James Arbuthnot

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

The Lord Arbuthnot of Edrom

Official portrait of Lord Arbuthnot of Edrom crop 2.jpg
Chairman of the Defence Select Committee
In office
13 July 2005 – 14 May 2014
Preceded byBruce George
Succeeded byRory Stewart
Shadow Secretary of State for Trade
In office
6 November 2003 – 6 May 2005
LeaderMichael Howard
Preceded byTim Yeo (Trade and Industry)
Succeeded byDavid Willetts (Trade and Industry)
Opposition Chief Whip
in the House of Commons
In office
23 June 1997 – 18 September 2001
LeaderWilliam Hague
Preceded byAlastair Goodlad
Succeeded byDavid Maclean
Minister of State for Defence Procurement
In office
6 July 1995 – 2 May 1997
Prime MinisterJohn Major
Preceded byRoger Freeman
Succeeded byJohn Gilbert
Member of Parliament
for North East Hampshire
In office
1 May 1997 – 30 March 2015
Preceded byConstituency created
Succeeded byRanil Jayawardena
Member of Parliament
for Wanstead and Woodford
In office
11 June 1987 – 8 April 1997
Preceded byPatrick Jenkin
Succeeded byConstituency abolished
Member of the House of Lords
Assumed office
1 October 2015
Personal details
Born (1952-08-04) 4 August 1952 (age 66)
Deal, Kent, England
Political partyConservative
Spouse(s)Emma née Broadbent
(styled professionally as Judge Emma Arbuthnot, or formally as The Baroness Arbuthnot of Edrom)
Alma materTrinity College, Cambridge
Inns of Court
UK Baron's coronet

James Norwich Arbuthnot, Baron Arbuthnot of Edrom, PC (born 4 August 1952), is a British Conservative Party politician. He was returned as Member of Parliament (MP) for Wanstead and Woodford from 1987 to 1997, and then MP for North East Hampshire from 1997 to 2015.

Arbuthnot served as Chairman of the Defence Select Committee from 2005 to 2014,[1] before being nominated as a life peer in the Dissolution Peerages List 2015 of August 2015.[2]

Created Baron Arbuthnot of Edrom, of Edrom in the County of Berwick, on 1 October 2015,[3] Lord Arbuthnot sits on the Conservative benches in the House of Lords.

Early life[edit]

Arbuthnot was born in Deal, Kent, the son of Sir John Arbuthnot MBE TD, MP for Dover between 1950 and 1964, and Margaret Jean Duff.[4] He was educated at Wellesley House School in Broadstairs and Eton College, where he was Captain of School, before going up to Trinity College, Cambridge, where he obtained a Law degree (MA) in 1974.[5]

Arbuthnot was called to the Bar by Lincoln's Inn in 1975 and became a practising barrister. An active member of the Chelsea Conservative Association, he was elected a Councillor of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea in 1978 remaining a Councillor until being elected to the House of Commons in 1987.[6] In 1980 he became the Vice-Chairman of the Chelsea Conservative Association.

Arbuthnot contested the Cynon Valley seat, in the Labour heartland of industrial South Wales, at the 1983 general election and was defeated by Ioan Evans. A year later in 1984, Evans died and Arbuthnot fought the resulting by-election, but he was again defeated by the Labour candidate, Ann Clwyd.

Member of Parliament[edit]

In government (1988–1997)[edit]

In the 1987 general election Arbuthnot was chosen to contest the safe Conservative seat of Wanstead and Woodford, as the sitting MP, Patrick Jenkin, was standing down. Arbuthnot won the seat and increased the Conservative majority by over 2,000 to 16,412.[7]

In 1988 he became the Parliamentary Private Secretary (PPS) to Archie Hamilton at the Ministry of Defence, and in 1990 became the PPS to the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, Peter Lilley. He entered the John Major government after the 1992 general election when he was made an Assistant Government Whip. He was promoted in 1994 as the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Department of Social Security. The following year he was promoted to Minister of State at the Ministry of Defence, where he remained until the end of the Major government in 1997.

Arbuthnot stated that one of his most pleasing parliamentary achievements was "organising an all-party meeting with the Prime Minister for the exoneration of the pilots of the Chinook that crashed on the Mull of Kintyre in 1994".

In opposition (1997–2010)[edit]

Arbuthnot's seat of Wanstead and Woodford was abolished at the 1997 general election, when he was selected for the new seat of North East Hampshire. In Opposition, he was a member of William Hague's Shadow Cabinet as the Conservative Party's Chief Whip until the 2001 general election when he returned to the backbenches. He was sworn of the Privy Council in 1998.

Arbuthnot returned to the Shadow Cabinet under Michael Howard as Shadow Trade Secretary in 2003, but stood down after the 2005 general election. Since that election he served as the Chairman of the influential Defence Select Committee and was Chair of the Special Select Committee set up to scrutinise the Bill that became the Armed Forces Act 2011.[8] He is a Senior Associate Fellow of the Royal United Services Institute.

Arbuthnot was the Parliamentary Chairman of the Conservative Friends of Israel.[9] He was also a member of the Top Level Group of UK Parliamentarians for Multilateral Nuclear Disarmament and Non-proliferation, established in October 2009.[10]

In the 2009 expenses scandal, Arbuthnot apologised and repaid the public money he had claimed for his swimming pool to be cleaned.[11] Later that year, he was further criticised in the press for £15,000 of expenses he claimed for upkeep at his second home, including tree surgery and painting his summer house.[12]

In government (2010–2015)[edit]

In June 2011 Arbuthnot announced that he would not contest the next general election.[13] On 16 January 2015, he publicly declared his atheism, stating "the pressure on a Conservative politician, particularly of keeping quiet about not being religious, is very similar to the pressure that there has been about keeping quiet about being gay"; he later clarified that he is not gay.[14]

Personal life[edit]

On 6 September 1984, Arbuthnot married Emma Louise Broadbent,[15][16] daughter of Michael Broadbent MW, Wine Director of Christie's; she is the Chief Magistrate and Senior District Judge for England and Wales, with rulings including some related to Julian Assange[17] and the fugitive indian tycoon Vijay Mallya.[18]

He is a direct descendant of James V of Scotland.[4] He shares his middle name with his great grandfather, Vice-Admiral Norwich Duff (1792-1862).[19] He and his wife have one son (The Hon. Alexander Arbuthnot, born 1986) and three daughters (The Hon. Kate Arbuthnot, born 1989; The Hon. Leaf Arbuthnot, born 1992; The Hon. Alice Arbuthnot, born 1998). Lord and Lady Arbuthnot divide their time between London and Berkshire.


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "MP Profile". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 9 March 2013.
  2. ^ "Dissolution Peerages 2015". Gov.uk. Retrieved 27 August 2015.
  3. ^ "notice 2410213". The London Gazette.
  4. ^ a b The Peerage.com - Rt. Hon. James Norwich Arbuthnot
  5. ^ "James Arbuthnot MP profile". BBC News. Retrieved 17 July 2008.
  6. ^ "Rt Hon James Arbuthnot MP profile". Conservative Party. Archived from the original on 5 February 2009. Retrieved 22 February 2009.
  7. ^ University of Keele - Political Science Resources - UK General Election results June 1987
  8. ^ "Select Committee on the Armed Forces Bill". parliament.uk. Retrieved 20 September 2013.
  9. ^ Conservative Friends of Israel - About Us Archived 26 September 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  10. ^ Borger, Julian (8 September 2009). "Nuclear-free world ultimate aim of new cross-party pressure group". The Guardian. London.
  11. ^ Watt, Holly (11 May 2009). "MPs' expenses: Senior Tory James Arbuthnot charged taxpayer for pool cleaning". London: The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 18 February 2013.
  12. ^ Swaine, Jon (11 December 2009). "MPs' expenses: James Arbuthnot claimed £2,750 for tree surgery at £2m home". London: The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 18 February 2013.
  13. ^ "Tory MP James Arbuthnot to step down for 'new challenge'". BBC News. 6 June 2011. Retrieved 6 June 2011.
  14. ^ "Tory MP James Arbuthnot reveals pressure to hide atheism". BBC News. 16 January 2015. Retrieved 19 June 2017.
  15. ^ www.oxfordindex.oup.com
  16. ^ www.parliament.uk
  17. ^ Julian Assange arrest warrant ruling 2
  18. ^ http://spectrumnews1.com/ky/northern-ky/ap-top-news/2018/12/10/uk-court-due-to-rule-on-vijay-mallyas-extradition-to-india
  19. ^ Darryl Lundy (compiler). "The Peerage". Retrieved 24 March 2018.

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Patrick Jenkin
Member of Parliament
for Wanstead and Woodford

Constituency abolished
New constituency Member of Parliament
for North East Hampshire

Succeeded by
Ranil Jayawardena
Party political offices
Preceded by
Alastair Goodlad
Conservative Chief Whip of the House of Commons
Succeeded by
David Maclean
Political offices
Preceded by
Alastair Goodlad
Opposition Chief Whip of the House of Commons
Succeeded by
David Maclean
Preceded by
Tim Yeo
as Shadow Secretary of State for Trade and Industry
Shadow Secretary of State for Trade
Succeeded by
David Willetts
as Shadow Secretary of State for Trade and Industry