Michael Mates

Michael John Mates (born 9 June 1934) is a Conservative Party politician who was the Member of Parliament (MP) for the constituency of East Hampshire from 1974 to 2010. He was a minister at the Northern Ireland Office from 1992 to 1993, resigning after his support for failed businessman Asil Nadir damaged his reputation. After his long career at Westminster, Mates lost the election for police commissioner in Hampshire in August 2012.

Michael Mates
Member of Parliament
for East Hampshire
Petersfield (1974–1983)
In office
10 October 1974 – 12 April 2010
Preceded byJoan Quennell
Succeeded byDamian Hinds
Personal details
Born (1934-06-09) 9 June 1934 (age 86)
Brentford, Middlesex, England
Political partyConservative
Spouse(s)(1) Mary Rosamund Paton (married 1959, divorced 1980)
(2) Rosellen Bett (married 1982, divorced 1995)
(3) Christine Robinson-Moltke (married 1998)
ChildrenJames Mates
Alma materKing's College, Cambridge
Military service
Allegiance United Kingdom
Branch/service British Army
Years of service1954–1974
RankLieutenant colonel
UnitRoyal Ulster Rifles
1st The Queen's Dragoon Guards

Early life and educationEdit

Mates was born on 9 June 1934 in Brentford, Middlesex, England. He was educated at Salisbury Cathedral School, Blundell's School and King's College, Cambridge, where he was a choral scholar.[citation needed]


Military, 1955–1974Edit

On 18 June 1955, Mates was commissioned into the Royal Ulster Rifles, British Army, as a second lieutenant.[1] On 1 February 1957, he was promoted to lieutenant.[2] On 3 January 1959, he transferred from a short service commission to a regular commission.[3]

On 10 March 1961, Mates transferred from the Royal Ulster Rifles to 1st The Queen's Dragoon Guards.[4] He was promoted to captain on 9 June 1961,[5] and to major on 31 December 1967.[6]

Prior to his election to the House of Commons, he served for twenty years in the British Army leaving in 1974 with the rank of lieutenant colonel with the 1st The Queen's Dragoon Guards.[citation needed]

Parliament, 1974–2010Edit

Michael Mates was a Member of Parliament for 35 years. He was first elected in the October 1974 general election for Petersfield in Hampshire, following the retirement of Joan Quennell. The constituency was renamed East Hampshire in 1983 and he continued to serve as MP until the 2010 general election, having announced his intention in 2006 not to stand again.[7]

From 1992 to 1993, Mates was Minister of State at the Northern Ireland Office. He resigned after a scandal involving his links to fugitive businessman Asil Nadir.[8][9]

Mates served as the chairman of the Defence (1987–1992) and Northern Ireland (2001–2005) select committees and chaired the All-Party Anglo-Irish Parliamentary Group. He was appointed a member of the Privy Council in February 2004.[citation needed]

Police Commissioner candidacy, 2012Edit

In July 2012 Mates was selected as the Conservative candidate in the election for Police and Crime Commissioner for Hampshire, notwithstanding his links to Asil Nadir[10] who, in August 2012 was convicted of fraud amounting to £29m.[11] In the 1990s, when a junior minister in the Northern Ireland Office, Mates expressed his support for Nadir by sending him a watch inscribed with the words "don't let the buggers get you down" – a reference to an ongoing investigation into Nadir's fraudulent financial activities by British authorities.[12] In August 2012 Nadir was found guilty at the Old Bailey of fraud, and convicted of stealing nearly £29 million. Despite this Mates maintained his support for Nadir, including testifying in his defence at the Old Bailey.[13][14]

In September 2012 Michael Crick of Channel 4 News said that Mates had repeatedly refused to answer questions about a windfall he received having vacated a sitting tenancy at Dolphin Square, central London, when an MP.[15] Two city councillors publicly stated that he should step down, while Conservative MP George Hollingbery, who oversaw the party's selection process for the commissioner candidates, said: "Michael Mates was selected after a transparent process involving both the public and party members. Michael is a candidate with a wealth of experience in high public office and the party believes he will make an excellent first police commissioner."[16]

In 2012 Mates was reported to Hampshire Constabulary for electoral fraud under the Fraud Act 2006 by competitor Don Jerrard who was standing for The Justice & Anti-Corruption Party.[17] The former lawyer wrote to the county's Chief Constable alleging that Mates breached the 2006 Fraud Act by giving his address as a house where he rents rooms in Winchester. Parallel to this, Hampshire police confirmed two complaints of alleged racist language in Mates' Election Statement[18] were passed to the Thames Valley Police for investigation.[19]Thames Valley Police were said to be getting ready to interview Mates, but it was not known whether this would be done under caution. Mates denied the allegations, saying he was the victim of a smear campaign.[20] In 2014 Mates received an apology and undisclosed damages from the Crown Prosecution Service. He also received an apology from Hampshire Constabulary. Mates described the 18 months between the allegations and his vindication as "a nightmare".[21]


The Panama papers revealed that Mates was minority shareholder of an offshore investment company named Haylandale Limited from 2005 to at least April 2010, the end of his parliamentary period, and owned four subsidiary firms from August 2007 to December 2008 for leasing and services connected to luxury properties in the Bahamas.[22] Mates had, however, previously declared that he was the remunerated Chairman of Haylandale, which undertook property development in the West Indies, in the Register of Members' Interests for the period of 2005 to 2010.[23]

Personal lifeEdit

Michael Mates has been married three times: to Mary Rosamund Paton in 1959, divorced 1980; Rosellen Bett in 1982, divorced 1995; and Christine Robinson-Moltke in 1998. He is the father of James Mates, a senior reporter and presenter for ITN.[24]

Partnered by composer William Godfree, Mates regularly performs tributes to Flanders and Swann, Noël Coward and others in aid of charity.[25][26]

See alsoEdit


  • Mates, Michael The Secret Service: Is There A Case For Greater Openness? Alliance Publishers, 1989. ISBN 0-907967-07-8
  • Hurd, Douglas & Mates, Michael et al. What's Wrong With British Foreign Policy? Tory Reform Group, 2007 ISBN 0-9555426-0-X


  1. ^ "No. 40571". The London Gazette (Supplement). 26 August 1955. p. 4932.
  2. ^ "No. 40990". The London Gazette (Supplement). 29 January 1957. p. 722.
  3. ^ "No. 41595". The London Gazette (Supplement). 30 December 1958. p. 71.
  4. ^ "No. 42296". The London Gazette (Supplement). 7 March 1961. p. 1799.
  5. ^ "No. 42380". The London Gazette (Supplement). 6 June 1961. p. 4275.
  6. ^ "No. 44493". The London Gazette (10th supplement). 29 December 1967. p. 75.
  7. ^ "Veteran MP announces retirement". BBC News Online. 24 November 2006.
  8. ^ "Minister resigns over business links". BBC. Retrieved 12 March 2015.
  9. ^ "Leading Article: Keeping a watch on Michael Mates". The Independent. 1 June 1993. Retrieved 5 April 2016.
  10. ^ "Crick on Politics – Michael Mates Flies the Oldie Flag". Retrieved 7 July 2012.
  11. ^ "Asil Nadir convicted of £29m Polly Peck thefts". BBC News. 22 August 2012.
  12. ^ Bowers, Simon; Syal, Rajeev (22 August 2012). "Asil Nadir, Serious Fraud Office, Crime – UK (News), UK news, Cyprus (News), Law". The Guardian. London.
  13. ^ "Mates' conscience is clear over Nadir". Daily Echo. Retrieved 12 March 2015.
  14. ^ Bowers, Simon; Syal, Rajeev (22 August 2012). "Asil Nadir, Serious Fraud Office, Crime – UK (News), UK news, Cyprus (News), Law". The Guardian. London.
  15. ^ "Mates set to make over £100,000 from Dolphin Square windfall". Channel 4. 6 September 2012. Retrieved 12 March 2015.
  16. ^ "Hampshire police candidate Michael Mates 'should withdraw'". BBC News website. 7 September 2012.
  17. ^ "Police electoral poll fraud probe into Tory candidate for police commissioner post". Daily Mirror. 8 November 2012. Retrieved 12 March 2015.
  18. ^ "Michael Mates Election statement". Archived from the original on 26 November 2012. Retrieved 16 November 2012.
  19. ^ Mulholland, Helene (16 November 2012). "Michael Mates investigated over Gypsy comment in PCC election statement". The Guardian. London.
  20. ^ Milmo, Cahal (14 November 2012). "Hampshire police commissioner voters unlikely to find out if Conservative candidate Michael Mates committed electoral fraud until after election". The Independent. London.
  21. ^ "CPS apologises to Michael Mates over PCC election claims". BBC. 11 July 2014. Retrieved 11 March 2015.
  22. ^ "Power Players: Michael Mates". projects.icij.org. International Consortium of Investigative Journalists. 3 April 2016. Retrieved 5 April 2016.
  23. ^ "Changes to the Register of Members' Interests Michael Mates". TheyWorkForYou. Retrieved 6 April 2016.
  24. ^ ITV News
  25. ^ "Former Defence Minister performs Flanders & Swann for charity". Evening Standard. 8 November 2010. Retrieved 24 January 2016.
  26. ^ "Haslemere Festival: An evening of cabaret with Mates and Godfree". Archived from the original on 31 January 2016. Retrieved 24 January 2016.

External linksEdit

Audio clipsEdit

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Joan Quennell
Member of Parliament for Petersfield
Oct 19741983
Constituency abolished
See East Hampshire
New constituency
before: Petersfield
Member of Parliament for East Hampshire
Succeeded by
Damian Hinds