John Horam

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The Right Honourable
The Lord Horam
Member of Parliament
for Orpington
In office
10 April 1992 – 12 April 2010
Preceded by Ivor Stanbrook
Succeeded by Jo Johnson
Member of Parliament
for Gateshead West
In office
19 June 1970 – 13 May 1983
Preceded by Harry Randall
Succeeded by constituency abolished
Personal details
Born (1939-03-07) 7 March 1939 (age 77)
City of Preston, Lancashire, England
Nationality British
Political party Conservative
Other political
Labour (until 1981)
SDP (1981–1987)
Spouse(s) Judith Jackson
Children 2 sons
Alma mater St Catharine's College, Cambridge

John Rhodes Horam, Baron Horam (born 7 March 1939) is a politician in the United Kingdom. He sat in the House of Commons for two separate periods between 1970 and 2010, as a member of three different political parties, latterly as the Conservative Party Member of Parliament (MP) for Orpington until 2010. In 2012 he was appointed an Electoral Commissioner. On 4 September 2013, he was created a working Life Peer as Baron Horam of Grimsargh in the County of Lancashire.[1][2]

Early life[edit]

Horam was born in Preston. He went to the independent Silcoates School in Wakefield, West Yorkshire. He was educated at St Catharine's College, Cambridge where he studied Economics, gaining an MA in 1960. From 1960-2, he was a market research officer for Rowntree's in York. He was a features writer for the Financial Times and The Economist, and a founder of CRU Group, a commodities analysis and consulting company. He was also the first Chairman of the Circle Thirty Three Housing Association,now part of the Circle Group.

Parliamentary career[edit]


Horam contested Folkestone and Hythe in 1966, but was beaten by the Conservative incumbent, Albert Costain.

He was first elected as an MP for Gateshead West at the 1970 general election as a member of the Labour Party, and served as a Parliamentary secretary in the Department of Transport under Bill Rodgers in the Callaghan government.


Horam was one of the first to leave the Labour Party for the SDP in 1981, having been increasingly uneasy with the leftward direction that Labour had been veering in. Horam left Parliament after the 1983 general election, when his seat was abolished and after failing to be elected as a Social Democrat in the Newcastle Central constituency.


Horam joined the Conservative Party shortly before the 1987 election and was elected to Parliament from Orpington, as a Conservative in 1992 with a majority of 12,935 votes. In 1994, Horam was appointed to be a junior minister under John Major in the Office of Public Service and Science within the Cabinet Office. Soon afterwards, Horam made a lateral move to the Department of Health where he served as a junior minister for the duration of the Major Government. Horam gained some notoriety during the 1997 general election when he was the first member of the Major Government to come out publicly against joining a single currency. In opposition, Horam served as the first Chairman of the House Environmental Audit Select Committee from 1997-2004. In the 2005 general election, he increased his majority to 4,947, a significant increase over his narrow victory of only 269 votes in 2001 over Liberal Democrat Chris Maines.

In 2003 he was one of the handful of Conservative MPs who voted against Britain’s participation in the Iraq war. He was a member of the Select Committee on Foreign Affairs from 2005 to 2010. He was also a member of the Executive of the Conservative Backbench 1922 Committee from 2005 to 2008 and drafted the original “Equal Votes “ legislation, which is scheduled to come into effect for the 2020 general election.

Horam was the only MP to have sat in the House of Commons as a member of three different parties since the Second World War. In addition, he was the last of the 29 MPs who joined the SDP in 1981 and 1982 to remain a Member of Parliament.

Despite his constituency being only a short train journey from the House of Commons, Horam still claimed expenses for a second home.[3]

On 12 October 2009, Horam announced his intention to stand down at the next general election.[4]

On 4 September 2013, he was created a working Life Peer as Baron Horam of Grimsargh in the County of Lancashire.[5][6]

In the Lords he has advocated a Living Wage, raising the income tax threshold, better vocational training and more apprenticeships, more help for the Troubled Families Programme,and a big housing drive. In 2015 he was appointed to the External Affairs Subcommittee of the Lords European Union Committee. He has urged that the EU act as an honest broker between Russia and the USA.

Essentially a politician of the centre, Lord Horam believes that politics is about achieving a good balance between competence and fairness. A member of the Conservative European Mainstream Group,he is strongly pro-EU believing that the UK maximises its influence and prosperity inside the EU.

Personal life[edit]

He married Judith Jackson in 1987. She has two sons from a previous marriage.

In 2010 he was elected a Fellow Commoner of St Catharine’s College.


  1. ^ Working Peerages announced
  2. ^ The London Gazette: no. 60620. p. 17645. 6 September 2013.
  3. ^ "MPs' expenses in detail". BBC News Online. London. 15 May 2009. Retrieved 25 March 2010. 
  4. ^ "Long-serving Tory MP stands down". BBC News Online. London. 12 October 2009. 
  5. ^ Working Peerages announced
  6. ^ The London Gazette: no. 60620. p. 17645. 6 September 2013.

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Harry Randall
Member of Parliament for Gateshead West
Constituency abolished
Preceded by
Ivor Stanbrook
Member of Parliament for Orpington
Succeeded by
Jo Johnson