Clement-Jones family 12/22 - Person Sheet
Clement-Jones family 12/22 - Person Sheet
NameRt Hon James Norwich ARBUTHNOT, 14783
FatherSir John Sinclair Wemyss ARBUTHNOT , 2036 (1912-1992)
MotherMargaret Jean DUFF , 2035 (1919-)
Notes for Rt Hon James Norwich ARBUTHNOT
James Norwich Arbuthnot, MP (born 4 August 1952) is a British Conservative Party politician. He is the Member of Parliament (MP) for North East Hampshire. Between 2005 and 2014 he was Chairman of the Defence Select Committee.[2]

Early life

Chapel of Eton College
Arbuthnot was born in Deal, Kent, the son of Sir John Arbuthnot, the Conservative Member of Parliament for Dover between 1950 and 1964, and Margaret Jean Duff.[3] He was educated at Wellesley House School in Broadstairs, Eton College, where he was Captain of School, and Trinity College, Cambridge, where he obtained a law degree in 1974.[4]

Arbuthnot was called to the Bar by Lincoln's Inn in 1975 and became a practising barrister. An active member of the Chelsea Conservative Association, he was elected as a councillor of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea in 1978 and remained a councillor until his election as a Member of Parliament (MP) in 1987.[5] In 1980 he became the vice-chairman of the Chelsea Conservative Association.

Arbuthnot contested the Cynon Valley seat, in the Labour heartland of industrial South Wales, at the 1983 general election and was defeated by Ioan Evans. A year later in 1984, Evans died and Arbuthnot fought the resulting by-election, but he was again defeated by the Labour candidate, Ann Clwyd.

Member of Parliament[edit]
In Government (1988–1997)[edit]
In the 1987 general election Arbuthnot was chosen to contest the safe Conservative seat of Wanstead and Woodford, as the sitting MP, Patrick Jenkin, was standing down. Arbuthnot held the seat, increasing the Conservative majority by over 2,000 to 16,412.[6]

In 1988 he became the Parliamentary Private Secretary (PPS) to Archie Hamilton at the Ministry of Defence, and in 1990 became the PPS to the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, Peter Lilley. He entered the John Major government after the 1992 general election when he was made an assistant government whip. He was promoted in 1994 as the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department of Social Security. The following year he was promoted to Minister of State at the Ministry of Defence, where he remained until the end of the Major government in 1997.

Arbuthnot stated that one of his proudest parliamentary achievements was "organising an all-party meeting with the prime minister for the exoneration of the pilots of the Chinook that crashed on the Mull of Kintyre in 1994."[7]

In Opposition (1997–2010)[edit]
Arbuthnot's seat of Wanstead and Woodford was abolished at the 1997 general election, and he found a new seat in North East Hampshire. In opposition, he was a member of William Hague's Shadow Cabinet as the party's Chief Whip until the 2001 general election when he returned to the backbenches. He was made a Member of the Privy Council in 1998.

Arbuthnot returned to the Shadow Cabinet under Michael Howard as Shadow Trade Secretary in 2003, but stood down after the 2005 general election. Since that election he has served as the chairman of the influential Defence Select Committee and was the chair of the special Select Committee set up to scrutinise the Bill that became the Armed Forces Act 2011.[8] He is a Senior Associate Fellow of the Royal United Services Institute.

Arbuthnot is the Parliamentary Chairman of the Conservative Friends of Israel.[9] He is also a member of the Top Level Group of UK Parliamentarians for Multilateral Nuclear Disarmament and Non-proliferation, established in October 2009.[10]

In the 2009 expenses scandal, Arbuthnot apologised and repaid the public money he had claimed for his swimming pool to be cleaned.[11] Later that year, he was further criticised in the press for £15,000 of expenses he claimed for upkeep at his second home, including tree surgery and painting his summer house.[12]

In Government (2010–present)[edit]
In June 2011 Arbuthnot announced that he would not contest the next general election.[13] On 16 January 2015, he publicly declared his atheism, stating "the pressure on a Conservative politician, particularly of keeping quiet about not being religious, is very similar to the pressure that there has been about keeping quiet about being gay". He clarified that he is not gay. [14]

Personal life[edit]
He is a direct descendant of James V of Scotland.[3] On 6 September 1984, he married Emma Broadbent, now Deputy Senior District Judge (Magistrates' Court) Arbuthnot, daughter of Michael Broadbent, Wine Director of Christie's, and has one son and three daughters.
Last Modified 4 Mar 2015Created 4 Mar 2023 using Reunion for Macintosh