David Heathcoat-Amory

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David Heathcoat-Amory
David Heathcoat-Amery.JPG
Shadow Secretary of State for Trade and Industry
In office
26 September 2000 – 14 September 2001
LeaderWilliam Hague
Preceded byAngela Browning
Succeeded byJohn Whittingdale
Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury
In office
19 June 1997 – 26 September 2000
LeaderWilliam Hague
Preceded byAlistair Darling
Succeeded byOliver Letwin
Paymaster General
In office
20 July 1994 – 20 July 1996
Prime MinisterJohn Major
Preceded bySir John Cope
Succeeded byDavid Willetts
Minister of State for Europe
In office
27 May 1993 – 20 July 1994
Prime MinisterJohn Major
Preceded byTristan Garel-Jones
Succeeded byDavid Davis
Treasurer of the Household
In office
15 April 1992 – 27 May 1993
Prime MinisterJohn Major
Preceded byAlastair Goodlad
Succeeded byGreg Knight
Member of Parliament
for Wells
In office
9 June 1983 – 12 April 2010
Preceded byRobert Boscawen
Succeeded byTessa Munt
Personal details
Born (1949-03-21) 21 March 1949 (age 71)
Political partyConservative
Spouse(s)Linda Adams
Alma materChrist Church, Oxford

David Philip Heathcoat-Amory[n 1] (born 21 March 1949) is a British politician, accountant and farmer. He was the Conservative Member of Parliament for Wells from 1983 until he lost the seat in the 2010 general election. He became a member of the British Privy Council in 1996. Heathcoat-Amory was previously Chair of the European Research Group.

Education and professional life[edit]

David Heathcoat-Amory is the son of British Army Brigadier Roderick Heathcoat-Amory, MC (son of Sir Ian Heathcoat-Amory, 2nd Baronet) and the nephew of Harold Macmillan's Chancellor of the Exchequer Derick Heathcoat-Amory. He was educated at Eton College and Christ Church, University of Oxford, where he received an MA in PPE. He was President of the Oxford University Conservative Association.[citation needed]

Heathcoat-Amory qualified as an accountant in 1974 and joined Price Waterhouse as a chartered accountant. In 1980, he was appointed as the assistant finance director of the British Technology Group (BTG) where he remained until he was elected to Parliament in 1983.

Political career[edit]

Heathcoat-Amory contested the London Borough of Brent seat at Brent South at the 1979 general election but was defeated by the sitting Labour MP Laurence Pavitt by 11,616 votes. He was elected to the House of Commons at the 1983 general election for the Somerset seat of Wells, whose sitting MP Robert Boscawen had decided to move to Somerton and Frome following boundary changes. He held the seat with a majority of 6,575.

In Parliament, he was appointed as the Parliamentary Private Secretary (PPS) to the Financial Secretary to the Treasury John Moore in 1985, and was also the PPS to his successor from 1986 Norman Lamont. Following the 1987 general election he became the PPS to the Home Secretary Douglas Hurd until he was promoted to the government of Margaret Thatcher as an Assistant Government Whip in 1988. He was promoted to become a Lord Commissioner to the Treasury and Government Whip in 1989. Later in the year he became the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for the Environment, until moved by the new prime minister John Major in the same position at the Department of Energy in 1990. He was appointed as the Treasurer of the Household (Deputy Chief Whip) following the 1992 general election and was the Minister of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in 1993. He was appointed as the Paymaster General in 1994 where he served until resigning from the government in 1996 over the single European currency. He became a member of the Privy Council in 1996.

In 1997 Heathcoat-Amory joined the shadow cabinet of William Hague as the Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury, and was the Shadow Secretary of State for Trade and Industry from 2000. He left the frontbench on the election of Iain Duncan Smith as the leader of the Conservative Party in 2001. He was a member of the Treasury Select committee from 2004 until he was briefly, in 2005, a spokesman on work and pensions under the leadership of Michael Howard, but returned to the backbenches later in the year when David Cameron became Conservative leader. He served as the chairman of the all party group on the British Museum; the vice chair of the group on astronomy and space environment; and the secretary of the group on boxing.

From late 2001 until July 2003, Heathcoat-Amory was one of the two British parliamentary delegates to the Convention on the Future of Europe, which drafted the European Constitution. He is well known for his strong euroscepticism and was, through the work of the Convention, a fierce opponent of the official drafts being prepared by the presidium of the Convention, criticising them as being too federalist.

Heathcoat-Amory was selected by the Power 2010 democracy and constitutional reform campaign as one of six MPs accused of "failing our democracy" and who "stand in the way of a reforming Parliament".[1][2] Heathcoat-Amory lost his seat in the 2010 general election to the Liberal Democrat's Tessa Munt who achieved a 6.1% swing.

At the election, UKIP's Jake Baynes was requested by his party to stand down owing to UKIP's policy of not standing a candidate in a constituency where there is already a committed eurosceptic, but he refused to do so. In interviews, Baynes said he was "offering the public a service no other candidate is".[3] Heathcoat-Amory partly blamed the presence of a UKIP candidate on the ballot paper for his defeat during his speech after the result of the ballot was announced.[4] He also admitted that his involvement in the expenses scandal played a part in his defeat.[5][6][7]

He was criticised in 2008 after remarking, regarding the presence of a black MP, Dawn Butler, "They're letting anybody in nowadays". Heathcoat-Amory denied the accusation that his remarks were racist.[8]

Having lost by a relatively narrow 800 votes in the General Election in June 2010, Heathcoat-Amory announced to the local party members and media that he would not be contesting the next general election.[9]

Expenses claims[edit]

On 12 May 2009, it was reported in The Daily Telegraph that Heathcoat-Amory had charged the taxpayer for manure costing £380 over 3 years on expenses, under the controversial Additional Costs Allowance.[10][11] In February 2010 it was revealed that he had been asked to repay a total of £29,691.93.[12] The Times dubbed the scandal 'The Manure Parliament' when singling out Heathcoat-Amory's claim.[13]

In July 2010, Heathcoat-Amory placed his second home on the market for £1.5million. He and his wife intend to live in their primary residence in Hammersmith.[14]

Personal life[edit]

He enjoys angling, growing trees, gardening and astronomy. He married Linda Adams on 4 February 1978 in north Hampshire. The couple lives on an estate in west London with a significant art collection.[15] They have a son and a daughter (born September 1988). His younger son, Matthew, committed suicide at their second home in Perthshire in 2001. Heathcoat-Amory and his wife Linda said the family was "deeply shocked".[16]

His nephew Edward Heathcoat-Amory used to write for the Daily Mail and has written for The Spectator.[citation needed]

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ (The suffix Amory is pronounced: /ˈmri/)
  1. ^ "Row over election poster campaign flares up in Burnham-On-Sea". Burnham-on-Sea News. 29 March 2010.
  2. ^ Power 2010
  3. ^ "UKIP candidate for Wells refusing to quit". BBC News Online. 15 April 2010.
  4. ^ "Liberal Democrats beat Heathcoat-Amory in Wells seat". BBC News. 7 May 2010.
  5. ^ "Liberal Democrats beat Heathcoat-Amory in Wells seat". BBC News. 7 May 2010. Retrieved 7 May 2010.
  6. ^ "Election winner Tessa Munt: 'The work starts here'". 7 May 2010. Retrieved 7 May 2010.
  7. ^ Allen, Nick; Rayner, Gordon (12 May 2009). "MPs' expenses: David Heathcoat-Amory dumps 550 sacks of manure on taxpayer". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 7 May 2010.
  8. ^ "Black MP Dawn Butler reveals she was victim of racism in Parliament after fellow MP assumed she was a cleaner".
  9. ^ "Former MP says he will not fight next general election". Wells Journal. 17 June 2010. Archived from the original on 12 September 2012.
  10. ^ Allen, Nick (12 May 2009). "MPs' expenses: David Heathcoat-Amory dumps 550 sacks of manure on taxpayer". The Daily Telegraph. London.
  11. ^ "'Appalled' Cameron leads payback". BBC News Online. 12 May 2009.
  12. ^ "Wells MP David Heathcoat-Amory pays back almost £30,000". BBC News Online. 4 February 2010.
  13. ^ Elliott, Francis; Gosden, Emily (16 May 2009). "Manure Parliament fears that the voters will revolt". The Times. London.
  14. ^ "MP's expenses Tory who claimed for manure puts £1.5m home up for sale". Daily Express. 6 July 2010.
  15. ^ "An artist's house formerly owned by Howard Hodgkin". House & Garden. Retrieved 13 September 2019.
  16. ^ "Shadow minister 'shocked' by son's death". BBC News Online. 17 August 2001.


  • A Single European Currency: Why the United Kingdom Must Say No by David Heathcoat-Amory, 1996, Nelson & Pollard Publishing ISBN 1-874607-11-7
  • A Market Under Threat: How the European Union Could Destroy the British Art Market by David Heathcoat-Amory, 1998, Centre for Policy Studies ISBN 1-897969-74-0
  • The European Constitution by David Heathcoat-Amory, 2003, CPS

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Robert Boscawen
Member of Parliament for Wells
Succeeded by
Tessa Munt
Political offices
Preceded by
Alastair Goodlad
Treasurer of the Household
Succeeded by
Greg Knight
Preceded by
Tristan Garel-Jones
Minister for Europe
Succeeded by
David Davis
Preceded by
Sir John Cope
Succeeded by
David Willetts
Other offices
Preceded by
Sir Michael Spicer
Chairman of the European Research Group
Succeeded by
Chris Heaton-Harris