David Heathcoat-Amory

David Heathcoat-Amory
The Right Honourable
David Heathcoat-Amory
Member of Parliament
for Wells
In office
9 June 1983 – 6 May 2010
Preceded by Robert Boscawen
Succeeded by Tessa Munt
Personal details
Born 21 March 1949 (1949-03-21) (age 62)
Nationality British
Political party Conservative
Spouse(s) Linda Adams
Alma mater Christ Church, Oxford

David Philip Heathcoat-Amory (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 his seat in the 2010 general election.


Education and professional life

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, and was a contemporary of figures like John Redwood, Robert Jackson, William Waldegrave, Edwina Currie, Stephen Milligan and Gyles Brandreth.[1] He 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 where he remained until he was elected to Parliament. He is also a farmer.

Political career

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 serves 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 strongly Eurosceptic views, 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 has recently been targeted by the Power 2010 (a Lib Dem supporting pressure group) campaign as one of 6 MPs accused of "failing our democracy" and who "stand in the way of a reforming Parliament".[2][3] Heathcoat-Amory lost his seat in the 2010 general election to the Liberal Democrat's Tessa Munt with a 6.1% swing against. UKIP's Jake Baynes was requested by his party to stand down for the election owing to UKIP's policy of not standing a candidate in a constituency where there is already a committed Euro-sceptic. However, Baynes refused, claiming he was offering the public a service no other candidate was.[4] Heathcoat-Amory party 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.[5]

In June 2010, Heathcoat-Amory announced to his local party members that he would not be contesting the next general election.[6]

Expenses claims

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.[7][8] In February 2010 it was revealed that he had been asked to repay a total of £29,691.93.[9] The Times newspaper dubbed the scandal 'The manure parliament', singling out Heathcoat-Amory's claim.[10]

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.[11]

Personal life

He enjoys angling, growing trees and astronomy. He married Linda Adams on 4 February 1978 in north Hampshire. They have a son and a daughter (born September 1988). His younger son, Matthew, committed suicide at their second home in Perthshire in 2001.[12]

His nephew Edward Heathcoat-Amory writes for the Daily Mail and has written for The Spectator.


  1. ^ Levy, Geoffrey (6 March 2010). "So who WERE the two Tory ministers who had gay flings with Christopher Hitchens at Oxford?". Daily Mail (London). http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1255852/So-WERE-Tory-ministers-gay-flings-Christopher-Hitchens-Oxford.html. 
  2. ^ "Row over election poster campaign flares up in Burnham-On-Sea". Burnham-On-Sea News. 29 March 2010. http://www.burnham-on-sea.com/news/2010/mp-leaflets-row-29-03-10.php. 
  3. ^ "Power 2010". http://www.power2010.org.uk/. 
  4. ^ "UKIP candidate for Wells refusing to quit". BBC News Online. 15 April 2010. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/politics/election_2010/england/8620130.stm. 
  5. ^ "Liberal Democrats beat Heathcoat-Amory in Wells seat". BBC News. 7 May 2010. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/election_2010/england/8660038.stm. 
  6. ^ "Former MP says he will not fight next general election". Wells Journal. 17 June 2010. http://www.thisissomerset.co.uk/news/MP-says-fight-general-election/article-2310772-detail/article.html. 
  7. ^ Allen, Nick (12 May 2009). "MPs' expenses: David Heathcoat-Amory dumps 550 sacks of manure on taxpayer". The Daily Telegraph (London). http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/mps-expenses/5310147/MPs-expenses-David-Heathcoat-Amory-dumps-550-sacks-of-manure-on-taxpayer.html. 
  8. ^ "'Appalled' Cameron leads payback". BBC News Online. 12 May 2009. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/politics/8044998.stm. 
  9. ^ "Wells MP David Heathcoat-Amory pays back almost £30,000". BBC News Online. 4 February 2010. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/england/somerset/8499455.stm. 
  10. ^ Elliott, Francis; Gosden, Emily (16 May 2009). "Manure Parliament fears that the voters will revolt". The Times (London). http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/politics/article6297363.ece. 
  11. ^ "MP's expenses Tory who claimed for manure puts £1.5m home up for sale". Daily Express. 6 July 2010. http://www.express.co.uk/posts/view/185137/MP-s-expenses-Tory-who-claimed-for-manure-puts-1-5m-home-up-for-sale-. 
  12. ^ "Shadow minister 'shocked' by son's death". BBC News Online. 17 August 2001. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/politics/1495050.stm. 


  • 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

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

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