Sir Michael Shersby
|Member of Parliament |
7 December 1972 – 8 May 1997
|Preceded by||Charles Curran|
|Succeeded by||John Randall|
|Born||17 February 1933|
|Died||8 May 1997(aged 64)|
Shersby was born to William (Bill) and Elinor Shersby (Nora, née Fuller) at his parents' home at 9 Court Road, Ickenham (an area destined to become part of his Parliamentary constituency throughout his nearly 25 years as an MP) on 17 February 1933. Christened Julian Michael, he was known primarily as Michael by the age of ten. He had an older brother Dick (also known as Harold), an older sister Marjorie, and a younger brother Brian. Shersby's father Bill was employed for many years by the Port of London Authority, as an administration manager.
Shersby's parents were very keen for all of their four children to be academically successful. Accordingly, Michael Shersby first attended the local Breakspear primary state school  and was later sent by his parents to The John Lyon School, an independent school in Harrow, for his secondary education. However, for a variety of reasons, Shersby left school at sixteen and in 1949 he started his working career in a humble clerical position at a company in London. Shersby continued to live with his family in Ickenham until 1958, when, at the age of 25, he married Barbara Barrow from West Drayton (also part of the Uxbridge constituency), and they moved to London. Shersby qualified as a trained Conservative party agent during the 1950s and worked in that capacity in his early 20s for a number of years before then pursuing a career in the British industrial film industry between 1958 and 1966 and then subsequently between 1966 and 1988 he was Director General of the British Sugar Bureau, the trade association of the British sugar industry.
Shersby's career as an elected political representative began in 1959 when he was first elected as a borough councillor on Paddington Borough Council for Maida Vale North ward and he then continued to serve for the Maida Vale ward of Westminster City Council from 1964 to 1970 after Paddington was subsumed into the new larger unitary Council's area. He served as Deputy Lord Mayor on Westminster City Council from 1967 to 1968.
Shersby was first elected to Parliament at a 1972 by-election that followed the sudden death of Charles Curran, who had re-taken the seat for the Conservatives from Labour's John Ryan in the 1970 general election. This was a by-election Shersby had not been expected to win since it took place in the depths of unpopularity of the Heath Government and on the same night that Shersby was elected to Parliament (7 December 1972) the Conservatives lost the considerably safer seat of Sutton and Cheam by a large majority after a huge swing against the party there to the Liberal party. But in Uxbridge Shersby managed to hang on to a seat taken back from Labour for the Conservatives by Charles Curran in 1970, even though the majority fell from 1970's 3646 votes to a rather less comfortable 1,178 votes that night. His local roots as an Ickenham born lad probably helped him considerably in that election and over the years he consistently built up his majority to a high point of 15,970 votes in the 1987 general election by establishing a reputation as an extremely committed and hardworking backbench MP more interested in being able to pursue single issues he believed in rather than pursuing the trappings of power as a minister at what would have been the expense of his political independence.
Private members' billsEdit
In the period since the Second World War (and probably also over a much longer period than that) he holds a record by any single MP or member of the House of Lords, during their Parliamentary career, for the introduction of the largest number of Private Members Bills (eight) to receive the Royal Assent and become law as documented in the Parliamentary publication The Success of Private Members's Bills. The eight bills to be passed into law following his introduction of them into Parliament through the Private Members' Bill Route are as follows:-
1974 - Town and Country Amenities, 1974 - Parks Regulation (Amendment), 1975-76 Stock Exchange (Completion of Bargains) 1979-80 Gaming (Amendment), 1981-82 Copyright Act 1956 (Amendment), 1982-83 British Nationality (Falkland Islands), 1993-94 Firearms (Amendment), 1996-97 Pharmacists (Fitness To Practice)
Following a meeting with the Yorkshire Police Federation, Shersby was invited to assist in the development of a ‘counter attack’ to ‘repudiate’ Lord Justice Taylor's Interim Report, which had condemned the evidence and testimony of senior police officers and rejected as exaggerated the allegations made against Liverpool fans. Lord Taylor had stated categorically that fans’ behaviour played no part in the disaster. Records of the meeting show that the Police Federation considered the Interim Report was unfair and unbalanced.
After nearly 25 years in Parliament, Shersby died at the age of 64 from a heart attack, only seven days after being re-elected to Parliament in the 1997 general election. The resulting by-election was won by local department store owner John Randall.
Sir Michael was survived by his wife of 39 years (Barbara) and his two children, Julian and Lucy. Lucy stood as Conservative Parliamentary candidate for Battersea in the 2001 general election but was not elected while Julian served as a Conservative councillor on Mole Valley District Council between 1999 and 2006.
- Skinner, James (2005). Images of England: Ickenham. Stroud: Tempus Publishing. ISBN 0-7524-3411-X.
- Obituary: Sir Michael Shersby Patrick Cosgrove. The Independent. 9 May 1997
- Brunel University (1 April 2011). "Sir Michael Shersby - 1994". Brunel University. Archived from the original on 1 November 2013. Retrieved 4 April 2011.
- London Gazette Supplement - 17 June 2005