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Dominic Charles Roberts Grieve QC PC (born 24 May 1956)[1] is a British politician and barrister. He has been the Member of Parliament (MP) for Beaconsfield since 1997, and served as Shadow Home Secretary from 2008 to 2009 and as Attorney General for England and Wales and Advocate General for Northern Ireland from May 2010 to July 2014, attending Cabinet.[2] He was dismissed as Attorney General by then Prime Minister David Cameron as part of the Cabinet reshuffle of 14 July 2014, and was replaced by Jeremy Wright. Elected as a Conservative, Grieve is a prominent Remain supporter on Brexit, and had the Conservative whip removed on 3 September 2019 in the September 2019 suspension of rebel Conservative MPs; he currently sits as an independent politician.


Dominic Grieve

Official portrait of Mr Dominic Grieve crop 2.jpg
Chair of the Intelligence and Security Committee
Assumed office
15 September 2015
Preceded byMalcolm Rifkind
Attorney General for England and Wales
Advocate General for Northern Ireland
In office
12 May 2010 – 15 July 2014
Prime MinisterDavid Cameron
Preceded byThe Baroness Scotland of Asthal
Succeeded byJeremy Wright
Shadow Secretary of State for Justice
In office
19 January 2009 – 11 May 2010
LeaderDavid Cameron
Preceded byNick Herbert
Succeeded byJack Straw
Shadow Home Secretary
In office
12 June 2008 – 19 January 2009
LeaderDavid Cameron
Preceded byDavid Davis
Succeeded byChris Grayling
Shadow Attorney General
In office
6 November 2003 – 7 September 2009
LeaderMichael Howard
David Cameron
Preceded byBill Cash
Succeeded byEdward Garnier
Member of Parliament
for Beaconsfield
In office
1 May 1997 – 6 November 2019
Preceded byTim Smith
Succeeded byElection in progress
Majority24,543 (43.9%)
Personal details
Born (1956-05-24) 24 May 1956 (age 63)
Lambeth, London, England
Political partyIndependent (2019—)
Other political
affiliations
Conservative (until 2019)
Spouse(s)Caroline Hutton
Children2
Alma mater
Websitedominicgrieve.org.uk Edit this at Wikidata

A liberal conservative,[3] Grieve has been a central figure on Brexit and has frequently used his legal experience to propose amendments on the issue, with his interventions often being at odds with government policy. Grieve has called for a second referendum on EU membership, and before being expelled had said that he and other Conservative rebels would support a vote of no confidence to bring down a Conservative government, if that were the only way to block the “catastrophic” damage from a bad Brexit.[4][5][6][7] In spring 2019, Grieve was threatened with deselection by his local party after losing a confidence vote by members.[8] In October 2019, he announced that he would stand as an independent candidate in his constituency’s seat at the next general election. It was reported that the Liberal Democrats would stand aside to help him.[9]

Grieve is the president of the Franco-British Society.[10] He was awarded the Legion of Honour in 2016,[10] and broadcasts in French on French radio and television.[11] He is a practising Anglican and was a member of the London diocesan synod of the Church of England.[12]

Early lifeEdit

Grieve was born in Lambeth, London, the son of Percy Grieve, QC (the MP for Solihull 1964–83), and of an Anglo-French mother, Evelyn Raymonde Louise Mijouain (d. 1991), maternal granddaughter of Sir George Roberts, 1st and last baronet.[13][14] He was educated at the Lycée français Charles de Gaulle on Cromwell Road in South Kensington, Colet Court , an all-boys' preparatory school in Barnes and Westminster School.[15] He went up to Magdalen College, Oxford, where he received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Modern History[16] in 1978. He was the President of the Oxford University Conservative Association in 1977.[17]

He continued his studies at the Polytechnic of Central London (now the University of Westminster), where he received a Diploma in Law[16] in 1979.

Legal careerEdit

He was called to the Bar at the Middle Temple in 1980[18] and is a specialist in occupational safety and health law. He was made a Bencher of the Middle Temple in 2005 and appointed a Queen's Counsel in 2008.[19][20]

Political careerEdit

Local councilEdit

He was elected as a councillor in the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham for the Avonmore ward in 1982, but did not stand for re-election in 1986.[16][21] He contested the Norwood constituency in the London Borough of Lambeth at the 1987 general election[16] but finished in second place behind the veteran Labour MP John Fraser.

Member of ParliamentEdit

 
Grieve speaking in the House of Commons

He was elected to the House of Commons for the Buckinghamshire seat of Beaconsfield at the 1997 general election[16] following the resignation of Tim Smith in the cash-for-questions affair. Grieve was elected with a majority of 13,987 votes and has remained the MP there ever since, increasing his share of the vote at each successive election.

He made his maiden speech on 21 May 1997.[22]

He was a member of both the Environmental Audit and the Statutory Instruments select committees from 1997 to 1999.[12] In 1999, he was promoted to the frontbench by William Hague as a spokesman on Scottish affairs, moving to speak on home affairs as the spokesman on criminal justice following the election of Iain Duncan Smith as the new leader of the Conservative Party in 2001, and was then promoted to be shadow Attorney General by Michael Howard in 2003.[16] Grieve also had responsibility for community cohesion on behalf of the Conservative Party. He was retained as Shadow Attorney General by the new Conservative Leader David Cameron, and was appointed Shadow Home Secretary on 12 June 2008, following the resignation of David Davis.[23]

In early 2006, Grieve was instrumental in the defeat of the Labour government on its proposal that the Home Secretary should have power to detain suspected terrorists for periods up to 90 days without charge.[24]

In the last Conservative Shadow Cabinet reshuffle before the general election of 2010, carried out on 19 January 2009, Grieve was moved to become Shadow Justice Secretary, opposite Jack Straw. According to the BBC, Grieve was said to be "very happy with the move" which would suit his talents better.[25]

On 28 May 2010, he was appointed to the Privy Council as part of the 2010 Dissolution of Parliament Honours List.[26][27]

After the 2010 general election, Grieve was appointed as Attorney General. He was one of four members of the cabinet who abstained in the May 2013 same-sex marriage vote. He said that he believed that the Bill had been "badly conceived".[28][29]

On 22 November 2013, Grieve was reported as stating politicians need to "wake up" to the issue of corruption in some minority communities[30] and that "corruption in parts of the Pakistani community is 'endemic'".[31] Two days later he apologised and said he had not meant to suggest there was a "particular problem in the Pakistani community".

In October 2016, speaking at a fringe meeting of the Conservative party's annual conference, Grieve warned that electoral fraud is found "where there are high levels of inhabitants from a community in which there is a tradition of electoral corruption in their home countries." Although in the past he apologised for singling out the British Pakistani community, Grieve said it was not about any one group.[32]

Grieve was sacked from the cabinet by David Cameron in July 2014 and replaced by Jeremy Wright. Grieve believed this was because of his support for the European Court of Human Rights, although no reason was given.[33]

In July 2019, following the appointment of Boris Johnson as Prime Minister, Grieve described Johnson as a "charlatan".[34]

Removal of Conservative whipEdit

On 3 September 2019, Grieve joined 20 other rebel Conservative MPs to vote against the Conservative government of Boris Johnson.[35] The rebel MPs voted with the Opposition against a Conservative motion which subsequently failed. Effectively, they helped block Johnson's "no deal" Brexit plan from proceding on 31 October.[36] Subsequently, all 21 were advised that they had lost the Conservative "whip",[37] expelling them as Conservative MPs, requiring them to sit as independents.[38][39] If they decided to run for re-election in a future election, the Party would block their selection as Conservative candidates.[36] In October 2019, Grieve announced that he was planning to stand again in his seat as an independent, and it was also reported that the Liberal Democrats were willing to stand aside to help him to defeat the new Conservative candidate.

BrexitEdit

Grieve was opposed to Brexit before the 2016 referendum.[40]

In May 2017, prior to the general election and in support of the Conservative manifesto, Grieve stated on his website that "the decision of the electorate in the Referendum must be respected and that I should support a reasoned process to give effect to it".[41]

During the Brexit negotiation process, Grieve made a number of amendments against the Government's plans to leave the EU. The first was to give Parliament a "meaningful vote" over the Brexit agreement – i.e. to force a motion by Parliament to approve the Brexit agreement which would have a binding effect on the government. In December 2017, he tabled an amendment (Amendment 7) to the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill requiring any Brexit deal to be enacted by statute, rather than implemented by government order. The amendment was opposed by the government, but was passed in Parliament.[42] Another proposed amendment tabled on 12 June 2018 (Amendment 19), and again on 20 June, was designed to strengthen the binding effect of the meaningful vote, by requiring that the government follow the directions of a Parliamentary motion in the event that Parliament does not approve the withdrawal agreement put by the government. Grieve threatened to rebel but ultimately voted with the government against the amendment[43] after verbal assurances from Prime Minister Theresa May,[44] presented as a compromise;[45] the outcome was summarised by The Guardian as "Technically, MPs can still have a vote on the final deal – or no deal – but unless it is a vote of confidence, the government can ignore it."[46] Grieve's 3rd amendment in December 2018 would mean Parliament would replace the Government in deciding the outcome of Brexit following a vote against the Government's proposed deal with the EU.[47]

On 24 July 2018, Grieve wrote a column for The Independent[48] backing the online paper's final say petition, which calls for the British electorate to have a "final say on the Brexit deal".[49] The petition was also backed by the leader of the People's Vote campaign, MP Chuka Umunna.[50] Grieve stated that Brexit puts the Conservative Party's reputation for "economic competence" at risk.[51]

Grieve wrote that Theresa May risked a "polite rebellion" from pro-EU MPs and a "significant" number would support another referendum if there was no deal.[52] This followed a claim that Tory rebels are prepared to "collapse the government" to block a "catastrophic" Brexit deal.[4]

Grieve was one of the signatories of a December 2018 statement by a group of senior Conservatives calling for a second referendum over Brexit.[53] On 11 January 2019, during his speech to the convention for a second referendum, Grieve described Brexit as "national suicide".[54] Shortly afterwards, he co-founded the group Right to Vote.[55] He also declared that he would resign the whip if the Conservative Party elected Boris Johnson as a successor to Theresa May or if the government took Britain out of the EU without a deal.[56]

On 9 January 2019, Grieve made a successful amendment to a government business motion; The amendment was controversial due to unusual means it was permitted by Speaker John Bercow.[57] "Conservatives are furious that Mr Bercow accepted the Grieve amendment, as parliamentary rules usually only allow a government minister to amend motions of this kind."[58] "The new Grieve amendment, now passed by MPs, means that in the event the PM loses next week, the Commons will then have a chance to vote on alternative policies - everything from a "managed no-deal" to a further referendum, via a "Norway option" or a reheated version of the current deal, could be on the table... MPs claim Mr Bercow broke Commons rules and ignored the advice of his own clerks." [59]

Ultimately May's withdrawal deal was rejected and on 29 January 2019, Grieve's resulting amendment was defeated by the Government, supported by Labour rebels. The amendment would have "Forced the government to make time for MPs to discuss a range of alternatives to the prime minister's Brexit plan on six full days in the Commons before 26 March.... which could have included alternative Brexit options such as Labour's plan, a second referendum, no deal and the Norway-style relationship".[60]

On 29 March 2019 (the original planned date of Brexit), a motion of no confidence against Grieve was carried by his local party 182 votes to 131.[61][62] At this, Grieve said he'll carry on 'exactly as before'.[63] The motion triggers the first stage in the process of deselection.[64] Grieve has accused ex-UKIP opponent, Jon Conway, of 'insurgency', claiming Conway was behind the motion; a claim that Conway denied.[65] Grieve has since been asked to apply for readoption by his local party.[66]

Grieve's proposal to block Government funding in order to enable MPs to have a vote on a No Deal Brexit was condemned by the Prime Minister Theresa May. Referencing Grieve's attempt to halt Government spending on pensions and schools, May stated "Any attempt to deny vital funding to Whitehall departments would be grossly irresponsible";[67] the pro-Brexit Telegraph newspaper condemned the actions as it "risks taking our politics to new extreme".[68] The attempt was, in any case, blocked by the Speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow, and did not proceed to a vote.[69]

Grieve has been credited as a contributor to a Labour Party motion designed to prevent a no-deal Brexit, the plans were kept secret until their unveiling on 11 June 2019, when Conservative leadership candidates begun their campaigns.[70] If successful, it would see MPs taking over the Westminster timetable on 25 June 2019 with a view to enshrine legislation which would prevent the UK from leaving the EU without a deal.[71] The motion was defeated by 309 votes to 298 the following day. Grieve said the motion was the "last sensible opportunity" to stop a no-deal Brexit. He added that in the future, if necessary, he would support efforts to bring down a Conservative government in a vote of no confidence if it was the only way to block such an outcome.[72]

Later in June 2019, Grieve successfully proposed amendments which sought to thwart no-deal Brexit prorogation. Grieve's first amendment to the 2019 Northern Ireland bill, which was initially a simple one intended to delay elections and budgets for the long-suspended Northern Ireland assembly and executive, required a minister to report to the Commons every two weeks until December on the progress of talks on restoring the Northern Ireland assembly – though it remained unclear whether this could be done as a written report, meaning the chamber would not necessarily have to sit. This was later changed via another amendment in the Lords, tabled by David Anderson, with support from Labour and the Liberal Democrats. This said the fortnightly reports demanded by Grieve's amendments would have to be debated within five calendar days of being produced, thus necessitating that the Commons sits. When the bill returned to the Commons Grieve then added another tweak via a last-minute amendment, intending to increase the power to block prorogation even more. It specified that if ministers could not meet the obligation to update the Commons because it was prorogued or adjourned, parliament would have to meet on the day necessary to comply with the obligation and for the following five weekdays.[73]

Personal lifeEdit

 
Grieve in 2007

He is a practising Anglican and was a member of the London diocesan synod of the Church of England[12] for six years from 1994. He married barrister Caroline Hutton[12] in October 1990 in the City of London. They have two sons.[74]

He lists his hobbies as "canoeing, boating on the Thames at weekends, mountain climbing, skiing and fell walking, architecture, art and travel".[17][12] He was a police station lay visitor[12] for six years from 1990, and worked in Brixton on various bodies set up to reconcile the different communities after the riots.

In 2009, Grieve's wealth was estimated at £3.1 million.[75] Grieve was criticised in 2008 for investments in multinational companies with significant projects in Zimbabwe and Pakistan.[76]

ReferencesEdit

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External linksEdit

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Tim Smith
Member of Parliament
for Beaconsfield

1997–2019
Succeeded by
Election in progress
Political offices
Preceded by
Bill Cash
Shadow Attorney General
2003–2009
Succeeded by
Edward Garnier
Preceded by
David Davis
Shadow Home Secretary
2008–2009
Succeeded by
Chris Grayling
Preceded by
Nick Herbert
Shadow Secretary of State for Justice
2009–2010
Succeeded by
Jack Straw
Preceded by
The Baroness Scotland of Asthal
Attorney General for England and Wales
2010–2014
Succeeded by
Jeremy Wright
Advocate General for Northern Ireland
2010–2014