John Whittingdale

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John Whittingdale
Chairman of the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee
Assumed office
14 July 2005
Preceded by Sir Gerald Kaufman
Shadow Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport
In office
19 June 2004 – 6 May 2005
Leader Michael Howard
Preceded by Julie Kirkbride
Succeeded by Theresa May
In office
23 July 2002 – 8 December 2003
Leader Iain Duncan Smith
Preceded by Tim Yeo
Succeeded by Julie Kirkbride
Shadow Secretary of State for Trade and Industry
In office
18 September 2001 – 23 July 2002
Leader Iain Duncan Smith
Preceded by David Heathcoat-Amory
Succeeded by Tim Yeo
Member of Parliament
for Maldon
Maldon and East Chelmsford (1997-2010)
South Colchester and Maldon (1992-1997)
Assumed office
9 April 1992
Preceded by John Wakeham
Majority 19,407 (40.5%)
Personal details
Born (1959-10-16) 16 October 1959 (age 55)[1]
Sherborne, Dorset, England
Nationality British
Political party Conservative
Spouse(s) Ancilla Murfitt (divorced); 2 children
Alma mater University College London

John Whittingdale OBE (born 16 October 1959)[1] is a Conservative politician in the United Kingdom. He has been a Member of Parliament (MP) since 1992.

He is currently Vice-Chairman of the 1922 Committee. He was a member of the Executive of Conservative Way Forward (2005–10) and the Conservative Party Board (2006–10).


Whittingdale was educated at two independent schools: at Sandroyd School[2] from 1968–1973, in Rushmore Park at the heart of Cranborne Chase near Tollard Royal in Wiltshire and at Winchester College in the county town of Winchester in Hampshire, followed by University College London (UCL) where he was Chairman of the UCL Conservative Society, and earned his BSc in Economics in 1982 (grade 2:2).[citation needed]

Early life[edit]

From 1982–84, Whittingdale was Head of the political section of the Conservative Research Department. He then served as Special Adviser to three successive Secretaries of State for Trade and Industry, Norman Tebbit, 1984–85; Leon Brittan, 1985–86, and Paul Channon, 1986–87. He worked on international privatisation at NM Rothschild in 1987 and in January 1988, became Political Secretary to the Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher. Upon her resignation, Whittingdale received the OBE and he continued as her Political Secretary until his election to Parliament in 1992.[citation needed]

Parliamentary career[edit]

He was first elected to parliament in 1992. He served as PPS to Eric Forth as Minister of State for Education and Employment, but had to resign after voting against the government on an amendment that would have allowed a media publisher with more than 20 per cent of the national press market to buy an ITV company.[3]

He was later shadow Culture, Media and Sport Secretary from 2004 until the reshuffle after the general election in 2005 when he was re-elected Member of Parliament for Maldon and Chelmsford East. In 2005 he was appointed to the Executive of Conservative Way Forward, a Thatcherite pressure group within the Conservative Party. He is on a member of the Council of the Freedom Association and the European Foundation. In 2008, he was elected as a Parliamentary Member of the Board of the Conservative Party and Vice Chairman of the Conservative Parliamentary 1922 Committee. In 2011 he was Chairman of the Football Governance Inquiry. In 2012 he was Chairman of the Joint Parliamentar Committee on Privacy and Injunctions. He is the chair of the All Party Parliamentary Intellectual Property Group

Whittingdale voted against the legislation for same-sex marriage in 2013. [4]

In 2014 Whittingdale along with six other Conservative Party MPs voted against the Equal Pay (Transparency) Bill which would require all companies with more than 250 employees to declare the gap in pay between the average male and average female salaries.[5]

Media Select Committee[edit]

On 14 July 2005,[6] he became the Chairman of the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee. In this role he led the Committee's 2009/2010 investigation into libel and privacy issues, including the News International phone hacking scandal after The Guardian first revealed the extent of the practice at the News of the World. He was accused of warning members of the committee not to compel former News of the World editor Rebekah Brooks to testify due to the risk that their personal lives would be investigated in revenge, but has strongly denied the accusation.[7] In April 2011, he called for a public inquiry into phone hacking at the News of the World and to why a series of investigations by Scotland Yard failed to link any News International employees to phone hacking other than the News of the World's former royal editor, Clive Goodman. Whittingdale said: "There are some very big questions. What I find [most] worrying is the apparent unwillingness of the police, who had the evidence and chose to do nothing with it. That's something that needs to be looked into."[8]

With just one out of three of the senior executives agreeing to appear before the committee session on 19 July, Whittingdale took the rarely used step of issuing a summons to compel the Murdochs to attend.[9] Whittingdale said select committees had taken such steps against individuals in the past and they had complied and continued "I hope very much that the Murdochs will respond similarly."[10] They both did, on 19 July, in what one paper described as the most important select committee hearing in parliament's history.[11]

For their work on the phone hacking scandal, John Whittingdale accepted the Spectator magazine's 2011 inquisitor of the year on behalf of the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee.

Funding and Expenses[edit]

In 2012 Whittington received £8000 for 32 hours' work as a non-executive director of Audio Network plc an online music catalogue.[12] He also was paid expenses for visits to Yalta, Taiwan, Armenia.[12]

Personal life[edit]

He married Ancilla Murfitt in 1990 who is a practice nurse at a general practice in Suffolk. They have two children. The marriage was dissolved in 2007.

Whittingdale's half-brother, Charles Napier, is a convicted paedophile.[13]


External links[edit]

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Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
John Wakeham
Member of Parliament for Colchester South and Maldon
Constituency abolished
New constituency Member of Parliament for Maldon and East Chelmsford
Constituency abolished
New constituency Member of Parliament for Maldon