Open main menu

Keith Simpson (politician)

Keith Robert Simpson (born 29 March 1949) is a British politician and military historian. A member of the Conservative Party, he has been the Member of Parliament (MP) for Broadland from the 2010 general election until 2019, having previously served as the MP for Mid Norfolk from 1997 to 2010.

Keith Simpson
Official portrait of Mr Keith Simpson crop 2.jpg
Member of Parliament
for Broadland
In office
6 May 2010 – 6 November 2019
Preceded byConstituency established
Succeeded byTBD
Member of Parliament
for Mid Norfolk
In office
1 May 1997 – 8 April 2010
Preceded byRichard Ryder
Succeeded byGeorge Freeman
Personal details
Born (1949-03-29) 29 March 1949 (age 70)
Norwich, Norfolk, England
Political partyConservative
Alma materUniversity of Hull
King's College London

Early lifeEdit

Simpson was born in Norwich, the son of Harry Simpson and Jean Day. He was educated at Thorpe Grammar School (now known as Thorpe St Andrew School), in Thorpe St Andrew, Norfolk. He went on earn a BA in History at the University of Hull, and undertook postgraduate research in War Studies at King's College London, where he completed a PGCE in 1975.[1]

Political careerEdit

Simpson served as the National Vice-Chairman of the Federation of Conservative Students from 1972–3.

He was Head of Foreign Affairs and Defence at Conservative Central Office from 1986–8. From 1988–90, he was a Political Adviser to the Secretary of State for Defence (first to George Younger, and then to Tom King).

Simpson was the Conservative Parliamentary candidate for Plymouth Devonport at the 1992 general election, where he lost to the Labour candidate David Jamieson.

At the 1997 general election, Simpson was elected as the Member of Parliament for Mid Norfolk with a majority of 1,336.

In July 1997, Simpson was appointed to the Conservative Parliamentary Defence Committee. In June 1998, he was appointed a frontbench defence spokesman. From June 1999 – June 2001, he was an Opposition Whip responsible for Treasury, Home Affairs and Health. He was subsequently appointed Shadow Agriculture Spokesman in October 2001. From 2002–5, he was Shadow Minister for Defence, and from 2005–10 he has served as Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs.

Within his Mid Norfolk constituency, Simpson was particularly well known for his campaigning for the widening of main roads in response to high road fatalities.[citation needed]

During its extensive coverage of the United Kingdom parliamentary expenses scandal, The Daily Telegraph published the story that Simpson had claimed £185 for light bulbs over a period of four years.[2]

Following parliamentary boundary changes and prior to the 2010 general election, Simpson's constituency of Mid Norfolk was redrawn. He was selected to stand for the newly created seat of Broadland, which derived from parts of Mid Norfolk and parts of the Norfolk North and Norwich North constituencies. Simpson won the seat with a majority of 7,292.

Following the 2010 general election, Simpson was appointed the Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Foreign Secretary, William Hague, in the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition government.[3]

In May 2014 he was one of seven unsuccessful candidates for the chairmanship of the House of Commons Defence Select Committee.[4]

In March 2015, he was appointed to the Privy Council of the United Kingdom and therefore granted the title The Right Honourable.[5]

Simpson was opposed to Brexit prior to the 2016 referendum.[6]

Simpson has announced that he will not seek re-election at the next general election.[7]

Career outside politicsEdit

As a military historian, Simpson has served as Director of the Cranfield Security Studies Institute at Cranfield University from 1991–7, and as a Senior Lecturer in War Studies and International Affairs at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst from 1973–86. He is the author of five books on military history. It was also in this capacity that he was invited to debate masculine violence with a drunken Oliver Reed on an infamous edition of the late night Channel 4 television programme After Dark, broadcast on 26 January 1991. Reed confronted him 'tash to tash' and called him 'flash boy'.[8]

Personal lifeEdit

Simpson married Pepita, the daughter of Norman Hollingsworth, on 4 August 1984 at the Royal Memorial Chapel, Sandhurst. The couple currently live in Coltishall, Norfolk, and have one son, George.


  • — (1985). History of the German Army. Military Press. ISBN 978-0-517-45138-0.
  • — (1990). Waffen SS. Gallery Books. ISBN 978-0-8317-2673-7.
  • — (1993). German War Against Resistance. Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated. ISBN 978-0-670-81052-9.
  • Ian F W Beckett; Keith Simpson (2004). A Nation in Arms. Pen and Sword. ISBN 978-1-4738-1662-6.
  • — (2015). The Old Contemptibles. Taylor & Francis. ISBN 978-1-317-40411-8.


  1. ^ News Archive 2001: King's and the General Election: King's College London Alumni MPs. (Accessed 27 August 2016.)
  2. ^ Beckford, Martin (22 May 2009). "MPs' expenses: Keith Simpson has spent £185 on lightbulbs since 2004". The Telegraph. Retrieved 31 October 2011.
  3. ^ "QUENTIN LETTS: Now children, your bedtime nightmare". 25 June 2010.
  4. ^ "Defence Committee Chair election: Rory Stewart MP elected" (PDF). 14 May 2014. Retrieved 17 May 2014.
  5. ^ "Privy Council appointments: March 2015". Press release. Prime Minister's Office. 12 March 2015. Retrieved 13 March 2015.
  6. ^ 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.
  7. ^ "Norfolk MP Keith Simpson to stand down at next election". BBC News. 4 September 2019. Retrieved 5 September 2019.
  8. ^ doverboy01 (2 November 2012). "Oliver Reed drunk and disruptive" – via YouTube.

External linksEdit