Henry Bellingham

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Sir Henry Bellingham

Official portrait of Sir Henry Bellingham crop 2.jpg
Sir Henry in 2017
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs
In office
10 May 2010 – 5 September 2012
Prime MinisterDavid Cameron
Sec. of StateWilliam Hague
Preceded byThe Baroness Kinnock of Holyhead
Succeeded byMark Simmonds
Member of Parliament
for North West Norfolk
Assumed office
7 June 2001
Preceded byGeorge Turner
Majority13,948 (29.4%)
In office
9 June 1983 – 1 May 1997
Preceded byChristopher Brocklebank-Fowler
Succeeded byGeorge Turner
Personal details
Born (1955-03-29) 29 March 1955 (age 63)
Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, England
NationalityBritish
Political partyConservative
Spouse(s)Emma Whiteley
Alma materMagdalene College, Cambridge
Websitehenrybellingham.com
parliament..henry-bellingham

Sir Henry Campbell Bellingham (born 29 March 1955) is a British Conservative politician and former barrister. He was first elected as the Member of Parliament (MP) for North West Norfolk in 1983. He lost his seat in 1997, but regained it in 2001 and has since retained it.

He was appointed Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office on 14 May 2010,[1] a position he held until 5 September 2012.[2]

Early life[edit]

Bellingham was born on 29 March 1955 in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire. He is the son of Arthur Henry Bellingham and his wife June Marion Cloudesley Smith.[3] He was privately educated at Wellesley House School in the town of Broadstairs in Kent, followed by Eton College in Berkshire. He went on to study at Magdalene College, Cambridge, where he received a law degree in 1977. During his time at Cambridge, he was a member of Cambridge University Liberal Club and served as Joint Master of the Cambridge University Draghounds - a fox hunting group.[4]

Bellingham also took a short service commission in the Guards for a year between school and university. He trained at the Inns of Court School of Law, and joined the Middle Temple in 1978 and practised as a barrister for eight years. Bellingham is variously described as a direct descendant of John Bellingham, Spencer Perceval's assassin,[5] or as being from the same family.[6] In 1997 The Independent noted the historical coincidence that the General election candidate for the Referendum Party, Roger Percival claimed to be a descendant of the slain Prime Minister. The paper had correctly predicted that Percival's intervention could hand the seat to Labour.[7]

Parliamentary career[edit]

Bellingham first entered Parliament at the 1983 election after winning the seat for North West Norfolk, having defeated the incumbent MP Christopher Brocklebank-Fowler, who in 1981 was the only Conservative to defect to the newly formed SDP. He held his seat until being defeated during the 1997 election. He contested his former seat at the election in 2001, and won it back. He was re-elected in 2005 with a 9000 vote majority, and again in 2010 with a majority of 14,810. He was re-elected at the 2015 general election and 2017 general election.

Henry Bellingham was appointed as a Shadow Minister for Trade and Industry in July 2002, before becoming an Opposition Whip in May 2005. From November 2006 until the 2010 general election he was a Shadow Minister for the Department of Constitutional Affairs. He won the North West Norfolk seat in the 2010 election, and was appointed a Parliamentary Under-Secretary in the coalition government within the Foreign and Commonwealth Office covering; 'Overseas Territories, Africa, United Nations, economic issues, conflict resolution and climate change'.

In 2009, whilst debating the Queen's speech, he was described as 'looking uncomfortable' when MPs joked about his distant ancestor John Bellingham, who assassinated Spencer Percival. Bellingham later stated: "I wouldn't bring it up in conversation that I'm a descendant - or a near-descendant - of a murderer of a prime minister. But I don't try to deny it"[8]

On 29 September 2011, while quoting Bellingham, the Antigua Observer described him as the United Kingdom's Minister of Overseas Territories.[9] While in Antigua Bellingham had commented on the surprise decision of former Premier of Bermuda Ewart Brown to provide asylum to four former Uyghur captives in Guantanamo.

“This is something that we weren’t consulted on by the last (Brown) administration. We have spoken to the United States about it — it’s our understanding that the arrangement was not to be permanent and we’re looking to the US State Department to find a permanent solution. We’re working with them to try and achieve that.”

Bellingham became Vice-Chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Speedway Racing in July 2015.[10]

In Parliament, he is a member of the Panel of Chairs and a former member of the Environment Committee, the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee, the Trade & Industry Committee and the High Speed Rail (London - West Midlands) Bill Committee.[11]

Business interests[edit]

In 2014, a mining company called Pathfinder Minerals appointed Bellingham as non-executive chairman 18 months after he stopped being Minister for Africa. It was reported that Bellingham was earning £4,000 per month for his work with Pathfinder and that he had lobbied on their behalf whilst working as Minister for Africa. The Daily Telegraph reported that the case raised concerns 'of a revolving door between Whitehall and the private sector, with ministers benefiting from contacts they made in office'. However, there was no suggestion of wrongdoing, and all the work has been declared in line with Parliamentary rules.[12]

Bellingham is a Director of Longborough Capital of Witney, Environmental Polymer Technologies of Shaftesbury, and Arc Fund Management.[citation needed]

Personal life[edit]

Bellingham lives in Congham, which is situated within his constituency, and London.[13] He married Emma Whiteley in August 1993 in Horsham, and they have a son named Jamie.

Bellingham employs his wife as his Parliamentary Assistant.[14] The practice of MPs employing family members has been criticised by some sections of the media on the lines that it promotes nepotism.[15][16] Although MPs who were first elected in 2017 have been banned from employing family members, the restriction is not retrospective - meaning that Bellingham's employment of his wife is lawful.[17]

Honours[edit]

Bellingham was knighted in the 2016 New Year Honours for political and parliamentary service under the then Prime Minister David Cameron, who was a fellow member of the Conservative Party.[18][19]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Our Ministers "Henry Bellingham MP". Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Archived from the original on 3 October 2010. Retrieved 11 October 2010.
  2. ^ "MP Henry Bellingham loses minister post". Eastern Daily Press. Retrieved 6 September 2012.[permanent dead link]
  3. ^ "Person Page". www.thepeerage.com.
  4. ^ "About us". 28 February 2009.
  5. ^ "Lords Hansard text for 25 Apr 201225 Apr 2012 (pt 0001)". www.publications.parliament.uk. Retrieved 3 August 2015.
  6. ^ "Diary: Flowers finally lay to rest memory of assassinated PM". Retrieved 3 August 2015.
  7. ^ "Election '97: Old feuds may give Labour a Norfolk seat". Retrieved 3 August 2015.
  8. ^ "MP recalls a PM-killing ancestor". BBC. 26 November 2009. Retrieved 3 August 2015.
  9. ^ "UK hopes US will settle four ex-Guantanamo Bay detainees". Antigua Observer. 29 September 2011. Archived from the original on 4 October 2011. Retrieved 4 October 2011. The US refused to resettle them within its borders, and a deal was struck with Brown, who quit as Premier last October before leaving politics altogether. Brown said he did it as a humanitarian gesture.
  10. ^ "Register Of All-Party Groups:Motorcycle Speedway". Parliament.uk. 30 July 2015. Retrieved 26 March 2017.
  11. ^ "Henry Bellingham MP". GOV.UK. Retrieved 26 October 2018.
  12. ^ "The minister, the mine and the £1,300-an-hour payday". The Daily Telegraph. 15 November 2014. Retrieved 25 November 2018.
  13. ^ "IPSA". GOV.UK. Retrieved 26 October 2018.
  14. ^ "IPSA". GOV.UK. Retrieved 26 October 2018.
  15. ^ "One in five MPs employs a family member: the full list revealed". The Daily Telegraph. 29 June 2015. Retrieved 26 October 2018.
  16. ^ Mason, Rowena (29 June 2015). "Keeping it in the family: new MPs continue to hire relatives as staff". The Guardian. Retrieved 26 October 2018.
  17. ^ "MPs banned from employing spouses after election in expenses crackdown". London Evening Standard. 21 April 2017. Retrieved 26 October 2018.
  18. ^ "No. 61450". The London Gazette (Supplement). 30 December 2015. p. N2.
  19. ^ "New Year's Honours 2016 list" (pdf). GOV.UK. 30 December 2015. Retrieved 30 December 2015.

External links[edit]

Video clips[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Christopher Brocklebank-Fowler
Member of Parliament for North West Norfolk
19831997
Succeeded by
George Turner
Preceded by
George Turner
Member of Parliament for North West Norfolk
2001–present
Incumbent