Leo Docherty

Leo Docherty (born 4 October 1976) is a British Conservative Party politician. He has been the Member of Parliament (MP) for Aldershot since June 2017.[3] Prior to being elected as an MP he served in the Scots Guards, before working in publishing and for the Conservative Party. He is the author of Desert of Death (2007).

Leo Docherty

Official portrait of Leo Docherty MP crop 2.jpg
Docherty in 2020
Member of Parliament
for Aldershot
Assumed office
8 June 2017
Preceded bySir Gerald Howarth
Majority16,698 (34.9%)
Personal details
Born (1976-10-04) 4 October 1976 (age 44)[1]
Glasgow, Scotland
Political partyConservative
Alma materSOAS, University of London
Royal Military Academy Sandhurst[2]
Military career
Allegiance United Kingdom
Service/branch British Army
Years of service2002-2006
Service number555125
UnitScots Guards
Battles/warsIraq War
War in Afghanistan

Early life and careerEdit

Docherty was born in Glasgow and grew up in Gloucestershire. He went on to study Swahili and Hindi at the University of London between 1996 and 2000, before attending the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst the following year.[4] From 2001 to 2007 he served in the Scots Guards.[5] After being posted to London on ceremonial duties and a period spent in Germany, he served operationally in Iraq and Afghanistan as a British Army officer.

After leaving the army, he wrote the book 'Desert of Death', which was published by Faber in 2007. The book consisted of a critical first-hand account of the current war in Afghanistan. Living in Didcot in Oxfordshire, he created and worked as editor and publisher of Steppe magazine - a now defunct publication that covered the arts, culture, history, landscape and people of Central Asia.[6] He was appointed Director of the Conservative Middle East Council in 2010, a role in which he served until being elected as an MP.

Docherty stood successfully as the Conservative candidate in the Hagbourne ward of South Oxfordshire District Council in May 2011, standing down at the end of his four-year term when the wards were revised.[7] He stood unsuccessfully as the Conservative candidate in the Wallingford division of Oxfordshire County Council in May 2017.[8]

Parliamentary careerEdit

Docherty in 2017

Docherty unsuccessfully applied to be the Conservative Party candidate for the Labour Party held Oxford East constituency in 2014.[9] He was instead chosen to contest the safe Labour Party held seat of Caerphilly in the 2015 general election, where he came third.

In 2017, he was selected as the Conservative Party candidate for Aldershot, after the incumbent Conservative MP Gerald Howarth announced he was standing down at the next general election. The Financial Times called his selection "the highest-profile tussle over a candidate choice, [in which] the party leadership rejected a request from activists in Aldershot to be allowed to consider Daniel Hannan, the prominent Eurosceptic MEP, for the safe Tory seat".[10][11] He was duly elected at the 2017 general election.

In the House of Commons he sits on the Defence Committee and Committees on Arms Export Controls (formerly Quadripartite Committee).[12]

He backed Boris Johnson in the 2019 Conservative Party (UK) leadership election.[13] On 29 July 2019, Johnson appointed Docherty as an Assistant Government Whip.

In September 2019, Leo's brother Paddy Docherty wrote an open letter to The Guardian urging him to resign, writing: "Now I am simply appalled that this government, of which you are sadly a part, has become the principal threat to the lives and liberties of the people. Please do the decent thing, and resign."[14]

Gulf StatesEdit

In the six months after being elected as an MP, Docherty registered four trips to Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, costing over £15,000 and paid for by the Governments of the host countries.[15][better source needed] Prior to this, his election campaign had benefited from donations totalling over £10,000 from donors with links to the Gulf States. As Chair of the Conservative Middle East Council and since serving as an MP, Docherty has frequently praised the work of the governments in Saudi Arabia and Bahrain and has been subject to some criticism from opposition MPs and journalists, such as Peter Oborne for his links and his failure to always declare his register of interests when speaking on the subject in Parliament. However, Docherty has denied any conflict of interest and, as Director of the Conservative Middle East Council, responded to criticism of donations received there as not having influenced decision-making within the group.[16][17][18] Docherty's trips were worth £26,893 in total and were the highest valued of any MP's trips during the year following the 2017 general election.[19]

Personal lifeEdit

He is married to Lucy Docherty and they have two children.[20]



  Iraq Medal
  Operational Service Medal for Afghanistan
  • With clasp "AFGHANISTAN"


  • Desert of Death. A Soldier's Journey from Iraq to Afghanistan, Faber and Faber, London 2007, ISBN



  1. ^ "Members' Names Data Platform query". UK Parliament. Retrieved 24 April 2019.
  2. ^ https://uk.linkedin.com/in/leo-docherty-02a23066
  3. ^ Aldershot Conservatives (29 April 2017). "Leo Docherty selected as Parliamentary Candidate for Aldershot | Aldershot". Aldershotconservatives.com. Retrieved 8 June 2017.
  4. ^ "About Leo". Faber. Retrieved 3 October 2018.
  5. ^ "Leo Docherty MP". Aldershot Conservatives. Retrieved 31 July 2017.
  6. ^ "Register of interests". South Oxfordshire Council. Retrieved 3 October 2018.
  7. ^ "South Oxfordshire Council Election Results 1973-2011" (PDF). Plymouth University. Retrieved 3 October 2018.
  8. ^ "Election results for Wallingford". Oxfordshire County Council. Retrieved 3 October 2018.
  9. ^ "Former Bicester mayor chosen as Conservative candidate for Oxford East". Oxford Mail. 6 December 2014. Retrieved 3 October 2018.
  10. ^ "Subscribe to read". Financial Times. Retrieved 9 June 2017. Cite uses generic title (help)
  11. ^ "Exclusive: The third candidate shortlisted in Aldershot is Chris Brannigan". Conservative Home. Retrieved 8 June 2017.
  12. ^ "HLeo Docherty". Parliament UK. Retrieved 3 October 2018.
  13. ^ Twitter. 3 July 2019 https://twitter.com/LeoDochertyUK/status/1146445147820961792. Retrieved 20 July 2019. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  14. ^ Docherty, Paddy (3 September 2019). "An open letter to my brother the Tory MP: resign from this rogue government". The Guardian.
  15. ^ "Leo Docherty". theyworkforyou.com. Retrieved 3 October 2018.
  16. ^ "Britain invokes spy clause to cover up payments to Bahrain". The Times. 22 September 2018. Retrieved 3 October 2018.
  17. ^ "Why is the Conservative Party ignoring Palestine?". Middle East Eye. 6 February 2018. Retrieved 3 October 2018.
  18. ^ "The Gulf business tycoons backing the Conservative Middle East Council". Middle East Monitor. 27 January 2016. Retrieved 3 October 2018.
  19. ^ MPs sign up for £2m of free overseas trips BBC 18 October 2018.
  20. ^ "About Leo". Personal website. Retrieved 3 October 2018.

External linksEdit

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Sir Gerald Howarth
Member of Parliament for Aldershot