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Alan Haselhurst, Baron Haselhurst

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Alan Gordon Barraclough Haselhurst, Baron Haselhurst, PC (born 23 June 1937) is a British Conservative politician who served as Member of Parliament (MP) for Saffron Walden from 1977 to 2017, having previously represented Middleton and Prestwich as MP from 1970 to 1974. Haselhurst was Chairman of Ways and Means from 14 May 1997 to 8 June 2010,[1] and later Chairman of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association between 2011 and 2014. He was the oldest Conservative MP during his last Parliament, and stood down at the 2017 general election.[2] In May 2018, he was appointed as a life peer, and currently sits in the House of Lords as Baron Haselhurst.

The Lord Haselhurst

Official portrait of Lord Haselhurst crop 2.jpg
Chairman of the
Commonwealth Parliamentary Association
In office
27 July 2011 – October 2014
DeputyNafisa Shah
Preceded byShafie Apdal
Succeeded byShirin Sharmin Chaudhury
Chairman of the Administration Committee
In office
27 July 2010 – 30 March 2015
Preceded byFrank Doran
Succeeded bySir Paul Beresford
Deputy Speaker of the House of Commons
Chairman of Ways and Means
In office
14 May 1997 – 14 June 2010
SpeakerBetty Boothroyd
Michael Martin
John Bercow
Preceded byMichael Morris
Succeeded byLindsay Hoyle
Member of the House of Lords
Lord Temporal
Assumed office
22 June 2018
Life Peerage
Member of Parliament
for Saffron Walden
In office
7 July 1977 – 3 May 2017
Preceded bySir Peter Kirk
Succeeded byKemi Badenoch
Member of Parliament
for Middleton and Prestwich
In office
18 June 1970 – 28 February 1974
Preceded byDenis Coe
Succeeded byJim Callaghan
Personal details
Born (1937-06-23) 23 June 1937 (age 82)
South Elmsall, Yorkshire, England
Political partyConservative
Spouse(s)Angela, née Bailey
Children2 sons, 1 daughter
Alma materOriel College, Oxford


Early life and careerEdit

Insignia of a Knight Bachelor

Alan Gordon Barraclough Haselhurst was born at South Elmsall, near Hemsworth, Yorkshire and was educated at King Edward's School, Birmingham then Cheltenham College in Gloucestershire before going up to Oriel College, Oxford.

He was elected President of the Oxford University Conservative Association in 1958 and, for two years, served as Secretary and Treasurer of the Oxford Union from 1959. Before his election to Parliament, he worked in management in the chemicals industry and became an unremunerated director when his father's pharmacy was incorporated.

Election agent to Robin Balniel, Conservative MP for Hertford, at both the 1964 and 1966 general elections, Haselhurst was elected Chairman of the National Young Conservatives in 1964, serving for two years before becoming Chairman of the Commonwealth Youth Exchange Council (1978–1981).[3]

Parliamentary careerEdit

From 1970 to 1997Edit

He was elected to the House of Commons at the 1970 general election for the Lancashire seat of Middleton and Prestwich, defeating the sitting Labour MP Denis Coe by 1,042 votes. In Parliament, he briefly served from 1973 as Parliamentary Private Secretary (PPS) to the Home Secretary Robert Carr, prior to losing his seat at the February 1974 general election. Haselhurst lost the seat to Labour by only 517 votes; he then served as the Chairman of the Manchester Youth and Community Service from 1974 until he returned to Parliament. The Conservative MP for the Essex seat of Saffron Walden, Sir Peter Kirk, died on 17 April 1977. Haselhurst was selected to contest the resulting by-election on 7 July. Haselhurst retained the seat with a majority of 12,437, and was returned as the constituency's MP at every following election until his retirement in 2017.

Following the Conservatives return to power at the 1979 general election, Haselhurst was appointed as PPS to the Secretary of State for Education and Science Mark Carlisle and served for two years from 1979. He served on the European Legislation Select Committee for fifteen years from 1982, and was a member of the Transport Select Committee from 1992 to 1997. He was invited to ask the first question in Margaret Thatcher's final Prime Minister's Questions on 27 November 1990.[4]

From 1997 to 2017Edit

Following the 1997 general election, he was elected Chairman of Ways and Means (Deputy Speaker), remaining in that post under successive Speakers Betty Boothroyd, Michael Martin, and John Bercow until May 2010. Haselhurst was a nominated candidate to succeed Michael Martin after Martin's resignation as Commons Speaker on 19 May 2009. However, Haselhurst was among those who became embroiled in the MPs' expenses controversy being highlighted by The Daily Telegraph for claiming £12,000 in gardening expenses over 4 years, in the sum of £249 every month,[5] despite receiving advice from the Fees Office to simplify the submission of his expenses in this way;[6] he made endeavours to wipe the slate clean by refunding his gardening expenses "out of respect to his constituents",[7] withdrawing from the Commons Speakership election having received 66 votes in the first round of voting, and 57 in the second.[8]

Haselhurst chose not to seek re-election as a Commons Deputy Speaker after the 2010 general election, since, by convention, the Chairman of Ways and Means should come from a different party affiliation than that of the Speaker, he would only have been eligible to stand for First Deputy Chairman, junior to his previous office. Nevertheless, his fellow parliamentarians entrusted him to continue as Interim Deputy Speaker chairing debates in the House of Commons during the period between the State Opening of Parliament and its election of new Deputy Speakers. On 27 July 2010, Haselhurst was elected Chairman of the House of Commons Administration Committee,[9][10] having been defeated in the election for Chair of the Backbench Business Committee by Natascha Engel.

In July 2010, Haselhurst became Chairman of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association UK Branch before in the following year at the Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference at London in July 2011 being elected Chairman of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association's Executive Committee,[11] serving until October 2014, and overseeing parliamentary procedure throughout the Commonwealth. He succeeded the Malaysian Datuk Seri Haji Shafie Apdal; the previous British parliamentarian to be elected to this post was Sir Colin Shepherd in 1996.[12]

Haselhurst was re-selected as the Conservative candidate for the next election at a meeting of the local party association on 13 February 2014, and re-elected at the 2015 general election.[13] Haselhurst was opposed to Brexit prior to the 2016 referendum.[14]

In April 2017, Haselhurst announced that he would not be contesting the 2017 general election, after initially announcing his intention to stand.[15] Commenting on the reasons for changing his mind he stated, "I feel now that my initial instinctive response was premature... I have begun to recognize that it might test the friendship and goodwill of so many people whose support I have enjoyed if I sought to do so for a further five years."[16]


On 18 May, it was announced that Haselhurst was nominated to join the House of Lords.[17] On 22 June, he was created a life peer as Baron Haselhurst, of Saffron Walden in the County of Essex.[18]

Personal lifeEdit

Alan Haselhurst married Angela Margaret Bailey on 16 April 1977; the couple have two sons and a daughter. He is a supporter of community-based projects and was for a time a Director of Turning Point, a charity working with socially excluded young people, for five years from 1981. A Europhile, he is regarded as a one-nation Conservative and an ally of Kenneth Clarke.

He was knighted in 1995[19] and sworn of the Privy Council in 1999. He is the Secretary of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Cricket, was a Council Member of Essex County Cricket Club from 1996 to 2008, and is a member of Marylebone Cricket Club, and writes cricketing stories.


  • Occasionally Cricket: The Unpredictable Performances of the Outcasts CC by Alan Haselhurst, 1999, Queen Anne Press, ISBN 1-85291-622-2
  • Eventually Cricket by Alan Haselhurst, 2001, Queen Anne Press ISBN 1-85291-637-0
  • Incidentally Cricket by Alan Haselhurst, 2003, Queen Anne Press ISBN 1-85291-655-9
  • Accidentally Cricket by Alan Haselhurst, 2009, The Professional & Higher Partnership Ltd, ISBN 978-1-907076-00-8
  • Unusually Cricket by Alan Haselhurst, 2011, The Professional & Higher Partnership Ltd.


  1. ^ Hansard
  2. ^ "Sir Alan Haselhurst steps down after 40 years as MP". ITV News. 25 April 2017. Retrieved 25 April 2017.
  3. ^
  4. ^ Prime Minister's Questions - 27 November 1990, YouTube
  5. ^ Rayner, Gordon (12 May 2009). "MPs' expenses: Alan Haselhurst's £12,000 gardening bill". The Daily Telegraph. Telegraph Media Group Limited. Archived from the original on 15 May 2009.
  6. ^
  7. ^ "MP to pay back Gardening Expenses". Saffron Walden Conservatives. May 2009. Archived from the original on 29 June 2009. The expense claims I made over recent years have been strictly in accordance with Parliamentary rules. The designation of my constituency home as my second home instead of my rented flat in London was obligatory on my becoming Deputy Speaker. In terms of total expense claims I currently rank 582nd out of 646 MPs. However, my claim for gardening help has caused concern. Out of respect to my constituents I am this week repaying the sum of £12,000.
  8. ^
  9. ^ "Chair of Administration Committee elected". Retrieved 11 October 2013.
  10. ^ "Sir Alan to head two committees". Saffron Walden Weekly News. 6 August 2010. Archived from the original on 4 April 2012. Retrieved 15 March 2011.
  11. ^ Profile,; accessed 21 October 2015.
  12. ^ "Chairpersons". Commonwealth Parliamentary Association. Archived from the original on 26 October 2014. Retrieved 11 October 2013.
  13. ^ Barrett, Hywel. "ELECTION: Conservative's Sir Alan Haselhurst retains Saffron Walden seat". Dunmow Broadcast. Retrieved 25 April 2017.
  14. ^ Goodenough, Tom (16 February 2016). "Which Tory MPs back Brexit, who doesn't and who is still on the fence?". The Spectator. Retrieved 11 October 2016.
  15. ^ "Saffron Walden MP Sir Alan Haselhurst to step down after 40 years". Essex Live. 25 April 2017. Retrieved 25 April 2017.[permanent dead link]
  16. ^ "General election 2017: Tory MPs Tyrie and Haselhurst to stand down". BBC News. 25 April 2017. Retrieved 25 April 2017.
  17. ^ "Pickles and Lilley among former Tory ministers to get peerages". BBC News Online. 18 May 2018. Retrieved 18 May 2018.
  18. ^ "No. 62338". The London Gazette. 28 June 2018. p. 11484.
  19. ^ "No. 54287". The London Gazette. 12 January 1996. p. 571.

External linksEdit