Bob Seely

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Bob Seely
Official portrait of Mr Bob Seely crop 2.jpg
Member of Parliament
for Isle of Wight
Assumed office
8 June 2017
Preceded by Andrew Turner
Majority 21,069 (28.3%)
Personal details
Born 1966 (age 51–52)
Nationality British
Political party Conservative
Residence Chillerton, Isle of Wight
Military service
Allegiance  United Kingdom
Service/branch British Army
Rank Captain

Robert William Henry Seely[1] MBE (born 1966) is a British Conservative Party politician who has served as the Member of Parliament (MP) for the Isle of Wight since June 2017.[2]

Early life and career[edit]

Seely was educated at Arnold House School and Harrow School.

Seely worked for four years as a stringer for The Times newspaper, based in Russia. He first visited what was then the Soviet Union in early 1990, witnessing the first celebrations of Easter in western Ukraine since Soviet occupation after World War II, and also early Chernobyl protests in Kiev that year. He filed an initial batch of reports and was invited by the newspaper to return permanently from 1990-1994. During his tenure in the country, Seely reported from most of the republics or new nations: Russia, Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Armenia (including Nagorny Karabakh), Uzbekistan and Tajikistan. During this time, he made visits to the Balkans, including Sarajevo and Kosovo. He also wrote occasional articles for The Spectator and The Sunday Times.[3]

He then served as a soldier in the Army Reserve and deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq. As a British Army Sergeant, he was awarded a Joint Commanders Commendation in 2009 for his tour of Iraq and a Military MBE in the 2016 Operational Awards and Honours List.[4][5] He has since been commissioned.[6]

Seely has been a research associate at the Changing Character of War Programme at the University of Oxford. His academic writing is available online.[7] He is an occasional blogger on Russian/Ukrainian issues, hybrid war, unconventional and new forms of war. He has contributed to the King’s College War Studies blog,[8] Oxford Politics Department blog,[9] The Washington Post’s social sciences blog,[10] Prospect magazine and RUSI Journal, published by the Royal United Services Institute.[11] Seely’s most recent peer reviewed article attempts to provide a comprehensive definition for contemporary Russian warfare.[11]

He has also worked at Conservative Central Office as an adviser to Francis Maude and Sir Malcolm Rifkind.[4]

Political Career[edit]


In 2005, Seely stood at the Broxtowe constituency but lost to the sitting Labour MP Nick Palmer by 2,296 votes.[12]

In 2013, he was voted to represent Central Wight on the Isle of Wight Council for the Conservatives and retained the seat in 2017. After the decision by sitting Conservative MP Andrew Turner to stand down at the 2017 general election, Seely was selected as the candidate for the Isle of Wight seat and gained 38,190 votes, representing 51.3% of the vote. He previously worked with Turner on the One Wight campaign, acting as campaign co-ordinator, in 2010.[13] During his campaign, he suggested that were he to be elected, he would campaign for improvements to the Island Line rail network.[14] He resigned as a county Councillor in late 2017.[15]


In February 2018, he was elected by his Conservative colleagues to sit on the cross-party Foreign Affairs Select Committee, whose remit is to examine the expenditure, administration and policy of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO).[16]


In June 2018, Seely released a report for the right-wing think tank the Henry Jackson Society on “the definition of the nature of Russian warfare”. In it Seely stated that “The UK will see a full spectrum threat from Moscow for years to come”. The report received coverage on Russian international television network RT who described it as “yet another attempt to foster Russophobia by publishing anti-Kremlin propaganda masquerading as a peer-reviewed study.” [17]

In July 2018, Seely launched his ‘Island Manifesto’[18][19] detailing his future vision for the Isle of Wight. Despite being the Member of Parliament for only a year, Seely claims to have been “thinking about the issues the Isle of Wight faces” for a decade.[20] Despite stating in his manefesto that he would like to explore “various options”, for future dealings with companies providing the Isle of Wight ferry service[21]; in August 2018 Seely wrote to the Department for Transport asking Ministers to consider “buying out” Wightlink and Red Funnel in order to nationalise the service.[22][23] This was in response to a petition by island residents for Government intervention in the ferry service. A move that has been considered controversial as nationalisation is not aligned with conservatism.[24]

In August 2018, Seely joined swimmers to raise money for a local leisure centre by swimming across the Solent.[25]

Personal life[edit]

Seely lives in Chillerton, Isle of Wight.[4] He was born to an English father and German mother, and was educated at Arnold House School and Harrow.[4] He comes from a long line of family members involved in politics on the Isle of Wight and elsewhere in the country. Seely’s great-great-uncle, General Jack Seely, was MP for the Isle of Wight between 1900 and 1906 and again between 1923 and 1924, in between which time he served in the First World War – including leading the Battle of Moreuil Wood on his war horse Warrior.[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "DECLARATION OF RESULT OF POLL". Isle of Wight Council. Retrieved 9 June 2017. 
  2. ^ Wallace, Mark (5 May 2017). "Seely wins Isle of Wight selection". ConservativeHome. Retrieved 8 June 2016. 
  3. ^ "About Bob Seely". Bob Seely MP. Retrieved 2017-11-19. 
  4. ^ a b c d e "About Bob Seely". Bob Seely MP. Retrieved 9 June 2017. 
  5. ^ Perry, Sally (19 October 2016). "Bob Seely 'interested in standing' as Isle of Wight MP". OnTheWight. 
  6. ^
  7. ^ "Robert W H Seely". Retrieved 2017-11-23. 
  8. ^ "RUSSIA HYBRID WAR – A RESPONSE". Defence-In-Depth. 2015-10-30. Retrieved 2017-11-23. 
  9. ^ "Kompromat or not, Russia already has a winner in Trump - OxPol". OxPol. 2017-01-26. Retrieved 2017-11-23. 
  10. ^ Seely, Robert W. H. (2016-05-22). "Ukraine defeated Russia — at Eurovision. Here's why that matters". Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 2017-11-23. 
  11. ^ a b "Robert W H Seely". Retrieved 2017-11-23. 
  12. ^ Perry, Sally (7 May 2017). "Isle of Wight Conservative's pick their MP hopeful - Isle of Wight News from OnTheWight". OnTheWight. 
  13. ^ "OneWight". 
  14. ^ Taylor, Haydn. "Time to look at re-opening Isle of Wight railway routes, says Tory candidate". Isle of Wight County Press. Isle of Wight County Press. Retrieved 12 June 2017. 
  15. ^ "MP Bob Seely to quit Isle of Wight Council role". Retrieved 2018-02-13. 
  16. ^ "Mr Bob Seely MP". UK Parliament. Retrieved 2018-02-23. 
  17. ^ "Tory MP ratchets up Russian fearmongering with study reviewed by anonymous or anti-Moscow academics". RT. Retrieved 2018-06-04. 
  18. ^ "Bob launches his vision for the Island in new policy document and website". Bob Seely MP. Retrieved 2018-09-09. 
  19. ^ "My Vision for the Island". Island Manifesto. Retrieved 2018-09-09. 
  20. ^ "Isle of Wight MP, Bob Seely, launches his 'Island Manifesto'". Isle of Wight News from OnTheWight. 2018-07-17. Retrieved 2018-09-09. 
  21. ^ "Transport - Island Manifesto". Island Manifesto. Retrieved 2018-09-09. 
  22. ^ "Bob writes to Government asking them to look at Isle of Wight Ferries". Bob Seely MP. Retrieved 2018-09-09. 
  23. ^ "MP Bob Seely asks Government if they'd Nationalise an Isle of Wight Ferry company". Isle of Wight News from OnTheWight. 2018-08-24. Retrieved 2018-09-09. 
  24. ^ "Letter - 10,000 people sign online petitions for government intervention on ferry firms not the answer. A tunnel is!". Isle of Wight County Press. Retrieved 2018-09-09. 
  25. ^ "Bob Seely MP joins Solent Swimmers - West Wight Sports and Community Centre". West Wight Sports and Community Centre. 2018-06-17. Retrieved 2018-09-09. 

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Andrew Turner
Member of Parliament for the Isle of Wight