Ian Liddell-Grainger

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The Much Honoured
Ian Liddell-Grainger
MP
Member of Parliament
for Bridgwater and West Somerset
Bridgwater (2001-2010)
Incumbent
Assumed office
7 June 2001
Preceded by Tom King
Majority 9,249 (17%)
Personal details
Born (1959-02-23) 23 February 1959 (age 55)
Edinburgh, Scotland
Nationality British
Political party Conservative
Spouse(s) Jill Nesbit
Website www.liddellgrainger.org.uk
Military service
Allegiance United Kingdom
Service/branch Royal Regiment of Fusiliers
Years of service 1980–1997
Rank Major
Unit 6th Battalion

Ian Liddell-Grainger (born 23 February 1959) is a Conservative Party politician in the United Kingdom. He was the Member of Parliament (MP) for Bridgwater between the 2001 general election and 2010 and the Bridgwater and West Somerset constituency from 2010. He is a great-grandson of HRH Princess Alice, Countess of Athlone, who died when he was 21, making him a great-great-great-grandson of Queen Victoria.

Early life[edit]

Queen Victoria, Liddell-Grainger's 3rd great grandmother

Liddell-Grainger was born in Edinburgh to David Liddell-Grainger and Anne Liddell-Grainger.[1] He was educated at Wellesley House School in the coastal town of Broadstairs in Kent and Millfield School in the town of Street in Somerset, before gaining a National Certificate of Agriculture at the South Scotland Agricultural College in Edinburgh.[1] Before entering Parliament he ran a 250-acre (1.0 km2) farm in the Scottish Borders from 1980-85[1] before becoming the managing director of his family's property management and development company.[1]

He was commissioned as a Major in the Territorial Army with the 6th Battalion of the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers,[1] commanding the machine-gun Platoon and then X Company of the Battalion in Newcastle upon Tyne.

After serving on Tynedale District Council from 1989 to 1995, Liddell-Grainger contested the seat of Torridge and West Devon at the 1997 general election, coming second to the Liberal Democrat candidate John Burnett.[1]

Parliamentary career[edit]

Liddell-Grainger was elected to parliament at the 2001 general election for the safe Conservative seat of Bridgwater in Somerset, succeeding former cabinet minister Tom King. He held the seat at the 2005 general election before boundary changes created the new seat of Bridgwater and West Somerset which he won with a nominally reduced share of the vote at the 2010 general election.[1][2]

Liddell-Grainger chairs the All-Party Energy group, the All-Party Pharmaceuticals group, the All-Party Dyslexia group, the All-Party Tax group. He was a member of the Public Administration Committee and the Environmental Audit Committee in the House of Commons. He is also a member of the All Parliamentary Armed Forces Scheme with the Royal Air Force. Liddell-Grainger was previously on the DEFRA select committee and the Scottish Committee as well the Crossrail Bill. He is also on the all Parliamentary Radio Group. He is also a member of the Cornerstone Group, a ginger group within the Conservative Party, which seeks to promote socially conservative values. His interests include the economy, taxation, treatment for dyslexia, constitutional affairs, rural matters and he has also spoken out in favour of making Herceptin available for early-stage breast cancer sufferers.

Energy issues[edit]

The Hinkley Point nuclear power stations are located in Liddell-Grainger's constituency. He considers that "the nuclear power industry has truly embraced the energy future of our country", and also that "nuclear energy plays an important role in my constituency and is behind the creation of numerous jobs and training opportunities".[3] He supported the decision in March 2013 to allow planning permission to build a third nuclear power station at the site.[4] He has voiced opposition to wind power schemes in his constituency, including plans to build two wind turbines at Wiveliscombe in 2012.[5]

Building schools for the future in Bridgwater[edit]

The cancellation of plans to build new school buildings in Bridgwater in 2010 led Liddell-Grainger to threaten to "march" on Downing Street in protest.[6] The cancellation of the Building Schools for the Future projects was one of the first acts by the newly elected coalition government's Minister for Education Michael Gove. Liddell-Grainger claimed that Bridgwater's schools were in need of rebuilding and that the plans, which had cancelled projects in three of the town's six schools, were actually all under one project heading and had been working effectively.[6][7] Gove was forced to apologise for a number of errors in the cancellation of the project nationally[8] and the Bridgwater project was reconsidered by the government after Liddell-Grainger met with Gove and it became apparent that Gove "wasn't aware of all the facts to do with the Bridgwater scheme".[9]

Expenses claims[edit]

Liddell-Grainger claimed a total of £166,109 in expenses, including for office, staffing and travelling costs, in 2007-2008.[10] Under revised regulations, in 2010-11 he claimed the reduced sum of £147,004 for expenses, the sixth highest of all MPs in that year.[11] Liddell-Grainger has registered his wife as a parliamentary assistant[12] and in 2010 included both his wife and his two eldest children on his list of staff, the only MP at the time to do so.[13]

Controversies[edit]

In 2006 Liddell-Grainger was disqualified from the WriteToThem league table after faking e-mails and replies to himself to improve his "responsiveness rating" on a website which helps people contact their elected representatives. Liddell-Grainger's spokesman stated that the e-mails had been sent to test the data that the website was judging him on.[14]

At the 2010 general election Liddell-Grainger refused to attend any election hustings or to take part in the BBC's election coverage.[15][16] A Facebook group was set up asking "Where's Ian Liddell-Grainger?".[15] Liddell-Grainger said that he was busy canvassing and dealing with casework.[15]

Views on the environment[edit]

According to the former minister Richard Benyon, Liddell-Grainger opposes bodies such as Natural England as a "default position". In 2010 Liddell-Grainger criticised plans by the Environment Agency and Natural England to create a wetland habitat at Steart on the Severn estuary as part of a realignment of coastal flood defences.[17] The project, which he said the nation "should not and must not afford", went ahead in 2012.[18]

In February 2014, in the context of flooding on the Somerset Levels, Liddell-Grainger called the chairman of the Environment Agency, Baron Smith of Finsbury a "little git", and a "coward". He claimed he would "stick his head down the loo and flush".[19] The floods took place after exceptionally bad weather, but Liddell-Grainger placed the blame for them on the Environment Agency's policy of not dredging the local rivers,[20] and said that he would be consulting with Dutch hydrological experts.[21]

Personal life[edit]

Liddell-Grainger is a great-great-great grandson of Queen Victoria, as his great-grandmother was Princess Alice, Countess of Athlone, and he is thus 309th in the line of succession to the British Throne.[22] His great-grandfather, the Earl of Athlone, was also descended from King George III. He is also a great-grandson of the 12th Earl of Lindsey. Liddell-Grainger, like his father, is a Knight of St John.

Liddell-Grainger married Jill Nesbit in 1985. The couple have three children.[1]

Ancestry[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h ‘LIDDELL-GRAINGER, Ian Richard Peregrine’, Who's Who 2013, A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc, 2013; online edn, Oxford University Press, December 2012 ; online edn, November 2012 accessed 28 June 2013
  2. ^ Mr Ian Liddell-Grainger, www.parliament.uk. Retrieved 2013-06-28.
  3. ^ NIA Industry Link magazine, issue 35, spring 2012
  4. ^ Hinkley Point C: Decision widens chasm in local opinion, BBC Somerset news website, 2013-03-19. Retrieved 2013-06-28.
  5. ^ Wiveliscombe turbines plan sparks opposition, BBC Somerset news website, 2012-05-28. Retrieved 2013-06-28.
  6. ^ a b Bridgwater MP threatens to march for new schools, BBC Somerset news website, 2010-07-08. Retrieved 2013-06-28.
  7. ^ School building cuts: Hard-hit areas, BBC news website, 2010-07-19. Retrieved 2013-06-28.
  8. ^ Michael Gove apology over school building list errors, BBC news weskit, 2010-07-08. Retrieved 2013-06-28.
  9. ^ Bridgwater MP says school schemes axing to be reviewed, BBC Somerset news website, 2010-07-13. Retrieved 2013-06-28.
  10. ^ "Ian Liddell-Grainger: in brief". Thisissomerset.co.uk. 12 May 2009. Retrieved 14 May 2010. 
  11. ^ Expense fraud MP Eric Illsley had second highest claims, BBC news website, 2011-07-11. Retrieved 2013-06-28.
  12. ^ The Register of Members' Financial Interests: Part 2 As at 7th May 2013, www.parliament.org, 2013-05-07. Retrieved 2013-06-29.
  13. ^ MP has three family members on his staff list, The Independent, 2010-08-28. Retrieved 2013-06-28.
  14. ^ "Site axes MP over 'fake' e-mails". BBC News. 21 February 2006. Retrieved 29 March 2012. 
  15. ^ a b c Tory Ian Liddell-Grainger criticised for debate absence, BBC election 2010, 2010-04-30. Retrieved 2013-06-28.
  16. ^ MP candidate pledges, Bridgwater and West Somerset, BBC website, 2010-04-28. Retrieved 2013-06-28.
  17. ^ "Natural England". Hansard. 2010. Retrieved 11 February 2014. 
  18. ^ "Steart Marshes". Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust. Retrieved 10 February 2014. 
  19. ^ "'I'd like to stick his head down the loo and flush': MP's fury at Environment Agency boss Chris Smith on visit to flooded Somerset". London Evening Standard. 7 February 2014. Retrieved 8 Feb 2014. 
  20. ^ Bell, Sarah (January 2014). "Would river dredging solve floods?". BBC News. Retrieved 10 February 2014. 
  21. ^ "Liddell-Grainger looks for Dutch solution". Bridgwater Mercury. January 2014. Retrieved 10 February 2014. 
  22. ^ Pendlebury, Richard (7 July 2008). "The West Country travel agent's wife 612th in line for the throne and the other unlikely Britons in our list of royal succession". Daily Mail. 

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Tom King
Member of Parliament for Bridgwater
2001–present
Incumbent
Lines of succession
Preceded by
Anne Liddell-Grainger
Line of succession to the British throne
(descended from Leopold, son of Victoria)
Succeeded by
Peter Liddell-Grainger