Andrew Robathan


Andrew Robert George Robathan, Baron Robathan, PC (born 17 July 1951) is a British Conservative politician, who served as Member of Parliament (MP) for South Leicestershire (previously Blaby) in Leicestershire as well as a government minister.

The Lord Robathan
Official portrait, 2019
Minister of State for Northern Ireland
In office
7 October 2013 – 14 July 2014
Prime MinisterDavid Cameron
Preceded byMike Penning
Succeeded byAndrew Murrison
Minister of State for the Armed Forces
In office
4 September 2012 – 7 October 2013
Prime MinisterDavid Cameron
Preceded byNick Harvey
Succeeded byMark Francois
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Welfare and Veterans
In office
13 May 2010 – 4 September 2012
Prime MinisterDavid Cameron
Preceded byKevan Jones
Succeeded byMark Francois
Member of the House of Lords
Lord Temporal
Assumed office
9 November 2015
Life Peerage
Member of Parliament
for South Leicestershire
Blaby (1992–2010)
In office
9 April 1992 – 30 March 2015
Preceded byNigel Lawson
Succeeded byAlberto Costa
Personal details
Born (1951-07-17) 17 July 1951 (age 72)
Surrey, United Kingdom
Political partyConservative
Rachael Maunder
(m. 1991)
Alma materOriel College, Oxford
Military service
Allegiance United Kingdom
Branch/service British Army
Years of service1974–1989 (British Army)
UnitColdstream Guards
Special Air Service
Battles/warsGulf War

In September 2014 Robathan announced he would stand down at the 2015 general election,[1] and was nominated for a life peerage in 2015 Dissolution Honours,[2] being created Baron Robathan, of Poultney in the County of Leicestershire, on 13 October 2015.[3]

Early life edit

Robathan was born on 17 July 1951. He was educated at Merchant Taylors' School, an all-boys public school in Northwood, London. He went up to read Modern History at Oriel College, University of Oxford, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts (BA) in 1973, later proceeding Master of Arts.

Military career edit

Robathan was commissioned into the Coldstream Guards as a Second Lieutenant (on probation) (University Candidate) on 6 October 1974. He was given the service number 498738.[4] His commission was confirmed and he was given seniority as a Second Lieutenant from 6 April 1971. He was promoted to lieutenant, back dated to 6 October 1974, with seniority from 6 April 1973.[5] Having attended the Staff College, Camberley, he was promoted to major on 30 September 1984.[6] He served for a period of time with the Special Air Service (SAS),[7] and retired on 27 August 1989 being appointed to the Reserve of Officers.[8]

He worked for BP from 1991 to 1992, but volunteered to return to the Army between January and April 1991 during the First Gulf War, serving as Chief of Staff of the Prisoner of War Guard Force in Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Kuwait.[9]

Parliamentary career edit

Robathan was elected to Hammersmith and Fulham Council in May 1990, defeating the then-Labour Mayor in the Eel Brook Ward.[9]

He resigned as a Councillor in late 1991 to fight the 1992 general election, elected as MP for Blaby in 1992 succeeding Nigel Lawson, the former Chancellor of the Exchequer. Blaby had a 37% Conservative majority in 1992, but it was considerably reduced by the national swing against the Conservatives and major boundary changes in 1997, creating a rise in Labour support within the constituency. Following a public enquiry by the Electoral Commission and submissions from the public including Robathan, the Blaby constituency was reconfigured as South Leicestershire.

Robathan served four years on the Defence Select Committee between 1997 and 2001; he was also Chairman of the All-Party Cycling Group, and Vice-Chairman of the All-Party Renewable and Sustainable Energy Group, whilst an MP.[9]

Robathan was John Redwood's Parliamentary Private Secretary to Iain Sproat, Minister for Sport, in the Major administration before returning to the backbenches when the Conservatives lost the 1997 general election. He returned to the front-bench as Trade and Industry Spokesman in 2002.

In the 2001 Conservative Party leadership election, Robathan was a notable supporter of Michael Portillo. After six months on the backbenches, Robathan was appointed Commons Liaison to the Lords and then a Defence Spokesman in which capacity he fought the 2005 general election.[10]

In the 2005 Conservative leadership election, Robathan was one of the first MPs to declare his support for David Cameron being rewarded with one of only five paid posts as Opposition Deputy Chief Whip.[9]

In May 2010, he was appointed Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Ministry of Defence with responsibility for Welfare and Veterans.[citation needed]

In 2011, he was a member of the Special Select Committee set up to scrutinise the Bill that became the Armed Forces Act 2011.[11]

In December 2011, campaigners called for him to be sacked after he compared the medal claims of 66,500 veterans of the Arctic convoys of World War II to the proliferation of honours made by "authoritarian regimes" and "dictators":

"One can look, for instance, at North Korean generals who are covered in medals or Gaddafi or Saddam Hussein... We have taken the view in this country, traditionally, that medals will only be awarded for campaigns that show risk and rigour."[12]

Some 3000 sailors died on the convoys - which Winston Churchill described as the "worst journey in the world".[12] Portsmouth MPs described his behaviour as "shameful" and "sickening".[12]

In October 2012 Robathan was told to calm down by Lindsay Hoyle, the Deputy Speaker, after complaining about noise levels from the public gallery.[13] Soldiers from the "historic" 2nd Battalion Royal Regiment of Fusiliers who face being disbanded were "politely applauding MPs who spoke up on their behalf".[13] A former captain contrasted MoD advice that they went to Afghanistan and Iraq to help democracy with the reality of their own threatened ejection from Parliament.[13]

Expenses edit

Robathan claimed the maximum second home entitlement of £24,006 in the period 2008–09[14] though he was not one of the 343 MPs required to repay money by the Legg Report.[15] He was one of 177 MPs listed by The Daily Telegraph who employed family members.[16] The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority report published two years later, whilst tightening the rules, confirmed that a member may employ one relative subject to general conditions relating to expenses.[17] Robathan's expenses were generally in the bottom half of all MPs.[18]

On 24 August 2009, he was quoted in The Times newspaper suggesting that MP's salaries be increased to £110,000. These comments were heavily frowned upon by his colleagues in Parliament and the media.[19]

On 4 November 2013, it was reported in The Leicester Mercury newspaper and on BBC Radio Leicester that Robathan had claimed £4,587 expenses to pay for energy bills for his second home.[20][21]

Personal life edit

Robathan married Rachael Maunder in December 1991 in Westminster. They have a son (born December 1996), and daughter (born July 1999). Rachael has been a Conservative councillor on Westminster City Council since 2010, representing Knightsbridge and Belgravia ward. In 2020, she became Leader of the Council.

Robathan speaks French and German, and has been admitted as a Freeman of the City of London.

References edit

  1. ^ "MP Andrew Robathan announces he will not be standing again as Conservative candidate for South Leicestershire". Leicester Mercury. 22 September 2014. Archived from the original on 19 October 2014. Retrieved 22 September 2014.
  2. ^ "Dissolution Peerages 2015". Retrieved 27 August 2015.
  3. ^ "No. 61384". The London Gazette. 19 October 2015. p. 19566.
  4. ^ "No. 46464". The London Gazette (Supplement). 14 January 1975. p. 514.
  5. ^ "No. 46542". The London Gazette (Supplement). 14 April 1975. p. 4815.
  6. ^ "No. 49897". The London Gazette (Supplement). 15 October 1984. p. 13947.
  7. ^ Debrett's People of Today[permanent dead link]
  8. ^ "No. 51903". The London Gazette (Supplement). 16 October 1989. p. 11883.
  9. ^ a b c d "Andrew Robathan". Daily Telegraph. London. Archived from the original on 10 May 2010. Retrieved 14 May 2010.
  10. ^ Archived 4 March 2016 at the Wayback Machine
  11. ^ "Select Committee on the Armed Forces Bill". Retrieved 20 September 2013.
  12. ^ a b c "A slur on our Arctic Heroes by Veterans Minister". 7 December 2011. Retrieved 4 June 2013.
  13. ^ a b c Andrew Hough (20 October 2012). "Forces minister 'requested noisy fusiliers be ejected from Commons gallery'". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 4 June 2013.
  14. ^ "This is Leicester news article on expenses scandal". 11 December 2009.
  15. ^ "Full list of MPs' expenses repayments order of amount repayable". BBC News. 4 February 2010. Retrieved 1 April 2010.
  16. ^ "Daily Telegraph article on MP's who employ family members". The Daily Telegraph. London. 3 July 2008. Archived from the original on 5 July 2008.
  17. ^ "IPSA -The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority:Staffing expenditure:condition:section 8.6". 26 March 2010. Retrieved 24 April 2010.
  18. ^ "They work for you:Andrew Robathan-Expenses". Retrieved 20 October 2012.
  19. ^ Baldwin, Tom (24 August 2009). "Times article on MP's salary demands". The Times. London.
  20. ^ "Leicester Mercury Andrew Robathan-Expenses". Archived from the original on 6 November 2013.
  21. ^ "Andrew Robathan's Heating Expenses, Our MP's Heating Expenses, Jonathan Lampon - BBC Radio Leicester". BBC.

External links edit

  • Guardian Unlimited Politics - Ask Aristotle: Andrew Robathan MP
  • - Andrew Robathan MP
  • Biography
  • South Leicestershire Conservative Association
  • BBC Politics page Archived 12 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine

News items edit

  • Leicestershire education in March 2003
Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by Member of Parliament for Blaby
Constituency abolished
New constituency Member of Parliament for South Leicestershire
Succeeded by
Orders of precedence in the United Kingdom
Preceded by Gentlemen
Baron Robathan
Followed by