Tony Baldry

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Right Honourable
Sir Tony Baldry
Professor Stefan Wolff, Tony Baldry MP, Dr Raad Alkadiri.jpg
Second Church Estates Commissioner
Assumed office
21 June 2010
Prime Minister David Cameron
Preceded by Sir Stuart Bell
Minister of State for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food
In office
5 July 1995 – 1 May 1997
Prime Minister John Major
Preceded by Michael Jack
Succeeded by Jeff Rooker
Member of Parliament
for Banbury
Assumed office
9 June 1983
Preceded by Neil Marten
Majority 18,227 (32.4%)
Personal details
Born (1950-07-10) 10 July 1950 (age 64)
Uxbridge, Middlesex, England
Nationality British
Political party Conservative
Spouse(s) Pippa
Children two
Alma mater University of Sussex
Profession Barrister
Religion Church of England
Military service
Allegiance United Kingdom
Service/branch Sussex Yeomanry
Years of service 1971–1991
Rank Colonel

Sir Antony Brian Baldry (born 10 July 1950) is a British Conservative Party politician who has been the Member of Parliament (MP) for Banbury since 1983.

Early life[edit]

Born in 1950, Baldry was educated at Leighton Park School, a Quaker school, and the University of Sussex where he read Law. During his university years, Baldry was actively involved in student politics and whilst attending Sussex, took the Students' Union to the High Court on the grounds that the Students' Union was making ultra vires payments out of Student Union funds to various political organisations. Baldry v. Feintuck[1] for the first time defined the legal status of students' unions.[2]

In 1975, Baldry was called to the Bar at Lincoln's Inn and became a common lawyer, joining the Oxford and Midlands Circuit.

Military service[edit]

In 1971 whilst attending Sussex, Baldry joined the Sussex Yeomanry. On 19 May 1974, he was commissioned into the Royal Artillery, Territorial Army, as a second lieutenant (on probation). He was given the service number 498590.[3] His commission and rank were confirmed on 19 May 1974.[4] He was promoted to lieutenant on 19 May 1976,[5] and to captain on 18 February 1981.[6]

He retired from the Territorial Army on 1 April 1990 with the rank of acting major.[7]

Political career[edit]

Baldry began his political career in the February 1974 general election, serving as personal assistant to Maurice MacMillan, then Chief Secretary to the Treasury and in the October 1974 general election, he was personal assistant to Margaret Thatcher. When Margaret Thatcher later became Leader of the Conservative Party in 1975, Baldry joined her Private Office, working as the link between Mrs Thatcher and the "Britain in Europe Campaign" and the "Yes" Campaign, for the 1975 EU referendum. Baldry was active in the European movement and won the Robert Schumann Silver Medal in 1978 for contributions to Europe.

Baldry was first selected as a Parliamentary candidate for the Thurrock constituency for the 1979 general election where he secured one of the largest swings to the Conservative Party.

Following the retirement of veteran Banbury Conservative MP, Neil Marten, Baldry successfully contested the seat at the 1983 general election and was elected to Parliament with a majority of 13,025.

From 1985 to 1990, Baldry was a Parliamentary Private Secretary, successively to Lynda Chalker and John Wakeham, who was leader of the House of Commons. In January 1990 Margaret Thatcher made Baldry a Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State in the Department of Energy, where he helped John Wakeham privatise the electricity industry.

Baldry is one of the last of those made a Minister by Margaret Thatcher still to be in the House of Commons.

Following the election of John Major as Prime Minister in November 1990, Michael Heseltine asked that Baldry move to the Department for the Environment, where he stayed for four years covering every aspect of the Department's work including housing, planning, Local Government and construction.

In 1994, Baldry moved to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to cover in the House of Commons for Lynda Chalker who was the Minister for Overseas Development but in the House of Lords. As a consequence, he spoke for the Government on International Development in the House of Commons.

In 1995 he was promoted to the rank of Minister of State at the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food – where he had to grapple with the twin problems of BSE and increasingly unpopular EU fisheries policies, and was a position he held until the fall of the Major government in 1997. His civil servants nicknamed him 'Baldrick'.[8]

On 21 June 2010, Baldry was appointed Second Church Estates Commissioner, with responsibility for answering questions in the House in a manner similar to questions to ministers on the work of the Church Commissioners.[9][10][11]

In the 2010 general election Baldry was re-elected with an increased majority, of 18,227 votes.[12]

Following the 2010 general election, he became co-chair of the APPG on Agriculture and Food for Development along with Lord Cameron of Dillington, and joined the Ecclesiastical Select Committee.[13]

Baldry announced his decision to stand down as an MP at the May 2015 general election on 1 September 2014.[14]

International development[edit]

Tony Baldry is a member of the Council of the Overseas Development Institute, is the Vice-Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Overseas Development (Apgood),[15] a Trustee of Friends of Africa, which is a UK-based charity, and a Trustee of Afghan Action, a UK-based charity working in Afghanistan. He was one of eleven MPs to volunteer for the VSO's project PolVol in 2008.[16] He is on the council of governors of Chatham House.[17]

From 2001–2005, Baldry chaired the House of Commons Select Committee on International Development during which time under his chairmanship the Select Committee produced a number of unanimous Reports.


  • First report: The Humanitarian Crisis in Afghanistan and the surrounding region[18]
  • Second report: The effectiveness of reforms of European Development Assistance[18]
  • Third report: Global Climate Change and Sustainable Development[18]
  • Fourth report: Strategic Export Controls – Licensing Policy and prior Parliamentary Scrutiny[18]
  • Fifth report: Financing for Development: Finding the Money to eliminate World Poverty[18]


  • First report: Afghanistan: the Transition from Humanitarian Relief to Reconstruction and Development Assistance[19]
  • Third report: the Humanitarian Crisis in Southern Africa[19]
  • Fourth report: Preparing for the Humanitarian consequences of Possible Military Action Against Iraq[19]
  • Fifth report: The Government's Proposals for Secondary Legislation under the Export Controls Act[19]


  • First report: Trade and Development at the W20: Learning Lessons of Cancun to revive a genuine Development Round[20]
  • Second report: Development Assistance in the Occupied Palestinian Territories[20]
  • Fourth report: Kenya: DFID's Country Assistance PLan 2004–07 and progress towards the Millennium Development Goals[20]
  • Fifth report: Strategic Export Controls – Licensing Policy and Parliamentary Scrutiny[20]
  • Sixth report: Migration and Development: how to make Migration work for Poverty reduction[20]
  • Seventh report: DFID's Agricultural Policy[20]


  • First report: Commission for Africa and Policy Coherence for Development – First do no harm[21]
  • Third report: DFID's Bilateral Programme of Assistance to India[21]
  • Fourth report: Strategic Export Controls – Licensing Policy and Parliamentary Scrutiny[21]
  • Fifth report: Darfur and Sudan: The "Responsibility to Protect"[21]

Since the summer of 2009, despite advocating and voting for repeal of the Human Rights Act,[22] Baldry has chaired the Conservative Party's Commission on Human Rights, during which two reports have been produced:

  • "Those Most Responsible"[23]
  • "Supporting Women Human Rights Defenders"[24]

Political funding[edit]

The Banbury Conservative Constituency Association has received £481,521.32 according to[25] Baldry has received £86,659.32 in remunerations for work done since 2010 from Woburn Energy Plc, an oil and gas related company. As of 2012, for work done for Zaiwalla and Co. solicitors, Baldry has been compensated £162,200 in remunerations.[26]

Public behaviour[edit]

Personal loan[edit]

On 2 January 1997, Baldry accepted from Sarosh Zaiwalla (a prominent London solicitor), a 5,000 pound personal loan, on which he paid interest.[27] Baldry gave Lord Feldman (Chairman of the Conservative Party in London at the time) a letter of support for a recommendation of a public honour that Lord Feldman was making on behalf of Sarosh Zaiwalla.[27] It was later held by the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards that in that reference or separately, Baldry should have declared that he was at the time a beneficiary of a loan from Sarosh Zaiwalla.[27] Baldry was consequently ordered to apologise to the House over the incident.[28]

Sierra Leone[edit]

In January 2005 Baldry wrote to Hilary Benn, Secretary for International Development, on behalf of Milestone Trading, a British company involved in diamond mining in Sierra Leone.[29] He asked Benn whether his department could endorse the company as conforming to "best practices" in the diamond industry. In his letter to Benn, which was written on House of Commons notepaper, he did not reveal that Milestone had paid $75,000 into a company in which he was a one-third shareholder.[29]

Benn replied that the government "could not endorse an individual company's activities". At the time Baldry was the chairman of the House of Commons International Development Committee. He had also written letters to the President and Vice-President of Sierra Leone on behalf of Milestone in late 2004.[29]

Baldry also sent a series of letters on Angelgate Aviation notepaper from St James's Square (seen by the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards) to Sierra Leone Vice President Solomon Berewa on behalf of Angel Gate Aviation, a company that was trying to set up flights between London and Freetown.[29]

In investigating this case, the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards concluded that Baldry should not have used House of Commons notepaper in the letter to Benn.[14]

Baldry consequently made an apology to the House for the use of House stationery,[30] however the Commissioner stated that he found no indication whatsoever, in the course of his inquiry, that Mr Baldry had sought to exploit his position as Chairman of the International Development Committee to further his private interests.[14] The parliamentary Standards and Privileges Committee observed that "Baldry did not comply with the House's requirements in respect of the declarations of interests."[31]

James Ibori[edit]

In September 2009 Baldry, in his capacity as a barrister instructed by the solicitor Sarosh Zaiwalla, wrote a letter to Foreign Secretary David Miliband on behalf of Nigerian governor James Ibori, who was under investigation by Scotland Yard for corruption.[32] The Oxford Mail reported that Mr Baldry had been "paid more than £37,000 for 29 hours work between September and December by Sarosh Zaiwalla, a London-based solicitor who had acted for the Ibori family".[33]

Later that same month, The Independent printed a correction and an apology over a report in which they had suggested that Tony Baldry had "lobbied" on behalf of James Ibori. The correction clarified that Mr Baldry had not lobbied on Mr Ibori's behalf, and supported his claim that despite it being contrary to legal protocol, he had written to the Foreign Secretary in his capacity as a barrister, and not as an MP.[34] It was reported in issue 1320 of the Private Eye that Baldry's own libel solicitor had described the letter's purpose as pointing out that once the case was resolved "relevant agencies might want to reflect on lessons learned".[35]

Personal life[edit]

Baldry is a practising barrister and Head of Chambers at 1 Essex Court in the Temple, London.[36]

He lives in Bloxham, a village about three miles away from Banbury. He married his second wife, Pippa, in 2001 and has two children, Honor and Edward, from his first marriage.[37]

According to the Register of Member's Interests and on his website, Baldry confirms alongside his Parliamentary duties that he is a Director of Westminster Oil ("development of oil licences and exploration"), West Africa Investments ("investing in infrastructure and natural resource projects in Sierra Leone and elsewhere in West Africa"), Halcyon Oil ("a Hong Kong registered company focusing on oil exploration and discovery projects in Central Asia"). He is a director of Mastermailer Holdings plc, and he is deputy Chair of Woburn Energy plc, a company "specialising in oil exploration and recovery".[38]

Baldry was knighted in the 2012 Birthday Honours for public and political service.[39][40]

In September 2012 it was reported that Baldry crashed his car into four stationary vehicles, a bollard, and a portable toilet while attempting to park. Police breath tests later proved negative.[41] Baldry is a Freemason and has made speeches to parliament on the subject.[42][43]


  1. ^ 2 All ER 81 (1972)
  2. ^ "Ultra vires: what it says, what it doesn't say and how to beat it". Retrieved 26 March 2010. [dead link]
  3. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 46464. pp. 505–506. 14 January 1975. Retrieved 21 May 2013.
  4. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 46711. p. 12841. 14 October 1975. Retrieved 21 May 2013.
  5. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 46914. p. 7777. 28 May 1976. Retrieved 21 May 2013.
  6. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 48606. p. 6635. 11 May 1981. Retrieved 21 May 2013.
  7. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 52235. p. 12917. 6 August 1990. Retrieved 21 May 2013.
  8. ^ Criddle, Byron; Robert Waller (2002). Almanac of British Politics. Routledge. p. 944. ISBN 0-415-26833-8. 
  9. ^ "Second Church Estates Commissioner - Press releases - GOV.UK". 21 June 2010. Retrieved 16 October 2013. 
  10. ^ [1][dead link]
  11. ^ [2][dead link]
  12. ^ "Baldry re-elected with increased majority". Banbury Guardian. 7 May 2010. Retrieved 15 June 2010. [dead link]
  13. ^ [3][dead link]
  14. ^ a b c "North Oxfordshire MP to stand down at next General Election". Retrieved 1 September 2014. 
  15. ^ "Executive - All Party Parliamentary Group on Overseas Development". 25 July 2006. Retrieved 16 October 2013. 
  16. ^ "Tony Baldry, MP, Nepal – Life changing stories". Retrieved 27 September 2010. 
  17. ^ "Chatham House – About us – Patron, Presidents, Council and Directors". Retrieved 27 September 2010. 
  18. ^ a b c d e "International Development Session 2001–02 Reports and Evidence". Retrieved 1 April 2010. 
  19. ^ a b c d "International Development Session 2002–03 Reports and Evidence". Retrieved 1 April 2010. 
  20. ^ a b c d e f "International Development Session 2003–04 Reports and Evidence". Retrieved 1 April 2010. 
  21. ^ a b c d "International Development Session 2004–05 Reports and Evidence". Retrieved 1 April 2010. 
  22. ^
  23. ^ "Those Who Bear the Greatest Responsibility". Retrieved 1 April 2010. 
  24. ^ "Supporting Women Human Rights Defenders". Retrieved 1 April 2010. 
  25. ^
  26. ^
  27. ^ a b c "Annex to the Select Committee on Standards and Privileges Eighth Report of Session 1999–2000". Retrieved 30 March 2010. 
  28. ^ Schaefer, Sarah (23 March 2000). "Baldry to apologise over loan and CBE recommendation". The Independent (London). Retrieved 19 March 2010. 
  29. ^ a b c d "Written evidence received by the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards". Retrieved 19 March 2010. 
  30. ^ "Baldry in MP conduct code breach". BBC News. 21 July 2005. Retrieved 30 March 2010. 
  31. ^ "Baldry in MP conduct code breach". BBC News. 21 July 2005. 
  32. ^ Connett, David; Michael Gillard (15 February 2010). "Tory MP Accused Over Links to Nigerian Politician". The Independent on Sunday. 
  33. ^ "'I'm not corrupt,' MP Tony Baldry says". Oxford Mail. 15 February 2010. Retrieved 11 March 2010. 
  34. ^ "Tony Baldry MP". Independent (London). 28 February 2010. Retrieved 11 March 2010. 
  35. ^ "» Nigeria: Delta State Clerics Planned to Lead "Praise and Worship" For Corrupt Former Governor Bartholomew’s Notes on Religion". Retrieved 16 October 2013. 
  36. ^ "One Essex Court: The Chambers of Tony Baldry, M.P.". Retrieved 19 March 2010. 
  37. ^ "Still going strong - Sir Tony Baldry celebrates 30 years as MP". Retrieved 1 September 2014. 
  38. ^ "Tony Baldry MP, Banbury". They Work For You. 19 March 2010. 
  39. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 60173. p. 1. 16 June 2012.
  40. ^ "BBC News - Birthday Honours: Branagh, Winslet and Jowell on list". 16 June 2012. Retrieved 16 October 2013. 
  41. ^ "BBC News - Sir Tony Baldry MP hits four cars while parking". 10 September 2012. Retrieved 16 October 2013. 
  42. ^ "Freemasons (Hansard, 6 May 1998)". 6 May 1998. Retrieved 16 October 2013. 
  43. ^ "Conservatives at the heart of Freemasonry - News". London: The Independent. 31 October 1995. Retrieved 16 October 2013. 

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Neil Marten
Member of Parliament for Banbury