Paul Tyler, Baron Tyler

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The Right Honourable
The Lord Tyler
CBE PC DL
Paul Tyler at Birmingham 2011.jpg
Member of Parliament
for North Cornwall
In office
9 April 1992 – 5 May 2005
Preceded by Gerry Neale
Succeeded by Dan Rogerson
Member of Parliament
for Bodmin
In office
28 February 1974 – 10 October 1974
Preceded by Robert Hicks
Succeeded by Robert Hicks
Personal details
Born (1941-10-29) 29 October 1941 (age 72)
South Devon
Nationality British
Political party Liberal Democrat
Occupation Liberal Democrat Working Peer
Website www.paultyler.libdems.org

Paul Archer Tyler, Baron Tyler, CBE, PC, DL (born 29 October 1941) is a Liberal Democrat politician in the United Kingdom. He was a Member of Parliament (MP) from February to October 1974 and from 1992 to 2005, and now sits in the House of Lords as a life peer.

Elections[edit]

In 1964 Tyler was elected Britain's youngest County Councillor and re-elected in 1967. He was vice-chairman of the Dartmoor National Park Committee and a member of the Devon & Cornwall Police Authority.

At the 1970 general election, Tyler stood as the Liberal candidate in the Bodmin constituency, defending the seat held by the outgoing Liberal MP Peter Bessell. However, he lost to the Conservative candidate Robert Hicks.

At the February 1974 general election, Tyler defeated Hicks by a majority only 9 votes.[1] At the October election that year, Tyler increased his vote, but not sufficiently to withstand the swing, and Hicks regained the seat with a majority of 665.[2] Tyler stood again at the 1979 general election, but Hicks was re-elected with a large majority.

He contested the 1982 Beaconsfield by-election, increasing the Alliance vote and pushing the Labour candidate (Tony Blair) into third place. Tyler did not contest the general elections in 1983 and 1987, but was David Steel's campaign organiser in 1983, and was subsequently elected Chairman of the Liberal Party 1983-6; and he was appointed a Commander of the British Empire (CBE) in the 1985 Birthday Honours.[3] He was Campaign Adviser to Steel and member of the Alliance Planning Group 1986-7, and member of the Campaign Team led by John Pardoe in the 1987.

He was the Liberal Democrat candidate for Cornwall and Plymouth in the 1989 European Parliament election. He reduced the Conservative majority to 8.7%, cut the Labour share of the vote and gained 68,559 votes – the highest ever Liberal or Liberal Democrat vote at the time and the best result in the whole UK.

After an 18-year absence, he returned to Parliament at the 1992 general election, when he was elected as Liberal Democrat Member for North Cornwall. He was a member of the Liberal Democrats' shadow cabinet until he retired from the House of Commons at the May 2005 general election. Dan Rogerson was selected by the local Liberal Democrats to succeed him, and held the seat by a majority of 3,176.

Commons career[edit]

Tyler was appointed Liberal Democrat Spokesman on Rural Affairs, Agriculture and Transport following his election 1992. In 1994/95 he also piloted a review of Transport policy. He gained the Country Life Parliamentarian of the Year Award for his persistent and effective challenging of Agriculture Ministers during the BSE Beef crisis.

After the 1997 election he was elected Chief Whip by the newly enlarged Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Party. He served on the Modernisation Select Committee, and led Liberal Democrat efforts to make the Commons more effective. As the Foot and Mouth epidemic devastated livestock areas, Party Leader Charles Kennedy appointed Tyler to co-ordinate the response, and work with farming and other organisations, to seek more effective Government action.

After the 2001 election he was appointed to shadow Robin Cook, Leader of the House of Commons, with particular responsibility for the reform of Parliament. He led for the party on both the modernisation of the Commons and the reform of the Lords to create a democratic and representative Second Chamber.

Peerage[edit]

On 13 May 2005 it was announced that Tyler would be created a life peer, and on 15 June 2005 he was created Baron Tyler, of Linkinhorne, in the County of Cornwall.[4] He was appointed a Deputy Lieutenant of Cornwall in February 2006. In March 2014, he was appointed a Privy Counsellor.[5]

Role in the House of Lords[edit]

Tyler chaired the Liberal Democrats' "Better Governance" policy group 2006–07 and piloted its report, "For the people, by the people", through the Liberal Democrat Conference of September 2007. His Constitutional Renewal Bill was introduced in the House of Lords in 2009.

He is currently Co-Chair of the Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Party Committee on Constitutional and Political Reform. In the present Parliament he has worked with allies in all Parties, and in both Houses, to advance the cause of constitutional reform. He convened a cross-party group from within the Joint Committee on the Draft House of Lords Reform Bill to secure majority support for positive recommendations in favour of progress with reform. With colleagues from other parties Tyler has contributed extensively to media coverage of this issue. He co-authored a pamphlet "Lords Reform – A Guide for MPs" with other pro-reform parliamentarians, before the Bill received a large majority at second reading in the House of Commons.

Campaigns[edit]

In 2006 Lord Tyler called on Planning Minister, Yvette Cooper to honour the pledges and position of her predecessor, Keith Hill, to keep the Cornish Saint Piran's Flag flying across the Cornwall. When he was MP for North Cornwall, Tyler led a successful campaign, backed by the local media, to gain reassurances from the Planning Minister that rules which prevent the St Piran's flag flying without permission could be ignored by local Councils.[6]

In 2007 Lord Tyler confirmed his support for a Cornish Assembly when he was interviewed by the BBC regarding proposals for a Constitutional Convention.[7]

Between 1992 and 2005, he was Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Organophosphates (OPs), and campaigned about their adverse effects on farmers (through sheep dip), pilots and cabin crew (through contaminated cabin air) and gulf war veterans (through pesticides used to repel insects). He also led a campaign to uncover the truth behind the Lowermoor Water Poisoning incident, and the ensuing cover-up, which occurred shortly before the Conservative Party privatised the water industry.

In 2004, Tyler started a campaign to stop government departments and agencies making citizens access their services via high-rate “0870” phone numbers. He exposed the Driver & Vehicle Licensing Agency for raking in over £1m a year in “revenue sharing” arrangements with telephone companies, where callers paid over the odds while waiting to book driving tests and sort out tax discs. The campaign culminated in the creation of “03” low-rate numbers, especially for public services.

Work outside politics[edit]

Experience working the Royal Institute of British Architects (1966–73) and SHELTER (1975–76) has given Tyler a special interest in housing and planning policy. He was managing director of the Cornwall Courier local newspaper group, 1976–81, a frequent contributor to a wide range of media, and presenter of BBC South West TV "Discovery" series in 1978. He was a Senior Consultant responsible for political and public issue assignments at Good Relations 1982–92 (for, amongst others, the Countryside Commission, European Year of the Environment and Rural Development Commission).

Publications[edit]

In 2014, Lord Tyler published Who Decides? Combining insightful analysis with a series of stories about his time representing Cornwall, the book draws on the work of former Government Chief Psychologist Edgar Anstey and on the illustrations by Norman Thelwell to his 1962 publication Committees: How they work and how to work them.

References[edit]

External links[edit]


Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Robert Hicks
Member of Parliament for Bodmin
February 1974October 1974
Succeeded by
Robert Hicks
Preceded by
Gerry Neale
Member of Parliament for North Cornwall
19922005
Succeeded by
Dan Rogerson
Party political offices
Preceded by
Geoff Tordoff
Chairman of the Liberal Party
1983–1986
Succeeded by
Timothy Clement-Jones
Preceded by
Archy Kirkwood
Chief Whip of the Liberal Democrats
1997–2001
Succeeded by
Andrew Stunell