Peter Bottomley

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Peter Bottomley bigraphy, stories - British politician

Peter Bottomley : biography

30 July 1944 –

Sir Peter James Bottomley (born 30 July 1944) is a British Conservative Party politician. He is the Member of Parliament (MP) for Worthing West. A globalist, Bottomley has been Chairman of the All-Party United Nations Group.

Personal life

In 1967 he married Virginia Garnett who later became a social scientist, an MP, a Cabinet Minister, and a life peer as Baroness Bottomley of Nettlestone. They have a son and two daughters. The couple live in Worthing, West Sussex, Milford, Surrey and Westminster.

His brother was a Lambeth councillor; his brother-in-law was mayor of Cambridge; a first cousin was a Wandsworth councillor; his first cousins twice removed included Lord Tranmire who as Robin Turton was MP for Thirsk and Malton for 44 years and was Father of the House; Sir Robin Chichester-Clark MP and his brother Lord Moyola who as Major James Chichester-Clark served as Northern Ireland’s Prime Minister. His aunt’s husband Ian Beddows was chairman of Wolverhampton South West when Enoch Powell stood down as Conservative candidate before the February 1974 general election. One niece is Kitty Ussher the economist, the former Labour MP and Minister. His great-grandfather Sir Richard Robinson led the Municipal Reformers, allied to the parliamentary Conservatives, to victory in the 1907 London Council election. Sir Richard’s daughter Alice’s husband Sir (William) Cecil Bottomley served in the Colonial Office before being the Senior Crown Agent for the Colonies. Cecil’s son, Peter’s father, James Bottomley was made KCMG when becoming Ambassador to South Africa when it was outside the Commonwealth. Peter’s other grandmother’s grandfather Sir William Lenox-Conyngham was the Drapers’ Company’s Agent in Northern Ireland. In 2002-2003 he was Master of the Worshipful Company of Drapers.

Bottomley was present at the Heysel stadium disaster in Brussels on 29 May 1985 and was present at the later stages of the rescue work at the Kings Cross fire 18 November 1987 and at the Kegworth air disaster on 8 January 1989. He was knighted in the 2011 New Year Honours for public service. 31 December 2010, BBC News

Member of Parliament

On the backbenches

Bottomley contested the Woolwich West parliamentary seat in the February and October general elections, 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 the third time at the by-election on 26 June 1975, the last year Harold Wilson led the Labour government. Bottomley was elected as the Conservative MP for Woolwich West with a majority of 2,382, and held this marginal seat and its successor, Eltham, in | Parliament for the next 22 years. Margaret Thatcher was apparently surprised to be told by him that Ian Smith in Rhodesia was morally wrong, a military loser in the longer term and on either count should be told he would not have Conservative support.

In 1978 he became the President of the Conservative Trade Unionists, a position he held for two years. Before the 1979 General Election, Bottomley became a trustee with Christian Aid in 1978 until 1984. In 1978 as member of the Parliamentary Human Rights Group, he campaigned to help delay the anticipated assassination of Archbishop Oscar Romero and represented the British Council of Churches at the funeral in El Salvador in 1980 when 14 people died around him. In 1979, he made a visit to Washington DC days before the defeat of the Vote of Confidence in 1979 to help persuade the United States Senate that Margaret Thatcher if Prime Minister would not lift sanctions on Southern Rhodesia nor would recognise the government of Bishop Abel Muzorewa. He was for some years a member of the Conservative Monday Club despite disagreeing with their policies on immigration, race relations, Rhodesia and South Africa. 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 is leader of the United Kingdom delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).