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The Right Honourable
 James Arbuthnot 

Assumed office 
13 July 2005

In office
6 November 2003 – 6 May 2005
Leader Michael Howard
Preceded by Tim Yeo
Succeeded by David Willetts

Opposition Chief Whip
In office
23 June 1997 – 18 September 2001
Leader William Hague

Member of Parliament
for North East Hampshire
Wanstead and Woodford (1987-1997)
Assumed office 
11 June 1987
Preceded by Patrick Jenkin
Majority 12,549 (26.5%)

Born 4 August 1952 (1952-08-04) (age 57)
Deal Kent
Nationality British
Political party Conservative
Spouse(s) Emma Broadbent
Relations Sir John Arbuthnot, 1st Baronet
Alma mater Trinity College, Cambridge

James Norwich Arbuthnot, MP (born 4 August 1952) is a British Conservative Party politician. He is the Member of Parliament for Hampshire North-East.


Early life

Arbuthnot was born in Deal, Kent, the son of Sir John Arbuthnot, 1st Baronet and Margaret Jean Duff.[1] He was educated at Wellesley House School in Broadstairs, Eton College (Captain of school) and Trinity College, Cambridge, where he obtained a law degree in 1974.[2]

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 to the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea in 1978 and remained a councillor until his election as a Member of Parliament (MP) in 1987.[3] 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

At 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 two thousand to 16,412.[4]

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's seat of Wanstead and Woodford was abolished at the 1997 general election, and he found a new seat at Hampshire North East. 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 the election he has served as the chairman of the influential Defence Select Committee and is a council member of the Royal United Services Institute.

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."[5]

Arbuthnot is the current Parliamentary Chairman of the Conservative Friends of Israel.[6]

Personal life

He is a direct descendant from James V of Scotland and is heir presumptive to the baronetcy currently held by his older brother, Sir William Arbuthnot.[1] On 6 September 1984, he married Emma Broadbent, now District Judge Arbuthnot, daughter of Michael Broadbent, Wine Director of Christie's, and has one son and three daughters.

Arbuthnot is described in the Almanac of British Politics as "an austere, desiccated man with a voice likened to that of a speaking clock, but with a patrician accent redolent of his party some decades ago"[7][8]

See also


External links

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Patrick Jenkin
Member of Parliament for Wanstead and Woodford
Constituency abolished
New constituency Member of Parliament for Hampshire North East
1997 – present

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