Alan Haselhurst

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The Right Honourable
Sir Alan Haselhurst
Sir Alan headshot.JPG
Chairman of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association
In office
27 July 2011 – October 2014
Deputy Nafisa Shah
Preceded by Shafie Apdal
Succeeded by Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury
Chairman of the Administration Committee
In office
27 July 2010 – 30 March 2015
Preceded by Frank Doran
Succeeded by Sir Paul Beresford
Chairman of Ways and Means
In office
14 May 1997 – 14 June 2010
Speaker Betty Boothroyd
Michael Martin
John Bercow
Preceded by Michael Morris
Succeeded by Lindsay Hoyle
Member of Parliament
for Saffron Walden
Assumed office
7 July 1977
Preceded by Peter Kirk
Majority 24,991 (43.4%)
Member of Parliament
for Middleton and Prestwich
In office
18 June 1970 – 28 February 1974
Preceded by Denis Coe
Succeeded by Jim Callaghan
Personal details
Born (1937-06-23) 23 June 1937 (age 79)
South Elmsall, Yorkshire, England
Nationality British
Political party Conservative
Spouse(s) Angela, née Bailey
Children 2 sons, 1 daughter
Alma mater Oriel College, Oxford
Occupation Politician
Religion Church of England
Insignia of a Knight Bachelor

Sir Alan Gordon Barraclough Haselhurst PC (born 23 June 1937) is a British Conservative politician who has served as Member of Parliament (MP) for Saffron Walden since 1977, having represented Middleton and Prestwich as MP from 1970-74. He was Chairman of Ways and Means from 14 May 1997 to 8 June 2010,[1] and later Chairman of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association between 2011-14. He is currently the oldest Conservative MP.

Early life, education and career[edit]

Alan Gordon Barraclough Haselhurst was born in South Elmsall, near Hemsworth, Yorkshire and was educated at King Edward's School, Birmingham and Cheltenham College in Gloucestershire before going up to Oriel College, Oxford.

He was elected President of the Oxford University Conservative Association in 1958 and, for two years, served as Secretary and Treasurer of the Oxford Union from 1959. Before his election to Parliament, he worked in management in the chemicals industry and became an unremunerated director when his father's pharmacy was incorporated. He was the Chairman of the Manchester Youth and Community Service from 1974 until being returned to Parliament.

Political career[edit]

Haselhurst worked as an election agent for Robin Balniel, Conservative MP for Hertford, at both the 1964 and 1966 general elections. Being elected in 1964, he served for two years as the Chairman of the National Young Conservatives.

He was elected to the House of Commons at the 1970 general election for the Lancashire seat of Middleton and Prestwich, defeating the sitting Labour MP Denis Coe by 1,042 votes. However, Haselhurst lost the seat at the next February 1974 general election to Labour by just 517 votes. The Conservative MP for the Essex seat of Saffron Walden, Sir Peter Kirk, died on 17 April 1977 and he was selected to contest the resultant by-election on 7 July. Haselhurst won the seat with a majority of 12,437 and has been returned as the constituency's MP ever since.

In Parliament, he served as Parliamentary Private Secretary (PPS) to the Home Secretary Robert Carr from 1973 prior to losing his seat at the February 1974 general election, before being appointed PPS to the Secretary of State for Education and Science Mark Carlisle for two years from 1979. He served on the European Legislation Select Committee for fifteen years from 1982, and was a member of the Transport Select Committee from 1992 to 1997. He was invited to ask the first question in Margaret Thatcher's final Prime Minister's Questions on 27 November 1990.[2]

Following the 1997 general election, he was elected Chairman of Ways and Means (Deputy Speaker), remaining in that post under successive Speakers Betty Boothroyd, Michael Martin, and John Bercow until May 2010. Haselhurst was a contender to succeed Michael Martin after Martin's resignation as Commons Speaker on 19 May 2009. However, Sir Alan was among those who became embroiled in the MPs' expenses controversy being highlighted by The Daily Telegraph for claiming £12,000 in gardening expenses over 4 years, in the sum of £249 every month,[3] despite receiving advice from the Fees Office to simplify the submission of his expenses in this way;[4] he made endeavours to wipe the slate clean by refunding his gardening expenses "out of respect to his constituents",[5] withdrawing from the Commons Speakership election having received 66 votes in the first round of voting, and 57 in the second.[citation needed]

Sir Alan chose not to seek re-election as a Commons Deputy Speaker after the 2010 general election, since, by convention, the Chairman of Ways and Means should come from a different party affiliation than that of the Speaker, he would only have been eligible to stand for First Deputy Chairman, junior to his previous office. Nevertheless, his fellow parliamentarians entrusted him to continue as Interim Deputy Speaker chairing debates in the House of Commons during the period between the State Opening of Parliament and its election of new Deputy Speakers. On 27 July 2010, Haselhurst was elected Chairman of the House of Commons Administration Committee,[6][7] having been defeated in the election for Chair of the Backbench Business Committee by Natascha Engel.

Haselhurst subsequently was elected as Chairman of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association in 2011 serving until 2014, in succession to the Malaysian Datuk Seri Haji Shafie Apdal; the previous British parliamentarian to be elected to this post was Sir Colin Shepherd in 1996.[8] Re-adopted as the Conservative candidate at a meeting of the local party association on 13 February 2014, Haselhurst who has represented the constituency throughout ten parliaments since 1977, was returned as MP for Saffron Walden at the 2015 general election.[citation needed]

Haselhurst was opposed to Brexit prior to the 2016 referendum.[9]

Commonwealth affairs[edit]

Chair of the Commonwealth Youth Exchange Council (1978-1981), in July 2010 Haselhurst became Chair of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association UK Branch before in the following year at the Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference at London in July 2011. He was elected Chairman of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association's Executive committee,[10] serving until October 2014, overseeing parliamentary procedure throughout the Commonwealth.

Personal life[edit]

Alan Haselhurst married Angela Margaret Bailey on 16 April 1977, and they have two sons and a daughter. He is a very vocal supporter of community-based projects and was for a time a Director of Turning Point, a charity working with socially excluded young people, for five years from 1981. A noted Europhile, he is regarded as a one-nation Conservative and an ally of Kenneth Clarke.

He was knighted in 1995 and sworn of the Privy Council in 1999. He is the Secretary of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Cricket, was a Council Member of Essex County Cricket Club from 1996 to 2008, and is a member of Marylebone Cricket Club, and writes cricketing stories.


  • Occasionally Cricket: The Unpredictable Performances of the Outcasts CC by Alan Haselhurst, 1999, Queen Anne Press, ISBN 1-85291-622-2
  • Eventually Cricket by Alan Haselhurst, 2001, Queen Anne Press ISBN 1-85291-637-0
  • Incidentally Cricket by Alan Haselhurst, 2003, Queen Anne Press ISBN 1-85291-655-9
  • Accidentally Cricket by Alan Haselhurst, 2009, The Professional & Higher Partnership Ltd, ISBN 978-1-907076-00-8
  • Unusually Cricket by Alan Haselhurst, 2011, The Professional & Higher Partnership Ltd.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Hansard
  2. ^ Prime Minister's Questions - 27 November 1990, YouTube
  3. ^ Rayner, Gordon (12 May 2009). "MPs' expenses: Alan Haselhurst's £12,000 gardening bill". The Daily Telegraph. Telegraph Media Group Limited. Archived from the original on 15 May 2009. 
  4. ^
  5. ^ "MP to pay back Gardening Expenses". Saffron Walden Conservatives. May 2009. Archived from the original on 29 June 2009. The expense claims I made over recent years have been strictly in accordance with Parliamentary rules. The designation of my constituency home as my second home instead of my rented flat in London was obligatory on my becoming Deputy Speaker. In terms of total expense claims I currently rank 582nd out of 646 MPs. However, my claim for gardening help has caused concern. Out of respect to my constituents I am this week repaying the sum of £12,000. 
  6. ^ "Chair of Administration Committee elected". Retrieved 11 October 2013. 
  7. ^ "Sir Alan to head two committees". Saffron Walden Weekly News. 6 August 2010. Retrieved 15 March 2011. 
  8. ^ "Chairpersons". Commonwealth Parliamentary Association. Archived from the original on 26 October 2014. Retrieved 11 October 2013. 
  9. ^ Goodenough, Tom (16 February 2016). "Which Tory MPs back Brexit, who doesn't and who is still on the fence?". The Spectator. Retrieved 11 October 2016. 
  10. ^ Profile,; accessed 21 October 2015.


  • Profile,; accessed 21 October 2015.

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Denis Coe
Member of Parliament for
Middleton and Prestwich

1970February 1974
Succeeded by
Jim Callaghan
Preceded by
Sir Peter Kirk
Member of Parliament for
Saffron Walden

1977 – present
Preceded by
Michael Morris
Chairman of Ways and Means
Succeeded by
Hon Lindsay Hoyle