Philip Thomas Hollobone (born 7 November 1964) is a British Conservative Party politician and former investment banker. He has been the Member of Parliament for Kettering since the 2005 general election.
|Member of Parliament |
|Assumed office |
5 May 2005
|Preceded by||Phil Sawford|
|Born||7 November 1964|
Bromley, Kent, England
|Residence||Barton Seagrave, Northamptonshire|
|Alma mater||Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford|
|Years of service||1989–1997|
Hollobone was born on 7 November 1964 in Bromley, Kent. He was privately educated at Dulwich College, where he was a contemporary of former UKIP leader Nigel Farage. He went on to study at Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford where he was awarded a BA degree in Modern History and Economics. He was a member of the Oxford University branch of the Conservative Monday Club – a 'hard right' pressure group[according to whom?] that was later disassociated from the Conservative Party over its policies, such as the voluntary repatriation of ethnic minorities.
In 1984, he worked as a voluntary teacher in Honduras with a Baptist mission. He worked for various companies as an industry research analyst and investment banker between 1987 and 2003 and was in the Territorial Army between 1987 and 1995.
His elected political career began in the London Borough of Bromley, where he served as a councillor for the Martins Hill & Town ward between 1990 and 1994, when he did not stand again and the Liberal Democrat candidate won his former seat. He unsuccessfully contested Lewisham East at the 1997 General Election where he was defeated by the sitting Labour MP Bridget Prentice by 12,127 votes. In 1998 he sought re-election to the London Borough of Bromley in his former ward, but was defeated by the Liberal Democrats.
He was later selected as the Conservative candidate for the marginal Northamptonshire constituency of Kettering for the 2001 general election; he lost to incumbent Labour MP Phil Sawford by 665 votes. Following his defeat, Hollobone moved to Kettering and secured election in 2003 to Kettering Borough Council—first representing the rural ward of Buccleuch, before representing the suburban ward of Piper's Hill from 2007. He also became Vice Chairman of the Kettering Conservative Constituency Association in 2002. He was re-elected as a councillor in 2011, but did not re-stand in 2015.
Some of his subsequent speeches were not well received. In 2006, he was one of three new MPs specifically mentioned in an article in The Times about manipulating the performance figures for the Theyworkforyou website. The article claimed new MPs boosted "their ratings on the internet by saying very little, very often". Whilst Hollobone's frequent "speeches" might give the appearance of "Churchill or Gladstone", many were interventions of only two or three sentences. In response, Hollobone said that as a new MP he tried to speak as often as possible on behalf of constituents and take part in many different debates.
He has attempted to reintroduce national service. His private member's bill on capital punishment received its first reading in the House of Commons on 24 June 2013, but was withdrawn, and so did not receive a second reading. Similarly, his Young Offenders (Parental Responsibility) Bill, Foreign National Offenders (Exclusion from the United Kingdom) Bill, Fishing Grounds and Territorial Waters (Repatriation) Bill, Asylum Seekers (Return to Nearest Safe Country) Bill, BBC Licence Fee (Civil Debt) Bill and Equality and Diversity (Reform) Bill, all due for second reading on 28 February 2014, were all withdrawn. His European Communities Act 1972 (Repeal) Bill failed to progress to a vote.
In March 2015, Hollobone was criticised by The Independent for being one of just 4 MPs who voted against a Bill to increase the powers of the House of Lords to penalise peers who had broken the law and expel the worst offenders. This followed an expenses scandal relating to the former peer Lord Hanningfield. Hollobone argued the act could be used to discriminate against older male peers.
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, Hollobone 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.
In February 2018, following the announcement that Northamptonshire County Council had brought in a "section 114" notice, putting it in special measures following a crises in its finances, Hollobone was one of seven local MPs who released a statement arguing that the problems with the authority were down to mismanagement from the Conservative councillors who led it rather than funding cuts from the Conservative Government. They further argued that government commissioners should take over the running of the council.
In March 2018, he joined three other Conservative backbench MPs in "talking out" a bill by Green Party MP Caroline Lucas, which aimed to reverse private sector involvement in the NHS. By filibustering for three-and-a-half hours, Lucas was left with just 17 minutes to present her bill, which was subsequently shelved without a vote.
In Parliament he serves on the Panel of Chairs, for which he receives an annual payment of £15,000 (in addition to his MP's salary of £77,379). He has previously been a member of the Transport Committee and the Backbench Business Committee.
Hollobone is regarded as being on the right wing of the Conservative Party, and is a member of the socially conservative Cornerstone Group. He has advocated the privatisation of the BBC and policies such as bringing back capital punishment and military conscription.
In 2013, Hollobone was one of four MPs who camped outside Parliament in a move to facilitate parliamentary debate on what they called an "Alternative Queen’s Speech" – an attempt to show what a future Conservative government might deliver. Some 42 policies were listed including reintroduction of the death penalty and conscription, privatising the BBC, banning the burka in public places and preparation to leave the European Union.
Hollobone was a supporter of the Better Off Out campaign, which campaigned for Britain's withdrawal from the EU. The Eurosceptic United Kingdom Independence Party did not field a candidate against Hollobone in the 2010 general election and subsequently campaigned for his re-election as a result of his Eurosceptic views. Hollobone continued to deny speculation that he would be the most likely MP to follow Douglas Carswell and Mark Reckless in defecting to UKIP and remained a Conservative MP. UKIP did not field a candidate against him again in the 2017 general election.
In February 2010, Hollobone described the wearing of burqas as like "going round wearing a paper bag over your head" and expressed his "huge sympathy" with those calling for a ban on the garments. He went on to say that he would refuse to speak with constituents wearing burkas if they came to see him, although he did not cite any examples of where this had happened in the past and he was told by the advocacy group Liberty that he could face legal action if he was to do so. On 30 June 2010, Hollobone introduced the Face Coverings (Regulation) Bill, which would regulate the use of certain facial coverings, including the burka, in public. However, his bill did not progress further towards adoption.
In April 2009, Hollobone was reported to be the thriftiest Member of Parliament in terms of expenses: the average MP claimed £144,176 whereas Hollobone's expenses bill amounted to £47,737. In response to a written question by Hollobone, the expenses claimed for public duties by former Prime Ministers after they had left office was revealed to the public. In November 2017, Hollobone was reported to be the MP who had benefited from the largest sum of expenses that he was not entitled to, but had not been forced to pay the money back. The unjustified claim of £17,000 was written off because the expenses watchdog admitted that it should have picked up on the error earlier.
He married Donna Cooksey in St John's church, Cranford in June 2001. They had a son named Thomas in June 2004 and a daughter named Emily in 2006 and lived in Barton Seagrave. They separated in 2012 and divorced in 2013. Hollobone has played occasionally for Kettering Rugby Football Club in the past and served as a special constable with British Transport Police for six years until asked to resign in 2015 due to new rules about police officers taking part in politics.
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