|The Right Honourable
Sir Nicholas Soames
|Shadow Secretary of State for Defence|
6 November 2003 – 10 May 2005
|Preceded by||Bernard Jenkin|
|Succeeded by||Michael Ancram|
|Minister of State for the Armed Forces|
14 June 1994 – 2 May 1997
|Prime Minister||John Major|
|Preceded by||Jeremy Hanley|
|Succeeded by||John Reid|
|Member of Parliament
for Mid Sussex
1 May 1997
|Preceded by||Tim Renton|
|Member of Parliament
9 June 1983 – 1 May 1997
|Preceded by||Peter Hordern (Horsham and Crawley)|
|Succeeded by||Laura Moffatt|
|Born||Arthur Nicholas Winston Soames
12 February 1948
Croydon, Surrey, England
|Spouse(s)||Catherine Weatherall (1981–1988)
Serena Smith (1993–present)
Sir Arthur Nicholas Winston Soames PC (born 12 February 1948) is a British Conservative Party Member of Parliament for the constituency of Mid Sussex. He is a grandson of the former British Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill.
Soames is a former Defence minister having served in the government of John Major (1994–97). His main political interests are defence, international relations, rural affairs and industry. He is also chairman of the private security contractor Aegis.
Soames was born in Croydon and is a grandson of the British wartime prime minister Sir Winston Churchill, the son of Lord and Lady Soames, and a great-nephew of the founders of the Scout movement, Robert Baden-Powell and Olave Baden-Powell. His brother is the industrialist Rupert Soames.
Simon Hoggart, writing in The Guardian, relates an anecdote of Soames' childhood: 'He gave me the true version of what I had always suspected was an apocryphal story. In or around 1953, when Soames was five, he didn't know how important his grandfather was until someone told him. So he walked up to the old man's bedroom, managed to get past the valets and the secretaries, and found him sitting up in bed. "Is it true, grandpapa, that you are the greatest man in the world?" he asked. "Yes I am," said Churchill. "Now bugger off."'
He has been married twice. His first marriage (4 June 1981 – 1988) was to Catherine Weatherall  (the sister of Isobel Bowes-Lyon, Countess of Strathmore and Kinghorne), by whom he has one son, Harry Soames.
He married, secondly, Serena Smith (a niece of the Duchess of Grafton) on 21 December 1993. They have a daughter, Isabella, and a son, Christopher.
Education and military career
After attending St. Aubyns Preparatory School in Sussex, he received his secondary education at Eton College. Later, he studied at Mons Officer Cadet School. He served in the 11th Hussars in West Germany and Britain.
In 1970 he was appointed Equerry to HRH The Prince of Wales, he has remained a close friend of the Prince ever since and publicly criticised Diana, Princess of Wales, during the couple's estrangement. When Diana first accused the Prince of Wales of adultery with Camilla Parker Bowles, Soames told the BBC that the accusation, and Diana's fear of being slandered by her husband's courtiers, stemmed merely from Diana's mental illness, and "the advanced stages of paranoia". Charles later admitted his adultery and Soames apologised. When questioned by the inquest into the death of Diana, Soames said that he saw his job as "to speak up for the Prince of Wales". He denied threatening Diana, and warning her, "accidents happen" in the months before she died.
In 1972 he left Kensington Palace and the army to work as a stockbroker. In 1974, he became a personal assistant; first to Sir James Goldsmith and then in 1976 to United States Senator Mark Hatfield, whose employ he left in 1978 to become a director of Bland Welch, Lloyd's Brokers. Between 1979-81, he was an assistant director of the Sedgwick Group.
Soames fought Central Dunbartonshire in Scotland in 1979, where Labour's Hugh McCartney beat him by 12,003 votes. He was elected MP at the 1983 general election winning Crawley. He sat for Crawley until the 1997 general election (when Labour replaced Conservatives in Crawley and in government). In the election he won the constituency of Mid Sussex and has remained its MP since.
He has served as a Parliamentary Secretary at the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food between 1992 and 1994, Minister of State for the Armed Forces at the Ministry of Defence under John Major between 1994 and 1997 and as the Shadow Secretary of State for Defence 2003-2005. He is also the chairman of Framlington Second Dual Trust plc and chairman of Aegis Defence Services.
During the rebellion by eurosceptic Conservative MPs against the Maastricht Treaty, Soames threatened to close down a meat-processing company owned by rebel Conservative MP Christopher Gill. Soames, Minister for Food at the time, reportedly told Gill "I will close every abattoir you own".
On 9 May 2005, shortly after Michael Howard announced his intention to resign as leader of the Conservative Party, Soames resigned from the shadow cabinet. He immediately ended speculation that he intended to stand for the post of leader, saying that he merely wanted to be free to think about and influence the future of the party. He added that he was interested in joining the executive of the 1922 Committee. He later announced his support for David Cameron.
According to the book Women in Parliament published in 2005, Soames has been named as the 'most sexist' MP, with several female MPs stating that he has made vulgar comments to them. In other accusations of sexual harassment it has been alleged that Soames makes repeated cupping gestures with his hands, suggestive of female breasts, when women are trying to speak in parliament, in order to distract them. He allegedly harassed Alastair Campbell by telephoning him and saying "you sex god, you Adonis, you the greatest of all great men". However, unknown to Soames, he was actually speaking to Campbell's young son.
In November 2010, Soames told the Mail on Sunday newspaper that remarks about a royal wedding made by the Bishop of Willesden, the Rt Rev Pete Broadbent, were "extremely rude, not what one expects from a bishop."
Mid Sussex Conservative Constituency Association has received over £1 million in donations, with Soames receiving well over £100,000 from private military company Aegis Defence Services Ltd from 2010 onwards. US multinational professional services, risk management and insurance brokerage firm Marsh & McLennan Companies Inc has given Soames £518,069 since 2010 in remunerations for his services as an MP. Soames has also received private donations from a variety of people, including £5,749 from Majlis As Shura, £10,000 from David Rowland, and £20,000 from Ann R Said.
On 15 May 2008 Soames pleaded guilty to riding a quad bike on a public road without motor insurance. A photograph of Soames using the vehicle to pull a trailer carrying three children and a pregnant woman was taken from footage filmed by hunt saboteurs in Slaugham, West Sussex, on New Year's Day. It was given to the police and published by the Daily Mirror. Since he had several previous offences on his licence, he was disqualified from driving for two months, fined £200 and was ordered to pay a £15 victim surcharge and costs of £35 by Crawley magistrates.
In 2012 he was disqualified from driving for two weeks for speeding at 51 mph in a 30 mph residential area in Handcross. Soames was also fined £666, plus £85 court costs and a £15 victim surcharge. The Argus, a Sussex paper, describes him as an 'anti-speed MP'. According to the Argus, it was 'the third time he has been caught flouting traffic laws in four years'. After the ruling at Mid Sussex Magistrates’ Court on 17 October 2012, the Mid Sussex Conservative MP told The Argus: “These things happen. Haven’t you ever gone over the speed limit?” The speeding incident angered Brake, a campaigning road safety charity, which said, “speed limits are in place for everyone’s safety, and it is particularly alarming to see a public figure like Nicholas Soames repeatedly flouting traffic laws and needlessly putting lives at risk. A two-week ban and a £666 fine is simply not enough, and we would like to see courts hand out tougher penalties to traffic offenders in order to create a real deterrent.”
Titles and styles
- Nicholas Soames (1948–1978)
- The Hon. Nicholas Soames (1978–1983)
- The Hon. Nicholas Soames MP (1983–2011)
- The Rt. Hon. Nicholas Soames MP (2011–2014)
- The Rt. Hon. Sir Nicholas Soames MP (2014–)
|Ancestors of Nicholas Soames|
- "www.aegisworld.com". www.aegisworld.com. Retrieved 30 July 2013.
- 'Hats off to Soames, Off Message but on Majestic Form', The Guardian, 4 June 2001
- "Capt Anthony Edward Weatherall 1924-2013".
- Christopher Wilson. The Windsor knot. Books.google.com. Retrieved 17 January 2012.
- Inquest into death of Princess Diana, scottbaker-inquests.gov.uk; accessed 16 June 2014.
- "Management". Aegisworld.com. Retrieved 30 July 2013.
- Brogan, Benedict (29 August 2005). "Top Tories back Clarke as party's leader-in-waiting". Daily Mail.
- Simon Hoggart (28 April 2010). "Ferocious fight for fat toff who has heard it all before". Guardian. Retrieved 17 January 2012.
- Rachel Cooke (23 April 2007). "Nicholas Soames". Observer.guardian.co.uk. Retrieved 17 January 2012.
- Assinder, Nick (9 July 2007). "Alastair Campbell". BBC News. Retrieved 17 January 2012.
- "Bishop apologises for Facebook rant". Bbc.co.uk. 22 November 2010. Retrieved 17 January 2012.
- "Privy Council Office — Orders for 13 July 2011" (PDF). Retrieved 17 January 2012.
- The London Gazette: . 14 June 2014.
- "Trio of MPs honoured in Queen's Birthday Honours List".
- Donations to Soames, searchthemoney.com; accessed 16 June 2014.
- Macintyre, James (15 May 2008). "Illegal ride on a quad bike lands Soames with a driving ban". The Independent. Retrieved 17 January 2012.
- ""It won’t affect me": Tory grandee's boast after he's banned after third speeding offence in four years". Mirror.co.uk. 2012-10-27. Retrieved 2013-07-30.
- "‘Anti-speed’ Sussex MP tells of shame at totting ban". Theargus.co.uk. 2012-10-26. Retrieved 2013-07-30.
- Sussex MP paid £220,000 for four extra jobs, theargus.co.uk; accessed 16 June 2014.
- Nicholas Soames MP - official constituency website
- Profile at Parliament of the United Kingdom
- Contributions in Parliament at Hansard 1803–2005
- Current session contributions in Parliament at Hansard
- Voting record at Public Whip
- Record in Parliament at TheyWorkForYou
- Profile at Westminster Parliamentary Record
- Profile at BBC News Democracy Live
- Articles authored at Journalisted
- Soames' family details, ThePeerage.com; accessed 16 June 2014.
|Parliament of the United Kingdom|
|New constituency||Member of Parliament
|Member of Parliament
for Mid Sussex
|Minister of State for the Armed Forces
|Shadow Secretary of State for Defence