Timothy Kirkhope

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Timothy Kirkhope
Deputy Chairman of the European Conservatives and Reformists
In office
2009 – Incumbent
Leader of the Conservative Party
in the European Parliament
In office
2008 – 23 November 2010
Preceded by Philip Bushill-Matthews
Succeeded by Martin Callanan
In office
Preceded by Jonathan Evans
Succeeded by Giles Chichester
Member of the European Parliament
for Yorkshire and the Humber
Assumed office
10 June 1999
Member of Parliament
for Leeds North East
In office
11 June 1987 – 1 May 1997
Preceded by Keith Joseph
Succeeded by Fabian Hamilton
Personal details
Born (1945-04-29) 29 April 1945 (age 69)
Newcastle-upon-Tyne, England
Nationality British
Political party Conservative
Alma mater Royal Grammar School, Newcastle
Profession Solicitor
Website http://www.kirkhope.org.uk/
Video Introduction

Timothy John Robert Kirkhope (born 29 April 1945) is a British lawyer and politician, currently serving as Member of the European Parliament for Yorkshire and the Humber for the Conservative Party. After serving for ten years as Member of Parliament for Leeds North East, he was first elected to the European Parliament in 1999. Since December 2004 he has been leader of the Conservative delegation on a number of occasions, and is also the Chairman of the Conservative Friends of Israel's Europe grouping.


Kirkhope was born in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, and educated at the independent Royal Grammar School, Newcastle and subsequently at the Law Society College of Law in Guildford before qualifying as a Solicitor in 1973. He was a Senior Partner in Newcastle law firm Wilkinson Marshall Clayton and Gibson (now part of Eversheds) until giving up practice on election to Parliament in 1987.

In 1982 he was elected to Northumberland County Council and served as a Director of Newcastle Airport. He obtained a Private Pilot’s Licence in 1983. He was very active in Hospital Broadcasting being the Chairman of Radio Tyneside for some years, and has maintained his links with the company. He was also very active in charitable work for the Macmillan Cancer Relief organization in Newcastle and the Family Service Unit movement.


Kirkhope first stood for Parliament for Durham at the February 1974 General Election, but was beaten by the Labour incumbent Mark Hughes. In 1979 he contested Darlington, but was defeated by Labour's Ted Fletcher.

At the 1987 general election, Kirkhope followed Sir Keith Joseph as the Member of Parliament for Leeds North East. He was made Parliamentary Private Secretary to David Trippier at the Department of the Environment in 1989. In the same year, he introduced and saw passed a private members' bill (the Parking Act 1989) which was designed to help motorists find better provision for their parking needs. He joined the Government as an Assistant Whip in 1990, becoming a Lord Commissioner to the Treasury in 1992, and Vice-Chamberlain of the Household in 1995.

In October 1995 Kirkhope received a promotion to be Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department at the Home Office responsible for immigration, border controls, gambling and licensing policy, and horseracing. He was defeated for re-election at the 1997 general election, his constituency attracting some interest because its majority had placed it at the point where a Labour gain would indicate that the party was likely to win an overall majority. Kirkhope returned to legal practice and also went into business. He is currently a non-executive director of the Bournemouth and West Hants Water Company.

European Parliament[edit]

In June 1999 he was elected to the European Parliament for Yorkshire and the Humber becoming the Conservative spokesman on justice and home affairs and the Chief Whip of the delegation that year. He also served on the Culture, Media, Arts Education and Youth Committee between 1999 and 2002. In 2002 he became the Conservative Party representative on the Convention on the Future of Europe, established to consider the future course for Europe. He was re-selected by Conservative members in Yorkshire and The Humber to head the list of candidates in the European elections in June 2004 in December 2002.

In spring 2003, Kirkhope was asked by the then Shadow Home Secretary Oliver Letwin to look into the workings of the UK asylum system and to make proposals for future party policy. The Kirkhope Commission worked for several months and produced a comprehensive report with 20 specific recommendations.

In July 2004, Kirkhope was elected as the first Vice-Chairman of the European Democrats, serving for a year. After the success of his Asylum Commission, he was asked to head another commission on immigration. This report was presented to the Shadow Home Secretary David Davis during the summer of 2004. In December 2004, Kirkhope was elected Leader of the Conservative Delegation in the European Parliament. He stepped down in November 2007 but was re-elected a year later after his successor, Giles Chichester, was mired in a scandal over parliamentary expenses.

In June 2009 Kirkhope became the interim chairman of the new European Parliament group the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR). He was a candidate to become the permanent chairman of the bloc but he chose to step aside for Polish MEP Michał Kamiński after Kamiński was denied one of the Vice President of the European Parliament positions by then-Conservative Edward McMillan-Scott. Kirkhope was later appointed deputy chairman of the ECR Group.

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Sir Keith Joseph
Member of Parliament for Leeds North East
1987 – 1997
Succeeded by
Fabian Hamilton
Political offices
Preceded by
Sydney Chapman
Vice-Chamberlain of the Household
Succeeded by
Andrew MacKay
Party political offices
Preceded by
Jonathan Evans
Leader of the Conservative Party Delegation
in the European Parliament

2004 – 2007
Succeeded by
Giles Chichester
Preceded by
Philip Bushill-Matthews
Leader of the Conservative Party Delegation
in the European Parliament

2008 – 2010
Succeeded by
Martin Callanan
New creation Acting Chairman of the European Conservatives and Reformists
24 June 2009 – 14 July 2009
Succeeded by
Michał Kamiński