Michael Brown (British politician)

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For other people named Michael or Mike Brown, see Michael Brown.

Michael Russell Brown (born 3 July 1951) is a British former Conservative Party politician and is now a newspaper and broadcast political journalist. He was a Member of Parliament (MP) from 1979 to 1997.


Brown was educated at the Andrew Cairns Secondary Modern School, Sussex, and the University of York, later studying for a year at the Middle Temple. He worked as a graduate management trainee for Barclays Bank from 1972 to 1974 then as a lecturer and tutor at Swinton Conservative College from 1974 to 1975. From 1975 to 1976 he was a part-time research assistant to Michael Marshall MP, working for Nicholas Winterton MP from 1976 to 1979.[1]

Brown was selected for the marginal constituency of Brigg and Scunthorpe and was elected at the 1979 general election.

In 1983, following favourable boundary changes, he was elected for the new seat of Brigg and Cleethorpes. This followed a bitter selection battle between Brown and Michael Brotherton, who was MP for the Louth constituency, which included the towns of Immingham and Cleethorpes. Brown's robust style is considered to be the factor which swung the party members to support him over Brotherton. Big Brother 6 contestant Derek Laud served as Brown's research assistant for a considerable time as an MP.

Brown threatened to resign from parliament when the village of Killingholme, in the centre of his constituency was marked as a potential site for nuclear dumping.[2]

Brown served as Parliamentary Private Secretary to Douglas Hogg, Minister of State at the Department of Trade and Industry, from 1989 to 1990, and then at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office from 1990 to 1992. From 1992 to 1993 he was a Parliamentary Private Secretary to Patrick Mayhew, Secretary of State for Northern Ireland. He was appointed as an Assistant Government Whip in 1993.

During the Cash for Questions parliamentary scandal, Brown admitted to, and apologised for, accepting money to lobby on behalf of US Tobacco without declaring it.[3]

He resigned in 1994 after The News of the World published pictures of him on holiday in Barbados with a 20 year old gay man. At the time, the age of consent for gay sex was 21 so the paper ran the story under the headline "Lawmaker as lawbreaker".[4] He subsequently acknowledged his homosexuality.[5]

After Westminster[edit]

Brown lost the election for the new Cleethorpes seat at the general election on 1 May 1997. Initially he struggled to find employment, working for David Evans contract cleaning firm but in April 1998 he submitted a piece for The Independent on how he was looking forward to being canvassed by the Labour Party candidates for his area in the Westminster City Council elections, which would give him an opportunity to play the kind of tricks voters often play on election candidates.

The piece was published and was well received. It led to a regular commission as a political sketchwriter for The Independent starting in 1999,[6] as well as political commentary for other newspapers. He regularly appears as a commentator and newspaper reviewer on British television, particularly on BBC News 24 and Sky News.


  1. ^ Austin, Tim (May 1997), The Times guide to the House of Commons, Times Books, p. 104, ISBN 0-7230-0956-2 
  2. ^ Baggott, Rob (1995), Pressure groups today, Manchester University Press, p. 200, ISBN 0-7190-3579-1 
  3. ^ Christian Wolmar (9 April 1997). "Election '97: Cash-for-questions row Tory adopted in secret". The Independent. Retrieved 8 October 2012. 
  4. ^ Brown, Michael (30 July 2002). "Shock news: there are gay MPs in the Tory party". The Independent. 
  5. ^ Morton Rayside, David (1998). On the fringe: gays and lesbians in politics. Cornell University Press. p. 87. ISBN 978-0-8014-8374-5. 
  6. ^ Brown, Michael (20 February 1999), "The Week In Westminster: Pinochet and policing prove tougher than yobs for Straw", The Independent, retrieved 24 December 2010 

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
John Ellis
Member of Parliament for Brigg and Scunthorpe
Constituency abolished
New constituency Member of Parliament for Brigg and Cleethorpes
Constituency abolished