Chris Holmes, Baron Holmes of Richmond

  (Redirected from Chris Holmes (swimmer))

Christopher Holmes, Baron Holmes of Richmond MBE (born 15 October 1971)[3] is a British former swimmer and life peer in the House of Lords. He won a total of nine gold, five silver, and one bronze medal at the Paralympic Games. Holmes represented Great Britain at four Paralympic Games between 1988 and 2000[4] and is the only British Paralympic swimmer to win six gold medals at a single Games.

The Lord Holmes of Richmond
Official portrait of Lord Holmes of Richmond crop 2.jpg
Lord Holmes of Richmond in 2018
Personal information
Birth nameChristopher Holmes
National team Great Britain
Born (1971-10-15) 15 October 1971 (age 50)
Peterborough, Northamptonshire, England
ClassificationsB2[1] / S12[2]

After retiring from swimming he worked as a journalist and solicitor. He was Director of Paralympic Integration for the London Olympics and it was announced that he would be elevated to the House of Lords in August 2013, as a Conservative Party peer.[5]

Early life and educationEdit

Holmes was born in Peterborough on 15 October 1971. His family moved to Kidderminster when he was three. He was educated at Harry Cheshire Comprehensive School, Kidderminster. He then studied Social and Political Sciences at King's College, Cambridge, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree; in 1998, as per tradition, his BA was promoted to a Master of Arts (Oxbridge and Dublin) (MA (Cantab)) degree. In 2001, he gained a post graduate diploma in law (PGDL) at BPP Law School and in 2002 he completed the Legal Practice Course.[3]

Swimming careerEdit

Holmes was already a good swimmer with the goal of representing his country, when he became blind as a teenager due to Familial exudative vitreoretinopathy, a genetic eye disorder. He joined a Birmingham club where he committed to the same training regime as other sighted swimmers aspiring to the Olympics.[6]

Holmes was a member of the Great Britain swimming team from 1985 to 2002 and its captain for five years. He qualified for the Seoul 1988 Paralympic Games, where he won two silver medals and a bronze. At the Barcelona 1992 Paralympics, four years later, he gathered a record six gold medals, and a silver. He went on to take another three gold medals and a silver at Atlanta in 1996 and finally one more silver at Sydney in 2000.[7] He is often described as "one of Britain's greatest Paralympians".[8] He also became a Paralympic activist, in particular drawing attention to the issues of equal accommodations and facilities for Paralympic athletes.[6] In addition to the Games Holmes swam at two World Championships and seven European Championships, and held seven world records, 10 European records and 12 GB records.

Professional lifeEdit

Holmes has been involved with various UK sports bodies. He was a member of the Implementation Board for the UK Sports Institute, from 1999 to 2000, seeking to build a world class sports institute to rival that of Australia. From 2001 to 2004 he sat on the UK Sport Awards Panel, responsible for the funding of elite Olympic and Paralympic athletes. From 2005 to 2013 he was a member of the Board of UK Sport, responsible for the funding for the Olympic and Paralympic athletes set to compete at the London 2012 Games.[9] Holmes chaired the Audit and Risk Committee for seven years. He was also a member of the Mission 2012 Panel. Holmes was also an Ambassador to London 2012 Olympic Bid 2003–2005.

From 2002 Holmes was a Commissioner for the Disability Rights Commission where he also sat on the Legal Committee and Audit Committee. Key legal successes included the Ross V Ryan Air Court of Appeal Decision,[10] Roads V Central Trains[11] and Archibald V Fife Council.[12]

Between 2002 and 2009 Holmes worked as a solicitor specialising in commercial, employment and pensions law at Ashurst, London.[13]

In August 2009, he was named the Director of Paralympic Integration for the 2012 Olympics and Paralympics in London.[14] In 2012 the UK delivered the largest Paralympics ever, including more athletes from more nations competing, highest ticket sales and the most extensive media coverage of any previous Paralympics.[15]

In 2013 he was appointed as Non-executive Director to the Equality and Human Rights Commission[16] where one of his projects was working with Ofcom and the Creative Diversity Network to launch a new guide to the law for the broadcast industry providing clarity about initiatives and actions to promote diversity.[17][18]

In 2015 he was appointed as special adviser on Diversity and Inclusion to the Civil Service[19] and in 2016 he was appointed as Non-executive Director to the Channel 4 Board.[20] He is also Chancellor at BPP University.

Holmes has campaigned against 'shared space' street design, publishing a report in 2015 that found shared space to be unpopular with two-thirds of users.[21]

Holmes has been a member of House of Lords Select Committees on Digital Skills, Social Mobility, Financial Exclusion, Artificial Intelligence and Democracy and Digital Technologies[22] and speaks often in debates.[23] He has also introduced a Private Members Bill to prohibit unpaid work experience exceeding four weeks which has been described as a ban on unpaid internships.[24] In November 2017 he published a report called 'Distributed Ledger Technologies for Public and Private Good: leadership, collaboration and innovation' in which he makes a 'call to action' for collaboration between academia, government and industry to develop the potential of DLT.[25][26]

Holmes conducted an independent review for the government exploring how to open up public appointments to disabled people.[27] The government responded to the Lord Holmes Review, accepting the principle of all his recommendations and publishing a refreshed Public Appointments Diversity Action Plan on 27 June 2019, underpinned by the recommendations.[27] Two years on from the Lord Holmes Review, Holmes published a Progress Report calling on the government to implement commitments made in the Public Appointments Diversity Action Plan.[28]

Holmes speaks regularly at corporate, public sector, community and charity events across the UK and worldwide.[29]


In 1992 Holmes was Midlands Today Sports Personality of the year and Bass Midlander of the year. The following year he was appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 1993 New Year Honours for services to swimming for the disabled.[30] The SAF Paul Zetter Award was presented to Holmes in 1996 and in 1997 he was Sports Personality of the year Variety Club of GB. On 4 July 2012 he received an honorary degree of Doctor of Laws from Bath University.[31]


On 13 September 2013, Holmes was created a life peer taking the title Baron Holmes of Richmond, of Richmond in the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames.[32] He made his maiden speech on 28 November 2013 in a debate on the Economy: Broadcast Media[33] and has also contributed to debates on the Budget, Employment, Education, the World Wide Web, the legacy from the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games and pensions.[34] He has been a member of several ad hoc Select Committees in the House of Lords. From 2014-2015 he sat on the Digital Skills Select Committee.[35] From 2015-2016 he sat on the Social Mobility Select Committee; appointed to consider social mobility in the transition from school to work for 14-24 year olds.[36] From 2016-2017 he sat on the Select Committee on Financial Exclusion.[37] From 2017-2018 he was a member of the Select Committee on Artificial Intelligence; appointed by the House of lords to consider the economic, ethical and social implications of advances in artificial intelligence.[38] From 2018-19 he sat on the House of Lords Select Committee on Intergenerational Fairness and Provision.[39] From 2019-20 he was a member of the Select Committee on Democracy and Digital Technologies.[40] Holmes tabled amendments to the Agriculture Bill that focussed on digital infrastructure and innovation. One proposed amendment (Amendment 157) would have required the government to include broadband provision and digital literacy within the section of the bill that deals with financial support for rural development.[41][42] Another proposed amendment (Amendment 253 Page 32, line 36, at end insert “( ) the administration of maintaining marketing standards of imported wine products, including the digitisation of VI-1 forms) encouraged the government to consider the digitisation of wine import forms.[43] Holmes put forward several amendments to the Financial Services Act 2021 during its Lords stages.[44] The amendments were related to fintech and financial inclusion[45] and one amendment regarding cashback without purchase was accepted by the Government and passed into law when the bill gained Royal Assent in April 2021.[46] In May 2021 Holmes was appointed to the House of Lords Science and Technology Select Committee.[47]


  1. ^ "Guide to Paralympic Swimming". Retrieved 4 November 2015. Barcelona 1992: Great Britain's Chris Holmes wins six golds and one silver in the B2 classification.
  2. ^ "British team finish in style". BBC Sport. 5 August 2001. Retrieved 4 November 2015. Chris Holmes, S12 50m freestyle, 26.85
  3. ^ a b "Christopher Holmes HOLMES OF RICHMOND". Debrett's People of Today. Retrieved 13 May 2015.
  4. ^ "The face of modern celebrity", The Independent, 7 September 2005
  5. ^ Working Peerages announced
  6. ^ a b Alex Wolff (25 June 2012). "Britain hopes to overhaul attitudes during the 2012 Paralympic Games". Sports Illustrated.
  7. ^ "Chris Holmes the nine time paralympic champion whose leadership is integrating the games like never before". Retrieved 14 October 2014.
  8. ^ "Paralympians Club, Chris Holmes". Archived from the original on 19 October 2014. Retrieved 14 October 2014.
  9. ^ "Rod Carr And Chris Holmes Appointed To The Board Of UK Sport", Department for Culture, Media and Sport, British government, 11 September 2005
  10. ^ "England and Wales Court of Appeal (Civil Division) Decisions". BAILII. Retrieved 15 October 2014.
  11. ^ "England and Wales Court of Appeal (Civil Division) Decisions". Retrieved 15 October 2014.
  12. ^ "United Kingdom House of Lords Decisions". Retrieved 15 October 2014.
  13. ^ "From Ashurst to the Paralympics". The Lawyer. Retrieved 14 October 2014.
  14. ^ Listen to Chris Holmes: on being a Paralympian, his new role, and more Archived 30 August 2009 at the Wayback Machine. London 2012 blog (official blog of the organizers of the 2012 Olympics and Paralympics); published 2009-08-28, retrieved 2009-09-03
  15. ^ "Creating a lasting legacy from the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games". Office for Disability issues. Retrieved 10 July 2014.
  16. ^ Pring, John (16 January 2013). "London 2012 paralympics boss will lead on disability for EHRC". Disability News Service. Retrieved 14 October 2014.[permanent dead link]
  17. ^ "Thinking outside the box | Equality and Human Rights Commission". Retrieved 16 January 2018.
  18. ^ "TV urged to scrap interns to improve diversity". Broadcast. Retrieved 16 January 2018.
  19. ^ "Civil service diversity: business and sport chiefs brought in to keep an eye on progress | Civil Service World". Retrieved 16 January 2018.
  20. ^ "New Board appointments for Channel 4 - Channel 4 - Info - Press". Retrieved 16 January 2018.
  21. ^ Coleman, Clive (3 July 2015). "Halt city 'shared spaces' - report". BBC News. Retrieved 16 January 2018.
  22. ^ "Lord Holmes of Richmond". UK Parliament. Retrieved 16 January 2018.
  23. ^ "Lord Holmes of Richmond - Contributions - Hansard Online". Retrieved 16 January 2018.
  24. ^ Khomami, Nadia; Duncan, Pamela (18 December 2017). "Tory Chris Holmes calls for HMRC to act over long unpaid internships". The Guardian. Retrieved 16 January 2018.
  25. ^ Milligan(techUK), Ruth. "House of Lords Report Urges Leadership on Distributed Ledger". Retrieved 18 January 2018.
  26. ^ Ridley, Matt (4 December 2017). "The Bitcoin revolution is only just beginning". ISSN 0140-0460. Retrieved 18 January 2018.
  27. ^ a b "The Lord Holmes Review". GOV.UK.
  28. ^
  29. ^ "Chris Holmes MBE: Planning and delivering inclusive events: why wouldn't you?". Youtube. NSW Government. Retrieved 14 October 2014.
  30. ^ "No. 53153". The London Gazette (Supplement). 31 December 1992. p. 14.
  31. ^ "Record-breaking Paralympian receives honorary degree". University of Bath. Retrieved 14 October 2014.
  32. ^ "No. 60630". The London Gazette. 17 September 2013. p. 18309.
  33. ^ "Lords Chamber, 28 November 2013". Parliament Live. UK Parliament. 28 November 2013. Retrieved 14 October 2014.
  34. ^ Holmes of Richmond, Lord. "Spoken material by subject". Hansard. UK Parliament. Retrieved 15 October 2014.
  35. ^ "Digital Skills Committee". UK Parliament. Retrieved 15 October 2014.
  36. ^ "House of Lords - Improving the transition from school to work - Select Committee on Social Mobility".
  37. ^ "Financial Exclusion Committee". UK Parliament.
  38. ^ "Artificial Intelligence Committee". UK Parliament.
  39. ^
  40. ^ "Democracy and Digital Technologies Committee - Summary - Committees - UK Parliament".
  41. ^ "Agriculture Bill amendment proposes end to rural digital blackspots". 14 July 2020.
  42. ^ "Agriculture Bill - Tuesday 21 July 2020 - Hansard - UK Parliament".
  43. ^ "POLITICO Pro Morning Trade UK: Suspicion of commission — Is Northern Ireland ready? — Drunk on paperwork". POLITICO. 28 July 2020.
  44. ^ "Financial Services Act 2021 publications - Parliamentary Bills - UK Parliament". Retrieved 26 May 2021.
  45. ^ "Amendments to the Financial Services Bill will empower FinTech to drive our economic recovery". Politics Home. 5 March 2021. Retrieved 26 May 2021.
  46. ^ "Financial Services Bill - Monday 19 April 2021 - Hansard - UK Parliament". Retrieved 26 May 2021.
  47. ^ "Science and Technology Committee (Lords) - Membership - Committees - UK Parliament". Retrieved 26 May 2021.

External linksEdit

Orders of precedence in the United Kingdom
Preceded by Gentlemen
Baron Holmes of Richmond
Followed by
The Lord Leigh of Hurley