Robert Gurth Hughes

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For other people named Robert Hughes, see Robert Hughes (disambiguation).

Robert Gurth Hughes (born 14 July 1951) was a British Conservative Party politician from 1980-97 and Government Minister in the 1990s.

Parliamentary career[edit]

After being an unsuccessful candidate for Stepney and Poplar in the 1979 General Election, in 1980 Hughes was elected to the Greater London Council representing Croydon Central, serving until 1986. Hughes was the Conservative candidate in the 1983 Bermondsey by-election and contested that constituency's successor seat of Southwark and Bermondsey at the 1983 General Election.

In 1987 he was elected as the Member of Parliament (MP) for Harrow West. He successfully defended his seat at the 1992 election but at the 1997 election saw his 18,000 majority swing to a Labour majority of 1,240 votes for Gareth Thomas.[1] Hughes' Parliamentary Aide in the Commons until May 1997 was fellow Harrow politician, Councillor Mark Versallion.[2]

Having served as a Government Whip in 1993 when the Maastricht bill went through the House, he was promoted to Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Office of Public Service and Science in the Cabinet Office in 1994 with responsibility for the Science Research Councils and the Medical Research Council.

He opposed the Conservative party line in 1996 by supporting a total ban on handguns in the wake of the Dunblane Massacre.[3][4][5] Robert Hughes is a keen supporter of Land value tax to eliminate income and sales taxes.

Post-Political Career[edit]

Upon leaving the Commons he became General Secretary and then Executive Director of the optical trade body, the Federation of Ophthalmic & Dispensing Opticians. He became the Chief Executive of the Association of Optometrists (AOP) in 2004. In 2011 he left AOP to become the Chief Executive of the Surrey Association for Visual Impairment.


  1. ^ BBC News Vote 2001.
  2. ^
  3. ^ Gun Control Network (Nov1996) Hughes defies Tory whip over total gun ban.
  4. ^ The Independent (02Nov1996) Tory MP campaigns for prohibition of hand guns. [1]
  5. ^ The Independent (16Oct1996) Handgun ban in sight

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
John Page
Member of Parliament for Harrow West
Succeeded by
Gareth Thomas