Andrew Richard Rosindell // (born 17 March 1966) is a British Conservative politician. He is the Member of Parliament (MP) for the Romford constituency in Greater London. He is the international director of the European Foundation, chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Flags & Heraldry Committee and the UK's All-Party Parliamentary Group on the British Overseas Territories, and member of the Flag Institute.
|Member of Parliament |
8 June 2001 – 6 November 2019
|Preceded by||Eileen Gordon|
|Succeeded by||Election in progress|
Andrew Richard Rosindell
17 March 1966
Romford, London, England
Rosindell was born in Romford, London, as the son of a school dinner lady and a flight engineer. Rosindell attended Rise Park School, where he was bullied, and then Marshalls Park School in Romford. Before entering politics on a full-time basis he worked in features of the Bristol United Press' London office, was a PR consultant and researcher for another MP.
He was chairman of the Young Conservatives from 1993 to 1994. He was chairman of the International Young Democrat Union from 1998 to 2002. From 1997–2001, he was director of the European Foundation think tank.
Before becoming an MP he was a local councillor in Romford on Havering Council, winning the Chase Cross and Havering-atte-Bower ward from the Liberal Democrats in 1990. In 1998, he took an 88% share of the vote. This was a record for a Conservative in a London borough, and earned him reputation as a 'formidable campaigner'.
After unsuccessful attempts to win seats in Glasgow Provan in 1992 and Thurrock in 1997, Rosindell was elected to the House of Commons in the 2001 general election, defeating the former teacher and Labour MP, Eileen Gordon. Rosindell won 18,931 votes (53% share) – a swing of 9.2% from Labour to Conservative. It was one of just nine seats the Conservatives managed to regain after the Labour landslide at the 2001 election. Not only did Margaret Thatcher visit the constituency during the campaign, another crucial aspect of his campaign involved canvassing with his Staffordshire Bull Terrier Spike, who wore a union flag waistcoat. This was a tactic Rosindell had employed in previous elections, such as his unsuccessful campaign in Glasgow Provan in 1992.
At the 2005 election, Rosindell increased his majority to 11,589, winning 21,560 votes on a 59.1% share. This was the second highest Conservative share of the vote anywhere in the UK. During the election campaign a clash between Labour and Conservative activists distributing leaflets at Romford railway station resulted in the police being called.
Rosindell was appointed by Michael Howard to be vice-chairman for Campaigning of the Conservative Party in 2004, and in December 2005 he became an Opposition Whip. In July 2007, he was appointed as a Shadow Minister for Home Affairs with particular responsibility for animal welfare.
On 5 February 2008, Rosindell became founding chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Flag Group (APPFG) and proposed a Union Flag Bill under the Ten Minute Rule. The APPFG changed its name to the Flags & Heraldry Committee in April 2010.
At the 2010 election, Rosindell increased his majority to 16,594, winning 26,031 votes on a reduced 56.0% share. He has since been elected onto the Foreign Affairs Select Committee as well as taking the Chairmanship of various all-party parliamentary groups, including the APPGs for the Commonwealth, and for the British Overseas Territories, the Channel Islands, and the Isle of Man, as well as Canada and Liechtenstein. In 2015 Rosindell took over chairmanship of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on the Chagos Islands from its founder, Jeremy Corbyn. In July 2010, Rosindell was appointed by the Chairman of the Conservative Party, Sayeeda Warsi, onto the board of the Westminster Foundation for Democracy.
In September 2010, Rosindell sponsored the first Erotica event to be held in the Houses of Parliament. Rosindell maintained that he was promoting the hosts, a Romford-based business, as was his duty as the constituency MP.
In 2012, Rosindell became chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Zoos and Aquariums Group.
In June 2012, Rosindell was criticised for expressing "huge admiration" for former Chilean President Augusto Pinochet. The comments were condemned by Labour Leader Ed Miliband MP and neighbouring Labour MP Jon Cruddas, who stated in an interview with the Romford Recorder that "Augusto Pinochet assumed power in a coup d'état and overthrew a democratically elected government. According to various reports and investigations thousands of people were killed in this process, and tens of thousands were interned and tortured by his regime". Rosindell made the comments whilst defending a local colleague who had been criticised for apparently endorsing Pinochet, and stated that Pinochet had overthrown a "far worse" communist regime and that "we should be grateful" for the assistance Pinochet's Chile provided to the British forces retaking the Falkland Islands.
In February 2015, Rosindell cast doubt on the ability of Rachel Reeves (then Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions) to handle that ministerial responsibility in a putative post-election Labour cabinet, as she would be taking maternity leave soon after the election and would then have a young child to care for following her return to the post in September. He was criticised for the remarks by Labour MPs whilst David Cameron chose to distance himself from the comments.
At the 2015 election Rosindell was re-elected with 25,067 votes, on a 51% share, and also gained re-election to the Foreign Affairs Select Committee.
In September 2015, Rosindell presented a Ten Minute Rule Bill to Parliament entitled the United Kingdom Borders (Control and Sovereignty) Bill. In his speech presenting the Bill, he argued that Britain must take back control of its borders from the European Union, asserting that "A nation that does not retain sovereignty over its national borders will ultimately be powerless to determine its own destiny". The speech also advocated a policy of controlled immigration, arguing that public services were unable to keep up with the number of people entering the country every year. Since the start of 2016, Rosindell has also been a member of the Advisory Board of the UK-based 'Polar Regions' think-tank Polar Research and Policy Initiative.
In an Early day motion of 3 November 2016, as a celebration of the Brexit vote and Britain withdrawing from the European Union, Rosindell argued for a return to the broadcasting of "God Save the Queen" at the end of BBC One transmissions each day. The practice was dropped in 1997 (ostensibly due to BBC One adopting 24-hour broadcasting by simulcasting BBC News 24 overnight, rendering closedown obsolete). That evening, BBC Two's Newsnight programme ended its nightly broadcast with host of that night Kirsty Wark saying that they were "incredibly happy to oblige" Rosindell's request, before ending with a clip of the Sex Pistols performing the punk song of the same name, much to Rosindell's discontent.
At the 2017 election Rosindell was re-elected with 29,671 votes, on a 59.4% share.
In 2017, Rosindell co-sponsored a Bill with Lord Empey to use Libyan funds frozen under Chapter 7 of the UN Charter, to compensate victims of IRA terrorism supported by the Gaddafi regime.
In January 2019, The Times discovered that Rosindell's Facebook account belonged to a group supporting far-right mouthpiece Tommy Robinson. The group was specifically concerned with supporting Tommy Robinson's attempts to collapse a court case regarding sexual abuse of minors. Rosindell claimed that he had been added to the group without his knowledge; however, at the time of writing, Facebook users had to accept being added to a group.
Rosindell's political views are firmly Thatcherite: he is a Eurosceptic and supports the re-introduction of the death penalty and the detention of asylum seekers. He is a member of The Freedom Association, and was a member of the Monday Club, until he was compelled to resign in 2001 by the Conservative leader Iain Duncan Smith. Journalist Ann Treneman in The Times described him as a "flag fanatic and super patriot".
In 2012 he unsuccessfully attempted to introduce the United Kingdom Borders Bill in 2012, a private member's bill aiming to create a dedicated entry queue for citizens of countries where the British Queen is head of state and introduce pictures of the queen and more royal symbols at UK borders. He reiterated calls for preferential treatment of "Her Majesty's subjects" visiting Britain in 2015, whilst also calling for the immigration system to favour Commonwealth citizens, as opposed to those from the EU. Rosindell proved ahead of his time, as this measure was then adopted by Chancellor Philip Hammond in his October 2018 budget.
Rosindell has spoken in favour of a federal UK and proposed a bill calling for a separate English Parliament, whilst declaring himself opposed to the idea of imposing English votes for English Laws restrictions on the Westminster Parliament. Rosindell proposed in 2012 that Crown Dependencies and British Overseas Territories should be represented in the UK parliament like dependencies of Australia, Denmark, France and the Netherlands have been.
As Chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary group on the Chagos Islands since 2015, Rosindell is a strong supporter of the Chagossians' right to self-determination, and condemns their forced relocation in the 1960s, repeatedly calling on Parliament not only to restore the Chagossians to their homeland, but also to assist with the provision of essential services and facilities, which have not been modernised since the forced relocation took place.
Rosindell supports a broad range of nature conservation projects based in the British Overseas Territories, and has spoken in favour of the Great British Oceans Coalition's initiative to support the reclassification of the South Sandwich Islands as a fully protected nature reserve, specifying that in such a case the UK would be the only country in the world to create fully protected nature reserves in the Indian, Pacific, Atlantic, and Southern Oceans. Rosindell joined Philip Davies and Christopher Chope in repeatedly blocking a backbench Bill banning the use of wild animals in circuses from progressing through Parliament, finally blocking it by lodging an objection in March 2015. Rosindell had earlier argued the circus is a "Great British institution…[that] deserves to be defended against the propaganda and exaggerations". He also said that during his time as Shadow Minister for Animal Welfare he had investigated the question the welfare of circus animals, and argued that no animals currently in British circuses were captured in the wild, and that most had been bred from generations of circus animals. Furthermore, Rosindell highlighted that circuses were inspected up to seven times a year, compared to zoos, which were mostly only inspected once a year, and that the welfare of circus animals fell under the provision of both the 2006 Animal Welfare Act and the Welfare of Wild Animals in Travelling Circuses (England) Regulations 2012, making further legislation largely redundant. However, the bill had the support of the Coalition government, the Labour opposition and public opinion, which made its non-passage a headline item.
Rosindell has consistently voted against bills furthering LGBT rights, including equaling the age of consent, civil partnerships and scrapping the controversial Section 28 act, which banned teachers from "promoting homosexuality" or "teaching ... the acceptability of homosexuality as a pretended family relationship". He opposed the legalisation of same-sex marriage, saying "Where would it end? You could finish up at a stage where the monarchy in this country is in a same-sex marriage and that would have constitutional implications".
Rosindell is an enthusiastic supporter of black cabs in London, and has spoken in favour of 'levelling the playing field' between black cabs and providers of other transport services, which require less time-intensive and specialised training. Rosindell has criticised the lack of regulation of alternative ride-sharing services, saying 'it would be a deep shame to see an honest and historic trade disappear from our streets due to a predatory corporation. There are deep issues with cross border licensing, safety standards and tax arrangements, which has rapidly affected the black cab industry.'
In 2017, Rosindell said: "The humiliation of having a pink European Union passport will now soon be over and the United Kingdom nationals can once again feel pride and self-confidence in their own nationality when travelling, just as the Swiss and Americans can do. National identity matters and there is no better way of demonstrating this today than by bringing back this much-loved national symbol when travelling overseas." It was subsequently revealed that the colour of passports was not a matter controlled by the European Union, while the more general design standards related to the International Civil Aviation Organization, an agency of the UN.
During the police action surrounding the 2017 Catalan independence referendum, Rosindell spoke out in his capacity as the vice-chairman of the APPG on Catalonia to say the UK should have sent a 'much stronger' message about condemning the Spanish government's reaction, saying the violence 'brought shame on Spain and shame on the European Union.'
At the beginning of the MPs expenses scandal The Daily Telegraph reported that Rosindell "claimed more than £125,000 in second home expenses for a flat in London, while designating his childhood home 17 miles away – where his mother lived – as his main address" and between "2006 and 2008 claimed the maximum £400 a month for food".
In 2010, the BBC accused Rosindell of breaching Parliamentary rules by accepting subsidised overseas trips to Gibraltar and subsequently raising multiple Gibraltar-related issues in Parliament without disclosing the trips in the Register of Members' Interests.
In the Parliamentary year, 2014/15, Rosindell claimed £170,000 in expenses. £144,000 of this, however, was accounted for as staffing costs.
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- "They work for you: gay rights". Retrieved 31 October 2019.
- "Havering church leaders: 'Gay marriage would undermine human stability'". Retrieved 31 October 2019.
- "[Sir Edward Leigh in the Chair] – London Black Cabs: 15 Sep 2015: Westminster Hall debates - TheyWorkForYou". TheyWorkForYou.
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- "UK passport could turn dark blue after Brexit under £490m contract". The Guardian. 2 April 2017. Retrieved 3 April 2017.
- "The blue passport is taking back control? No, it was first imposed on us from abroad". The Guardian. 22 December 2017. Retrieved 15 February 2018.
- "'Spain can't be trusted to deal with this'". BBC News.
- Swaine, Jon; Gammell, Caroline (20 June 2009). "MPs' expenses: Tory MP Andrew Rosindell has childhood home as main address". The Daily Telegraph. London.
- Rosindell, Andrew. "Andrew Rosindell MP: Foreign trips and rule breaches". BBC News. Retrieved 30 March 2015.
- Andrew Rosindell official site
- Profile at Parliament of the United Kingdom
- Contributions in Parliament at Hansard
- Contributions in Parliament at Hansard 1803–2005
- Voting record at Public Whip
- Record in Parliament at TheyWorkForYou
|Parliament of the United Kingdom|
| Member of Parliament for Romford