|Sir John Butterfill MP|
|Member of Parliament
for Bournemouth West
9 June 1983 – 6 May 2010
|Preceded by||John Eden|
|Succeeded by||Conor Burns|
14 February 1941 |
Kingston upon Thames, Surrey, England
Sir John Valentine Butterfill FRICS (born 14 February 1941) is a British politician. He was the Conservative Member of Parliament (MP) for Bournemouth West from 1983 until he stood down at the 2010 general election.
Born in Surrey, Butterfill was educated at Caterham School and the College of Estate Management in London. In 1962 he began his career as a valuer with Jones Laing Wootton, before becoming a senior executive with the Hammerson Group in 1964. He was a director at the Audley Properties Group (now the Bovis Homes Group) from 1969 until he became the Managing Director of the St Paul's Securities Group. He became a Fellow of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors in 1974. He was elected as the Chairman of the Guildford Conservative Association from 1976-1982. In 1977 he became a senior partner in Curchod & Co Chartered Surveyors, where he remained until 1992. He was Director of ISLEF Building and Construction Ltd from 1985–91, and of the Pavilion Services Group from 1992-4.
In 1979 Butterfill contested London South East Inner at the European Parliamentary election but was defeated comfortably by Labour's Richard Balfe. He was selected to contest the Croydon North West by-election in 1981 which was caused by the death of Conservative MP Robert Taylor. It came as a great surprise when Bill Pitt won the seat for the Liberal Party, on a 24% swing and with a majority of 3,254. He was subsequently chosen to contest the south coast seat of Bournemouth West on the retirement of the veteran MP John Eden. Butterfill won the seat at the 1983 General Election with a majority of 13,331, and remained the MP there until 2010.
Butterfill remained a backbencher for the entirety of his parliamentary career. He was the Parliamentary Private Secretary PPS to the Secretary of State for Energy Cecil Parkinson in 1988, remaining Parkinson's PPS when he became the Secretary of State for Transport in 1989. His job ended when Parkinson resigned from the Cabinet at the election of John Major to succeed Margaret Thatcher in 1990.
Butterfill has served on many select committees during his more than 20 year Westminster career. He has been responsible for introducing many Acts of Parliament including the Registered Homes (Amendment) Act 1991; the Insolvency (Amendment) Act 1994; and the Policy Holders Protection Act 1997. He has recently been noted for campaigning for an increase in parliamentary pay and been quoted in the press as saying that "there are a lot of unhappy bunnies" in relation to MP's remuneration.
He introduced the Financial Mutuals Arrangements Bill which was renamed and became the Building Societies (Funding) and Mutual Societies (Transfers) Act 2007.
In May 2009, as part of the Daily Telegraph's publication of details, the newspaper revealed that for five years, Butterfill owned a six-bedroom country house in Woking, Surrey, 80 miles from his constituency. At the time, he designated a small flat in his Bournemouth constituency, bought for £56,000, as his "main home." Said by Butterfill to have been bought as a wreck, he submitted regular claims under the second home allowance for the cost of running the Woking house, which had a swimming pool and extensive grounds. This included £17,000 on servants’ quarters alone, contributing up to £1,778 a month towards the mortgage interest, and was also reimbursed for council tax bills for the "staff annex", where his housekeeper and odd job man lived.
When Butterfill sold the Woking property for £1.2 million in 2005, he informed HM Revenue & Customs that it was his "primary residence", meaning he was exempt from capital gains tax as advised by the fees office. In conversation with the Telegraph before publication of the story, Butterfill confirmed that he used part of the proceeds from the sale to pay for a £880,000 London town house, now worth an estimated £1 million.
Butterfill has paid £17,000 in discretionary repayments to the government related to his staff annex. He proved that he made no profit on the sale of his Woking property in contrary to initial claims by the Telegraph. He has also agreed to refund £3,000 for the claims he made related to repairs on the Bournemouth flat.
Butterfill is one of the 98 MPs who voted to keep their expense details secret.
Dispatches Lobbyist investigation
Butterfill was one of the MPs named in the 2010 sting operation. Butterfill is alleged to have told an undercover reporter that he would lobby to benefit the fictitious company and use his political connections for a payment of £35000 a year. Butterfill was also seen on the programme saying he had been one of the four people who persuaded David Cameron to stand for leader of the Conservative party and that it was likely that he (Butterfill) would be made a peer and go to the House of Lords. The following day the leader of the Conservative Party, David Cameron said, "I can tell you that is not going to happen."
He married Pamela Ross-Symons in 1965 in Surrey and they have a son and three daughters. He was awarded a knighthood in 2003 for 'services to Parliament'. He is also a businessman and is a director and adviser to many companies, and is council member of the PDSA. His constituency includes the centre of Bournemouth. He speaks Spanish, Danish and French.
- Prince, Rosa (27 May 2009). "MPs' expenses: Tory MP Sir John Butterfill paid no tax on £600,000 house profit". London: Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 2009-05-27.
- "how your MP voted on the FOI Bill". London: times online. 20 May 2007. Retrieved 2009-05-30.
- "Tory MP Sir John Butterfill offered access to chiefs for £35,000". The Daily Mirror. 21 March 2010. Retrieved 22 March 2010.
- "Cameron dashes Tory Butterfill’s peerage hopes after ‘lobby firm boasts’". The London Evening Standard. 23 March 2010. Retrieved 23 March 2010.
- Official Website
- Guardian Unlimited Politics - Ask Aristotle: John Butterfill MP
- TheyWorkForYou.com - John Butterfill MP
- Bournemouth West Conservatives
- BBC Politics Profile