Jessel was born at Bearsted in Kent, the son of Richard Frederick Jessel (born 1902), a Royal Navy officer whose final command had been HMS Zealous. His great-great uncle was the judge George Jessel, his great grandfather's brother. His sister Camilla married the Polish-born composer Andrzej Panufnik.
Jessel served as a councillor in the London Borough of Southwark from 1964. The same year, he contested Peckham in the general election and then in 1966 twice fought Kingston upon Hull North, first in a by-election and then at the general election which followed. He represented Richmond-upon-Thames on the Greater London Council between 1967 and 1973. He was elected as the Member of Parliament for Twickenham at the 1970 general election, the seat having been vacant since the death of Gresham Cooke on 22 February 1970, and held it until he was defeated by the Liberal Democrat Vince Cable at the 1997 general election.
Jessel has been married twice. After he divorced his first wife, Pippa, their only daughter, Sarah, was killed in a car accident. He met his present wife, Eira, in 1986 and they were married in 1987.
- Times Guide to the House of Commons, Times Newspapers Limited, 1997
- Hansard 1803–2005: contributions in Parliament by Toby Jessel
|Parliament of the United Kingdom|
|Member of Parliament for Twickenham
1970 – 1997
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