Sir William Nigel Paul Cash (born 10 May 1940) is a British Conservative politician who has served as a Member of Parliament (MP) since 1984. He was first elected for Stafford and then for Stone in Staffordshire in 1997. Cash is a prominent Eurosceptic. After his tenth election victory in the 2019 general election, aged 79, Cash became the oldest sitting member of the House of Commons.
Sir Bill Cash
|Chair of the European Scrutiny Committee|
|Assumed office |
8 September 2010
|Preceded by||Michael Connarty|
|Shadow Secretary of State for Constitutional Affairs|
1 July 2003 – 10 November 2003
|Leader||Iain Duncan Smith|
|Preceded by||Position established|
|Succeeded by||Alan Duncan|
|Shadow Attorney General|
14 September 2001 – 10 November 2003
|Leader||Iain Duncan Smith|
|Preceded by||Edward Garnier|
|Succeeded by||Dominic Grieve|
|Member of Parliament|
|Assumed office |
2 May 1997
|Preceded by||Constituency re-established|
|Member of Parliament|
3 May 1984 – 8 April 1997
|Preceded by||Hugh Fraser|
|Succeeded by||David Kidney|
|Born||10 May 1940|
Finsbury, London, England
|Children||3, including William|
|Alma mater||Lincoln College, Oxford|
Cash was the founder of the Maastricht Referendum Campaign in the early 1990s, and is now the elected Chair of the House of Commons' European Scrutiny Committee. He has also served as a vice-president of the Eurosceptic pressure group Conservatives for Britain, and to this day is one of the strongest critics of the European Union from the Conservative Party. He was in favour of the no-deal option for Britain leaving the European Union.
He grew up in Sheffield and was educated at Stonyhurst College in Lancashire before attending Lincoln College, Oxford, where he took an MA in History. He qualified as a solicitor in 1967, and since 1979 has practised as a solicitor on his own account (i.e. he is neither employed by a law firm nor is he a member of a partnership).
Cash married Bridget Mary (née Lee) at Wardour Castle Chapel in Wiltshire on 16 October 1965, and they have 2 sons and a daughter. His son is the journalist William Cash, who lives at Upton Cressett Hall, near Bridgnorth, Shropshire and is married to society milliner, Lady Laura Cathcart, daughter of Charles Cathcart, 7th Earl Cathcart, with whom he has a daughter, Cosima, and son, Rex.
Along with his wife, Bill Cash restored the now Grade I Upton Cressett Hall in the 1970s. The Hall was subsequently voted the 'Best Hidden Gem' heritage destination in the UK at the 2011 Hudson's Heritage awards.
He is a distant cousin of country music singer Johnny Cash.
Cash entered Parliament in 1984, when he was elected as MP for Stafford at a by-election in May following the death of Sir Hugh Fraser. Since the 1997 election he has been MP for Stone, Staffordshire. Stone was a then newly (re-)created constituency, the previous version of which (with slightly different boundaries) had been abolished in 1950.
He has been chairman of various parliamentary committees. He was elected unopposed as Chairman of the European Scrutiny Committee on 8 September 2010, and has been a member of the Select Committee on European Legislation since 1985. Cash was elected chairman of the Conservative Backbench Committee on European Affairs (1989–91).
Cash is chairman of a number of All-Party African committees, including those on Kenya and Uganda. He is also chairman of the All-Party Committee on Malaysia. He has also served as chairman on the All-Party Group for the Jubilee 2000 (1997–2000).
He is chairman of the All-Party Sanitation and Water Committee (Third World) in which he works closely with Wateraid and Tearfund. He introduced the Gender Equality (International Development) Bill, 2013, which, although only 18th in the Private Members Ballot, was enacted in March 2014.
Mariella Frostrup wrote in The Times, "The new law that puts gender equality at the heart of our overseas aid policy will be as historic as the Slave Trade Act." Justine Greening, Secretary of State for International Development, wrote in The Telegraph blog "Yet for assiduously steering his Gender Equality in International Development Bill through Parliament over recent months, Bill Cash deserves the recognition of women everywhere. … It's also a proud legacy for a Parliamentary champion of women's rights [..] Bill Cash." The day after the Act came into force, the Prime Minister, David Cameron, told Cash in the House of Commons, "I am sure the whole House will want to join me in commending my hon. Friend on his Bill, and on his legislative achievement to get that important measure on the statute book."
Euroscepticism and the Maastricht Rebellion
Cash is known as a strong Eurosceptic. He has been described by Kenneth Clarke as the most "Eurosceptic" Member of Parliament. In the book by historian Robert Blake titled The Conservative Party: from Peel to Major, Cash is described as the leader of the Eurosceptics during the Maastricht Rebellion and as being "indefatigable... a constitutional lawyer of great expertise".
The 'Maastricht Rebellion' took place in the early 1990s, and reached its height in 1993. MPs belonging to the governing Conservative Party refused to support the government of John Major in the votes in the House of Commons on the issue of the implementation of the Maastricht Treaty (Treaty on European Union) in British law. It was a major event of John Major's troubled second term as Prime Minister (1992–1997). Major's party had a small majority, thus giving the relatively small number of rebels great influence: for example, there were 22 rebels on the second reading of the European Communities (Amendment) Bill in May 1992, and the government's majority at the time was only 18. The rebellion (as Major later complained in his memoirs) had the support of the former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and Lord Tebbit. Thatcher declared in a speech in the House of Lords that she "could never have signed that Treaty" and that it was "a recipe for national suicide".
In 1993, Cash founded and remains chairman of the eurosceptic European Foundation which was created during the Maastricht Rebellion, the funding for which he organised. During 1994–1995 Cash was a member of the Tindemans group. He was secretary of the European Reform Forum, and has been vice-president of the Conservative Small Business Bureau.
After fellow Maastricht rebel Iain Duncan Smith became leader of the Conservatives, Cash was appointed to the post of shadow Attorney General in 2001, and in 2003 he was Shadow Secretary of State for Constitutional Affairs, but he returned to the backbenches later that year after Duncan Smith was ousted as party leader.
In November 2011, Cash published a biography of John Bright, whom he described as "one of the greatest parliamentarians of all time", to coincide with the 200th anniversary of Bright's birth. The biography was received with critical acclaim: reviewer Andrew Roberts notes that Bright's legacy "was largely forgotten until this first-class, encapsulating biography". Amanda Foreman states that "Bill Cash not only breathes new life into Bright but delivers an entirely fresh view of both the man himself and his stance as the professional scourge of the upper classes... Bright's character receives[s its] full due in Cash's nuanced portrait".
In addition to his historical writing, Cash has also published a number of books, pamphlets and essays on Britain's relationship with the European Union, and the Eurosceptic movement. These include: It's the EU, Stupid (2011), The Challenge for the Conservative Party: The future for Britain and Europe (2004), Associated, Not Absorbed: The Associated European Area: a constructive alternative to a single European state (2000), Visions of Europe (Duckworth, 1993) and Against a Federal Europe: The Battle for Britain (Duckworth, 1991). The accuracy of one of Cash's newspaper articles on the EU has been called into question by the European Commission, who said it contained "inaccuracies and misleading statements".
On 28 May 2009, in the swirl of stories surrounding the 2009 Parliamentary Expenses scandal, it was reported that Cash had claimed £15,000 which he paid his daughter, Laetitia Cash, a prospective Conservative candidate, as rent for a Notting Hill flat, when he had a mortgaged flat of his own a few miles away, which his son Sam Cash was staying in rent-free. "It was only for a year, she was getting married, she wasn't there. My other flat wasn't round the corner, it was in Westminster. It was done through the rules", he said on Newsnight. The following day Cash announced that he had agreed to pay the money back. Cash rejected calls for his resignation and said he was hopeful of getting a fair hearing. David Cameron was said to have ordered Cash to co-operate or risk having the Conservative whip withdrawn. Cash was cleared on appeal in February 2010 by former High Court judge and President of the Court of Appeal, the Rt Hon Sir Paul Kennedy.
Cash faced a no-confidence vote by secret ballot by his constituency party on 2 July 2009. He was, however, re-selected with the support over 98% of the vote. Cash also received a personal letter of support from Conservative leader Cameron before the meeting thanking Cash for "the tireless contribution you make to the work of Parliament. You have a long record of serving your constituents with commitment and integrity." Kennedy, in his letter to Cash regarding his appeal, wrote: "In my judgment there are special reasons why it would not be fair and equitable to require repayment of any money. They are that in 2004–05 you paid rent for accommodation. Such rent was recoverable under the Rules as they existed at the time unless there was some evidence of impropriety. There is no such evidence in your case."
In popular culture
- Black, A & C. "Who's Who". Who's Who (London. 1849). London (annual). ISSN 0083-937X.
- Cash, William (1991). Against a Federal Europe – The Battle for Britain. London: Duckworth. ISBN 978-0-7156-2398-5.
- Cash, William (1992). Europe: the Crunch. London. ISBN 978-0-7156-2450-0.
- Cash, Wiliam (1993). Visions of Europe. London: Duckworth.
- Cash, William (2000). Associated, Not Absorbed: The Associated European Area: a constructive alternative to a single European state. London.
- Cash, Bill (2004). The Challenge for the Conservative Party: The future for Britain and Europe.
- Cash, Bill (November 2011). John Bright: Statesman, Orator, Agitator. IB Tauris. ISBN 978-1-84885-996-8.
- Cash, Bill (2011). It's the EU, Stupid. London.
- "No. 60895". The London Gazette (Supplement). 14 June 2014. p. b2.
- Sky News 11 May 2010
- "Index entry". FreeBMD. ONS. Archived from the original on 14 December 2019. Retrieved 24 June 2016.
- "Website of the Law Society of England & Wales". Lawsociety.org.uk. Archived from the original on 27 September 2011. Retrieved 8 May 2015.
- "A 'gloriously happy' day for all the family, Christening with a touch of glamour and a large dose of history". Shropshire Star. 20 October 2015. p. 4.From report, by James Fisher, of christening of Sir William's granddaughter Cosima Cash.
- "Liz Hurley among guests at Shropshire man's big day". Shropshire Start. Archived from the original on 18 May 2015. Retrieved 8 May 2015.
- William Cash, Becoming a dad at 50 saved my life Archived 12 November 2019 at the Wayback Machine, Daily Telegraph, 14 April 2017
- "'I almost gave birth on M54': Lady Laura Cash joins campaign to keep rural maternity units". www.shropshirestar.com. Archived from the original on 7 February 2017. Retrieved 16 May 2017.
- http://www.spearswms.com/spears-world/salon/william-cash/28472/upton-cressett-wins-hudsons-heritage-award.thtml%5B%5D [dead link]
- Cash, William (24 October 2019). "Me and my cousin Johnny, by William Cash". Archived from the original on 24 October 2019. Retrieved 24 October 2019 – via www.thetimes.co.uk.
- The Committee Office, House of Commons. "He was named chairman of the European Scrutiny Committee in 2010". Publications.parliament.uk. Archived from the original on 18 May 2015. Retrieved 8 May 2015.
- "About Bill". Billcashmp.co.uk. Archived from the original on 18 May 2015. Retrieved 8 May 2015.
- "House of Commons – Register of All-Party Groups as at 5 December 2013: Water and Sanitation in the Third World". Publications.parliament.uk. Archived from the original on 16 January 2014. Retrieved 14 January 2014.
- "UK Parliament: Bills Online". services.parliament.uk. Archived from the original on 20 September 2013. Retrieved 20 August 2013.
- Frostrup, Mariella (8 March 2014). "Britain shows the world the way — again". The Times. London. Archived from the original on 20 April 2019. Retrieved 21 April 2019.
- "Clamping down on forced marriage and FGM worldwide: All hail this new piece of law". The Daily Telegraph. Archived from the original on 9 September 2017. Retrieved 3 April 2018.
- "House of Commons Hansard Debates for 14 May 2014 (pt 0001)". publications.parliament.uk. Archived from the original on 9 September 2017. Retrieved 30 August 2017.
- Blake, Robert, The Conservative Party: From Peel to Major, p. 399
- "HL S [European Communities (Amendment) Bill] | Margaret Thatcher Foundation". Margaretthatcher.org. 31 December 1992. Archived from the original on 30 March 2014. Retrieved 14 January 2014.
- "Past Speakers – Bill Cash". the biz club. Archived from the original on 16 January 2014. Retrieved 14 January 2014.
- Cash, Bill (18 November 2011). "We need John Bright's democratic message today". Guardian Northerner Blog. Guardian News and Media. Archived from the original on 28 September 2013. Retrieved 6 December 2011.
- Cash, Bill "John Bright: Statesman, Orator, Agitator" cover
- "Sun's imperial "up yours" to Brussels falls down on the facts - European Commission". blogs.ec.europa.eu. Archived from the original on 9 December 2018. Retrieved 8 December 2018.
- Bill Cash speaking on Newsnight 28 May 2009
- Jagger, Suzy (30 May 2009). "Bill Cash will pay back £15,000 he claimed if asked for it". The Times. London. Archived from the original on 14 September 2011. Retrieved 30 May 2009.
- "House of Commons, Members Estimate Committee – Review of past ACA payments – First Report of Session 2009–10" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 14 February 2010. Retrieved 30 August 2017.
- "Staffordshire Newsletter, 3 July 2009". Archived from the original on 21 April 2013.
- Bennett, Asa (28 December 2018). "Brexit: The Uncivil War review: Benedict Cumberbatch is superb in this thrilling romp through the referendum". The Daily Telegraph. ISSN 0307-1235. Archived from the original on 9 January 2019. Retrieved 8 January 2019.
- Matthew Elliott (4 January 2019). "Vote Leave's Matthew Elliott on Channel 4's Brexit: The Uncivil War". Financial Times. Archived from the original on 9 January 2019. Retrieved 8 January 2019.
Screenwriter James Graham has turned the campaign into a compelling story — and nailed my mannerisms