James Bethell, 5th Baron Bethell

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The Lord Bethell
Official portrait of Lord Bethell crop 2.jpg
Bethell in 2019
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Innovation
Assumed office
9 March 2020
Prime MinisterBoris Johnson
Preceded byThe Baroness Blackwood of North Oxford
Government Whip
In office
24 July 2019 – 9 March 2020
Prime MinisterBoris Johnson
Preceded byThe Viscount Younger of Leckie
Succeeded byThe Baroness Penn
Member of the House of Lords
Lord Temporal
Assumed office
19 July 2018
Hereditary Peerage
Preceded byThe 3rd Lord Glentoran
Personal details
James Nicholas Bethell

(1967-10-01) 1 October 1967 (age 53)
Political partyConservative
EducationHarrow School
Alma materUniversity of Edinburgh

James Nicholas Bethell, 5th Baron Bethell (born 1 October 1967), is a British hereditary peer and junior minister in the House of Lords.


The Hon. James Nicholas Bethell was educated at the independent, fee-paying Harrow School before going on to study for a Scottish Master of Arts (an undergraduate degree) at the University of Edinburgh.[1]

Bethell worked as a journalist, and then managed the Ministry of Sound nightclub, before founding Westbourne Communications which he sold to Cicero Group after succeeding to his family titles.[2]

He contested the 2009 primary to become the Conservative Party's prospective parliamentary candidate for the constituency of Gosport. He came second behind Caroline Dinenage, who went on to become the Member of Parliament in the 2010 general election.[3]

Bethell entered the House of Lords in July 2018, after successfully contesting a Conservative hereditary peers' by-election.[4]

In July 2019, he was appointed a Lord-in-Waiting and, in March 2020, was appointed as Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Innovation at the Department of Health and Social Care.[5][6]

In August 2020 in response to the controversy over the down grading of A-level results he tweeted that he had fluffed his A levels and this had taught him how to hustle and that "Grades are great, but grit and perseverance win every time." His critics responded that a hereditary peer was not in a position to advise youngsters who have had "none of the advantages and the privilege that he has had".[7]

Personal life[edit]

Bethell is married to Melissa (née Wong), a businesswoman,[8] Lord and Lady Bethell have four children.[9] He succeeded his father Nicholas as Baron Bethell in 2007.


  1. ^ "James Bethell". DeSmog UK. Retrieved 26 March 2020.
  2. ^ Harrington, John (19 June 2018). "Cicero buys Westbourne to form 'UK's biggest independent public affairs shop'". PR Week.
  3. ^ "ConservativeHome's Seats & Candidates blog". ConservativeHome's Seats & Candidates blog. Retrieved 31 March 2020.
  4. ^ "Conservative hereditary peers' by-election, July 2018: result" (PDF). House of Lords. 18 July 2018.
  5. ^ "Contact information for Lord Bethell - MPs and Lords - UK Parliament". members.parliament.uk. Retrieved 26 March 2020.
  6. ^ Bethell, Lord (9 March 2020). "Honoured to be appointed a health minister today. Responsible for life sciences. Committed to supporting @DHSCgovuk response to the #coronavirus challenge. Proud to be part of government's @UKHouseofLords front bench team.pic.twitter.com/0G6MD4KZB1". @JimBethell. Retrieved 9 March 2020.
  7. ^ "Harrow-educated Lord Bethell tells A Level students not to worry about grades because 'fluffing' his exams taught him to 'hustle'". Evening Standard. 14 August 2020. Retrieved 15 August 2020.
  8. ^ "Tesco announces appointment of Melissa Bethell as non-executive Director". Tesco plc.
  9. ^ www.burkespeerage.com
Peerage of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Nicholas Bethell
Baron Bethell
Heir apparent:
Hon. Jacob Bethell