Ian Liddell-Grainger

Ian Liddell-Grainger
Member of Parliament
for Bridgwater and West Somerset
Bridgwater (2001-2010)
Assumed office
8 June 2001
Preceded by Tom King
Majority 14,583 (26.8%)
Personal details
Born (1959-02-23) 23 February 1959
Edinburgh, Scotland
Nationality British
Political party Conservative
Jill Nesbit (m. 1985)
Children 3
Parents David Liddell-Grainger
Anne Abel Smith
Website www.liddellgrainger.org.uk
Military service
Allegiance  United Kingdom
Service/branch  British Army
Years of service 1980–1997
Rank Major
Unit Royal Regiment of Fusiliers

Ian Richard Peregrine Liddell-Grainger[1] (born 23 February 1959) is a Conservative Party politician in the United Kingdom. He was the Member of Parliament (MP) for Bridgwater between the 2001 general election and 2010 and the Bridgwater and West Somerset constituency from 2010. He is a great-great-great-grandson of Queen Victoria.

Early life

Liddell-Grainger was born in Edinburgh to David Liddell-Grainger and Anne Liddell-Grainger (née Abel Smith).[2] He was educated at Wellesley House School in the coastal town of Broadstairs in Kent and Millfield School in the town of Street in Somerset, before gaining a National Certificate of Agriculture at the South Scotland Agricultural College in Edinburgh.[2] Before entering Parliament he ran a 250-acre (1.0 km2) farm in the Scottish Borders from 1980-85[2] before becoming the managing director of his family's property management and development company.[2]

He was commissioned as a Major in the Territorial Army with the 6th Battalion of the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers,[2] commanding the machine-gun Platoon and then X Company of the Battalion in Newcastle upon Tyne.

After serving on Tynedale District Council from 1989 to 1995, Liddell-Grainger contested the seat of Torridge and West Devon at the 1997 general election, coming second to the Liberal Democrat candidate John Burnett.[2]

Parliamentary career

Liddell-Grainger was elected to parliament at the 2001 general election for the safe Conservative seat of Bridgwater in Somerset, succeeding former cabinet minister Tom King. He held the seat at the 2005 general election before boundary changes created the new seat of Bridgwater and West Somerset which he retained with a nominally reduced share of the vote at the 2010 general election.[2][3]

Liddell-Grainger chairs the All-Party Energy group, the All-Party Pharmaceuticals group, the All-Party Dyslexia group, and the All-Party Tax group, and is also a member of the All Parliamentary Armed Forces Scheme with the Royal Air Force and the all Parliamentary Radio Group. Formerly, he was a member of the Public Administration Committee and the Environmental Audit Committee in the House of Commons. Liddell-Grainger was previously on the DEFRA select committee and the Scottish Committee as well as the Crossrail Bill. He is also a member of the Cornerstone Group, a ginger group within the Conservative Party, which seeks to promote socially conservative values. His interests include the economy, taxation, treatment for dyslexia, constitutional affairs, rural matters and he has also spoken out in favour of making Herceptin available for early-stage breast cancer sufferers.[4]

Liddell-Grainger is a member of the 18-strong British delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, and currently heads one of the five political groups in the Assembly, the European Conservatives Group. He supported Brexit in the 2016 referendum.[5]

Energy issues

The Hinkley Point nuclear power stations are located in Liddell-Grainger's constituency. He considers that "the nuclear power industry has truly embraced the energy future of our country", and also that "nuclear energy plays an important role in my constituency and is behind the creation of numerous jobs and training opportunities".[6] He supported the decision in March 2013 to allow planning permission to build a third nuclear power station at the site.[7] He has voiced opposition to wind power schemes in his constituency, including plans to build two wind turbines at Wiveliscombe in 2012.[8]

Building schools for the future in Bridgwater

The cancellation of plans to build new school buildings in Bridgwater in 2010 led Liddell-Grainger to threaten to "march" on Downing Street in protest.[9] The cancellation of the Building Schools for the Future projects was one of the first acts by the newly elected coalition government's Minister for Education Michael Gove. Liddell-Grainger claimed that Bridgwater's schools were in need of rebuilding and that the plans, which had cancelled projects in three of the town's six schools, were actually all under one project heading and had been working effectively.[9][10] Gove was forced to apologise for a number of errors in the cancellation of the project nationally[11] and the Bridgwater project was reconsidered by the government after Liddell-Grainger met Gove and it became apparent that Gove "wasn't aware of all the facts to do with the Bridgwater scheme".[12]

Expenses claims

Liddell-Grainger claimed a total of £166,109 in expenses, including for office, staffing and travelling costs, during 2007–8.[13] Under revised regulations, during 2010-11 he claimed the reduced sum of £147,004 for expenses, the sixth highest of all MPs in that year.[14] Liddell-Grainger has registered his wife as a parliamentary assistant[15] and in 2010 included both his wife and his two eldest children on his list of staff, the only MP to do so at the time.[16]


In 2006, Liddell-Grainger was disqualified from the WriteToThem league table after faking e-mails and replies to himself to improve his "responsiveness rating" on a website which helps people contact their elected representatives. Liddell-Grainger's spokesman commented that the e-mails had been sent to test the data that the website was judging him on.[17]

At the 2010 general election Liddell-Grainger refused to attend any election hustings or to take part in the BBC's election coverage.[18][19] A Facebook group was set up asking "Where's Ian Liddell-Grainger?"[18] Liddell-Grainger said that he was busy canvassing and dealing with casework.[18]

Views on the environment

According to the former minister Richard Benyon, Liddell-Grainger opposes bodies such as Natural England as a "default position". In 2010, Liddell-Grainger criticised plans by the Environment Agency and Natural England to create a wetland habitat at Steart on the Severn estuary as part of a realignment of coastal flood defences.[20] The project, which he said the nation "should not and must not afford", went ahead in 2012.[21][22]

In February 2014, in the context of flooding on the Somerset Levels, Liddell-Grainger called the chairman of the Environment Agency, Baron Smith of Finsbury a "little git", and a "coward". He claimed he would "stick his head down the loo and flush".[23] The floods took place after exceptionally bad weather, but Liddell-Grainger placed the blame for them on the Environment Agency's policy of not dredging the local rivers,[24] and said that he would be consulting with Dutch hydrological experts.[25]

Personal life

Liddell-Grainger is a great-great-great-grandson of Queen Victoria and thus in the line of succession to the British throne.[26] His great-grandmother was Princess Alice, Countess of Athlone.[27] His great-grandfather, the 1st Earl of Athlone, was great-grandson of King George III and brother of Queen Mary, wife of King George V. He is also a great-grandson of the 12th Earl of Lindsey and a third cousin, once removed of Queen Elizabeth II.

Liddell-Grainger married Jill Nesbit in 1985, she is now his parliamentary secretary.[28] The couple have three children.[2]



  1. "No. 61230". The London Gazette. 18 May 2015. p. 9125.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 "Liddell-Grainger, Ian Richard Peregrine, (born 23 Feb. 1959), MP (C) Bridgwater and West Somerset, since 2010 (Bridgwater, 2001–10)". Who's Who. 2007. doi:10.1093/ww/9780199540884.013.42373.
  3. Mr Ian Liddell-Grainger, www.parliament.uk. Retrieved 28 June 2013.
  4. "£50m to step up war on cancer". Bath Chronicle. 28 July 2010. Retrieved 12 February 2017.
  5. Goodenough, Tom (16 February 2016). "Which Tory MPs back Brexit, who doesn't and who is still on the fence?". The Spectator. Retrieved 11 October 2016.
  6. NIA Industry Link magazine, issue 35, spring 2012
  7. Hinkley Point C: Decision widens chasm in local opinion, BBC Somerset news website, 19 March 2013. Retrieved 28 June 2013.
  8. Wiveliscombe turbines plan sparks opposition, BBC Somerset news website, 28 May 2012. Retrieved 28 June 2013.
  9. 1 2 Bridgwater MP threatens to march for new schools, BBC Somerset news website, 8 July 2010. Retrieved 28 June 2013.
  10. School building cuts: Hard-hit areas, BBC news website, 19 July 2010. Retrieved 28 June 2013.
  11. Michael Gove apology over school building list errors, BBC news, 8 July 2010. Retrieved 28 June 2013.
  12. Bridgwater MP says school schemes axing to be reviewed, BBC Somerset news website, 13 July 2010. Retrieved 28 June 2013.
  13. "Ian Liddell-Grainger: in brief". Thisissomerset.co.uk. 12 May 2009. Retrieved 14 May 2010.
  14. Expense fraud MP Eric Illsley had second highest claims, BBC news website, 11 July 2011. Retrieved 28 June 2013.
  15. The Register of Members' Financial Interests: Part 2 As at 7 May 2013, www.parliament.org, 7 May 2013. Retrieved 29 June 2013.
  16. MP has three family members on his staff list, The Independent, 28 August 2010. Retrieved 28 June 2013.
  17. "Site axes MP over 'fake' e-mails". BBC News. 21 February 2006. Retrieved 29 March 2012.
  18. 1 2 3 Tory Ian Liddell-Grainger criticised for debate absence, BBC election 2010, 30 April 2010. Retrieved 28 June 2013.
  19. MP candidate pledges, Bridgwater and West Somerset, BBC website, 28 April 2010. Retrieved 28 June 2013.
  20. "Natural England". Hansard. 2010. Retrieved 11 February 2014.
  21. "Steart Marshes". Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust. Retrieved 10 February 2014.
  22. Vieira Da Silva, Lia; Everard, Mark; Shore, Robert G (2014). "Ecosystem services assessment at Steart Peninsula, Somerset, UK". Ecosystem Services. 10: 19. doi:10.1016/j.ecoser.2014.07.008.
  23. "'I'd like to stick his head down the loo and flush': MP's fury at Environment Agency boss Chris Smith on visit to flooded Somerset". London Evening Standard. 7 February 2014. Retrieved 8 February 2014.
  24. Bell, Sarah (January 2014). "Would river dredging solve floods?". BBC News. Retrieved 10 February 2014.
  25. "Bridgwater MP Ian Liddell-Grainger looks for Dutch solution to flooding". Bridgwater Mercury. Newsquest. 30 January 2014. Retrieved 10 February 2014.
  26. Pendlebury, Richard (7 July 2008). "The West Country travel agent's wife 612th in line for the throne and the other unlikely Britons in our list of royal succession". Daily Mail.
  27. "Ian Liddell-Grainger". Politics UK. Retrieved 1 February 2017.
  28. "Pay and Expenses". Ian Liddell-Grainger. Retrieved 8 December 2015.
Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Tom King
Member of Parliament for Bridgwater
Lines of succession
Preceded by
Anne Liddell-Grainger
Line of succession to the British throne
(descended from Leopold, son of Victoria)
Succeeded by
Peter Liddell-Grainger
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