Sir George Young, 6th Baronet: Wikis


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The Right Honourable
 Sir George Young 
Bt., MP

Assumed office 
8 September 2009
Leader David Cameron
Preceded by Alan Duncan

In office
5 July 1995 – 4 May 1997
Prime Minister John Major
Preceded by Brian Mawhinney
Succeeded by John Prescott (As Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions)

In office
11 July 1994 – 5 July 1995
Prime Minister John Major
Preceded by Stephen Dorrell
Succeeded by Michael Jack

Member of Parliament
for North West Hampshire
Assumed office 
1 May 1997
Preceded by David Mitchell
Majority 13,264 (25.9%)

Member of Parliament
for Ealing Acton
Acton (1974-1983)
In office
28 February 1974 – 1 May 1997
Preceded by Nigel Spearing
Succeeded by Constituency abolished

Born 16 July 1941 (1941-07-16) (age 68)
Nationality British
Political party Conservative
Spouse(s) Aurelia Nemon-Stuart
Alma mater Christ Church, Oxford
University of Surrey

Sir George Samuel Knatchbull Young, 6th Baronet, (born 16 July 1941, in Oxford, England) is a British politician. He is a Conservative Party Member of Parliament who has represented the constituency of North West Hampshire since 1997, having previously represented the constituency of Ealing Acton from 1974-97. He served in the Cabinet from 1995-97 as Secretary of State for Transport. He currently serves in the Shadow Cabinet as the Shadow Leader of the House of Commons.


Early life

Young was born in 1941, the first son of Sir George Peregrine "Gerry" Young, 5th Baronet, and Elizabeth Knatchbull-Hugessen. His father was a diplomat who met Elizabeth in while serving in Peking (where her father, Sir Hughe Knatchbull-Hugesse, was the British Ambassador). They married in 1939. On the death of his father in 1960, George inherited the Baronetcy which had been created in 1813 when Sir Samuel Young's services as an Admiral in the Royal Navy were recognised.

Young was educated at Eton, and then Christ Church, Oxford, where he read Philosophy, Politics and Economics, graduating in 1963. He was active in student politics while at Oxford, holding various offices in the Oxford University Conservative Association and being elected to the Standing Committee of the Oxford Union. After graduating from Oxford, he worked for a period at the merchant bank Hill Samuel, and then at the National Economic Development Office from 1966-7. He then spent two years as Kobler Research Fellow at the University of Surrey, where he completed an M.Phil. From 1969-74, Young was an economic adviser to the Post Office Corporation.

Young served as a Councillor in the London Borough of Lambeth from 1968-71, alongside his wife and John Major. He represented Clapham Town ward, and served on the Housing Committee. He and other councillors worked as refuse collectors at weekends during a strike. He lost his council seat in 1971.

In 1970, Young was elected to the Greater London Council (GLC) as one of four Members for the London Borough of Ealing. He served on the GLC from 1970-3, where he was vice-chairman of the Strategic Planning Authority. He did not contest his seat on the GLC in 1973, having been selected as a candidate for Parliament. (He was later to be one of the local government ministers who abolished the GLC in 1986.)

Parliamentary career

Young was elected to Parliament at the February 1974 general election as the MP for Acton with a majority of 1,300, defeating the sitting Labour Party MP, Nigel Spearing. (Spearing returned to parliament a few weeks later after winning a by-election in Newham South, and the two remained good friends until Spearing retired in 1997.) Young was re-elected as MP for Ealing Acton a the October 1974 general election with a majority of 808. He continued to represent Acton (renamed Ealing Acton in 1983) for the next 23 years, when the seat was abolished owing to boundary changes.

From 1976-79, Young served as a Opposition Whip. When the Conservative Party won the 1979 General Election, he was made a Junior Health Minister. From 1981-86, Young served as the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Department of the Environment.

In 1982, Young and his children appeared on a British Rail poster alongside Jimmy Savile to promote new measures to allow people to take their bicycles on trains more easily. Young had made a critical speech in parliament about the provisions for cyclists to take their bikes on trains, and when British Rail implemented new measures they invited Young to appear on the publicity poster. His enthusiasm for cycling has earned Young the nickname of the "Bicycling Baronet".

On the backbenches from 1986-90, Young was among the leaders of the rebellion within the Conservative Party against the implementation of the Poll Tax. Shortly before leaving office in 1990, Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher brought Young back into her government as a Whip (Comptroller of the Household) as part of her attempts to reunite the party.

When John Major became Prime Minister in November 1990, he gave Young to the role of Minister for Housing and Planning. Young then served as Financial Secretary to the Treasury from 1994-95, and in the Cabinet as Secretary of State for Transport from 1995-97. He was made a Privy Councillor in 1993.

When Young's Ealing Acton constituency was abolished because of boundary changes, he was parachuted into the safe Conservative seat of North West Hampshire at the 1997 general election to replace the retiring MP Sir David Mitchell. Young was elected with a majority of 11,551, and has continued to serve as the MP for North West Hampshire since then.

Following the Conservative Party's defeat in 1997, Young was appointed to the Shadow Cabinet as Shadow Defence Secretary by the party's new leader, William Hague. In 1998, Young became Shadow Leader of the House of Commons. In 1999, he was given additional responsibilities as Spokesman on Constitutional Affairs. He was a member of the Modernisation Select Committee and of the House of Commons Commission from 1998-2000.

Young resigned from the Shadow Cabinet in September 2000 in order to stand for the position of Speaker of the House of Commons. 14 MPs put their names forward to succeed the retiring Betty Boothroyd, and many observers considered Young to be the favourite to be elected to the role. He had support from both the Conservative and Labour leadership, however many backbench MPs, particularly those from the Labour Party (who held a large majority in the House at the time), viewed Young as someone who had too recently been a member of his party's front bench team and was thus not sufficiently in touch with ordinary MPs. In the end, Young was not elected as Speaker, with the House instead choosing Labour MP Michael Martin for the role.

Since 2000, Young has remained on the backbenches. He was elected Chairman of the House of Commons Committee on Standards and Privileges in 2001, and was re-elected to this role in 2005.

Young stood for the position of Speaker of the House again in 2009, finishing second in the ballot of MPs to fellow Conservative MP John Bercow. In the first ever secret ballot of MPs to choose the new Speaker, Bercow defeated Young in the final round of voting 322-271.

On 8 September 2009 Conservative Party Leader David Cameron appointed Young as Shadow Leader of the House of Commons, replacing Alan Duncan who held the post since January 2009.

Young is a patron of the Tory Reform Group and the All-Party Parliamentary Group on cycling.[1][2]

Expenses claims

In the last two years Young claimed the maximum second home allowance of £23,000 a year on his London home, which is within walking distance of the House of Commons. He also used taxpayer-funded expenses to employ his daughter Camilla as his office manager. Her salary was not declared. Last year Young paid his staff a total of £86,682.[3]

Personal and family life

Young married Aurelia Nemon-Stuart, daughter of sculptor Oscar Nemon, on 11 July 1964. They have two sons and two daughters, and live in Penton Mewsey, Hampshire.

In 1987 Young was banned from driving after being caught driving whilst drunk. It was reported that he smashed into a motorway barrier and continued on until stopped by police.[4]


External links

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Nigel John Spearing
Member of Parliament for Acton
Feb 19741983
Constituency abolished
New constituency Member of Parliament for Ealing Acton
Constituency abolished
Preceded by
Sir David Mitchell
Member of Parliament for North West Hampshire
Political offices
Preceded by
Alastair Goodlad
Comptroller of the Household
Succeeded by
David Lightbown
Preceded by
Stephen Dorrell
Financial Secretary to the Treasury
Succeeded by
Michael Jack
Preceded by
Brian Mawhinney
Secretary of State for Transport
Succeeded by
John Prescott
Peerage of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
George Young
(of Formosa Place)


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