Norman Lamb

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Norman Lamb
Official portrait of Norman Lamb crop 2.jpg
Official portrait, 2017
Chair of the Science and Technology Committee
In office
13 July 2017 – 6 November 2019
Preceded byStephen Metcalfe
Succeeded byGreg Clark
Minister of State for Care and Support
In office
4 September 2012 – 8 May 2015
Prime MinisterDavid Cameron
Preceded byPaul Burstow
Succeeded byAlistair Burt
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Employment Relations and Postal Affairs
In office
3 February 2012 – 4 September 2012
Prime MinisterDavid Cameron
Preceded byEd Davey
Succeeded byJo Swinson
Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Deputy Prime Minister
In office
12 May 2010 – 3 February 2012
Prime MinisterDavid Cameron
Preceded byPaul Clark (2007)
Succeeded byJo Swinson
Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Health[a]
In office
18 December 2006 – 12 October 2017
LeaderMing Campbell
Vince Cable (Acting)
Nick Clegg
Tim Farron
Vince Cable
Preceded bySteve Webb
Succeeded byThe Baroness Jolly
Member of Parliament
for North Norfolk
In office
7 June 2001 – 6 November 2019
Preceded byDavid Prior
Succeeded byDuncan Baker
Personal details
Norman Peter Lamb

(1957-09-16) 16 September 1957 (age 65)
Watford, England
Political partyIndependent (since 2021)[citation needed]
Other political
Liberal Democrats (1988–2021)
Social Democratic Party (1981–1988)
Labour (until 1981)
Mary Lamb
(m. 1984)
Alma materUniversity of Leicester
WebsiteOfficial website
a. ^ Office vacant from 12 May 2010 to 9 January 2015.

Sir Norman Peter Lamb (born 16 September 1957) is a British politician and solicitor. He was the Liberal Democrat Member of Parliament (MP) for North Norfolk from 2001 to 2019, and was the chair of the Science and Technology Select Committee from 2017 to 2019.[1]

Lamb was a candidate in the 2015 Liberal Democrats leadership election. He served most recently as Minister of State for Care and Support in the Department of Health, and previously as Minister of State for Employment Relations in the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, and earlier as Parliamentary Private Secretary to Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg in the Conservative-Liberal Democrat Coalition Government.

Early life and career[edit]

Lamb was born in Watford, Hertfordshire, the son of climatologist Professor Hubert Lamb and the great-grandson of the mathematician Sir Horace Lamb. He went to Wymondham College in Norfolk, then the University of Leicester, graduating with an LLB.

After his graduation, Lamb worked as a solicitor. He began to specialise in employment law whilst working for Steele and Co Solicitors (now called Steeles Law). His book, Remedies in the Employment Tribunal: Damages for Discrimination and Unfair Dismissal was published in 1998.

Lamb worked for a year as a researcher for Labour MP Greville Janner in the early 1980s.[2] A meeting with Shirley Williams in Parliament at this time, shortly after the formation in 1981 of the SDP–Liberal Alliance, spurred Lamb into front line active politics and he was elected to Norwich City Council where he led the Lib Dem group until he stood down in 1991 in order to pursue his Westminster ambitions.[3]

Parliamentary career[edit]

Having first stood for election at North Norfolk in 1992, when the Conservative majority was reduced, he came close to a major shock at the 1997 general election, when he reduced a Conservative majority of 12,545 to just 1,293 votes. He was finally elected in 2001, which was his third attempt for the seat; narrowly defeating the incumbent Conservative MP David Prior by 483 votes. He was re-elected in 2005 with a significantly increased majority of 10,606 votes, despite a campaign by the Conservatives and their candidate Iain Dale to unseat him in what was one of their foremost target seats. He was re-elected for a second time in 2010 with a majority of 11,626 votes.

Norman Lamb's first appointment, after being elected, was as a Liberal Democrat spokesman on International Development. Soon after this, he was chosen by then party leader Charles Kennedy to act as his Parliamentary Private Secretary. After the 2005 general election, Lamb was promoted and appointed Liberal Democrat Trade spokesman (2005–2006), securing the endorsement of the Liberal Democrat Spring 2006 Conference for a policy to partially privatise the Royal Mail, and to use the proceeds to invest in a publicly owned Post Office network. In March 2006, he moved to the post of Chief of Staff to the newly elected leader, Sir Menzies Campbell. In December 2006, he became the party's Health spokesman and was succeeded by Ed Davey as Campbell's Chief of Staff.

At the 2010 general election, Lamb was re-elected for a third time as MP for North Norfolk. Lamb secured a larger majority than before, both in percentage terms and in absolute votes. Following the formation of the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition government in May 2010, Lamb was appointed a Parliamentary Private Secretary to Deputy Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Nick Clegg.[4]

On 3 February 2012, Norman Lamb was promoted to the role of junior minister in the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills after Ed Davey was appointed Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change following the resignation of Chris Huhne consequent on his prosecution and resignation from Parliament.

In January 2015, The Daily Telegraph highlighted a £497,000 grant to upgrade Sheringham railway station in Lamb's constituency as an example of non-essential money being spent in marginal coalition constituencies ahead of the 2015 general election and accused the government of "electioneering on the taxpayer". Lamb had announced the additional spend as "fantastic news" for the area, with Downing Street subsequently denying that either the funding or Lamb's role in announcing the funding was linked to electoral objectives.[5]

At the 2015 general election, Lamb was returned to Parliament with a significantly reduced majority. At the same election, the Liberal Democrats were reduced to just eight seats and lost their status as the UK's official "third party", having been overtaken by the Scottish National Party in terms of seats won. Nick Clegg resigned as Leader of the Liberal Democrats the following day, on 8 May. Lamb stood at the subsequent Lib Dem leadership election, where he lost to Tim Farron on 16 July. Lamb was re-elected at the 2017 general election with a majority of 6.7%, an election in which he served as Farron's chief of staff.[6]

On 12 July 2017, Lamb beat fellow Lib Dem MP Jo Swinson to become the Chair of the Science and Technology Select Committee by 343 votes to Swinson's 222.[7]

In April 2018, Lamb had a stroke which he attributed to long working days and not getting enough sleep. Shortly after the stroke, Lamb told the Eastern Daily Press that "There is no point killing myself. I've got to work smarter. When a doctor tells you about the importance of sleep you have to take notice ... I am kicking myself that I have allowed this to happen. I am determined to learn a lesson".[8]

On 27 August 2019 Lamb announced he would not be seeking re-election and would stand down at the next UK general election.[9]

In 2018 Lamb became Vice-Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Whistleblowing.[10] On 24 October 2019 Lamb resigned from the group, writing to its secretariat "I do believe fundamentally in transparency and accountability to the public who ask questions."[11] At July 2020, this resignation had not been announced on the group's website, which left questions from whistleblowing campaigners unanswered.[12]


Lamb has expressed concern that the number of GPs willing to work in deprived areas is falling and Lamb would like doctors paid a patient premium to work with poor patients. Lamb said, "These figures [indicating a fall in the numbers of doctors working in poor areas] show a really disturbing trend, particularly given that low-income areas were already under-doctored before this latest fall took place".[13]


Lamb also claims to be concerned over public spending cuts and a possible no-deal Brexit[failed verification], Lamb wrote, "Outrageous! A homelessness crisis, care for elderly & disabled people close to collapse, funds for special needs children cut, people with mental ill health waiting far too long for treatment - and Gov spends billions on preparing for no deal Brexit which is completely avoidable!"[14]

After the 2019 General Election, Lamb said that he "largely fell out with the party in the period since the referendum", and that the party's position of reversing Brexit had become "more and more extreme".[15] He left the Liberal Democrats in 2021.[16]

Medical Transparency[edit]

In his role as Chair of the Science and Technology Committee, Lamb initiated measures that led to a significant improvement in medical research transparency in the UK.[17]

Cannabis legalisation[edit]

Lamb has been an outspoken advocate for the legalisation of cannabis in the UK.[18][19][20] In 2018 he introduced a Ten Minute Rule bill to legalise the drug, which was unsuccessful.[21]

In 2019, as part of a BBC documentary, Lamb visited Canada and took cannabis oil, where it is legal.[22]

Personal life[edit]

He married Mary in 1984, and they have two sons. They live in Norwich. Their son Archie Lamb was a co-founder of the independent record label Takeover Entertainment which promoted Tinchy Stryder.[23]

Lamb was knighted in the 2019 Birthday Honours.[24][25] He was appointed chair of South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust in December 2019.[26]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "MPs vote for Select Committee Chairs - News from Parliament". UK Parliament.
  2. ^ "BBC NEWS - UK - Politics - Norman Lamb". 17 October 2002.
  3. ^ "Ministerial profile: Norman Lamb". Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 3 July 2015.
  4. ^ "Government publishes list of Parliamentary Private Secretaries (PPS) - GOV.UK".
  5. ^ Christopher Hope, and Ben Riley-Smith (26 January 2015). "Government pumps tens of millions of pounds into Coalition MPs' constiituencies sic ahead of polling day". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 27 January 2015.
  6. ^ "Norfolk North parliamentary constituency – Election 2017 – BBC News". Retrieved 9 June 2017.
  7. ^ "ELECTION FOR CHAIRS OF SELECTED COMMITTEES: RESULT" (PDF).{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  8. ^ Porritt, Richard. "Norman Lamb says he has been given second chance after stroke scare". Eastern Daily Press. Retrieved 13 April 2018.
  9. ^ "Lamb to stand down as MP at next election". BBC News. 27 August 2019. Retrieved 24 June 2020.
  10. ^ "House of Commons - Register Of All-Party Parliamentary Groups as at 29 August 2018: Whistleblowing". Retrieved 9 July 2020.
  11. ^ "Home". The Whistler. Retrieved 9 July 2020.
  12. ^ "News". APPG Whistleblowing. Retrieved 24 June 2020.
  13. ^ Poor lose doctors as wealthy gain them, new figures reveal The Observer
  14. ^ Lamb, Norman (18 December 2018). "Outrageous! A homelessness crisis, care for elderly & disabled people close to collapse, funds for special needs children cut, people with mental ill health waiting far too long for treatment - and Gov spends billions on preparing for no deal Brexit which is completely avoidable!". Twitter.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  15. ^ "Former senior Lib Dem slams 'stupid' and 'extreme' Brexit policy during Swinson leadership". 5 August 2020.
  16. ^ "As reported in Playbook this morning: Former minister and Lib Dem leadership hopeful Norman Lamb has quit the party after feeling dispirited and isolated over its former Brexit stance. He accused Remainers who refused a soft-Brexit option of a 'historic miscalculation.'". Twitter. Retrieved 30 May 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  17. ^ Eaton, Lynn (17 April 2019). "UK universities show the way in reporting clinical trial results". BMJ. 365: l1834. doi:10.1136/bmj.l1834. ISSN 0959-8138. PMID 30995976. S2CID 122386794.
  18. ^ Perraudin, Frances (1 June 2015). "Lib Dem leadership candidate Norman Lamb calls for cannabis legalisation". The Guardian. Retrieved 26 June 2021.
  19. ^ Lamb, Norman (18 October 2018). "If the UK legalised cannabis as Canada has, we'd have a safer society. The Government's hypocrisy is staggering". i. Retrieved 26 June 2021.
  20. ^ "Ex-minister Norman Lamb urges cannabis legalisation". BBC News. 11 December 2018. Retrieved 26 June 2021.
  21. ^ "Tuesday 11 December 2018 Order Paper No.219: Part 1" (PDF). House of Commons. 11 December 2018. Retrieved 26 June 2021.
  22. ^ Connolly, Jim (29 July 2019). "Cannabis 'to be legalised in the UK' within five to ten years, say MPs". BBC News. Retrieved 26 June 2021.
  23. ^ "Home". Eastern Daily Press.
  24. ^ "No. 62666". The London Gazette (Supplement). 8 June 2019. p. B2.
  25. ^ "North Norfolk MP 'thrilled and honoured' to receive knighthood". North Norfolk News. North Norfolk News. 7 June 2019. Retrieved 7 June 2019.
  26. ^ "Former minister to chair major London trust". Health Service Journal. 17 December 2019. Retrieved 23 February 2020.

External links[edit]

Video clips
Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by Member of Parliament
for North Norfolk

Succeeded by