Laurence Robertson

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Laurence Robertson
MP
Chairman of the Northern Ireland Affairs Select Committee
In office
9 June 2010 – 12 July 2017
Preceded by Sir Patrick Cormack
Succeeded by Andrew Murrison
Member of Parliament
for Tewkesbury
Assumed office
1 May 1997
Preceded by new constituency
Majority 21,972 (39.7%)
Personal details
Born (1958-03-29) 29 March 1958 (age 59)
Bolton, Lancashire, England
Nationality British
Political party Conservative
Spouse(s) Susan Lees (m. 1989; div. 2005)
Annie Adams (m. 2015)
Domestic partner Annie Adams (2005–2015)
Alma mater Bolton Institute of Higher Education

Laurence Anthony Robertson (born 29 March 1958) is a British Conservative Party politician. He has been the Member of Parliament (MP) for Tewkesbury since 1997. In May 2005, he was appointed Shadow Minister for Northern Ireland.

Early life[edit]

Robertson was born in Bolton, Lancashire. His father was a miner, a postman, a delivery man then a milkman. His mother was an office worker in Manchester. He was educated at St James's C.E. Secondary Modern School and Farnworth Grammar School, both located in Farnworth, and afterwards at Bolton Institute of Higher Education (now the University of Bolton),[1] gaining a diploma in Management Services. His working life has also included him working as a charity fund-raising (where he claims to have raised over £1 million), public relations consultant, company director, factory owner from 1987 to 1988, industrial management consultant from 1983 to 1989, and work study engineer from 1977 to 1983.[2][3]

Early political career[edit]

Robertson was an unsuccessful candidate when he stood for Bolton Council in the Derby ward in 1983 and in the Burnden ward in 1986. He was an unsuccessful candidate for Parliament in the Makerfield constituency at the 1987 general election and again in the Ashfield constituency at the 1992 general election.[2][3]

Parliamentary career[edit]

Following his 1997 election to the House of Commons, Robertson courted controversy in May 2001 by ignoring James Cran's[4] advice not to publicly express support for John Townend. Robertson endorsed Townend's controversial remarks about race[5] on BBC's Newsnight saying that Townend's remarks were "basically true" and "having too many people in different multi-racial groups makes society very difficult to manage, especially in certain parts of the country. It is not that easy to manage that kind of society."[4] Robertson later apologised after being given an ultimatum to either apologise, retract his remarks and promise not to repeat them or to be stripped of the Conservative party whip.[6] Robertson was reported to have told colleagues that he received a lot of support and was even told by Tewkesbury constituency chairman that he should not have backed down.[7]

In September 2001, he was appointed an Opposition Whip. In June 2003, was made Shadow Minister for Trade and Industry. In November 2003, he was appointed a Shadow Minister for Economic Affairs. From May 2005, he served as the Shadow Minister for Northern Ireland.[3] He was not given a ministerial position in the 2010 Parliament, but served as chair of the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee, and was re-elected unopposed for the same position in June 2015.[8]

In May 2005, he advanced a private member's bill to outlaw abortion altogether, making it an imprisonable offence except where the mother's life was at risk or where conception was due to rape.[9]

Following the 2007 floods in Tewkesbury, Robertson spoke out against building on flood plains.[10]

In December 2014, Robertson along with six other male 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.[11]

In September 2011, details published by the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) revealed that Robertson was spending up to £35,000 on his partner Anne Marie "Annie" Adams as his office manager and up to £30,000 on his estranged wife Susan Robertson as his senior secretary (at a combined cost to the taxpayer of £65,000). Under rules introduced by IPSA in 2010, Robertson would not be allowed to employ both women because MPs are limited to one 'connected' person or family member on their staff. However, because the arrangement was in place before the rule change it is allowed to continue. From 2001 to 2011, Robertson has claimed more than £1 million in MP's expenses, and has criticised plans to overhaul the system of claims for MPs.[12][13][14]

In March 2016, Robertson was accused of "cash for access" after it was emerged that he sponsored a parliamentary pass for a lobbyist, Jennifer Bryant-Pearson, in 2014 whose company paid him £7,500 for consultancy advice in 2009 and 2010. Robertson is paid between £9,000 and £10,000 a year by the environmental services company Veolia, which is among Bryant-Pearson's major clients. Robertson has been employed by Veolia since 2013.[15][16]

Robertson is a confirmed eurosceptic[5] and active in the EU pressure group Better Off Out. He is a member of the right-wing The Freedom Association, an organisation that declares to be "against equal opportunities policies". He opposes devolution and the Good Friday Agreement in Northern Ireland.[5] A

On 12 July 2017, Andrew Murrison succeeded Robertson as Chair of the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee.<ref>http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-40589509</ref.

Personal life[edit]

In May 1989, Robertson married Susan Lees at All Saints Church in Farnworth. In 2002, he had an affair with Claire Parker, his constituency secretary who was married. In 2005, he divorced Susan Lees and soon cohabited with Annie Adams, a riding instructor who at the time was engaged to another man. On 7 February 2015, he married Annie Adams.[12]

Robertson is a practising Christian.[12] He has been actively involved in sports, especially golf, bowling, horses and marathons, of which he has completed six, including the 1994 New York Marathon.

From 1988 to 1991, he was Chairman of Governors of a primary school, a visitor for Victim Support Scheme, and the area chairman for the Campaign for Law and Order.[2][3]

References[edit]

  1. ^ The Almanac of British Politics, Robert Waller, Byron Criddle, Routledge, 2007, page 925
  2. ^ a b c "Laurence Robertson MP: Personal In Detail". laurencerobertsonmp.com. Retrieved 13 January 2010. 
  3. ^ a b c d "People: Laurence Robertson". conservatives.com. Archived from the original on 18 May 2010. Retrieved 13 January 2010. 
  4. ^ a b Jones, George (2 May 2001). "Laurence Robertson: MP in the spotlight". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 10 July 2017. 
  5. ^ a b c "Laurence Robertson: MP in the spotlight". BBC News. 1 May 2001. Retrieved 13 January 2010. 
  6. ^ "Second Tory says sorry in race row". BBC News. 1 May 2001. Retrieved 13 January 2010. 
  7. ^ Watt, Nicholas; White, Michael (3 May 2001). "Race row MP denies he will speak out". BBC News. Retrieved 10 July 2017. 
  8. ^ "Laurence Robertson". Parliament UK. Retrieved 30 March 2015. 
  9. ^ "Private Member's Bill to ban abortion – extreme and outrageous". Abortion Rights. 22 May 2005. Retrieved 13 January 2010. 
  10. ^ "Flood plain homes scheme deferred". BBC News. 18 September 2007. Retrieved 13 January 2010. 
  11. ^ Saul, Heather (16 December 2014). "Equal Pay: Seven male Tory MPs vote against bill to make big companies reveal gender pay gap". The Independent. Retrieved 18 April 2015. 
  12. ^ a b c Petre, Jonathan (10 September 2011). "Tory MP puts wife AND lover on public payroll costing you £65K". Daily Mail. 
  13. ^ Herbert, Dominic (25 August 2013). "Four years after the expenses scandal 145 MPs are STILL employing family members". Daily Mirror. Retrieved 8 July 2017. 
  14. ^ Morris, Nigel (13 September 2013). "MPs’ expenses surpass pre-scandal levels as 150 give jobs to family". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 8 July 2017. 
  15. ^ Morris, Nigel (2 March 2016). "Laurence Robertson: Tory MP faces 'cash for access' accusations after sponsoring parliamentary pass for lobbyist". The Independent. Retrieved 8 July 2017. 
  16. ^ Smith, Mikey (3 March 2016). "Tory MP faces sleaze probe over 'cash for access' claims". Daily Mirror. Retrieved 8 July 2017. 

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
New constituency Member of Parliament for Tewkesbury
1997present
Incumbent