Andrew George (politician)

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Andrew George
Andrew George at Sheffield 2011.jpg
George in 2011
Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for International Development
In office
16 May 2005 – 8 March 2006
LeaderCharles Kennedy
Menzies Campbell
Preceded byTom Brake
Succeeded byLynne Featherstone
Member of Parliament
for St Ives
In office
1 May 1997 – 8 May 2015
Preceded byDavid Harris
Succeeded byDerek Thomas
Personal details
Born (1958-12-02) 2 December 1958 (age 63)
Mullion, Cornwall, England, UK
Political partyLiberal Democrat
SpouseJill Elizabeth Marshall
Alma materUniversity of Sussex
University College, Oxford

Andrew Henry George (born 2 December 1958[citation needed]) is a British Liberal Democrat politician. He was the Member of Parliament (MP) for the constituency of St Ives in Cornwall from 1997 to 2015, when he was defeated by the Conservatives' Derek Thomas. He was the Vice-Chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Housing and Planning Group in the 2010 parliament.[1] He currently serves as a Cornwall Councillor for Ludgvan, Madron, Gulval and Heamoor, having been elected in the 2021 local elections.[2][3]

Early life[edit]

George was born in the village of Mullion near The Lizard, on the southwest coast of Cornwall, one of eight children born to a horticulturist father and music teacher mother.


George was educated locally at Helston Grammar School,[4] in the town of Helston in Cornwall, before attending the University of Sussex where he received a Bachelor of Arts degree in cultural and community studies in 1980. He finished his education at University College at the University of Oxford, where he was awarded a master's degree in agricultural economics in 1981.

Life and career[edit]

George worked as a charity worker, initially, as a rural officer with the Nottinghamshire Rural Community Council in 1981, and held a number of appointments in charity, business and research, until he became the deputy director of the Cornwall Rural Community Council in 1987, where he remained until his election to the House of Commons. Before joining the Liberal Democrats he was a member of Mebyon Kernow,[5] and was one of the founder members of the Cornish Constitutional Convention, campaigning for a Cornish Assembly.

He contested the seat of St Ives at the 1992 general election where he finished second, just 1,645 votes behind the sitting Conservative MP David Harris. Harris stood down at the 1997 general election and George won the seat with a majority of 7,170 and remained as the MP there until 2015. He made his maiden speech on 22 May 1997.[6]

In Parliament[edit]

In the House of Commons, George led the Liberal Democrats' Parliamentary DEFRA and Environment team.[7] He rebelled against the Conservative/Liberal Democrat coalition government more than any other Liberal Democrat MP.[8]

George was made the Liberal Democrats' Fisheries Spokesman by Paddy Ashdown in 1997, a role he undertook until 2007.[9] Under the new leadership of Charles Kennedy in 1999 he also became Disability spokesperson as part of the Department of Social Security team.[9] Following the 2001 General Election he became Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Leader of the Liberal Democrats Kennedy.[9] He became Rural Affairs and Food spokesperson in 2002, a role he held until 2005.[9] He was International Development spokesperson from the 2005 general election until 2006,[9]

On 6 January 2006, George was one of the first members of the Liberal Democrat frontbench team to threaten to resign his post if Charles Kennedy had not stood down as leader by 9 January 2006. He was replaced on the front bench on 8 March by Kennedy's successor, Sir Menzies Campbell.[citation needed]

George suffers from the autoimmune disease Ankylosing spondylitis and has campaigned for a TNF inhibitor drug treatment to be made available to all patients. He is a member of the National Ankylosing Spondylitis Society's experts panel.[10]

In the 2010 general election, George's majority was substantially reduced from 11,609 to 1,719 following boundary changes to his constituency.

Cornish issues[edit]

From his election victory in 1997, George has campaigned in Parliament on many issues key to Cornwall. An early success was the campaign to win millions of pounds of European economic aid for Cornwall from the Objective One funding programme, for which he chaired the All Party Parliamentary Objective One Group.

On 12 May 2005, George became the first MP to swear his oath of allegiance to the Queen in Cornish after a long campaign for the language's official recognition[11] George also claims to have been the first MP to use Cornish in his maiden speech back in 1997.[11]

George voted in Parliament against Cornwall becoming a unitary authority. Local polls commissioned by the district councils indicated that approximately 80% of the public were opposed to the formation of the Cornish Unitary Authority.[12]

Opposition to bedroom tax[edit]

George sponsored a Private Member's Bill, the Affordable Homes Bill, to limit the application of the "bedroom tax" benefit cut only to tenants that had rejected a "reasonable offer" of alternative accommodation with the correct number of bedrooms.[13] The bill reached the second reading stage after the Government was defeated in a vote in the House of Commons,[14] but failed to proceed further because the Government did not supply a Money Resolution.[15][16] George opposed the "bedroom tax" in earlier votes, saying that those who supported it "should come down to meet some of my constituents who are affected by it and look them in the eye as they attempt to justify it".[17]

On Cornwall Council[edit]

In March 2021, it was reported that George was standing for election to Cornwall Council in the 2021 local elections.[18][19] At the elections, George won the seat of Ludgvan, Madron, Gulval and Heamoor with 56% of the vote, beating a Conservative incumbent.[3]

In February 2022 it was announced that George would once again be standing as the Liberal Democrats' candidate for the St Ives constituency at the next general election.[20]


  • The Natives are Revolting Down in the Cornwall Theme Park by Andrew George, 1986
  • Cornwall at the Crossroads by Bernard Deacon, Andrew George et al., 1989 CoSERG, Redruth ISBN 0-9513918-0-1
  • A Vision of Cornwall by Andrew George, 1995
  • A View from the Bottom Left-Hand Corner by Andrew George, 2002, Patten Press, Penzance ISBN 1-872229-40-9

See also[edit]


  1. ^ The Committee Office, House of Commons. "House of Commons website". Archived from the original on 29 April 2018. Retrieved 30 September 2010.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  2. ^ "Andrew George". Cornwall Council. Retrieved 7 May 2021.
  3. ^ a b "Election results for Ludgvan, Madron, Gulval & Heamoor Cornwall Council elections - Thursday, 6th May, 2021". Cornwall Council. Retrieved 7 May 2021.
  4. ^ "UK Polling Report – St. Ives". UK Polling Report. Archived from the original on 16 November 2018. Retrieved 10 February 2015.
  5. ^ Watts, Andrew (3 June 2017). "Duchy original: Cornish national consciousness gets stronger by the year | The Spectator". The Spectator. Archived from the original on 25 June 2018. Retrieved 24 June 2018.
  6. ^ "Hansard 22 May 1997 : Column 880–883". House of Commons. 22 May 1997. Archived from the original on 28 October 2016. Retrieved 25 December 2007.
  7. ^ "About". Andrew George MP. Archived from the original on 2 April 2015. Retrieved 24 March 2015.
  8. ^ From David Laws to Andrew George: The Lib Dem rebellion league table Archived 19 January 2012 at the Wayback Machine- Mark Pack; Left Foot Forward; 16 December 2011
  9. ^ a b c d e "Andrew George MP website". Archived from the original on 17 August 2010. Retrieved 30 September 2010.
  10. ^ Elliott, Jane (14 December 2009). "MP Andrew George exercises to keep condition at bay". BBC News. Archived from the original on 17 December 2009. Retrieved 14 December 2009.
  11. ^ a b "Local MP swears oath in Cornish". BBC News. 12 May 2005. Archived from the original on 8 April 2008. Retrieved 24 December 2007.
  12. ^ "Cornish council shake up approved". BBC News. 25 July 2007. Archived from the original on 19 May 2009. Retrieved 25 December 2007.
  13. ^ Syal, Rajeev (5 September 2014). "Bedroom tax bill splits coalition as Lib-Lab pact forces second reading". Guardian. Archived from the original on 2 April 2015. Retrieved 24 March 2015.
  14. ^ "Tories defeated as benefit bill clears first Commons hurdle". BBC News. 22 September 2014. Retrieved 2 May 2022.
  15. ^ "Statement on the adjournment of the Affordable Homes Bill". 29 October 2014. Retrieved 2 May 2022.
  16. ^ Roderick McInnes; Wendy Wilson (30 December 2014). "The Affordable Homes Bill 2014-15". House of Commons Library. Retrieved 5 May 2022.
  17. ^ Eaton, George (12 November 2013). "Lib Dem MP Andrew George to vote against the bedroom tax – how many others will?". New Statesman. Archived from the original on 2 April 2015. Retrieved 24 March 2015.
  18. ^ Rashleigh MacFarlane (8 March 2021). "Former MP Andrew George to seek election to Cornwall Council". Cornwall Reports. Retrieved 7 May 2021.
  19. ^ "Former MP standing for Council". Cornish Stuff. 8 March 2021. Retrieved 7 May 2021.
  20. ^ Pack, Mark (19 February 2022). "Liberal Democrats select Andrew George in St Ives constituency". Retrieved 19 February 2022.

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by Member of Parliament for St Ives
Succeeded by