Nick Harvey

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Sir Nick Harvey
MP
Nick Harvey, Minister of State for Armed Forces.jpg
Minister of State for the Armed Forces
In office
13 May 2010 – 4 September 2012
Prime Minister David Cameron
Preceded by Bill Rammell
Succeeded by Andrew Robathan
Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Defence
In office
2 March 2006 – 13 May 2010
Leader Nick Clegg
Menzies Campbell
Preceded by Michael Moore
Succeeded by Office Abolished
Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for the Dome
In office
December 1999 – March 2002
Leader Charles Kennedy
Preceded by office created
Succeeded by office abolished
Member of Parliament
for North Devon
Incumbent
Assumed office
9 April 1992
Preceded by Antony Speller
Majority 5,821 (11.3%)
Personal details
Born (1961-08-03) 3 August 1961 (age 52)
Chandler's Ford, Hampshire, England
Nationality British
Political party Liberal Democrat
Spouse(s) Kate Fox
Children 2
Alma mater Middlesex Polytechnic
Occupation Politician
Website www.nickharveymp.com

Sir Nicholas Barton "Nick" Harvey (born 3 August 1961) is a British Liberal Democrat politician. He is the Member of Parliament (MP) for North Devon and was the Minister of State for the Armed Forces from 2010-2012 until losing that position.

Early life and education[edit]

Nick Harvey was born in Chandler's Ford, Hampshire and was educated at Queen's College, an independent school in the county town of Taunton in Somerset, followed by the Middlesex Polytechnic at Enfield where he was awarded a BA degree in Business studies in 1983. He also served as the President of the students' union from 1981-2.

Early career[edit]

He joined Profil PR Ltd in 1984 as a communications and marketing executive, before being appointed by public relations firm Dewe Rogerson (now known as Citigate Dewe Rogerson[1]) as a marketing executive in 1986. He worked as a communications consultant from 1991 until his election to Parliament.

Parliamentary career[edit]

He was elected as the vice chairman of the Union of Liberal Students for a year in 1981. He unsuccessfully contested the London Borough of Enfield seat of Enfield Southgate at the 1987 general election. He finished in second place some 18,345 votes behind the then Government Whip Michael Portillo. He was elected to the House of Commons for North Devon at the 1992 general election by defeating the Conservative MP Antony Speller who had ended the parliamentary career of former Liberal leader Jeremy Thorpe in the same seat at the 1979 general election. Harvey won the seat with a majority of just 794, but has remained the MP there since. He made his maiden speech on 11 May 1992.[2]

He was made a spokesman on transport in 1992 by Paddy Ashdown, before being moved to speak on trade and industry in 1994. He became the spokesman of constitutional affairs following the 1997 general election. He became a member the frontbench team under Charles Kennedy in 1999 when he became the party's Health spokesperson. After the 2001 general election he became the Liberal Democrat spokesperson for Culture, Media and Sport until he stood down in 2003 to spend more time with his young family. He has been a member of both the home affairs select committee and the standards and privileges committee since the 2005 general election. He is the vice chairman of the all party group on beer. Until 2009, Nick Harvey, in addition to his career as an MP, devoted time to advising a commercial public relations agency, Harrison Cowley, for which he declared an annual income of up to £10,000.

After the 2010 general election, as part of the Liberal Democrat - Conservative coalition, he was made Minister for the Armed Forces. After the September 2012 reshuffle he was knighted.

He was also a member of the Public Bill Committee for the Defence Reform Act 2014[3]

Libyan conflict[edit]

In March 2011 Harvey was asked how long Britain would be involved in the military operation in Libya. He replied: “How long is a piece of string? We don’t know how long this is going to go on for.” His admission, three days into the intervention, came as ministers faced mounting pressure to set out the limits of Britain’s involvement and explain their eventual exit strategy. MPs were becoming increasingly concerned that Britain would be “sucked in” to a prolonged conflict. Adding to the sense of uncertainty, France and Britain remained at odds over a plan for NATO to take over command of military operations when the US was to wind down its involvement, a transition that was expected, then, in days.[4]

Political views[edit]

He was the only Liberal Democrat MP to vote against the Maastricht Treaty in 1992 and was a critic of Liberal Democratic leader Charles Kennedy, having called into question his "political direction" and "leadership skills".[5] He returned to the Frontbench as Defence spokesperson under Kennedy's successor, Sir Menzies Campbell. He voted against the Iraq war and called repeatedly for troops to be withdrawn under a phased timetable. He also voted against the Government's decision to renew Britain's nuclear deterrent, Trident.

Personal life[edit]

He married Kathryn (Kate) Fox in May 2003 in North Devon. They have a daughter (born 2002) and a son (born 2004)[6]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ "Citigate Dewe Rogerson is an award-winning public relations agency, with expertise in capital markets, government, business-to-business, consumer and financial PR". Citigatedewerogerson.com. Retrieved 2010-07-12. 
  2. ^ Department of the Official Report (Hansard), House of Commons, Westminster. "House of Commons Hansard Debates for 11 May 1992". Publications.parliament.uk. Retrieved 2010-07-12. 
  3. ^ "House of Commons Public Bill Committee on the Defence Reform Bill 2013-14". Parliament.uk. Retrieved 17 September 2013. 
  4. ^ Libyan air strikes: Armed Forces minister admits there is no exit strategy
  5. ^ "UK | UK Politics | Kennedy faces fresh calls to quit". BBC News. 2006-01-06. Retrieved 2010-07-12. 
  6. ^ "About Nick Harvey". Nick Harvey MP. Retrieved 2010-07-12. 

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Antony Speller
Member of Parliament for North Devon
1992 – present
Incumbent