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Sir Peter James Bottomley MP (born 30 July 1944) is a British Conservative Party politician who has served as a Member of Parliament since 1975. He has represented the Worthing West constituency since 1997.

Sir Peter Bottomley

Official portrait of Sir Peter Bottomley 1-2.jpg
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
In office
4 July 1989 – 28 July 1990
Prime MinisterMargaret Thatcher
Preceded byPeter Viggers
Succeeded byThe Baron Skelmersdale
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport
In office
23 January 1986 – 24 July 1989
Prime MinisterMargaret Thatcher
Preceded byMichael Spicer
Succeeded byPatrick McLoughlin
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Employment
In office
11 September 1984 – 23 January 1986
Prime MinisterMargaret Thatcher
Preceded byAlan Clark
Succeeded byDavid Trippier
Member of Parliament
for Worthing West
Assumed office
1 May 1997
Preceded byConstituency created
Majority12,090 (22.2%)
Member of Parliament
for Eltham
Woolwich West (1975–1983)
In office
26 June 1975 – 1 May 1997
Preceded byWilliam Hamling
Succeeded byClive Efford
Personal details
Born (1944-07-30) 30 July 1944 (age 75)
Newport, Shropshire, England
Political partyConservative
Spouse(s)Virginia Garnett
FatherSir James Bottomley
Alma materTrinity College, Cambridge
WebsiteOfficial website

Early lifeEdit

Bottomley was born in Newport, Shropshire, the son of Sir James Bottomley, a wartime British Army officer who later made his career in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, and of Barbara, née Vardon, a social worker. He was baptized at St Swithun's Parish Church at Cheswardine, where his parents had married.[2] After seven school changes before the age of eleven, he was educated at a junior high school in Washington, D.C., and then Westminster School before studying economics at Trinity College, Cambridge, following his father, grandfather, father-in-law and father-in-law's father to the College. His supervisor was James Mirrlees, who later gained the Nobel prize for Economics. Before university he worked around Australia including three weeks teaching at Geelong Grammar School and unloading trucks in Melbourne docks. In between, he spent a week in Mt. Field with Tenzing Norgay. After university, he became a lorry driver and joined the Transport and General Workers Union before moving on to industrial sales and industrial relations.[3] In the early 1970s he co-founded the Neighbourhood Council in South Lambeth, resulting in the creation of football pitches and other facilities at Larkhall Park. His last job before entering Parliament was putting lights outside theatres and cinemas in London's West End.

Bottomley joined the Conservative Party in 1972, at age 28.[4]

Member of ParliamentEdit

On the backbenchesEdit

Bottomley contested the Vauxhall constituency in the 1973 GLC election and Woolwich West parliamentary seat in the February and October general elections of 1974,[4] failing to defeat the sitting Labour MP William Hamling. Hamling died on 20 March 1975, and in the space of 18 months, Bottomley faced the electors of Woolwich West for a third time at the by-election on 26 June 1975.[5] He was then elected as the Conservative MP for Woolwich West with a majority of 2,382,[5] and he held this seat and its successor, Eltham, in Parliament for the next 22 years.[6]

In 1978 he became the President of the Conservative Trade Unionists, a position he held for two years.[4] Before the 1979 general election, Bottomley became a trustee with Christian Aid in 1978 until 1984. In 1978 as a member of the Parliamentary Human Rights Group,[7] he campaigned to prevent the anticipated assassination of Archbishop Óscar Romero[6] and represented the British Council of Churches at the funeral in El Salvador in 1980 when 14 people died around him.[citation needed] In 1979, days before the fall of the Labour Government, he made a visit to Washington, D.C., to indicate that Margaret Thatcher, if she became Prime Minister, would not lift sanctions on Southern Rhodesia nor recognise the government of Bishop Abel Muzorewa.[citation needed] He was for some years a member of the Conservative Monday Club "when it was alleged to have been taken over by racists and near-fascists", as well as a member of the Bow Group and Tory Reform Group.[4] He has been chairman of the Church of England's Children's Society, a trustee of Mind and of Nacro and on the policy committee of One Parent Families. He served on the successor committee to the Archbishop of Canterbury's commission Faith in the City and chaired the churches' review group on the Churches Main Committee. He is a member of the Ecclesiastical Committee and has been appointed the Parliamentary Warden at St. Margaret's Church, Westminster. He has led the United Kingdom delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE). He is an Hon. Vice President of WATCH, Women and the Church, supporting full equal acceptance of females.[8]

In 1982, he became the Parliamentary Private Secretary (PPS) to the Minister of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Cranley Onslow. Peter Bottomley's seat of Woolwich West had minor boundary changes and a name change during 1982. Bottomley fought the new constituency of Eltham at the 1983 general election, winning the seat with a majority of more than 7,500 votes. Following the election, Peter Bottomley became the PPS to the Secretary of State at the Department of Health and Social Security, Norman Fowler.

Member of the Thatcher GovernmentEdit

After nine years on the backbenches, Bottomley became a member of Margaret Thatcher's government when he was appointed as the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Employment in 1984, moving sideways to the Department of Transport in 1986 to become the Minister of Roads and Traffic. In 1989 he moved sideways again to the Northern Ireland Office. He was dropped by Thatcher in 1990, when he briefly became PPS to the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Peter Brooke. He has been a captain of the Parliamentary football team, participated in the parliamentary swimming competition and organised the annual dinghy sailing against the House of Lords. He was captain of the Commons eight, winning the first Thames rowing race in gigs against the Lords in 2007.[citation needed]

Return to the backbenchesEdit

Since 1990 he has been a backbencher, described as a maverick, 'supporting a range of seemingly perverse causes'.[9][10] Bottomley decided not to re-contest Eltham after major boundary changes, but sought nomination elsewhere. Following the retirement of the Conservative MP for Worthing Terence Higgins, Bottomley contested the newly formed constituency of Worthing West at the 1997 general election, gaining the seat with a majority of 7,713.[11]

In 2009, Bottomley was the vice-chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Flag Group.[12] In 2011, he was in more Parliamentary groups than any other MP.[13] As of January 2018, he is vice-chairman of All-Party United Nations Group and vice-chairman of All-Party Parliamentary Group for Transport Safety.[14] Through the Human Rights and CAFOD Groups he became and remained involved with the life, work and legacy of Óscar Romero since 1978. Through the Mental Health Groups he helped Charles Walker MP gain the first major debate on conditions lumped together as mental illness.

Bottomley has been a supporter of British pensioners living overseas, mainly in Commonwealth countries (47 out of 54) who have had their British state pensions frozen at the rates at which they were first paid or as at the dates of migration. British pensioners living in the remaining seven Commonwealth countries and those living in a number of non-Commonwealth countries have their British state pensions uprated each year, just as if they were living in the UK.[15]

Bottomley was opposed to Brexit prior to the 2016 referendum.[16]

Bottomley is Co-Chair to the APPG on Haemophilia and Contaminated Blood[17] and campaigns to get justice for those affected by the tainted blood scandal.[18] During a debate in Parliament on 24 November 2016 he urged Prime Minister Theresa May to look at the issue.[19][20] He has become the longest-serving Conservative MP.

Personal lifeEdit

In 1967 he married Virginia Garnett who later became a Cabinet Minister (Health Secretary), and a life peer in 2005[6] as Baroness Bottomley of Nettlestone. They have a son and two daughters. The couple have homes in Worthing, West Sussex, Milford, Surrey, and Westminster.[citation needed]

His brother was a Labour Lambeth councillor; his brother-in-law was Conservative Mayor of Cambridge. His niece is Kitty Ussher, the economist, former Labour MP and Minister. His great-grandfather Sir Richard Robinson led the Municipal Reformers to victory in the 1907 London County Council election.

In 2002-2003 he was Master of the Worshipful Company of Drapers.

In 2003 he was banned from driving for 6 months following several speeding offences.[21]

Bottomley was knighted in the 2011 New Year Honours for public service.[22][23]

In 1989 he successfully sued The Mail on Sunday, the Daily Express and News of the World for allegations connected with his support of the union membership of a social worker in his constituency accused of misbehaviour in a children's home. In 1995 he was awarded £40,000 against the Sunday Express for an article that depicted him as having behaved in a treacherously disloyal and disreputable manner in connection with Sinn Fein/the IRA.[24]


  1. ^ "Peter Bottomley". Front Row. 25 April 2013. BBC Radio 4. Retrieved 18 January 2014.
  2. ^ "Devoted pair buried side by side. Village link went back for 70 years". Shropshire Star. 12 July 2013. p. 43.Report of burial of parents' ashes.
  3. ^ Brown, Colin (15 June 1993). "Maverick Tory goes his own way: Former minister retains active role in transport workers' union". The Independent.
  4. ^ a b c d Roth, Andrew. "Peter (James) BOTTOMLEY" (PDF). Retrieved 13 September 2018.
  5. ^ a b "Labor Party Loses By‐Election, Ending Commons Majority". The New York Times. 27 June 1975. Retrieved 13 September 2018.
  6. ^ a b c "Tory Bottomley awarded knighthood". BBC News. 31 December 2010. Retrieved 13 September 2018.
  7. ^ admin_rt15 (19 May 2015). "With British Parliamentarians 1978". Retrieved 7 November 2019.
  8. ^ "About WATCH - Women and the Church". Retrieved 7 November 2019.
  9. ^ "The maverick with 'five ideas: four good, one mad'". The Independent. 11 July 1993. Retrieved 14 January 2017.
  10. ^ Martin Bright (15 February 2011). "Islamophobia group keeps anti-Zionist link". Jewish Chronicle. Retrieved 31 January 2018.
  11. ^ "BBC NEWS | VOTE 2001 | RESULTS & CONSTITUENCIES | Worthing West". Retrieved 7 November 2019.
  12. ^ "All-Party Parliamentary Flag Group". UK Parliament. Archived from the original on 25 June 2009.
  13. ^ Ball, James (24 February 2011). "Coalition urged to act over lobbyists who use party groups 'to buy influence'". The Guardian.
  14. ^ "Register of All-Party Parliamentary Groups, 31 January 2018" (PDF). UK Parliament. Retrieved 3 February 2018.
  15. ^ "". Retrieved 14 January 2017.[permanent dead link]
  16. ^ 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.
  17. ^ "All Party Parliamentary Group". Archived from the original on 7 January 2017. Retrieved 7 January 2017.
  18. ^ "Debate - Contaminated Blood - Sir Peter Bottomley MP - 12th April 2016". CampaignTB. 15 April 2016. Retrieved 7 January 2017 – via YouTube.
  19. ^ "Sir Peter Bottomley". Retrieved 7 January 2017.
  20. ^ "Contaminated Blood and Blood Products - Hansard Online". Retrieved 7 January 2017.
  21. ^ "Speeding MP banned from driving". The Argus. 25 November 2003. Retrieved 31 January 2018.
  22. ^ "No. 59647". The London Gazette (Supplement). 31 December 2010. p. 1.
  23. ^ Tory veteran Peter Bottomley awarded knighthood 31 December 2010, BBC News
  24. ^ 'Reputations Under Fire', David Hooper, Little Brown 2000


External linksEdit

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
William Hamling
Member of Parliament for Woolwich West
Constituency abolished
New constituency Member of Parliament for Eltham
Succeeded by
Clive Efford
New constituency Member of Parliament for Worthing West