John Townend

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For the rugby league footballer of the 1890s and 1900s for Hull, see John Townend (rugby league).
For other people with the same name, see John Townsend (disambiguation).
John Townend
Member of Parliament
for East Yorkshire
Bridlington (1979-1997)
In office
3 May 1979 – 7 June 2001
Preceded by Richard Wood
Succeeded by Greg Knight
Personal details
Born (1934-06-12) 12 June 1934 (age 82)
Kingston upon Hull
Nationality British
Political party Conservative
Profession Accountant

John Ernest Townend (born 12 June 1934) is a British politician and former Member of Parliament for the Conservative Party.

Early years[edit]

The son of Charles Townend, he was born in 1934 in Kingston upon Hull, Yorkshire, and educated at Hymers College in Hull.[1] He studied accountancy 1951-57 as an articled clerk, and received the Plender Prize for the top prize when he became a Chartered Accountant. He then served in the Royal Air Force as a commissioned Pilot Officer from 1957–59. In the latter year he joined his family business as Commercial Secretary and Finance Director, becoming Managing Director (1961-1979) and then chairman of House of Townend wine merchants in Hull. He was Chairman of the Yorkshire and Humberside Wine and Spirit Merchants' Association 1975-6. In 1977 he became an Underwriter at Lloyds.[2]


Townend was active in local politics and contested the parliamentary seat of Hull North in the 1970 general election. He was then elected to Humberside County Council in 1973, becoming the Leader of the Conservative Group and shadow Chairman of the Policy Committee. He also became a member of the Conservative National Advisory Committee on local Government. He subsequently became Leader of the county council, Chairman of its Policy Committee, and member of the Policy Committee of the Association of County Councils, 1977.[3]

At the 1979 general election Townend was elected as the Conservative Party Member of Parliament for Bridlington, East Riding of Yorkshire, a seat which he held until his retirement in 2001. He served as Secretary of the Conservative Back-bench Finance Committee and was a member of the Select Committee on Treasury and Civil Service affairs and Vice-Chairman of the Back-bench Finance Committee. He was also Principle Private Secretary to Hugh Rossi, the Minister of Pensions and the Disabled. He became Chairman of the Small Businesses Committee, a Fellow of the Industry and Parliament Trust, and a member of the Executive Committee of IPU. His main interests while in Parliament were Treasury and taxation, small businesses, employment, and Southern Africa.[4]

Immigration controversies[edit]

Townend was renowned for his controversial and outspoken views on race and immigration, which caused some consternation. In 1984 he suggested that foreigners employed in industries should be replaced by unemployed Britons, and in 1989 he stated that "England must be reconquered for the English. They (Muslims opposed to Salman Rushdie's Satanic Verses) should go back from whence they came."[5] In 2001, shortly before his retirement as an MP, he became engulfed in a row within the Tory Party when, referring to a statement by Robin Cook that there was no such thing as a British race, he said that his constituents in Bridlington would not agree, and asked whether Robin Cook therefore thought instead that the British were a "mongrel race".[6] He was chairman of the right-wing 92 Group.


  1. ^ "John Townend: Electoral history and profile". The Guardian. Guardian News and Media Limited. Retrieved 17 January 2010. 
  2. ^ Bedford, Michael, editor, Dod's Parliamentary Companion 1991, 159th Year, Hurst Green, East Sussex, U.K., p.587, ISBN 0-905702-17-4
  3. ^ Dod's Parliamentary Companion 1991, p.587.
  4. ^ Dod's Parliamentary Companion 1991, p.587.
  5. ^ The Guardian, 29 August 1989.
  6. ^ Paul Stokes "John Townend: 'outspoken'", Daily Telegraph, 1 May 2001

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Richard Wood
Member of Parliament for Bridlington
Constituency abolished
New constituency Member of Parliament for East Yorkshire
Succeeded by
Greg Knight