Don Foster (politician)

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The Right Honourable
Don Foster
Don Foster MP December 2007.JPG
Government Deputy Chief Whip of the House of Commons
Comptroller of the Household
Assumed office
7 October 2013
Prime Minister David Cameron
Preceded by Alistair Carmichael
Undersecretary of State for Communities and Local Government
In office
4 September 2012 – 7 October 2013
Prime Minister David Cameron
Preceded by Andrew Stunell
Succeeded by Stephen Williams
Member of Parliament
for Bath
Assumed office
9 April 1992
Preceded by Chris Patten
Succeeded by TBD
Majority 11,883 (25.2%)
Personal details
Born (1947-03-31) 31 March 1947 (age 68)
Preston, Scotland
Political party Liberal Democrats
Spouse(s) Victoria Pettegree
Children 1 son
1 daughter
Alma mater University of Keele
University of Bath

Donald Michael Ellison Foster (born 31 March 1947) is a British Liberal Democrat former MP, representing Bath in south west England.

Since October 2013 he has held the position Comptroller of the Household as well as Liberal Democrat Chief Whip.[1]

Early life[edit]

Foster was born in Preston, Lancashire, and educated at the Lancaster Royal Grammar School and Keele University where he was awarded a BSc degree in physics and psychology in 1969, and also received the CertEd that same year. He studied later for his MEd in education at the University of Bath in 1981. He became a science teacher at the Sevenoaks School in Kent in 1969, before becoming a science project director with the Avon Education Authority in 1975. He became a lecturer in education at the University of Bristol in 1980, becoming a management consultant with Pannell Kerr Forster from 1989 until his election to the House of Commons.

Parliamentary career[edit]

As a local party activist, he was a founder member of the Avon Liberal Democrats and was elected as a councillor to Avon County Council in 1981 for Cabot ward, and was the SDP-Liberal Alliance group leader from 1981–86. He also served as the county's education committee chairman, and he remained a councillor until 1989. He unsuccessfully contested Bristol East at the 1987 general election where he finished in third place, 11,659 votes behind the Conservative Jonathan Sayeed. He was elected at the 1992 general election when he beat then-chairman of the Conservative Party, Chris Patten, in the constituency of Bath. Foster won the seat with a majority of 3,768. Foster has spoken of the World Heritage Site status of Bath and sent his best wishes to Patten in Hong Kong in his maiden speech on 12 May 1992.[2]

In parliament, Foster was a spokesman on education for the Liberal Democrats under the leadership of Paddy Ashdown in 1992, in which capacity he remained until 1999. In September 2012 Foster was made the Parliamentary Under-secretary of State for Communities and Local Government and in October 2013 was promoted to being the Chief whip of the Liberal Democrat side of the Coalition.

In December 2010, in response to a call from the Football Supporter's Federation, he introduced a bill to parliament to introduce safe standing areas into English and Welsh football, the first of its kind since the Taylor Report.[3]

In January 2014 Foster announced he would stand down at the next general election.[4]

Personal life[edit]

Foster married Victoria Jane Dorcas Pettegree in 1968 in Oswestry and they have a son and a daughter and three grandchildren. His interests include Third World issues; he is a member of Amnesty International and the Child Poverty Action Group. Foster supports a number of local charities, including Ted's Big Day Out and Julian House.[5] His main national charity is WaterAid and he has seen first hand their work in Ethiopia.[5] He is a vice-president of the Debating Group.[6] He also enjoys sport, music, ballet, travelling and reading. He has also played the ukulele.[7]


  • Resource Based Learning in Science by Don Foster, 1979, Association for Science Education ISBN 0-902786-52-0
  • Science with Gas by Don Foster, 1981
  • Aspects of Science by Don Foster, 1984, Longman ISBN 0-201-14377-1
  • Reading about Science by Don Foster, 1984
  • Nuffield Science by Don Foster, 1986
  • Teaching Science 11–13 Edited by Don Foster, Cecil Powell and Roger Lock, 1987, Routledge ISBN 0-7099-4931-6
  • Education: Investing in Education by Don Foster, 1994, Liberal Democrat Publications ISBN 1-85187-243-4
  • Making the Right Start: Nursery Education and Care by Don Foster, 1994, Liberal Democrat Publications ISBN 1-85187-264-7
  • From the Three Rs to the Three Cs: A Personal View of Education by Don Foster, 2003 ISBN 0-9546078-0-5

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Ministerial appointments 7 October 2013
  2. ^ "House of Commons Hansard Debates for 12 May 1992". 
  3. ^ "Safe Standing Bill launched in Parliament". 
  4. ^ "Liberal Democrat MP for Bath Don Foster to stand down". BBC News. 9 January 2014. Retrieved 9 January 2014. 
  5. ^ a b "Don Foster MP" (PDF). Political Developments Ltd. Retrieved 1 September 2013. 
  6. ^ "The Debating Group". 
  7. ^ "Our big gig". Liberal Democrat Voice. Retrieved 1 September 2013. 

External links[edit]

Video clips
Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Chris Patten
Member of Parliament
for Bath

Succeeded by
Party political offices
Preceded by
Alistair Carmichael
Liberal Democrat Chief Whip of the House of Commons
Political offices
Preceded by
Alistair Carmichael
Government Deputy Chief Whip of the House of Commons
Comptroller of the Household