John Baron (politician)

John Baron
Member of Parliament
for Basildon and Billericay
Billericay (2001–2010)
Assumed office
8 June 2001
Preceded by Teresa Gorman
Majority 13,400 (29.8%)
Personal details
Born (1959-06-21) 21 June 1959
Redhill, Surrey, England
Nationality British
Political party Conservative
Alma mater Jesus College, Cambridge
Military service
Allegiance  United Kingdom
Service/branch  British Army
Years of service 1984–1988
Rank Captain
Unit The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers
Battles/wars Northern Ireland

John Charles Baron MP (born 21 June 1959) is a British Conservative politician and the Member of Parliament for Basildon and Billericay since 2001. Baron has in relative terms frequently rebelled against his party, specifically in his calling for a sooner referendum on the European Union and in opposing military intervention in Iraq, Libya and Syria. He has been critical of the European Union for a long time, and he was a vocal supporter of Brexit during the 2016 EU referendum, and is now a supporter of the pro-Brexit Leave Means Leave campaign.[1]

Early life

Baron was born in Redhill, Surrey and educated at Queen's College, Taunton, Jesus College, Cambridge and at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst.


Military service

After university, Baron was commissioned into the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers on 3 January 1984 as a second lieutenant (on probation).[2] His commission was confirmed and he was promoted to lieutenant with seniority from 8 August 1984.[3] He was promoted to captain on 8 February 1987.[4] He served in Northern Ireland, Cyprus and Germany.

On 3 January 1988, he transferred to the Regular Army Reserve of Officers.[5] This signalled the end of his military career but he remained liable to call up. He resigned his commission on 1 June 1997.[6]

Banking career

In 1987, he became a merchant banker: working as a fund manager then director of Henderson Private Investors Ltd (later Henderson Global Investors)[7] and Rothschild Asset Management.

Political career

In 1995 John Baron became the treasurer of the Streatham Conservative Association. In 1997 David Amess decided not to risk standing again in his ultra-marginal Conservative seat of Basildon and was successfully selected and subsequently elected for the safer seat of Southend West. Baron won the Conservative nomination to defend Basildon at the 1997 General Election, but the consistent bellwether seat fell to Angela Smith who won it as a Labour Party candidate with a strong majority.

In November 1999 Teresa Gorman (C) announced intention to stand down at the next general election from her seat Billericay, neighbouring Basildon.[8] Baron was selected to defend Billericay at the 2001 General Election and he held the seat with a majority of more than 5,000, which he doubled at the 2005 General Election. He made his maiden speech on 20 July 2001.[9]

John Baron was a member of Iain Duncan Smith's frontbench team, but resigned in March 2003 in protest at Duncan Smith's support of the Iraq War.[10] He was re-appointed by Duncan Smith as a health spokesman four months later,[11] a position he held until July 2007 when he was moved to the Conservative Whip's Office.

Baron was a strong backer of David Davis in the 2005 Conservative leadership election, having also supported him in the 2001 leadership contest won by Iain Duncan Smith.[12]

John Baron was the only Conservative among just 15 MPs[13] who voted against British participation in the attack on Libya in the Commons on 21 March 2011. In 2013 he tabled a backbench motion to mandate a vote in Parliament before providing "lethal support" to anti-government forces in Syria, which ultimately prevented further military intervention when the government was unable to secure the necessary military support[14] and he was also part of a minority voting against the government on air strikes against Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant[15]

In June 2012, Baron delivered a letter, signed by over 100 Tory MPs, to the Prime Minister David Cameron urging him "to place on the Statute Book before the next General Election a commitment to hold a referendum during the next Parliament on the nature of our relationship with the European Union".[16] In May 2013 he tabled a rebel amendment to the Queen's Speech to "express regret" that a referendum on the EU could not be held sooner, which was backed by over 100 MPs[17]

His reputation as a Eurosceptic and "serial rebel"[18] saw his name mentioned as a possible defector to the UK Independence Party. Speaking to the BBC's Newsnight in response to speculation in late 2014, Baron said "You should never say never in politics but the bottom line is my very strong preference is to stay within the Conservative party." [18]

Mark d'Arcy of the BBC named Baron "Parliamentarian of the Year" for 2013/14 for his role in opposing military action in Syria and seeking a promise of a referendum on membership of the European Union, writing that "he is not a household name or a fiery orator, but his fingerprints are all over the two most significant parliamentary events of the last 12 months." [14]

Personal life

Baron is married and has two daughters.


  1. "Co-Chairmen - Political Advisory Board - Supporters". Leave Means Leave. Retrieved 14 February 2018.
  2. "No. 49694". The London Gazette (Supplement). 2 April 1984. p. 4822.
  3. "No. 49897". The London Gazette (Supplement). 15 October 1984. p. 13952.
  4. "No. 50826". The London Gazette (Supplement). 9 May 1987. p. 1772.
  5. "No. 51270". The London Gazette (Supplement). 14 March 1988. p. 3114.
  6. "No. 55201". The London Gazette (Supplement). 20 July 1998. p. 7933.
  7. "Janus Henderson Investors". Janus Henderson Investors.
  8. Waugh, Paul (29 November 1999). "Gorman to stand down at the next election". The Independent. Retrieved 17 January 2013.
  9. Department of the Official Report (Hansard), House of Commons, Westminster (20 July 2001). "House of Commons Hansard Debates for 20 Jul 2001 (pt 3)". Retrieved 17 January 2013.
  10. Archived 13 October 2008 at the Wayback Machine.
  11. Happold, Tom (1 July 2003). "War rebels return in Tory reshuffle". Guardian. Retrieved 17 January 2013.
  12. "The Tory Leadership contest, Candidate Profiles". BBC News. Retrieved 17 January 2013.
  13. "BBC News - The full list of how MPs voted on Libya action". 22 March 2011. Retrieved 17 January 2013.
  14. 1 2 d'Arcy, Mark (29 July 2014). "Parliamentarians of the Year". BBC. Retrieved 17 March 2015.
  15. "Islamic State air strikes: MP Baron votes against". BBC News. Retrieved 17 March 2015.
  16. "100 Tory MPs call for Cameron to prepare legislation for EU referendum". 28 June 2012. Retrieved 17 January 2013.
  17. "More than 100 Tory MPs 'express regret' at lack of referendum bill". BBC News. 15 May 2013. Retrieved 17 March 2015.
  18. 1 2 Mason, Rowena (19 November 2014). "Two more Tory MPs set to defect if Ukip wins in Rochester, says Reckless". Guardian. Retrieved 17 March 2015.
Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Teresa Gorman
Member of Parliament for Billericay
Constituency abolished
New constituency Member of Parliament for Basildon and Billericay
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