Bernard Jenkin

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The Honourable
Bernard Jenkin
Bernard Jenkin MP asking a question at Edmund Burke Philosopher, Politician, Prophet.jpg
Shadow Secretary of State for the Regions
In office
11 November 2003 – 6 May 2005
Leader Michael Howard
Preceded by David Davis (Office of the Deputy Prime Minister)
Succeeded by Caroline Spelman (Local Government Affairs and Communities)
Shadow Secretary of State for Defence
In office
18 September 2001 – 6 November 2003
Leader Iain Duncan Smith
Preceded by Iain Duncan Smith
Succeeded by Nicholas Soames
Member of Parliament
for Harwich and North Essex
North Essex (1997–2010)
Colchester North (1992–1997)
Assumed office
9 April 1992
Preceded by Antony Buck
Majority 11,447 (23.4%)
Personal details
Born (1959-04-09) 9 April 1959 (age 56)
Political party Conservative
Spouse(s) Anne Strutt
Alma mater Corpus Christi College, Cambridge

Bernard Christison Jenkin (born 9 April 1959) is a politician in the United Kingdom, and the current Member of Parliament (MP) for Harwich and North Essex, for which he was re-elected with an increased majority of 15,174 in the General Election of 2015.[1] He was elected Chairman of the Public Administration Select Committee in May 2010. He was Vice Chairman of the Conservative Party, and had responsibility for candidates until 7 November 2006 when this role was given to John Maples.[2]

Early life[edit]

Highgate School

Jenkin was born on 9 April 1959 to Lord Jenkin, the British former minister and life peer. He is a male-line descendant of the scientist Fleeming Jenkin. He was educated at Highgate School (Highgate), William Ellis School (also in Highgate) and Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, where he was awarded a Choral Exhibition and gained an BA honours degree in English literature in 1982. He was President of the Cambridge Union Society in 1982. He worked for Ford and the private equity company 3i as Manager of Legal & General Ventures from 1989-92. From 1992-95, he was an advisor to Legal & General Group plc.[citation needed]

Parliamentary career[edit]

Declaring that he wanted to "illustrate that people in the South-East haven't forgotten about Scotland",[3] Jenkin stood for election in Glasgow Central in the 1987 general election. At the 1992 general election he was elected as Member of Parliament (MP) for Colchester North. When that constituency was abolished for the 1997 general election, he was returned to the House of Commons for the newly-re-established North Essex constituency.

In John Major's 1992-1997 government, Jenkin was one of the "Maastricht rebels" who defied the party whip to oppose the Maastricht treaty. William Hague appointed him Shadow Minister for Transport (1998–2001). He has also served as Shadow Secretary of State for Defence (2001–03) under Iain Duncan Smith and as Shadow Regions Secretary (2003–05) for Michael Howard. He has also been Shadow Energy Minister.

In the 2010 Parliament Jenkin remained a backbencher but chaired the Public Affairs Committee.

In January 2014 Jenkin drafted a letter calling for David Cameron to renegotiate Britain's relationship with the EU to give the House of Commons powers to veto EU legislation, which was ultimately signed by 95 MPs, and reportedly backed by another six.[4] Following the Scottish Independence Referendum and promises made to further devolve powers to Scotland Jenkin called for the creation of an "English First Minister" and for departments responsible for policy that applied only in England to be accountable only to the English MPs[5]

Jenkin, who has a reputation as a "long term critic of the Coalition", also led calls to drop the House of Lords Reform Bill 2012.[6]

Jenkin decided to vote in favour of same sex marriage in 2013 "as a matter of principle", whilst acknowledging the decision to hold the debate caused much "political unhappiness".[7]

Following the 2015 general election, he was returned unopposed as the chairman of the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Select Committee.[8]

Expenses claims[edit]

In May 2009 Jenkin was reported by the Daily Telegraph to have used £50,000 in expenses in order to pay his sister-in-law rent on the property he uses as his constituency home. Jenkin claimed that he was just paying "an honest and reasonable rent" for the property.[9] On 27 October 2009 it was initially recommended that Bernard Jenkin pay back £63,250 by expenses auditor Sir Thomas Legg. This is the highest amount known to have been recommended after an audit of MPs' claims on second homes expenses.[10][11] This amount was reduced to £36,250 following an appeal.[12]

Combat Stress[edit]

Jenkin is the Vice-President of the UK charity Combat Stress, which offers residential treatment to ex-servicemen and women suffering from posttraumatic stress disorder. To mark his 50th birthday, he held a fundraising event in March 2009 which raised over £50,000 for the charity.[13]

Personal life[edit]

Jenkin married Anne Caroline Strutt in 1988 and has two sons.

He is the UK parliament's most famous nudist.[14][15][16]

He is a long-time acquaintance of screenwriter Richard Curtis, who typically includes a character named 'Bernard' in everything he writes. [17]


  1. ^ Stott, Matt (8 May 2015). "Bernard Jenkin majority surges". East Anglian Daily Times. Retrieved 11 May 2015. 
  2. ^ "Jenkin axed in Cameron reshuffle". BBC News. 8 November 2006. Retrieved 2009-10-29. 
  3. ^ "Cahoots, mon", The Times, 25 November 1986.
  4. ^ Ross, Tim (11 Jan 2014). "95 Tory MPs call for EU law veto". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 26 March 2015. 
  5. ^ "Tory backbencher calls for 'England First Minister'". ITV. 16 September 2014. Retrieved 26 March 2015. 
  6. ^ Watt, Nicholas (10 July 2012). "Rebel Tories scupper motion for House of Lords reform bill". Guardian. Retrieved 26 March 2015. 
  7. ^ Jenkin, Bernard. "Why I, a practising member of the Church of England, will vote for same-sex marriage today". Conservative Home. Retrieved 26 March 2015. 
  8. ^ "Winning candidates for select committee Chairs announced". UK Parliament. 18 June 2015. Retrieved 19 June 2015. 
  9. ^ "Stop MP humiliation - archbishop". BBC News. 23 May 2009. Retrieved 2009-10-29. 
  10. ^ "MP told to repay £63,250 expenses". BBC News. 27 October 2009. Retrieved 2009-10-29. 
  11. ^ Parkes, Tom (27 October 2009). "MP ordered to pay back more than £60,000". Daily Gazette (Colchester). Retrieved 2009-10-29. 
  12. ^ Watt, Holly (30 January 2010). "MPs' expenses: Bernard Jenkin has repayment halved". The Daily Telegraph (London). Retrieved 2010-03-31. 
  13. ^ "Colchester: Gala event for charity". Essex County Standard. 20 March 2009. Retrieved 2010-04-13. 
  14. ^ Hoggart, Simon (2 December 2010). "Register MPs' hobbies? Please no". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 2010-12-04. 
  15. ^ "The people's choice?". BBC News. 22 March 2002. Retrieved 2011-04-19. 
  16. ^ Kay, Richard (4 October 2006). "Is Stella a Little Miss Mischief?". The Daily Mail (London). Retrieved 2011-04-19. 
  17. ^ Born, Matt (13 November 2003). "Why Tory MP is the father of all Bernards". The Daily Telegraph (London). Retrieved 2015-07-20. 

External links[edit]

Video clips[edit]

News items[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Antony Buck
Member of Parliament
for Colchester North

Constituency abolished
New constituency Member of Parliament
for North Essex

Member of Parliament
for Harwich and North Essex

Political offices
Preceded by
Iain Duncan Smith
Shadow Secretary of State for Defence
Succeeded by
Nicholas Soames
Preceded by
David Davis
as Shadow Secretary of State for
the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister
Shadow Secretary of State for the Regions
Succeeded by
Caroline Spelman
as Shadow Secretary of State for
Local Government Affairs and Communities