Jesse Norman

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This article is about the British politician. For the American opera singer, see Jessye Norman.
Jesse Norman
Jesse Norman MP at Edmund Burke Philosopher, Politician, Prophet.jpg
Chair of the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee
Assumed office
18 June 2015
Preceded by John Whittingdale
Member of Parliament
for Hereford and South Herefordshire
Assumed office
6 May 2010
Preceded by Paul Keetch
Majority 16,890 (35.7%)
Personal details
Born (1962-06-23) 23 June 1962 (age 53)
Nationality British
Political party Conservative
Spouse(s) Catherine, née Bingham
Relations Sir Mark Norman, Bt, uncle;
Sir Torquil Norman, father
Children 3 children
Residence London
Alma mater Eton College
Merton College, Oxford
University College London
Religion Church of England

Alexander Jesse Norman (born 23 June 1962)[1][2] is a British Conservative politician who is the Member of Parliament for Hereford and South Herefordshire. He was selected at an open primary in December 2006.[3] He was a director at 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 during and after the Communist period. Despite taking part in a rebellion, has been described by Bruce Anderson, a former editor of the Spectator, as a potential Tory leader.[4]


Chapel of Eton College

Norman was educated at Eton College and Merton College, Oxford, graduating with a 2:1 in classics. He did further study at University College London, where he held an honorary research fellowship in philosophy and obtained a PhD in 2003. He also taught philosophy at both University College London and Birkbeck, University of London. 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 [5] He serves on the boards of the Hay Festival, the Kindle Centre in Hereford[6] and the Friends of St Mary's Ross-on-Wye. His great-grandfather was Sir Henry Norman.[7]

He worked for Barclays from 1991 to 1997. In 1992, he married Kate Bingham, the daughter of the Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales Thomas Bingham, Baron Bingham of Cornhill. They have three children.[8][9]

Norman was a Senior Fellow at Policy Exchange and writes regularly for the national press. His book Compassionate Conservatism (2006) has been described as "the guidebook to Cameronism" by the Sunday Times and its successor, Compassionate Economics, was favourably reviewed by Daniel Hannan.[10] His other policy publications include "Living for the City" (2006) and "From Here to Fraternity" (2007).

Norman's recent books include The Big Society: The Anatomy of the New Politics (2010), published by University of Buckingham Press, and a biography of Edmund Burke (2013), which was longlisted for the 2013 Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction.[11]

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, Chair 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.[12]

In 10 July 2012, Norman was a ringleader in the rebellion on the House of Lords reform package presented to the House of Commons[13] On the vote being overturned, government whips intimated to David Cameron that Norman before the debate spread a rumour to rally rebels that the Prime Minister was in reality unenthusiastic about the reforms. Immediately after the long debate, culminating in a narrow Government defeat, and with Labour's controversial rejection of the Lords election proposals on the table, David Cameron confronted Norman in the Palace of Westminster and told him that his conduct [misrepresenting Cameron to rally Lords reform dissenters] was "not honourable".[14] Norman retired to the main bar but was immediately stopped and escorted from the premises by four whips.[14] A spokesman denied that there had been an argumentative exchange, saying that Cameron had merely told Norman that he had misrepresented his views.[14] Ed Miliband described the scene as "fisticuffs in the Lobby" at PMQs the following day.[15][16] 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 shares their support for Lords reforms.[14]

In 2013 Norman said that so many Eton College former pupils were in top positions in government because of Eton's "ethos" of public service that "Other schools don't have the same commitment". Later on Twitter, Norman said his comments were "defending one institution, not attacking others".[17] 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".[8]

Norman was sacked from the government's policy board after rebelling against the government again to oppose military intervention in Syria[18]

On 27 June 2014, just ahead of the nomination of Jean-Claude Juncker to the Presidency of the European Commission, Norman declared Cameron to be "absolutely right opposing Mr Juncker." He argued firstly that the constitution required elected heads to choose the president and secondly that Juncker will not address what he (Norman) sees as the problems of the unpopularity of the EU. He then claimed that that democracy, for the British, involves legitimacy derived from the ballot box, whereas for the Europeans, it involves centralised bureaucracy.[19]

In September 2014 Norman raised the issue of rules around football club ownership in the House of Commons, alleging the then chairman of Hereford United had an unspecified criminal conviction,[20] in support of Supporters Trust's campaign to oust the Agombar regime at the football club.

On 19 June 2015, he was announced as having been elected to the chairmanship of the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee.[21]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Who's Who". Retrieved 2014-01-15. 
  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 2009-06-17. 
  4. ^ Bruce Anderson (9 January 2013). "Could Jesse Norman be the next Tory leader?". The Spectator. Retrieved 17 December 2013. 
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^ a b Merrick, Jane (7 October 2012). "Jesse Norman: 'The British people are crying out for leadership'". Independent. Retrieved 28 March 2015. 
  9. ^ Intelligent Life, March/April 2012
  10. ^ "Compassionate Economics: the liveliest new idea around". Daily Telegraph. 26 April 2009. 
  11. ^ "Longlist announced for Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction 2013". Samuel Johnson Prize. 2013-06-28. Retrieved 2014-01-15. 
  12. ^ 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. 
  13. ^ "Furious David Cameron 'confronted' Jesse Norman". BBC. 11 July 2012. Retrieved 28 March 2015. 
  14. ^ a b c d Christopher Hope (11 Jul 2012). "How the Lords rebellion spilled over into a row between David Cameron and one of his rising stars". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 13 Jul 2012. 
  15. ^ Hansard 11 July 2012 : Column 302
  16. ^ Link to Hansard for this quotation
  17. ^ "BBC News - Cameron adviser Jesse Norman defends Eton comments". 2013-04-27. Retrieved 2014-01-15. 
  18. ^ "Tory MP Jesse Norman sacked as adviser over Syria vote". BBC. 4 September 2013. Retrieved 28 March 2015. 
  19. ^ "Jean-Claude Juncker, David Cameron and the struggle for the soul of Europe" 27 Jun 2014
  20. ^ "Hereford United chairman 'will not resign'". BBC. 7 September 2014. Retrieved 28 March 2015. 
  21. ^ "Winning candidates for select committee Chairs announced". UK Parliament. 18 June 2015. Retrieved 19 June 2015. 

External links[edit]

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