Andrew Bridgen

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Andrew Bridgen
MP
Official portrait of Andrew Bridgen crop 2.jpg
Member of Parliament
for North West Leicestershire
Assumed office
6 May 2010
Preceded by David Taylor
Majority 13,286 (24.8%)
Personal details
Born (1964-10-28) 28 October 1964 (age 53)[1]
Burton upon Trent, Staffordshire, England
Nationality British
Political party Conservative
Spouse(s) Nevena Bridgen (m. 2017)
Children 2
Alma mater University of Nottingham
Occupation Businessman
Website www.andrewbridgen.com
parliament..andrew-bridgen

Andrew James Bridgen[2] MP (born 28 October 1964) is a Conservative Party politician and businessman. Since May 2010 he has been the Member of Parliament (MP) for the constituency of North West Leicestershire. He is a long-term critic of the European Union and supported Brexit in the 2016 EU referendum. He is a vocal supporter of Eurosceptic pressure group Leave Means Leave.[3]

Early life and career[edit]

Bridgen was born in Burton upon Trent, Staffordshire. He attended Netherseal Junior School and then the state comprehensive school The Pingle School in Swadlincote in Derbyshire, where he gained 11 O-Levels and 4 A-Levels. He went on to study genetics and behaviour at the University of Nottingham, graduating with a degree in Biological Sciences.

After graduating, Bridgen trained as an officer in the Royal Marines. He returned home at 23 to help with the family market-gardening business. Alongside his brother Paul he diversified the business into the production of pre-washed potatoes and vegetables. They formed AB Produce in 1988, which is based in Measham in Leicestershire and currently employs around 230 staff. Bridgen is a former winner of the Young Executive of the Year UK and Young Director of the Year (Midlands) Medium-sized business awards. Bridgen became the East Midlands chairman of the Institute of Directors.[4]

In May 2009, he intervened in the "dirty tricks row" involving a councillor who had offered Conservative backing to ensure a village hall was built if an independent election candidate stood down.[5] Bridgen blamed "intransigence of certain unelected individuals at the very top of the county council" rather than the individual councillors involved.[5] Both Labour and Conservative council leaders criticised his intervention and the council solicitor wrote to ask for an explanation.[5] There was a police investigation and although he denied wrongdoing one of the councillors subsequently stood down.[6]

Parliamentary career[edit]

Bridgen was elected as the Conservative MP for North West Leicestershire at the 2010 general election, becoming the first Conservative MP for the area in thirteen years.[7] The seat had been vacant since the previous MP, David Taylor, had died of a sudden heart attack on Boxing Day, 2009.

Committee work[edit]

In 2010 Bridgen became a member of the Regulatory Reform Select Committee.[8] He has also sat on a number of Bill Committees, and was a member of the Advisory Panel to Professor Ragnar Löfstedt’s report on Health and Safety[9][10]

Middle East[edit]

Bridgen also forced a Government U-Turn over plans for military intervention in Syria after he organised a letter to the Prime Minister signed by 81 fellow Conservative MPs, demanding Parliament be given a vote on whether the UK should send military assistance to anti-government Syrian rebels.[11] Bridgen later stated his support for air-strikes against ISIS terrorists in Iraq.[12]

TV licensing[edit]

In 2014, Bridgen led calls to have non-payment of the TV Licence Fee made a civil rather than a criminal matter.[13] The legislation in force "is effectively criminalising them for being poor", he told The Times and "most of those sent to prison as a result of non-payment are the elderly and women".[14] The Government later adopted Bridgen's proposal which was also supported by the Labour Party though the BBC said the potential loss of £200m could lead to closure of channels.[15][16]

Constituency campaigns[edit]

Following very serious injury to a constituent in July 2011, Bridgen called for legislation to ensure Britons travelling abroad have adequate medical insurance.[17]

Bridgen also sought to highlight the risks of head injuries associated with sporting injuries.[18] He is a supporter of reform of the Pub industry, supporting moves to introduce a Market Rent Option for tied tenant publicans.[19] Bridgen is a supporter of the "Fair Deal For Your Local" campaign.[20]

Bridgen also successfully campaigned to reduce the cost of family holidays, by getting the Government to cut Air Passenger Duty for children, a move backed by travel operators. Bridgen told the Government scrapping the duty "...will make a huge difference to hard working families looking to go abroad for a family holiday or to visit friends and relatives, as well as encouraging more visits to the UK by overseas families".[21]

Political views[edit]

David Cameron[edit]

Bridgen was a critic of David Cameron, at one point calling for a change in leadership of the Party.[22] However, Bridgen withdrew a letter of no confidence, expressing renewed support for David Cameron, but expressing concerns over High Speed 2.[23] Three weeks before the EU referendum he declared that Cameron's position was untenable and he would have to be replaced possibly immediately after the vote.[24]

EU[edit]

Bridgen is a long-term critic of the European Union. In February 2016 he criticised the BBC for selecting pro-EU guests for the BBC Newsnight and BBC Radio 4 Today programmes. He also claimed the BBC should not claim that Britain enjoyed a special status as Cameron's EU renegotiations hadn't changed anything.[25] He supported Brexit in the 2016 referendum,[26] going on to back group Leave Means Leave after the Brexit vote, and signing a letter to the Prime Minister in September 2017.

NHS[edit]

In June 2011, Bridgen attacked critics of Andrew Lansley's proposed NHS reforms, claiming that they comprised "Stalinist protectionist elements".[27]

MPs' pay[edit]

In January 2013, Bridgen, interviewed on BBC Radio's PM programme, stated that good MPs were being put off by poor pay and were having to ask their families to make sacrifices.[28] Bridgen, who claimed he was one of the few MPs willing to speak publicly, said his colleagues were getting poorer and although he knew what the terms were and had no complaints, he foresaw a reduction in diversity of people willing to stand if the issue wasn't addressed.[28] Bridgen, who receives an additional £7,773 per month for 6 hours work at his vegetable firm was criticised by local Labour politicians for being out of touch.[28]

HS2[edit]

Bridgen has been a consistent critic of High Speed 2 (HS2), casting doubt on the economic benefits associated with the proposals, and the costs of the programme. He warned the Government the proposals were "toxic".[29][30]

Personal life[edit]

Bridgen married the opera singer Nevena Bridgen in 2017. He divorced his first wife in 2012. He has two sons from the first marriage, .[31][32] Jackie was a Conservative councillor for the Oakthorpe and Donisthorpe ward of North West Leicestershire District Council from 2007 until losing her seat in 2011.[33][34] Bridgen separated from his wife sometime in early 2011.

On 9 June 2011 allegations of sexual assault were levelled against Bridgen, leading to his arrest in London by the Metropolitan Police and subsequent release on bail.[8][35][36] A week later the allegations were retracted as untrue, and police said no further action would be taken against Bridgen, or the women concerned, Annabelle Fuller, a former employee of UKIP.[37][38]

In 2015 Bridgen sold his constituency house in Appleby Magna for £2 million, under a government HS2 compensation scheme as the house is 100 feet (30 m) from the proposed route, as a consequence of his divorce proceedings.[39][40] He sold his house under an "exceptional hardship scheme", claiming that he had lost more money than anyone else.[41]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Andrew Bridgen MP". BBC Democracy Live. BBC. Retrieved 25 July 2010. 
  2. ^ "No. 59418". The London Gazette. 13 May 2010. p. 8743. 
  3. ^ "Co-Chairmen - Political Advisory Board - Supporters". Leave Means Leave. 
  4. ^ Polly Curtis (9 June 2011). "Conservative MP Andrew Bridgen arrested on suspicion of sexual assault". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 9 June 2011. 
  5. ^ a b c "Tory told to prove 'dirty tricks' allegations". Leicester Mercury. 30 May 2009. Archived from the original on 15 June 2009. Retrieved 17 September 2010. 
  6. ^ "'Dirty tricks' deputy leader stands down". Leicester Mercury. 11 June 2009. Archived from the original on 14 June 2009. Retrieved 17 September 2010. 
  7. ^ "Election 2010 | Constituency | Leicestershire North West". BBC News. Retrieved 2 January 2012. 
  8. ^ a b "MP quizzed over sex assault claim". BBC News. 9 June 2011. Archived from the original on 10 June 2011. Retrieved 9 June 2011. 
  9. ^ Andrew Bridgen MP welcomes Löfstedt review recommendations | Andrew Bridgen MP
  10. ^ Title of report
  11. ^ 81 Tory MPs Write To David Cameron To Demand Vote On Arming Syrian Rebels
  12. ^ Bridgen, Andrew (7 September 2014). "Air strikes in Iraq: this time it's different says Andrew Bridgen". The Daily Telegraph. London. 
  13. ^ Conlan, Tara (20 March 2014). "BBC licence fee: decriminalising non-payment a matter of time, says MP". The Guardian. Retrieved 29 April 2017. 
  14. ^ Spence, Alex (8 March 2014). "Licence fee evasion may not be criminal". The Times. Retrieved 29 April 2017.  (subscription required)
  15. ^ "MPs back moves to decriminalise TV licence fee non-payment". BBC News. 25 March 2014. 
  16. ^ Minister outlines plan to decriminalise non-payment of TV licence fee | Media | The Guardian
  17. ^ "Bali case leads to call for compulsory travel cover". 23 September 2011. 
  18. ^ [1]
  19. ^ Andrew Bridgen MP pledges extra support to pubs and breweries | Burton Mail
  20. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 6 May 2015. Retrieved 2015-01-17. 
  21. ^ Hope, Christopher (9 November 2014). "Stop taxing children's plane seats and cut the cost of family holidays, MPs tell Chancellor". The Daily Telegraph. London. 
  22. ^ Andrew Bridgen Summoned By Tory Whips After Calling For David Cameron To Go
  23. ^ Andrew Bridgen writes to Cameron, withdrawing his letter of no confidence in the Prime Minister | Conservative Home
  24. ^ Tim Ross (29 May 2016). "Senior Tory MP Andrew Bridgen says David Cameron is 'finished' as party leader". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 29 May 2016. 
  25. ^ Christopher Hope (26 February 2016). "EU referendum:BBC is already failing its impartiality test claims Tory MP Andrew Bridgen". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 27 May 2016. 
  26. ^ 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. 
  27. ^ "Tory blasts 'Stalinist elements' in fightback over NHS shake-up". London Evening Standard. 7 June 2011. Archived from the original on 13 June 2011. Retrieved 7 June 2011. 
  28. ^ a b c Dan Martin (12 January 2012). "Do you think £65,738 is too little for MPs to earn?". ThisisLeicestershire. Archived from the original on 13 January 2013. Retrieved 13 January 2012. 
  29. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 29 April 2014. Retrieved 2015-01-17. 
  30. ^ "Tory MP Andrew Bridgen: HS2 figures 'pie in the sky'". BBC News. 
  31. ^ Gray, Sadie (11 June 2011). "Sex assault claims are false, says 'mischievously targeted' Tory MP". The Sunday Times. Retrieved 29 April 2017.  (subscription required)
  32. ^ "Biography on Andrew Bridgen's official website". Andrewbridgen.com. Retrieved 2 January 2012. 
  33. ^ "Mine threat to children". Burton Mail. 29 April 2010. Archived from the original on 4 April 2012. Retrieved 10 June 2011. 
  34. ^ "Rivals make inroads but again the Conservatives are smiling". Burton Mail. 7 May 2011. Archived from the original on 10 May 2011. Retrieved 10 June 2011. 
  35. ^ "MP Andrew Bridgen arrested over sexual assault claims". The Daily Telegraph. London. 9 June 2011. Retrieved 9 June 2011. 
  36. ^ "Andrew Bridgen MP denies sexual assault claim". BBC News. 10 June 2011. Archived from the original on 17 June 2011. Retrieved 16 June 2011. 
  37. ^ Gadher, Dipesh (13 April 2014). "Yard to quiz Farage aide over 'sex lies'". The Sunday Times. Retrieved 29 April 2017.  (subscription required)
  38. ^ Stratton, Allegra (16 June 2011). "Andrew Bridgen sexual assault case dropped". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 16 June 2011. 
  39. ^ Ross, Tim (26 December 2015). "Andrew Bridgen facing 'smears' after telling police of MP's alleged crimes". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 30 December 2015. 
  40. ^ Dan Martin (31 January 2013). "HS2 Rail announcement ruined sale of house in north west Leicestershire". Leicester Mercury. Retrieved 30 December 2015. [dead link]
  41. ^ DanjMartin (19 October 2016). "Andrew Bridgen: 'Keith Vaz reported me to standards watchdog but I'm not remotely worried'". Leicester Mercury. Retrieved 21 October 2016. 

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
David Taylor
Member of Parliament for North West Leicestershire
2010–present
Incumbent