Jesse Norman

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Jesse Norman
Official portrait of Jesse Norman crop 2.jpg
Minister of State for Transport
Assumed office
12 November 2018
Prime MinisterTheresa May
Sec. of StateChris Grayling
Preceded byJo Johnson
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Roads, Local Transport and Devolution
In office
15 June 2017 – 12 November 2018
Prime MinisterTheresa May
Sec. of StateChris Grayling
Preceded byAndrew Jones
Succeeded byAndrew Jones
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
In office
18 July 2016 – 14 June 2017
Prime MinisterTheresa May
Sec. of StateGreg Clark
Preceded bynew position
Succeeded byRichard Harrington
Chair of the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee
In office
18 June 2015 – 18 July 2016
Preceded byJohn Whittingdale
Succeeded byDamian Collins
Member of Parliament
for Hereford and South Herefordshire
Assumed office
6 May 2010
Preceded byPaul Keetch
Majority15,013 (29.7%)
Personal details
Born (1962-06-23) 23 June 1962 (age 56)
London, United Kingdom
Political partyConservative
Spouse(s)Catherine, née Bingham
RelationsSir Mark Norman, Bt, uncle;
Sir Torquil Norman, father
Children3 children
ResidenceLondon & Hereford
Alma materMerton College, Oxford
University College London

Alexander Jesse Norman (born 23 June 1962)[1][2] is a British politician who was first elected as the Conservative Member of Parliament for Hereford and South Herefordshire at the 2010 general election. He was selected as his party's candidate by open primary in December 2006.[3]

Norman was a director of Barclays before leaving the City of London in 1997 to research and teach at University College, London. Prior to that he ran an educational charity in Eastern Europe in the period following the Communist era.[4] Despite his rebellious past Norman was identified by Bruce Anderson, formerly political editor of The Spectator, in January 2013 as a potential future Tory leader.[5] He is currently serving as Minister of State for Transport.

Life and career[edit]

Norman was educated at Eton College and Merton College, Oxford, graduating with an Upper Second in Classics. He pursued further studies at University College London, where he held an honorary research fellowship in philosophy, and was awarded a PhD in 2003. He also lectured in philosophy at University College and Birkbeck.

His books include The Achievement of Michael Oakeshott (ed.), Breaking the Habits of a Lifetime and After Euclid. He is a Trustee of The Roundhouse, an arts venue and charity founded by his father, Sir Torquil Norman.[6] He serves on the boards of the Hay Festival, the Kindle Centre in Hereford[7] and the Friends of St Mary's Ross-on-Wye.

He worked for Barclays from 1991 to 1997. In 1992, he married The Honourable Kate Bingham,[8] daughter of former Lord Chief Justice, The Lord Bingham of Cornhill;[9] they have two sons and one daughter,[10][11] all of whom are in remainder to the baronetcy of their great-great-grandfather, Sir Henry Norman, Bt.[12][13]

Norman was a Senior Fellow at Policy Exchange and writes regularly for the national press. His book Compassionate Conservatism (2006), co-written with Janan Ganesh, has been described as "the guidebook to Cameronism" by The Sunday Times. Its successor, Compassionate Economics, was favourably reviewed by Daniel Hannan.[14] His other policy publications include "Living for the City" (2006) and "From Here to Fraternity" (2007).

Norman's later books include The Big Society: The Anatomy of the New Politics (2010), published by University of Buckingham Press, a biography of Edmund Burke, which was long-listed for the 2013 Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction,[15] and Adam Smith: What He Thought, and Why It Matters (2018), published by Allen Lane.

Parliamentary career[edit]

Norman won the new seat of Hereford and South Herefordshire at the 2010 General election with a 5.1% majority over the Liberal Democrats. He is a member of the Treasury Select Committee, Chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Employee Ownership, founder of the PFI Rebate Campaign and founding member of the Campaign for an Effective Second Chamber which campaigns for the House of Lords to be appointed rather than elected.[16]

On 10 July 2012, Norman was identified as a ringleader of the rebellion over the House of Lords Reform package presented to the House of Commons.[17] On the vote being overturned, Government Whips suggested to David Cameron that before the debate Norman had spread a rumour to rally rebels the Prime Minister was in reality unenthusiastic about the reforms. Immediately after the intensive debate, culminating in a narrow Government defeat by Labour's rejection of the Lords Election proposals as tabled, Cameron is reported to have confronted Norman in the Members' Lobby telling him that such conduct [misrepresenting Cameron to rally Lords Reform dissenters] was "not honourable";[18] Norman then withdrew in the direction of the Members' Bar but allegedly was immediately stopped and escorted from the Palace of Westminster by four Whips.[18] Despite assertions by the then-Leader of the Opposition, Ed Miliband, a spokesman denied that there had been a heated argument, saying that Cameron had merely told Norman he had misrepresented his views.[18] Miliband, then also leader of the Labour Party, described the scene as "fisticuffs in the Lobby" at Prime Minister's Questions the following day.[19][20] Accounts of the severity of Cameron's words or gestures used vary (from the "Etonian Hairdryer") to no close finger-pointing at all and The Daily Telegraph wrote that cynics say this "public argument may have been staged" to try to prove to Liberal Democrats that Cameron shared their vision of Lords Reform.[18]

In 2013, Norman said that so many Old Etonians were in government positions because of Eton's "ethos" of public service that "other schools don't imbue the same commitment". Later on Twitter, Norman said his comments were "defending one institution, not attacking others".[21] Norman describes his educational background as following "an educational argument between my mother, who despised any form of privilege, and my father, who took the view that he had set up his own business, so he was entitled to spend money on his kids' education".[10]

Norman was sacked from Downing Street's Policy Board after rebelling against the Government again in opposition to military intervention in Syria.[22]

On 27 June 2014, just prior to the nomination of Jean-Claude Juncker to the presidency of the European Commission, Norman gave his wholehearted support of Cameron's stance, as being "absolutely right ... in opposing Mr Juncker". He argued firstly that the EU constitution requires elected heads to choose its "President" and secondly that Juncker's manifesto fails to tackle what he (Norman) sees as the President's duty to address the unpopularity of EU mandates. He then asserted that democracy, for the British, involves legitimacy derived from the ballot box, whereas for some Europeans, it involves centralised bureaucracy.[23]

In September 2014 Norman raised the issue of rules concerning football club ownership in the House of Commons, alleging the then-Chairman of Hereford United had a criminal conviction,[24] in support of Supporters Trust's campaign to oust the Agombar régime at Hereford Utd FC. On 19 December 2014, the club was wound up in the High Court.[25]

Chairman of the Culture, Media and Sport Committee[edit]

On 19 June 2015, his election as Chairman of the Culture, Media and Sport Committee was announced.[26]

On 8 September 2015 at a hearing of the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee convened to discuss recent allegation of blood doping in athletics, Norman said the following "When you hear the London Marathon, potentially the winners or medallists at the London Marathon, potentially British athletes are under suspicion for very high levels of blood doping... " thus seemingly using parliamentary privilege to implicate Paula Radcliffe as being involved, since she is the only British London Marathon winner since 1996. This prompted Radcliffe to respond with a statement denying any involvement in doping[27] though Norman said it wasn't his intention to implicate any individual.[28]


Norman chose not to publicly reveal how he voted over the UK's continued membership of the European Union in the 2016 referendum saying only, "A referendum is not an act of representative government, and I am not a minister, so my vote can properly be a private one."[29]

Norman expressed support for a leadership bid by fellow Old Etonian Jacob Rees-Mogg.[30] Norman subsequently contacted the newspaper reporting the support to say that he was giving a light hearted response to a question in an interview about whether Mr Rees-Mogg would make a good candidate and he was not backing him.[30]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Who's Who".
  2. ^ "Co-operative vs co-operative". BBC News Online. 18 January 2008. Retrieved 30 May 2009.
  3. ^ "Tories choose a new candidate". Hereford Times. 15 December 2006. Retrieved 17 June 2009.
  4. ^ "Bio". Jesse Norman.
  5. ^ Bruce Anderson (9 January 2013). "Could Jesse Norman be the next Tory leader?". The Spectator. Retrieved 17 December 2013.
  6. ^ Archived 3 March 2014 at the Wayback Machine.
  7. ^ "Meeting Room Hire Herefordshire".
  8. ^ "Person Page".
  9. ^ Mosley, Charles (ed.) (2003). Burke's Peerage & Baronetage, 107th edn. London: Burke's Peerage & Gentry Ltd. p. 376 (BINGHAM OF CORNHILL, LP). ISBN 0-9711966-2-1.
  10. ^ a b Merrick, Jane (7 October 2012). "Jesse Norman: 'The British people are crying out for leadership'". Independent. Retrieved 28 March 2015.
  11. ^ "Mr Justice". 11 July 2012.
  12. ^ "Keeping it in the Family - House Of Commons Of The United Kingdom - Government Of The United Kingdom". Scribd.
  13. ^ Mosley, Charles (ed.) (2003). Burke's Peerage & Baronetage, 107th edn. London: Burke's Peerage & Gentry Ltd. p. 2918 (NORMAN, Bt). ISBN 0-9711966-2-1.
  14. ^ "Compassionate Economics: the liveliest new idea around". Daily Telegraph. 26 April 2009. Archived from the original on 20 July 2009. Retrieved 31 October 2015.
  15. ^ "Longlist announced for Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction 2013". Samuel Johnson Prize. 28 June 2013. Retrieved 15 January 2014.
  16. ^ Murphy, Joe (21 June 2012). "Clegg's elected Lords plan 'would pay the wages of 15,000 nurses'". London Evening Standard. London. Retrieved 23 June 2012.
  17. ^ "Furious David Cameron 'confronted' Jesse Norman". BBC. 11 July 2012. Retrieved 28 March 2015.
  18. ^ a b c d Christopher Hope (11 July 2012). "How the Lords rebellion spilled over into a row between David Cameron and one of his rising stars". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 13 July 2012.
  19. ^ Hansard 11 July 2012 : Column 302
  20. ^ "Page cannot be found". UK Parliament.
  21. ^ "BBC News – Cameron adviser Jesse Norman defends Eton comments". 27 April 2013. Retrieved 15 January 2014.
  22. ^ "Tory MP Jesse Norman sacked as adviser over Syria vote". BBC. 4 September 2013. Retrieved 28 March 2015.
  23. ^ "Opinion". 16 March 2016 – via
  24. ^ "Hereford United chairman 'will not resign'". BBC. 7 September 2014. Retrieved 28 March 2015.
  25. ^ Owens, Trevor (2015-01-06). "Hereford United: The end of the affair for the broken Bulls". BBC Sport. Retrieved 2018-07-16.
  26. ^ "Winning candidates for select committee Chairs announced". UK Parliament. 18 June 2015. Retrieved 19 June 2015.
  27. ^ "Paula Radcliffe 'categorically denies' cheating". BBC. 7 September 2015. Retrieved 7 September 2015.
  28. ^ "MP denies implicating Paula Radcliffe in doping claims". BBC news. 9 September 2015. Retrieved 9 September 2015.
  29. ^ Norman, Jesse (18 May 2016). "Jesse Norman: The ECJ, the EU Charter, the British Bill of Rights and the future of our liberties (transcript of speech)". Conservative Home. Retrieved 2 September 2018.
  30. ^ a b "Hereford and South Herefordshire MP backs Jacob Rees-Mogg". Ross Gazette. 23 August 2017.

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Paul Keetch
Member of Parliament
for Hereford and South Herefordshire