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Sheryll Murray (née Hickman; born 4 February 1956)[1][2] is a Conservative Party politician and former receptionist. She was first elected as the Member of Parliament (MP) for South East Cornwall at the 2010 general election.

Sheryll Murray

Official portrait of Mrs Sheryll Murray crop 2.jpg
Member of Parliament
for South East Cornwall
Assumed office
6 May 2010
Preceded byColin Breed
Majority17,443 (32.8%)
Personal details
Born (1956-02-04) 4 February 1956 (age 63)
Millbrook, Cornwall, England
Political partyConservative
Spouse(s)Jon Whitehall (divorced)
Neil Murray (deceased)
ResidenceMillbrook, near Torpoint
WebsiteOfficial website

Early lifeEdit

Sheryll Murray was born on 4 February 1956 in the village of Millbrook, Cornwall, to Cornish parents, her mother's family lived at Millbrook and her father's family originated from the village of Calstock.[2][3] She was state educated at Millbrook Primary[4] and Torpoint Community College.[5] Murray left the latter at the age of 16 with 5 O-Levels and worked for the South Western Electricity Board. She then worked for an insurance underwriter and later as a medical receptionist at a GP surgery.[6] She served as a Governor of Torpoint School for nine years until 2008, before standing down to concentrate on campaigning for the forthcoming general election.

Prior to her parliamentary career, Murray represented Rame as a Cornwall County Councillor[6] before losing her seat in 2005, and served as Leader of the Conservative Group on Caradon District Council, when a councillor for Millbrook, prior to its abolition in 2009.[6]

Parliamentary careerEdit

Murray was selected to contest South East Cornwall in 2010 and gained the seat with a majority of 3,220 and a 9% swing from the Liberal Democrats to the Conservatives. Murray was the constituency's first ever female MP. In May 2012, she was elected to the 1922 Committee by her Conservative Parliamentary colleagues.[7]

Also in May 2012, she came 12th in the private member's bill ballot.[8] Her Bill, the Marine Navigation (No.2) Bill received Royal Assent as the Marine Navigation Act 2013 in April 2013. In May 2013, she came 4th in the ballot, and introduced a Bill which received Royal Assent as the Deep Sea Mining Act 2014 in May 2014.[9]

Murray supported Brexit in the 2016 European Union Referendum.[10]

In July 2010 she reportedly got drunk in a House of Commons bar and made a rude comment to a Commons doorkeeper. The Conservative whips' office apologised for her behaviour. She was criticised in November 2012 for signing a letter calling for tougher regulation of the press on the grounds that she had previously been the subject of a newspaper exposé.[11][12]

In January 2016, the Labour Party unsuccessfully proposed an amendment in Parliament that would have required private landlords to make their homes "fit for human habitation". According to Parliament's register of interests, Murray was one of 72 Conservative MPs who voted against the amendment who personally derived an income from renting out property. The Conservative Government had responded to the amendment that they believed homes should be fit for human habitation but did not want to pass the new law that would explicitly require it.[13]

During the 2017 general election campaign in early June, Murray said at a hustings meeting: "If for instance somebody had moved house, or if their financial situation had changed while they're going through the reassessment and their benefits are delayed, then sometimes they need to call upon the food banks. But I am really pleased we have food banks in south east Cornwall". These comments angered some at the meeting who booed her. Murray in response gestured with her hand towards the group booing her and commented to the rest of the audience, "... and let's ignore these people". One woman stood up to condemn her. Murray then threatened to call the police to remove the woman from the hustings after she refused to leave of her own accord. Later, she clarified her comments: "Nobody is saying a person going hungry is a good thing and everything must be done to stop this. Whilst we work to eradicate hunger however the food banks themselves do provide a good service".[14][15]

After her re-election, Murray called for greater regulation of social media content and protection of MPs from intimidation after stating that during the campaign she was personally subjected to sustained abuse from users on social media.[16][17]

On 15 November 2018, Murray submitted a letter of no confidence in Theresa May's leadership.[18] The next month, Murray claimed she would vote against the Prime Minister in the Conservative no confidence vote.[19] As the vote is conducted through secret ballot, this cannot be confirmed.

In the House of Commons she sits on the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee. She has previously sat on the Environmental Audit Committee.[20] Her main policy interests are the environment and tourism; she has campaigned on fisheries issues as a spokesperson for Save Britain's Fish and is a member of the Fishermen's Association.

Personal lifeEdit

Her first marriage was to Jon Whitehall, a geologist. They divorced after seven years.[6] Murray then married trawlerman Neil Murray, who died in a fishing accident on 24 March 2011.[21] A search by local fishermen and the emergency services discovered his body on board his boat Our Boy Andrew.[22] Murray has one daughter and one son. Her daughter Sally from her first marriage works as an officer in the Royal Navy. Her son Andrew from her second marriage works in marine electronics.[6][23] Her long term partner since 2013 is her campaign manager and office manager Robert Davidson. They are due to get married in March in the House of Commons.[24][25][26]

Murray employs her husband as her Office Manager on a salary up to £40,000.[27] The practice of MPs employing family members has been criticised by some sections of the media, on the lines that it promotes nepotism.[28][29] Although MPs who were first elected in 2017 have been banned from employing family members, the restriction is not retrospective – meaning that Murray's employment of her husband is lawful.[30]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Sheryll Murray". MyParliament. Retrieved 29 June 2017.
  2. ^ a b "MP explores family's past at archive centre". Cornish Guardian. 11 December 2013.
  3. ^ "Seven in battle for seat". Tavistock Times Gazette. 17 April 2015. Retrieved 29 June 2017.
  4. ^ "MP congratulates couple on their 65th wedding anniversary". South East Cornwall Conservatives. 30 September 2016. Archived from the original on 22 February 2017.
  5. ^ "Sheryll Murray MP celebrates her old school's 50th Birthday party". South East Cornwall Conservatives. 30 October 2013. Archived from the original on 5 January 2018.
  6. ^ a b c d e "The 'Cornish Iron Lady' on why we need communities". Plymouth Herald. 30 June 2012. Retrieved 29 June 2017.
  7. ^ Archived 17 May 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ "Result of the Private Members' Bill ballot: Session 2012–13". Parliament of the United Kingdom. 17 May 2012. Archived from the original on 3 May 2013.
  9. ^ "Deep Sea Mining Bill: Session 2013–14". Parliament of the United Kingdom. 19 June 2013. Archived from the original on 4 October 2013.
  10. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 22 October 2016. Retrieved 11 October 2016.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  11. ^ "Tory MP 'too drunk to vote in Commons debate'". The Daily Telegraph. 11 July 2010. Retrieved 14 September 2018.
  12. ^ "MPs involved in scandals accused of 'hypocrisy' over calls for tougher regulation of the press". The Daily Telegraph. 9 November 2012. Retrieved 14 September 2018.
  13. ^ "Tories vote down law requiring landlords make their homes fit for human habitation". Independent. 9 November 2012. Retrieved 14 September 2018.
  14. ^ Peyer, Robin de (5 June 2017). "'I'm pleased we have foodbanks': Tory candidate faces backlash after comments filmed at hustings". London Evening Standard. Archived from the original on 5 June 2017. Retrieved 7 June 2017.
  15. ^ Mortimer, Caroline (6 June 2017). "Tory candidate heckled for saying she's 'pleased' there are food banks". The Independent. Archived from the original on 9 June 2017. Retrieved 7 June 2017.
  16. ^ Horton, Helen (28 June 2017). "'I've had swastikas carved into posters and urination on my office door': Tory MP reveals abuse from the hard left". The Daily Telegraph. Archived from the original on 28 June 2017.
  17. ^ "Cornish MP calls for election intimidation clampdown". BBC News. 28 June 2017. Archived from the original on 28 June 2017.
  18. ^ "Factbox: Who has submitted letters of no confidence in PM May?". Reuters UK. Retrieved 16 November 2018.
  19. ^ "How Tory MPs say they will vote in no confidence vote". BBC. Retrieved 12 December 2018.
  20. ^ "Sheryll Murray". Parliament UK. Retrieved 14 September 2018.
  21. ^ "MP's husband, Neil Murray, dies in fishing accident over night". Plymouth Herald. 25 March 2011. Archived from the original on 27 April 2011.
  22. ^ "Neil Murray husband of Cornwall MP dies on fishing trip". BBC News Online. BBC. 25 March 2011. Archived from the original on 27 March 2011. Retrieved 25 March 2011.
  23. ^ Daly, Patrick (7 May 2015). "South East Cornwall: meet your candidates". Plymouth Herald. Retrieved 29 June 2017.
  24. ^ "Register of Members' Financial Interests as at 23 October 2017" (PDF). p. 370. Archived (PDF) from the original on 27 October 2017. Retrieved 9 November 2017.
  25. ^ Swift, Natasha (22 May 2013). "Love again for local MP". St Austell Voice. Archived from the original on 11 November 2017.
  26. ^ Hope, Christopher; Wilkinson, Michael (29 June 2015). "One in five MPs employs a family member: the full list revealed". The Daily Telegraph. Archived from the original on 2 April 2017.
  27. ^ "IPSA". GOV.UK. Retrieved 14 September 2018.
  28. ^ "One in five MPs employs a family member: the full list revealed". The Daily Telegraph. 29 June 2015. Retrieved 14 September 2018.
  29. ^ Mason, Rowena (29 June 2015). "Keeping it in the family: new MPs continue to hire relatives as staff". The Guardian. Retrieved 14 September 2018.
  30. ^ "MPs banned from employing spouses after election in expenses crackdown". London Evening Standard. 21 April 2017. Retrieved 14 September 2018.

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