|Sir Peter Bottomley
|Member of Parliament
for Worthing West
1 May 1997
|Preceded by||Constituency created|
|Member of Parliament
9 June 1983 – 1 May 1997
|Preceded by||Constituency created|
|Succeeded by||Clive Efford|
|Member of Parliament
for Woolwich West
26 June 1975 – 9 June 1983
|Preceded by||William Hamling|
|Succeeded by||Constituency abolished|
30 July 1944 |
Newport, Shropshire, England
|Alma mater||Trinity College, Cambridge|
|Religion||Church of England|
Bottomley was born in Newport, Shropshire, the son of Sir James Bottomley, then a wartime British Army officer who later made his career in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and of the late Barbara, née Vardon, a social worker. He was baptized at St Swithun's parish church at Cheswardine where his parents had married. After seven school changes before the age of eleven, he was educated at a junior high school in Washington, D.C. and then Westminster School before reading economics at Trinity College, Cambridge, following his father, grandfather, father-in-law and father-in-law's father to the College. His supervisor was James Mirrlees, who later gained the Nobel prize for Economics. After university, he became a lorry driver and joined the Transport and General Workers Union before moving on to industrial sales and industrial relations. In the early 1970s he co-founded the Neighbourhood Council in South Lambeth, resulting in the creation of football pitches and other facilities at Larkhall Park. His last job before entering Parliament was putting lights outside theatres and cinemas in London's West End.
Member of Parliament
On the backbenches
Bottomley contested the Woolwich West parliamentary seat in the February and October general elections of 1974, failing to defeat the sitting Labour MP William Hamling. Hamling died on 20 March 1975, and in the space of 18 months, Bottomley faced the electors of Woolwich West for the third time at the by-election on 26 June 1975, the last year Harold Wilson led the Labour government. Bottomley was elected as the Conservative MP for Woolwich West with a majority of 2,382, and held this marginal seat and its successor, Eltham, in Parliament for the next 22 years. Margaret Thatcher was apparently surprised to be told by him that Ian Smith in Rhodesia was morally wrong, a military loser in the longer term and on either count should be told he would not have Conservative support.
In 1978 he became the President of the Conservative Trade Unionists, a position he held for two years. Before the 1979 General Election, Bottomley became a trustee with Christian Aid in 1978 until 1984. In 1978 as a member of the Parliamentary Human Rights Group, he campaigned to help delay the anticipated assassination of Archbishop Oscar Romero and represented the British Council of Churches at the funeral in El Salvador in 1980 when 14 people died around him. In 1979, days before the fall of the Labour Government, he made a visit to Washington DC to indicate that Margaret Thatcher, if she became Prime Minister, would not lift sanctions on Southern Rhodesia nor recognise the government of Bishop Abel Muzorewa. He was for some years a member of the Conservative Monday Club despite disagreeing with their policies on immigration, race relations, Rhodesia and South Africa. He has been chairman of the Church of England's Children's Society, a trustee of Mind and of Nacro and on the policy committee of One Parent Families. He served on the successor committee to the Archbishop of Canterbury's commission Faith in the City and chaired the churches' review group on the Churches Main Committee. He is a member of the Ecclesiastical Committee and has been appointed the Parliamentary Warden at St. Margaret's Church, Westminster. He is leader of the United Kingdom delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).
In 1982, he became the Parliamentary Private Secretary (PPS) to the Minister of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Cranley Onslow. Peter Bottomley's seat of Woolwich West had minor boundary changes and a name change. Bottomley fought the new seat of Eltham which he won by over 7,500 votes. Following the 1983 General Election, Peter Bottomley became the PPS to the Secretary of State at the Department of Health and Social Security, Norman Fowler.
Member of the Thatcher Government
After nine years on the backbenches, Bottomley became a member of Margaret Thatcher's government when he was appointed as the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the then Department for Employment in 1984, moving sideways to the Department of Transport in 1986 to become the Minister of Roads and Traffic. In 1989 he moved sideways again to the Northern Ireland Office. He was dropped by Margaret Thatcher in 1990, when he briefly became PPS to the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Peter Brooke. He has been a captain of the Parliamentary football team, participated in the parliamentary swimming competition and organised the annual dinghy sailing against the House of Lords. He was captain of the Commons eight, winning the first Thames rowing race in gigs against the Lords in 2007.
Return to the backbenches
Since 1990 he has been a backbencher, described as a maverick, 'supporting a range of seemingly perverse causes' . Bottomley decided not to re-contest Eltham after major boundary changes at the 1997 General Election, but sought nomination elsewhere. Following the retirement of the veteran Conservative MP Terence Higgins, Bottomley contested the newly formed constituency Worthing West, won with a majority of over 9,000.
Bottomley is in more parliamentary groups than any other MP. He was Chairman of the All-Party United Nations Group, is co-Chairman of PACTS the Parliamentary Advisory Council on Transport Safety and vice-chair of the All Party Parliamentary Flag Group  Through the Human Rights and CAFOD Groups he became and remained involved with the life, work and legacy of Oscar Romero since 1978. Through the Mental Health Groups he helped Charles Walker MP gain the first major debate on conditions lumped together as mental illness.
Bottomley has been a supporter of the British pensioners living overseas, living in mainly Commonwealth countries (47 out of 54) who have had their British state pension frozen at the rate at which it is first paid or as at the date of migration. British pensioners living in seven Commonwealth countries and those living in a number of non-Commonwealth countries have their British state pensions uprated each year, just as if they were living in the UK.
In 1967 he married Virginia Garnett who later became a social scientist, an MP, a Cabinet Minister, and a life peer as Baroness Bottomley of Nettlestone. They have a son and two daughters. The couple live in Worthing, West Sussex, Milford, Surrey and Westminster.
His brother was a Lambeth councillor; his brother-in-law was Mayor of Cambridge. His niece is Kitty Ussher, the economist, former Labour MP and Minister. His great-grandfather Sir Richard Robinson led the Municipal Reformers to victory in the 1907 London Council election. In 2002-2003 he was Master of the Worshipful Company of Drapers.
Bottomley was present at the Heysel stadium disaster in Brussels on 29 May 1985 and was present at the later stages of the rescue work at the Kings Cross fire 18 November 1987 and at the Kegworth air disaster on 8 January 1989. He was knighted in the 2011 New Year Honours for public service.
- "Devoted pair buried side by side. Village link went back for 70 years.". Shropshire Star. Friday 12 July 2013. p. 43. Report of burial of parents' ashes.
- Brown, Colin (15 June 1993). "Maverick Tory goes his own way: Former minister retains active role in transport workers' union". The Independent.
- The Independent 1993
- Jewish Chronicle 2011
- Ball, James (24 February 2011). "Coalition urged to act over lobbyists who use party groups 'to buy influence'". The Guardian.
- UK Parliament - Register of All Party Groups
- Peter Bottomley on Expat state pension unfairness
- The London Gazette: . 31 December 2010.
- Tory veteran Peter Bottomley awarded knighthood 31 December 2010, BBC News
- Leigh Rayment's Historical List of MPs [self-published source][better source needed]
- Who's Who 2008, A&C Black
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Peter Bottomley.|
- Peter Bottomley MP official constituency website
- Profile at the Conservative Party
- Worthing Conservatives
- Profile at Parliament of the United Kingdom
- Contributions in Parliament at Hansard 1803–2005
- Current session contributions in Parliament at Hansard
- Electoral history and profile at The Guardian
- Voting record at Public Whip
- Record in Parliament at TheyWorkForYou
- Profile at Westminster Parliamentary Record
- Profile at BBC News Democracy Live
|Parliament of the United Kingdom|
|Member of Parliament for Woolwich West
|New constituency||Member of Parliament for Eltham
|New constituency||Member of Parliament for Worthing West