office which is fit for purpose at no additional cost to the public purse" and adding "The fact that no further action is to be taken indicates that my breach was a technical one."

Outside interests[edit]

Russell is a former season ticket holder for Colchester United football club, and wrote the foreword for the latest history of the club.[11]


  1. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 60009. p. 1. 31 December 2011.
  2. ^ Porter, Andrew (28 October 2010). "Housing benefit cuts to stay, says David Cameron". The Daily Telegraph (London). Retrieved 31 October 2010. 
  3. ^ "Colchester constituency result". BBC News. 7 May 2010. Retrieved 7 May 2010. 
  4. ^ "Select Committee on the Armed Forces Bill". Retrieved 20 Sep 2013. 
  5. ^ "Register of All-Party Groups". UK Parliament. 9 July 2009. Retrieved 10 March 2010. [dead link]
  6. ^ Bob Russell (30 November 2005). "EDM 1169/2005: Return of Young's bitter to Strangers' Bar". UK Parliament. Retrieved 10 March 2010. 
  7. ^ Graeme Wilson (5 November 2008). "Tessa's £10,000 Lewis race trip". The Sun (London). Retrieved 10 March 2010. 
  8. ^ "MP to anti-royal constituent: get a life and stop whinging". The Daily Telegraph. 13 December 2010. Retrieved 16 December 2010. 
  9. ^ "MP Bob attacks Vaf fan in angry letter". Colchester Gazette. 12 April 2011. Retrieved 11 May 2011. 
  10. ^ "Sir Bob Russell MP 'broke Commons expenses rules'". BBC News. Retrieved 13 February 2015. 
  11. ^ Whitehead, Jeff (1999). Colchester United: From Graham to Wadsworth – A Complete Record. Desert Island Books. ISBN 1-874287-27-9. 


External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
New constituency Member of Parliament for Colchester