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Toby Henry Francis Jessel (11 July 1934 – 3 December 2018) was a British 20th Century Conservative Party politician, who was the Member of Parliament for Twickenham from 1970 to 1997.

Toby Jessel
Member of Parliament
for Twickenham
In office
18 June 1970 – 1 May 1997
Preceded byGresham Cooke
Succeeded byVincent Cable
Personal details
Toby Henry Francis Jessel

(1934-07-11)11 July 1934
Bearsted, Kent, United Kingdom
Died3 December 2018(2018-12-03) (aged 84)
Hampton Court, London, United Kingdom
Political partyConservative
Spouse(s)Philippa Jephcott (1967-1973; divorced)
Eira Heath (1980-2018; his death)
RelationsMarcus Samuel, 1st Viscount Bearsted (great-grandfather)
Oliver Jessel (brother)
Andrzej Panufnik (brother-in-law)
Alma materBalliol College, Oxford


Early lifeEdit

Jessel was born at Bearsted in Kent on 11 July 1934, the son of Winifred Levy (1905-1977) and Commander Richard Frederick Jessel, D.S.O. (1902-1988), a Royal Navy officer.[1] He was the great-grandson of Marcus Samuel, 1st Viscount Bearsted,[2] and his great-great uncle was the judge George Jessel.[3] His sister Camilla married the Polish-born composer Andrzej Panufnik.

He received his formal education at the Royal Naval College, Dartmouth, and at Balliol College, Oxford.

Political careerEdit

Jessel joined the Conservative Party, and served as a councillor in the London Borough of Southwark from 1964. The same year, he contested Peckham in the general election and then in 1966 twice fought Kingston upon Hull North, first in a by-election and then at the 1966 General Election which followed. He represented Richmond-upon-Thames on the Greater London Council between 1967 and 1973.

He was elected at the age of 36 as the Member of Parliament for Twickenham at the 1970 general election (the seat having been vacant since the death of Gresham Cooke on 22 February 1970), and held it for almost 30 years until being defeated by the Liberal Democrats in the constituency in the 1997 general election.

Personal lifeEdit

Jessel married Philippa Jephcott in 1967; they were divorced in 1973.[4] Their only child, Sarah, was killed in a car accident in 1976 at the age of five. He married his second wife, Eira Heath, in 1980.[2] Jessel's elder brother, Oliver, died on 21 June 2017.

Jesel resided at The Old Court House in Hampton Court, Middlesex, for almost fifty years. He died on 3 December 2018 of a heart attack at his home at the age of 84.[4]


  1. ^ Richard Frederick Jessel DSO, DSC, RN at, accessed 7 December 2013
  2. ^ a b Obituary for Jessel in 'Peerage News', 5 December 2018.
  3. ^ "Sir George Jessel". Jewish Virtual Library. Retrieved 21 December 2012.
  4. ^ a b Telegraph Obituaries (3 December 2018). "Toby Jessel, irrepressibly energetic Conservative MP for Twickenham – obituary". Retrieved 3 December 2018.


External linksEdit

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Gresham Cooke
Member of Parliament for Twickenham
Succeeded by
Vincent Cable