Nicholas Henry Bourne, Baron Bourne of Aberystwyth (born 1 January 1952) is a Welsh Conservative politician. He served as the Leader of the Welsh Conservative Party and as a member of the National Assembly for Wales for the Mid and West Wales electoral region from August 1999 until May 2011. During the 2011 assembly elections he unexpectedly lost his regional list seat, due to Conservative gains at constituency level. He was elevated to the House of Lords in September 2013, and the following year, became a government whip.
Bourne was the first of two children of John Morgan Bourne and his wife, Joan Edith Mary Bourne. He was educated at King Edward VI School, Chelmsford; University of Wales, Aberystwyth; and Trinity College, Cambridge, where he was President of Cambridge University Lawyers and Treasurer of Cambridge University Conservative Association. Bourne is the Honorary President of Aberystwyth University Conservative Future.
Bourne was the Conservative Party candidate in the 1984 Chesterfield by-election and stood in the same constituency at the previous year's general election. He was the Conservatives' Chief Spokesman in Wales and led the unsuccessful "Just Say NO" campaign against Welsh devolution during the 1997 referendum. After the referendum he served on the National Assembly Advisory Group the body which set up the institution's working arrangements.
First elected to the National Assembly for Wales in 1999, and re-elected in 2003 and 2007, Bourne sat on the Assembly's European and External Affairs committee and was the party's spokesman on constitutional matters. He was the leader of the Welsh Conservatives from August 1999, and Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly from July 2007. Following a minor reshuffle in June 2008, Bourne also became the Shadow Minister for Finance and Public Service Delivery remaining in the post until 22 October 2008.
His political interests include the economy, foreign affairs, health and education. Bourne also supports charities and organizations in Wales, including the NSPCC, National Trust, and the British Heart Foundation.
Bourne has campaigned for rural communities, opposing wind farm developments, the closure of post offices and small schools, and supporting improved health care provision in non-urban areas. He campaigns on issues such as the need for a referendum on plans to give the assembly law making powers, the future of the National Botanic Garden, and on the growing cost of government in Wales. He is a member of the Doctors and Dentists Pay Review Body.
In 2005, he was presented with the Local Campaigner of the Year Award, by BBC show AM.PM; he also won AM of the Year from ITV.
In 2011, Bourne was nominated by the Welsh Conservatives as their representative on the Commission on Devolution in Wales, chaired by Paul Silk.
Bourne has been involved in two notable scandals. In September 2008, the Conservatives in the Welsh Assembly published a dossier that contained personal attacks on Welsh First Minister Rhodri Morgan. Bourne initially disassociated himself from the dossier, claiming Conservative Group staff had issued it without his knowledge or authorisation. Bourne was forced to admit later that he had signed off the dossier for publication.
For a brief period Bourne's future as Leader of the Conservative Group in the National Assembly for Wales was "in the balance" with media reports that Cardiff North Conservative Assembly Member Jonathan Morgan reportedly challenging Bourne for the Leadership. This speculation was heightened by Morgan refusing a change of posts in Bourne's February 2009 reshuffle of the Shadow Cabinet in the Welsh Assembly with Morgan being left without a place on Bourne's front bench. However, Bourne remained leader.
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|National Assembly for Wales|
||Assembly Member for Mid and West Wales
1999 – 2011
|Leader of the Welsh Conservatives in the National Assembly
1999 – 2011
Ieuan Wyn Jones
|Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly
2007 – 2011
|Shadow Minister for Finance and Public Service Delivery
14 June 2008 – 22 October 2008