Philip Hammond

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For the medical commentator and comedian, see Phil Hammond.
The Right Honourable
Philip Hammond
Philip Hammond, Secretary of State for Defence.jpg
Secretary of State for Defence
Assumed office
14 October 2011
Prime Minister David Cameron
Preceded by Liam Fox
Secretary of State for Transport
In office
11 May 2010 – 14 October 2011
Prime Minister David Cameron
Preceded by The Lord Adonis
Succeeded by Justine Greening
Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury
In office
2 July 2007 – 11 May 2010
Leader David Cameron
Preceded by Theresa Villiers
Succeeded by Liam Byrne
Shadow Secretary of State for
Work and Pensions
In office
6 December 2005 – 2 July 2007
Leader David Cameron
Preceded by Malcolm Rifkind
Succeeded by Chris Grayling
Member of Parliament
for Runnymede and Weybridge
Assumed office
1 May 1997
Preceded by Constituency Created
Majority 16,509 (34.3%)
Personal details
Born Philip Anthony Hammond
(1955-12-04) 4 December 1955 (age 58)[1]
Epping, Essex, England
Political party Conservative
Spouse(s) Susan Carolyn Williams-Walker
Children 3
Alma mater University College, Oxford
Religion Anglican[2]

Philip Anthony Hammond (born 4 December 1955) is a British Conservative Party politician who has been the Secretary of State for Defence since 14 October 2011.[3] He first entered Parliament in 1997 as the Member of Parliament for Runnymede and Weybridge.

He was promoted to the Shadow Cabinet by David Cameron in 2005 as Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, remaining in this position until a 2007 reshuffle, when he became Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury. After the formation of the Coalition Government in May 2010, he was appointed Secretary of State for Transport and joined the Privy Council. Upon the resignation of Liam Fox over a scandal in October 2011, Hammond was promoted to become Secretary of State for Defence.

Early life[edit]

University College, Oxford

Philip Hammond was born in Epping, Essex, the son of a civil engineer. He first attended Brookfield Junior School, Shenfield School (now Shenfield High School) in Brentwood, Essex, and University College, Oxford, where he gained a first class degree in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics.

Hammond joined the medical equipment manufacturers Speywood Laboratories Ltd in 1977, becoming a director of Speywood Medical Limited in 1981. In 1982, an automatic electrocardiograph electrode manufacturing plant figured among his notable achievements. He left in 1983 and, from 1984, served as a director in Castlemead Ltd. From 1993 to 1995, he was a partner in CMA Consultants and, from 1994, a director in Castlemead Homes.[4] He had many business interests including house building and property, manufacturing, healthcare, and oil and gas. He undertook various consulting assignments in Latin America for the World Bank in Washington, D.C., and was a consultant to the government of Malawi from 1995 until his election to Parliament.

Member of Parliament[edit]

Hammond was the chairman of the Lewisham East Conservative Association for seven years from 1989 and contested the 1994 Newham North East by-election caused by the death of the sitting Labour MP Ron Leighton, losing to Labour's Stephen Timms by 11,818 votes. He was elected to the House of Commons at the 1997 General Election for the new Surrey seat of Runnymede and Weybridge. He won the seat with a majority of 9,875 and has remained the MP there since. He made his maiden speech on 17 June 1997.

In 2009 it emerged that Hammond had claimed just £8 short of the maximum allowance for a second home in London from 2007 to 2008 even though he lived in the commuter belt town of Woking. As a result of the criticism Hammond said he would pay back any profit on the future sale of his second home to the public purse.[5]

Shadow Cabinet[edit]

In Parliament he served on the environment, transport and the regions select committee from 1997 until he was promoted to the front bench by William Hague in 1998 as a spokesman on health. He was moved to become a spokesman on trade and industry by Iain Duncan Smith in 2001, moving to speak on the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister's responsibilities by Michael Howard in 2003. Mr Howard promoted Hammond to the shadow cabinet following the 2005 general election as the Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury. Following the election of David Cameron later in 2005, he became the Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions. He was moved back to the role of Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury in David Cameron's reshuffle following Gordon Brown's accession to the premiership.


Hammond was appointed Secretary of State for Transport following the creation of the coalition government on 12 May 2010, a position he held until 14 October 2011. On 28 September 2011, he announced that the government would conduct a consultation later in the year on raising the speed limit on motorways from 70 mph to 80 mph, with a view to introducing the new limit in 2013.[6]

Hammond became Secretary of State for Defence on 14 October 2011 when Liam Fox resigned.[7]

Hammond meeting with US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta

In December 2011, he announced that women were to be allowed to serve on Royal Navy submarines. The first women officers will begin serving on Vanguard class submarines in late 2013. They will be followed by female ratings in 2015, when women should also begin serving on the new Astute class submarine.[8] It was also confirmed that the cost of the Libyan operations was £212m – less than was estimated, including £67m for replacing spent munitions, is all expected to be met from the Treasury reserve.[9] At the start of Britain's military intervention in Libya, Chancellor George Osborne told MPs it was likely to cost tens of millions of pounds, raised to £260m by the MoD as the action continued over the summer.

In January 2012 the Ministry of Defence announced 4,200 job cuts in a second round of armed forces redundancies. The Army will see up to 2,900 job cuts, including 400 Gurkhas, while the RAF will lose up to 1,000 members and the Royal Navy up to 300. The job losses will account for some of the cuts announced under the defence review – intended to help plug a £38bn hole in the defence budget. Hammond said the government had "no choice but to reduce the size of the armed forces – while reconfiguring them to ensure they remain agile, adaptable and effective". Hammond said: "As we continue with the redundancy process we will ensure we retain the capabilities that our armed forces will require to meet the challenges of the future."[10]

The £38 billion "black hole" in MoD finances has been "dealt with" and the department's "hand to mouth existence will come to an end", Hammond said in February 2012. Ministers had even found £2.1 billion to be allocated to several major spending projects to be announced in the coming weeks. The money has come from a combination of draconian cuts over the last two years, tough bargaining with industry and a one per cent increase in the equipment budget. All three Services will benefit from the new-found cash that will be announced in the next wave of spending proposals – known as Planning Round 12 – by early next month. "New equipment and support contracts amounting to billions of pounds are likely to be unveiled," said a senior MoD official. "PR12 is expected to signal a change in culture at the MoD.[11]

In February 2012 Hammond said that the Falkland Islands do not face a "current credible military threat" from Argentina. He added that Britain had "no desire or intention to increase the heat" surrounding the issue. Speaking in the House of Commons he said "Despite media speculation to the contrary, there has been no recent change to force levels", adding "There is no evidence of any current credible military threat to the security of the Falkland Islands and therefore no current plan for significant changes to force deployments. However, Her Majesty's Government is committed to defending the right of the Falkland islanders to self-determination and plans exist for rapid reinforcement of the land, sea and air forces in and around the islands, should any such threat appear."[12] In May 2012, Hammond said that banks were not solely responsible for the financial crisis as "they had to lend to someone". Hammond, part of the team that played a key role in drawing up David Cameron's economic strategy in opposition, also claimed that people who took out loans were "consenting adults" who, in some cases, were now be seeking to blame others for their actions. Speaking in Germany, he went on to say, "People say to me, 'it was the banks'. I say, 'hang on, the banks had to lend to someone'," he said. "People feel in a sense that someone else is responsible for the decisions they made. Of course, if banks don't offer credit, people can't take it. [But] there were two consenting adults in all these transactions, a borrower and a lender, and they may both have made wrong calls. “Some people are unwilling to accept responsibility for the consequences of their own choices." He added that individuals, companies and governments were all guilty of excessive borrowing. We allowed our expectations to run away with us," Mr Hammond said. "We started living a lifestyle both in private consumption and in public consumption that we could not afford. We borrowed to top it up … now the day of reckoning has come and we are adjusting.[13]

In May 2012, he said same-sex marriage is "too controversial".[14] In January 2013 during a visit to the University of London Royal Holloway's Egham campus in Surrey he compared same-sex-marriage to incest.[15] In May 2013 Philip Hammond abstained and became one of four cabinet ministers not to vote in favour of gay marriage.[16]

Hammond meeting British troops in Helmand Province, Afghanistan

In August 2012 Hammond announced that senior positions within the "top-heavy" military will be cut by a quarter. Around 26 civilian and military head office posts will go and a new senior structure will come in from April 2013. The move is expected to save the Ministry of Defence around £3.8m a year. Hammond said one in four posts from the ranks of commodore, brigadier, air commodore and above will go. Hammond said: "At a time when we are making difficult decisions about defence spending and have had to accept reductions across the board, we cannot ignore the volume of posts at the top. "For too long the MoD has been top-heavy, with too many senior civilians and military. "Not only does this new structure reduce senior staff posts by up to a quarter in the next two years, but it allows clear strategic priorities to be set for the armed forces.[17]

Four weeks before the London Olympic Games of 2012 the security company G4S announced it could not provide the number of security staff it had originally undertaken to deploy for the games. Hammond solved the problem by calling-in 5,000 members of the armed forces make good the shortfall. Their performance attracted widespread praise. Afterwards Hammond told The Independent the issue had taught him an important lesson: "I came into the MoD with a prejudice that we have to look at the way the private sector does things to know how we should do things in Government," he said. "But the story of G4S and the military rescue is quite informative. I'm learning that the application of the lean commercial model does have relevance in areas of the MoD but, equally, you can't look at a warship and say, 'How can I bring a lean management model to this?' – because it's doing different things with different levels of resilience that are not generally required in the private sector."[18]

Hammond has been openly critical of the Prime Minister's approach to the same-sex marriage Bill saying that he was 'shocked' at the speed at which it was pushed through and that it 'damaging' for the Conservative Party.[19]

Personal life[edit]

Hammond married Susan Carolyn Williams-Walker on 29 June 1991. They have two daughters and a son.[20][21] They live in Send, Surrey, and have another home in London. Hammond's wealth is estimated at £7.5m[22] or £9m.[23]


  • Mr Philip Hammond (1955–97)
  • Mr Philip Hammond MP (1997–2010)
  • The Rt Hon Philip Hammond MP (2010–present)


  1. ^ "Philip Hammond MP". BBC- Democracy live. Retrieved 13 October 2011. 
  2. ^ [1]
  3. ^ "Conservative Hammond named as UK Defence Secretary". Reuters. Retrieved 14 October 2010. 
  4. ^ Castlemead Homes
  5. ^ Heseltine, Emma (26 May 2009). "'Millionaire MP defends claim for a second home'". Surrey Herald (Chertsey). 
  6. ^ Stratton, Allegra (29 September 2011). "Government plans to raise speed limit to 80mph". The Guardian (London). 
  7. ^ Milmo, Dan (14 October 2011). "Philip Hammond and Justine Greening named defence and transport ministers". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 14 October 2011. 
  8. ^ "Women to be allowed to serve on Royal Navy submarines". BBC. 8 December 2011. 
  9. ^ "Hammond says UK not seeking 'perfect Afghanistan'". BBC News. 8 December 2011. 
  10. ^ "MoD announces details of 4,200 job cuts". BBC News. 17 January 2012. 
  11. ^ MoD balances books first time in four decades
  12. ^ Winnett, Robert (21 February 2012). "Argentina does not pose threat to Falklands, says Philip Hammond". The Daily Telegraph (London). 
  13. ^ Kirkup, James (3 May 2012). "Families must accept share of blame for Britain's woes". The Daily Telegraph (London). 
  14. ^ Tory ministers Philip Hammond and Tim Loughton come out against equal marriage for gay couples, Pink News, 13 May 2012
  15. ^ Pink News, Exclusive: Defence Secretary Philip Hammond links incest with same-sex marriage, 28 January 2013
  16. ^
  17. ^ "Military's 'top-heavy' command to be cut by a quarter". BBC News. 19 August 2012. 
  18. ^ G4S proves we can't always rely on private sector, says minister
  19. ^ Swinford, Steven (8 November 2013). "Legalising same-sex marriage was 'damaging' for Tories, Philip Hammond says". The Daily Telegraph (London). 
  20. ^ Conservative Party
  21. ^ BBC News: Vote 2001
  22. ^ Owen, Glen (23 May 2010). "The coalition of millionaires: 23 of the 29 member of the new cabinet are worth more than £1m... and the Lib Dems are just as wealthy as the Tories". Mail on Sunday (London). 
  23. ^ "The new ruling class". New Statesman (London). 1 October 2009. 

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Constituency Created
Member of Parliament for Runnymede and Weybridge
Political offices
Preceded by
Malcolm Rifkind
Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions
Succeeded by
Chris Grayling
Preceded by
Theresa Villiers
Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury
Succeeded by
Liam Byrne
Preceded by
The Lord Adonis
Secretary of State for Transport
Succeeded by
Justine Greening
Preceded by
Liam Fox
Secretary of State for Defence