|Member of Parliament
28 February 1974 – 1 May 1997
|Preceded by||John Jennings|
|Succeeded by||Janet Dean|
|Born||24 December 1936|
|Alma mater||Christ Church, Oxford|
Lawrence was educated at the former Brighton, Hove and Sussex Grammar School and is President of the School's Old Boys' Association. He read jurisprudence at Christ Church, Oxford. From 1955-57, he did National Service in the RAF and served in Malta during the Suez campaign. He was called to the Bar by the Inner Temple in 1962, Queen's Counsel in 1981, a Recorder of the Crown Court in 1985, a Bencher of the Inner Temple in 1991, and was knighted in 1992. He has defended in over 85 murder trials, and has appeared in a number of notable criminal trials,for example the Kray Brothers (gang-land murders), the serial killer Denis Nilsen, Russell Bishop (Brighton Babes in the Wood murder), the Mountnessing silver bullion robbery, the Brinks Mat gold bullion money-laundering, and a mass-murder war crimes trial at the Hague.
Lawrence, having twice unsuccessfully stood for the Peckham constituency in 1966 and 1970, was elected MP for Burton in February 1974. He held the seat until May 1997 when he lost to Labour's Janet Dean. He was Chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee from 1992 to 1997 and was Chairman of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (UK Branch) from 1995 to 1997. He was a member of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee from 1982 to 1992, and served on a number of other Parliamentary Committees concerned with health, employment, social services and law and order. He was a member of the executive committee of Conservative backbenchers (1922 Committee) for a number of years. His Private Members Bill in 1991 instigated the national lottery, and in 1985 he made the longest speech in Parliament that century (on the Water Fluoridation Bill).
He is now a member of 5 Pump Court Chambers, Temple, London, a Fellow of the Society for Advanced Legal Studies, was an elected member of the Bar Council (2004–2010) and is Visiting Professor of Law at the University of Buckingham. He was admitted to the degree of Doctor of Laws "Honoris Causa" by the University in March 2013. His memoir,"My Life of Crime: cases and causes", was published by Book Guild on 30 September 2010 and reprinted in paper-back on 1 February 2012.
He has been married to Gloria for 47 years. They had one daughter, Rachel Lawrence, a criminal barrister for 21 years,an amateur actress, pianist, former CF Achiever of the Year and star of ITV's "Blind Date". She died of lung failure caused by cystic fibrosis aged 45 years on 6 September 2013.