Steven Norris

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This article is about the British politician. For the private equity investor, see Stephen L. Norris.
Steven Norris
Steven Norris.jpg
Member of Parliament
for Epping Forest
In office
18 December 1988 – 1 May 1997
Preceded by Sir John Biggs-Davison
Succeeded by Eleanor Laing
Member of Parliament
for Oxford East
In office
9 June 1983 – 11 June 1987
Preceded by new constituency
Succeeded by Andrew Smith
Personal details
Born (1945-05-24) 24 May 1945 (age 69)
Liverpool, Lancashire, England, United Kingdom
Nationality British
Political party Conservative
Alma mater Liverpool Institute for Boys
Worcester College, Oxford

Steven John Norris (born 24 May 1945 in Liverpool, Lancashire) is a British Conservative politician. He was the official Conservative candidate for Mayor of London in 2000 and 2004, losing in both races to Ken Livingstone.

A former Vice-Chairman of the Conservative Party, he chaired the transport working group in Conservative Party leader David Cameron's Quality of Life Commission.

Early life and career[edit]

Steven Norris attended the Liverpool Institute for Boys, a grammar school, from 1956 to 1963; there he became a prefect and, in his last year, Head Boy. He gained an open Exhibition in Social Studies and graduated from Worcester College, Oxford where he was a member of the Labour club. After graduating he pursued a career in the engineering and motor industries, and entered politics when he was elected to Berkshire County Council in 1977.

Parliamentary and ministerial career[edit]

He became the Member of Parliament for Oxford East in 1983. After narrowly losing that seat in 1987 to Andrew Smith, he re-entered the House of Commons at a by-election for Epping Forest in 1988. He served as a Parliamentary Private Secretary to William Waldegrave at the Department of the Environment, Nicholas Ridley at the Department of Trade and Industry and Kenneth Baker at the Home Office before being promoted to Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport and Minister for Transport in London by John Major in 1992, where he was responsible for the Jubilee line Extension, the largest extension of the London Underground network to date.

Norris became known in particular for his interest in public transport. He is, or has been, Chairman of the National Cycling Strategy Board, Director General of the Road Haulage Association and President of the Motor Cycle Industry Association, a Commissioner with the Independent Transport Commission, and a patron of the cyclists charity, Sustrans and of the Campaign for Better Transport (UK) Trust.[1]

London Mayoral bids[edit]

In 1996 he published his autobiography 'Changing Trains' in which he first expressed an interest in running to be Mayor of London. He stood down from Parliament at the 1997 General Election to pursue business interests.

2000[edit]

In 1999, Norris was pitted against writer Jeffrey Archer in the race to become Conservative candidate for mayor of London. The battle was bitterly fought with Norris at one point remarking to a Conservative colleague that he would never support Archer "alive or dead".[2] Archer was selected, but withdrew in 1999 after it was revealed that he had committed perjury in a libel case. Archer was subsequently convicted and imprisoned. Norris was selected as the Conservative party candidate in a ballot of Conservative Party members in London at the end of that year. In the Mayoral election itself, he came in second with 42% in the final round, losing to temporarily-independent but former (and future) Labour member Ken Livingstone.

2004[edit]

In February 2003 he was again selected as Conservative mayoral candidate for the next elections in 2004. His platform included promises to open the Tube until 3.00am on Fridays and Saturdays and a "zero tolerance" approach to crime, adapted from New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani whom he met to discuss strategies to combat crime in April 2004. The 2004 election saw him increase his share of the vote, in contrast to the London-wide vote of Conservative candidates for the London Assembly which fell two percentage points compared to 2000.

Possible future candidacy[edit]

After speculation that he would run again in 2008, Norris declined to put his name forward in time for the deadline for nominations to be submitted, initially scheduled for 4 August 2006.[3] The day following Norris's announcement the Conservative leader David Cameron extended the deadline for nominations in the hope of attracting a heavyweight candidate. Norris did not rule out being the Conservative candidate for Mayor of London in the 2008 Mayoral election. In an interview on 22 February 2007, Norris demonstrated his continued interest in and passion for the Mayoralty. He concluded by saying: "If I run, I'll win." However he did not hand in his nomination papers by the new later deadline of 16 July 2007 and Boris Johnson was later selected.

Business career[edit]

Norris is unusual in that he has combined a career in politics with a successful career in business. At the time of the Potters Bar rail crash on 10 May 2002 he was a non-executive director of Jarvis plc, who were responsible for maintaining the defective points which caused the crash. Along with other Jarvis directors he falsely claimed to have evidence showing that outside saboteurs were responsible. Jarvis subsequently admitted liability after a damning HSE report. Jarvis went into administration on 25 March 2010.

Norris is currently Chairman of Soho Estates. He is also Chairman of Obsidian Regeneration Ltd and Virtus Data Centres Ltd. He is a non-executive director of a number of other private companies.

Personal life[edit]

Norris married his first wife, Vicky, in 1969, and has two sons from that marriage. He has another son with his second wife, Emma, whom he married in April 2000. He is a supporter of home town side Everton F.C.. During the 1990s, it was widely reported that he had had a series of extramarital affairs.[4] He survived as a minister because of his relative popularity with journalists and because he made it clear he was not apologising for his personal life.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Governance - Campaign for Better Transport Charitable Trust". Campaign for Better Transport. Retrieved 2008-01-18.  "Independent Transport Commissioners". Retrieved 2013-12-08. 
  2. ^ White, Michael (15 September 1999). "Norris gaffe offers Archer easy points in race for mayor". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 2008-01-20. 
  3. ^ Woodward, Will (4 August 2006). "Norris opts out of Tory primary contest for London mayor". The Guardian. Retrieved 2008-01-20. 
  4. ^ "Steve Norris: Tory who ran as a liberal". BBC News. 5 May 2000. Retrieved 17 January 2011. 
Parliament of the United Kingdom
New constituency Member of Parliament for Oxford East
19831987
Succeeded by
Andrew Smith
Preceded by
Sir John Biggs-Davison
Member of Parliament for Epping Forest
19881997
Succeeded by
Eleanor Laing