Keith Simpson (politician)

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For other people named Keith Simpson, see Keith Simpson (disambiguation).
The Right Honourable
Keith Simpson 
Keithsimpson cropped.png
Member of Parliament
for Broadland
Mid Norfolk (1997–2010)
Assumed office
1 May 1997
Preceded by Richard Ryder
Succeeded by George Freeman (in Mid Norfolk)
Majority 16,838 (31.7%)
Personal details
Born (1949-03-29) 29 March 1949 (age 68)
Norwich, Norfolk, England
Nationality British
Political party Conservative
Alma mater University of Hull
King's College London

Keith Robert Simpson (born 29 March 1949) is a British politician and military historian. A member of the Conservative Party, he has been the Member of Parliament (MP) for Broadland since the 2010 general election, having previously served as the MP for Mid Norfolk from 1997 to 2010.

Early life[edit]

Simpson was born in Norwich, the son of Harry Simpson and Jean Day. He was educated at Thorpe Grammar School (now known as Thorpe St Andrew School), in Thorpe St Andrew, Norfolk. He went on earn a BA in History at the University of Hull, and undertook postgraduate research in War Studies at King's College London, where he completed a PGCE in 1975.[1]

Political career[edit]

Simpson served as the National Vice-Chairman of the Federation of Conservative Students from 1972–3.

He was Head of Foreign Affairs and Defence at Conservative Central Office from 1986–8. From 1988–90, he was a Political Adviser to the Secretary of State for Defence (first to George Younger, and then to Tom King).

Simpson was the Conservative Parliamentary candidate for Plymouth Devonport at the 1992 general election, where he lost to the Labour candidate David Jamieson.

At the 1997 general election, Simpson was elected as the Member of Parliament for Mid Norfolk with a majority of 1,336.

In July 1997, Simpson was appointed to the Conservative Parliamentary Defence Committee. In June 1998, he was appointed a frontbench defence spokesman. From June 1999 – June 2001, he was an Opposition Whip responsible for Treasury, Home Affairs and Health. He was subsequently appointed Shadow Agriculture Spokesman in October 2001. From 2002–5, he was Shadow Minister for Defence, and from 2005–10 he has served as Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs.

Within his Mid Norfolk constituency, Simpson was particularly well known for his campaigning for the widening of particular main roads in response to high road fatalities.

Prior to the 2010 general election, Simpson's constituency of Mid Norfolk was redrawn following parliamentary boundary changes. He was selected to stand for the newly created seat of Broadland, which was made up of parts of Mid Norfolk and parts of the Norfolk North and Norwich North constituencies. Simpson won the seat with a majority of 7,292.

Following the 2010 general election, Simpson was appointed the Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Foreign Secretary, William Hague, in the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition government.[2]

In May 2014 he was one of seven unsuccessful caddidates for the chairmanship of the House of Commons Defence Select Committee.[3]

Simpson often stands out in the House of Commons because of his distinctive moustache and round glasses.

In March 2015, he was appointed to the Privy Council of the United Kingdom and therefore granted the title The Right Honourable.[4]

Simpson was opposed to Brexit prior to the 2016 referendum.[5]


Keith Simpson at Portcullis House November 2015

During its extensive coverage of the United Kingdom parliamentary expenses scandal, The Daily Telegraph published the story that Simpson had claimed £185 for light bulbs over a period of four years.[6]

Career outside politics[edit]

As a military historian, Simpson has served as Director of the Cranfield Security Studies Institute at Cranfield University from 1991–7, and as a Senior Lecturer in War Studies and International Affairs at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst from 1973–86. He is the author of five books on military history. It was also in this capacity that he was invited to debate masculine violence with a drunken Oliver Reed on an infamous edition of the late night Channel 4 television programme After Dark, broadcast on 22 January 1991. Reed confronted him 'tash to tash' and called him 'flash boy'.[7]

Personal life[edit]

Simpson married Pepita, the daughter of Norman Hollingsworth, on 4 August 1984 at the Royal Memorial Chapel, Sandhurst. The couple currently live in Reepham, Norfolk, and have one son, George.



  1. ^ News Archive 2001: King's and the General Election: King's College London Alumni MPs. (Accessed 27 Aug 2016.)
  2. ^ Daily Mail – Quentin Letts
  3. ^ "Defence Committee Chair election: Rory Stewart MP elected" (PDF). 14 May 2014. Retrieved 17 May 2014. 
  4. ^ "Privy Council appointments: March 2015". Press release. Prime Minister's Office. 12 March 2015. Retrieved 13 March 2015. 
  5. ^ Goodenough, Tom (16 February 2016). "Which Tory MPs back Brexit, who doesn't and who is still on the fence?". The Spectator. Retrieved 11 October 2016. 
  6. ^ Beckford, Martin (22 May 2009). "MPs' expenses: Keith Simpson has spent £185 on lightbulbs since 2004". The Telegraph. Retrieved 31 October 2011. 
  7. ^

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Richard Ryder
Member of Parliament for Mid Norfolk
Succeeded by
George Freeman
Preceded by
New Constituency
Member of Parliament for Broadland