Sir George Young

The Right Honourable
The Lord Young of Cookham
Chief Whip of the House of Commons
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury
In office
19 October 2012  14 July 2014
Prime Minister David Cameron
Preceded by Andrew Mitchell
Succeeded by Michael Gove
Leader of the House of Commons
Lord Privy Seal
In office
12 May 2010  4 September 2012
Prime Minister David Cameron
Deputy David Heath
Preceded by Harriet Harman
Succeeded by Andrew Lansley
Shadow Leader of the House of Commons
In office
8 September 2009  11 May 2010
Leader David Cameron
Preceded by Alan Duncan
Succeeded by Rosie Winterton
In office
1 June 1998  26 September 2000
Leader William Hague
Preceded by Gillian Shephard
Succeeded by Angela Browning
Chairman of the Standards and Privileges Committee
In office
18 July 2001  8 September 2009
Preceded by Robert Sheldon
Succeeded by David Curry
Shadow Secretary of State for Defence
In office
11 June 1997  1 June 1998
Leader William Hague
Preceded by David Clark
Succeeded by John Maples
Secretary of State for Transport
In office
5 July 1995  2 May 1997
Prime Minister John Major
Preceded by Brian Mawhinney
Succeeded by John Prescott (Environment, Transport and the Regions)
Financial Secretary to the Treasury
In office
11 July 1994  5 July 1995
Prime Minister John Major
Preceded by Stephen Dorrell
Succeeded by Michael Jack
Minister of State for Housing
In office
28 November 1990  11 July 1994
Prime Minister John Major
Preceded by Michael Spicer
Succeeded by The Viscount Ullswater
Comptroller of the Household
In office
14 July 1990  28 November 1990
Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher
Preceded by Alastair Goodlad
Succeeded by David Lightbown
Member of Parliament
for North West Hampshire
In office
1 May 1997  30 March 2015
Preceded by David Mitchell
Succeeded by Kit Malthouse
Member of Parliament
for Ealing Acton
Acton (1974–1983)
In office
28 February 1974  1 May 1997
Preceded by Nigel Spearing
Succeeded by Constituency abolished
Personal details
Born (1941-07-16) 16 July 1941
Oxford, England, UK
Political party Conservative
Spouse(s) Aurelia Nemon-Stuart (1964–present)
Children Sophia
Alma mater Christ Church, Oxford
University of Surrey

George Samuel Knatchbull Young, Baron Young of Cookham, CH PC (born 16 July 1941), known as Sir George Young, 6th Baronet from 1960 to 2015, is a British Conservative Party politician who served as a Member of Parliament (MP) from 1974 to 2015, having represented North West Hampshire since 1997 and Ealing Acton prior to that. He served in Cabinet from 1995 to 1997 as Secretary of State for Transport, and later as the Leader of the House of Commons and Lord Privy Seal from 2010 to 2012.[1] On 19 October 2012 Young was re-appointed to the Cabinet as Chief Whip of the House of Commons following the resignation of Andrew Mitchell.[2]

On 29 November 2013 Young announced he would be retiring from the Commons in May 2015 and would not be standing at the next election.[3] In August 2015, it was announced by Downing Street that Young was to be raised to the peerage,[4] being created Baron Young of Cookham, of Cookham in the Royal County of Berkshire, on 29 September 2015.[5] He sits on the Conservative benches in the House of Lords.

Early life

Young was born in Oxford in 1941, the elder son of Sir George Peregrine "Gerry" Young, 5th Baronet, CMG and Elisabeth née Knatchbull-Hugessen.[6] His father was a diplomat who met Elisabeth while serving in Beijing (where her father, Sir Hughe Knatchbull-Hugessen, was British Ambassador). Upon his father's death in 1960, George succeeded to the baronetcy created in 1813.[7] Young is a great-great-grandson of Frederick Lygon, 6th Earl Beauchamp.

Education and early career

Young was educated at St. Aubyns Preparatory School in Rottingdean, Eton College, and Christ Church, Oxford where he read Philosophy, Politics and Economics, graduating in 1963 (proceeding MA). He was active in student politics while at Oxford, holding various offices in the Oxford University Conservative Association and being elected to the Standing Committee of the Oxford Union.

After graduating, he worked for a while at the merchant bank Hill Samuel, and then at the National Economic Development Office from 1966 to 1967.[8] He then spent two years as Kobler Research Fellow at the University of Surrey, where he completed an MPhil.[8] From 1969 to 1974, Young was an economic advisor to the Post Office Corporation.[9]

Career in local politics

Young was elected as a councillor in the London Borough of Lambeth from 1968 to 1971, together with his wife, and future British Prime Minister John Major. He represented the ward of Clapham Town, and served on the Housing Committee. He and other Lambeth councillors worked as refuse collectors at weekends during a strike.[10] Young lost his seat on Lambeth Council in 1971.

In 1970, Young was elected to the Greater London Council (GLC) as one of four Members for the London Borough of Ealing.[11] He served on the GLC from 1970 to 1973, where he was vice-chairman of the Strategic Planning Authority. He did not seek re-election to the GLC in 1973, having been selected as the Conservative candidate for the Acton constituency.[12][13] He was later one of the local government ministers who abolished the GLC in 1986.

Parliamentary career

Member of Parliament

Young was elected to parliament at the February 1974 general election as MP for Acton with a majority of 1,300, defeating the sitting Labour Party MP, Nigel Spearing (who was returned to Parliament a few weeks later after winning a by-election in Newham South). Young was re-elected as MP for Acton at the October 1974 general election with a majority of 808. He continued to represent Acton (renamed Ealing Acton in 1983) for the next 23 years, until the seat was abolished in boundary changes. He was selected for the safe Conservative seat of North West Hampshire prior to the 1997 general election to replace the retiring MP Sir David Mitchell (the father of Andrew Mitchell whom Young would, in 2012, succeed as Chief Whip). Young was elected with a majority of 11,551, and served as the MP for North West Hampshire until his retirement in 2015.[14]


From 1976 to 1979 Young served as an opposition whip.[15][16] When the Conservative Party won the 1979 general election, he was appointed Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Department of Health and Social Security.[17] From 1981 to 1986, Young served as the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Department for the Environment.

On the backbenches from 1986 to 1990, Young was among the leaders of the rebellion within the Conservative Party against the implementation of the poll tax.[18] Shortly before leaving office in 1990, Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher brought Young back into government as a whip (Comptroller of the Household) as part of her attempts to reunite the party.

When John Major became Prime Minister in November 1990, he gave Young the role of Minister for Housing and Planning. During this time, Young is alleged to have said "the homeless are what you step over when you come out of the opera".[19][20] In 1992 when asked during parliamentary discussions of the Armley Asbestos Disaster for financial assistance in surveying local housing in the Armley area for residual asbestos, Young responded that the government would not provide financial assistance to the home owners or the council to pay for decontamination as this "would not be a justifiable use of public funds".

Young then served as Financial Secretary to the Treasury from 1994 to 1995, and in Cabinet as Secretary of State for Transport from 1995 to 1997. He was appointed a privy counsellor in 1993. Following the Conservative Party's defeat in 1997, Young was appointed Shadow Defence Secretary by the new party leader, William Hague. In 1998, Young became Shadow Leader of the House of Commons. In 1999, he was given additional responsibilities as Spokesman for Constitutional Affairs. He was a member of the Modernisation Select Committee and of the House of Commons Commission from 1998 to 2000.

Young resigned from the Shadow Cabinet in September 2000 in order to stand for election as Speaker of the House of Commons. Fourteen MPs put their names forward to succeed the retiring Betty Boothroyd, and many observers considered Young to be the favourite. He had support from both the Conservative and Labour leadership, however many backbench MPs, particularly those from the Labour Party (who held a large majority in the House at the time), viewed Young as someone who had too recently been a member of his party's front bench team and was thus not sufficiently in touch with ordinary MPs. In the end, Young was not elected as Speaker, the members of the House choosing instead Labour MP Michael Martin.[21]

From 2000 to 2009, Young remained on the backbenches. He was elected chairman of the House of Commons Committee on Standards and Privileges in 2001, and was re-elected to that role in 2005.

Young stood again for the position of Speaker of the House of Commons in 2009, finishing second in the ballot of MPs to fellow Conservative MP John Bercow.[22] In the first ever secret ballot of MPs to choose the new Speaker, Bercow defeated Young in the final round of voting by a margin of 322 to 271.[23][24]

On 8 September 2009, Conservative party leader David Cameron appointed Young to the front bench again, taking up his former role of Shadow Leader of the House of Commons, replacing Alan Duncan who had held the post since January 2009. He became Leader of the House of Commons and Lord Privy Seal on 12 May 2010 after the Conservative Party formed a coalition government with the Liberal Democrats following the 2010 general election. In this role, he attended Cabinet meetings, but not as a full member.

Young left government in the reshuffle of September 2012, and David Cameron recommended his appointment as a Companion of Honour.[25][26] However, his return to the backbenches was short-lived, as following Andrew Mitchell's resignation as Chief Whip the following month, Cameron chose Young to replace him.[6]

Young is Patron of the Tory Reform Group and the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Cycling.[27][28]

In October 2012 it was reported that Young supported a new group of Conservative MPs established to reconnect the Tories with working class voters. The Blue Collar Conservatism group aims to develop policies to attract "aspirational" voters on average incomes whose support is "vital" to winning a Commons majority.[29]

On 29 November 2013 Young announced he would stand down as an MP at the 2015 general election.[3] He again retired from the cabinet at the 2014 reshuffle, replaced as Chief Whip by Michael Gove.

Tower block housing

Young was a vocal critic of tower block housing, saying in 1974: "Nearly all local authorities have now stopped building this type of accommodation, as it is generally recognized they provide an inadequate environment for those who have to live in them. But it is no consolation to the many thousands who will have to live on these estates for the foreseeable future to know that the mistake will not recur."[30] One measure proposed by Young was to make grants and subsidies available to minimize "some of the disadvantages of living on estates containing tower blocks."[31] He described tower block housing as "an economic and social disaster" and said he would "like an assurance that loan sanction would not be given for any more."[32]

Domestic violence

In February 1975 Young was appointed to the newly formed select committee on Violence in the Family. The committee's terms of reference were "To consider the extent, nature and causes of the problems of families where there is violence between the partners or where children suffer non-accidental injury: and to make recommendations."[33] The committee issued an interim report in September 1975 and was instrumental in setting up several government research reports into domestic violence.[34] In 1976 he sponsored the Sexual Offences (Amendment) Bill which allowed victims of rape to remain anonymous.[35]


In 1982 Young and his children appeared on a British Rail poster alongside Jimmy Savile to promote new measures to allow people to take their bicycles on trains more easily.[19] Young had made a critical speech in Parliament about the provisions for cyclists to take their bikes on trains, and when British Rail implemented new measures they invited Young to appear on the publicity poster. An ever-enthusiastic cyclist, the British media nicknamed Young the "Bicycling Baronet".

House of Lords

Young was created a life peer as Baron Young of Cookham on 29 September 2015. As such, he became a Conservative member of the House of Lords.

In July 2016, he was appointed as Lord in Waiting (i.e. government whip).[36] In September 2016, he was named to serve as Treasury spokesman in the House of Lords.[37]

Personal and family life

Young succeeded as 6th baronet in 1960 and married Aurelia Nemon-Stuart, daughter of the sculptor Oscar Nemon, at Oxford in 1964. They have four children: Sophia (b. 23 May 1965), George (b. 11 October 1966), Hugo (b. 23 September 1970) and Camilla (b. 1975).[38][39][40] His elder son, the Hon. George Young, is heir apparent to the family baronetcy.[41]

Lord Young supports the west London football club Queens Park Rangers (QPR)[42] and has served as a churchwarden and a member of a diocesan synod in the Church of England.[43]

In 1987 Young was banned from driving after being caught drink driving. It was reported that he smashed into a motorway barrier and continued on until stopped by police.[44]

Young's family wealth is estimated at over £1 million.[45]

Titles, honours, and styles


  1. Lord Young remains a baronet but by custom the postnom of Bt is dropped, since Peers of the Realm do not list subsidiary hereditary titles.




See also


  1. James, Aiden; Rath, Kayte (4 September 2012). "As it happened: Reshuffle". BBC News. Retrieved 1 April 2015.
  2. "Andrew Mitchell Resigns After 'Plebs' Row". Sky News. 20 October 2012. Retrieved 1 April 2015.
  3. 1 2 "Sir George Young To Retire in 2015". Andover Town. 30 November 2013. Retrieved 1 April 2015.
  4. "Dissolution Peerages 2015". Retrieved 27 August 2015.
  5. "no. 61369. p. 18373". The London Gazette. Retrieved 2 October 2015.
  6. 1 2 Winter, Laura, ed. (2015). "Young, George Samuel Knatchbull Rt Hon. Sir". Debrett's People of Today 2015. London: Debrett's Peerage. Retrieved 2 April 2015 via Credo Reference. (subscription required)
  7. "YOUNG, Rt Hon. Sir George (Samuel Knatchbull)". Who's Who. A & C Black. 2014. Retrieved 1 April 2015. (subscription required)
  8. 1 2 "University News". The Times. London. 20 September 1967. p. 10.
  9. "Government looking to Post Office for rigorous economies: return to realistic prices will be 'painful'". The Times. London. 16 July 1975. p. 6.
  11. "Greater London Council election results". The Times. London. 11 April 1970. p. 3.
  12. "Ealing candidate". The Times. London. 4 November 1971. p. 4.
  13. "One third of GLC Tories will not contest election". The Times. London. 4 January 1973. p. 4.
  14. "Personal Profile". The Rt Hon Sir George Young Bt. 2015. Retrieved 1 April 2015.
  15. Clark, George (20 November 1976). "Mr Maudling ousted as Tories put more youth at helm". The Times. London. p. 1.
  16. "List of Tory frontbench spokesmen". The Times. London. 20 November 1976. p. 2.
  17. "Complete list of Mrs Thatcher's Cabinet and ministers". The Times. London. 30 November 1979. p. 6.
  18. "By George: housing policy". The Economist. London. 9 November 1991. Retrieved 15 April 2015.   via HighBeam (subscription required)
  19. 1 2 Eaton, George (19 October 2012). "Sir George Young appointed new Chief Whip". New Statesman. Retrieved 1 April 2015.
  20. Shields, Tom (1 February 2011). "A bit of a joker is Sir George Young". The Herald. Glasgow. Retrieved 15 April 2015. Sir George has a track record for witticism. He once quipped: "The homeless? Aren't they the people you step over when you are coming out of the opera?"   via HighBeam (subscription required)
  21. Hart, Jessica (24 October 2000). "Commons Speaker: Man of Humour Values Tradition". Birmingham Post. Birmingham. Retrieved 15 April 2015.   via HighBeam (subscription required)
  22. Beattie, Jason (22 June 2009). "The £2M Speaker". Daily Mirror. London. Retrieved 15 April 2015.   via HighBeam (subscription required)
  23. Schofield, Kevin (23 June 2009). "Maverick Tory gets Speaker job, aged just 46". Daily Record. Glasgow. Retrieved 15 April 2015.   via HighBeam (subscription required)
  24. Beattie, Jason (24 June 2009). "Speaker's Suit Marks Change". Daily Mirror. London. Retrieved 15 April 2015.   via HighBeam (subscription required)
  25. The London Gazette: no. 60274. p. 18069. 20 September 2012.
  26. "Honours for cabinet reshuffle casualties - Number 10". BBC News. 6 September 2012. Retrieved 1 April 2015.
  27. "Tory Reform Group People". Tory Reform Group. Archived from the original on 8 February 2007. Retrieved 1 April 2015.
  28. "MPs set up an all-party group to lend bicycles". The Times. London. 14 July 1977. p. 3.
  29. Ross, Tim (1 November 2012). "Sir George Young and four ministers join 'Blue Collar' Tory group". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 1 April 2015.
  30. "Grants to ease tension in tower blocks urged". The Times. London. 6 April 1974. p. 4.
  31. Evans, Peter (9 May 1974). "Action promised on problems of families living in tower blocks". The Times. London. p. 4.
  32. "Important studies into life in tower blocks". The Times. London. 25 May 1974. p. 5.
  33. "MPs named for committee on battered wives". The Times. London. 12 February 1975. p. 4.
  34. "Family violence under scrutiny". The Times. London. 26 February 1976. p. 3.
  35. "Government support for Bill to allow victims of rape to remain anonymous". The Times. London. 14 February 1976. p. 6.
  36. "New ministerial appointment July 2016: Lord in Waiting (Government Whip)". 10 Downing Street. 25 July 2016. Retrieved 27 July 2016.
  37. "Resignation of Lord O'Neill and PM response". 10 Downing Street. 23 September 2016.
  38. "Court Circular". The Times. London. 24 May 1965. p. 12.
  39. "Births". The Times. London. 13 October 1966. p. 2.
  40. "Aurelia, Lady Young". The Rt Hon. Sir George Young Bt. 2015. Retrieved 1 April 2015.
  41. Mosley, Charles (ed.) (2003). Burke's Peerage & Baronetage, 107th edn. London: Burke's Peerage & Gentry Ltd. p. 4271 (YOUNG OF FORMOSA PLACE, Bt). ISBN 0-9711966-2-1.
  42. "Channel Tunnel Rail Link". Hansard. 29 February 1996. Retrieved 29 April 2010.
  43. "Sir George Young". The Rt Hon. Sir George Young Bt. 2015. Retrieved 1 April 2015.
  44. "Why Sir George got on his bike". Daily Mail. London. 14 June 2009. Retrieved 7 August 2009.
  45. Owen, Glen (23 May 2010). "The coalition of millionaires: 23 of the 29 member of the new cabinet are worth more than £1m... and the Lib Dems are just as wealthy as the Tories". Mail on Sunday. London. Retrieved 1 April 2015.
Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Nigel Spearing
Member of Parliament
for Acton

Constituency abolished
New constituency Member of Parliament
for Ealing Acton

Preceded by
David Mitchell
Member of Parliament
for North West Hampshire

Succeeded by
Kit Malthouse
Political offices
Preceded by
Alastair Goodlad
Comptroller of the Household
Succeeded by
David Lightbown
Preceded by
Stephen Dorrell
Financial Secretary to the Treasury
Succeeded by
Michael Jack
Preceded by
Brian Mawhinney
Secretary of State for Transport
Succeeded by
John Prescott
Preceded by
David Clark
Shadow Secretary of State for Defence
Succeeded by
John Maples
Preceded by
Gillian Shephard
Shadow Leader of the House of Commons
Succeeded by
Angela Browning
Preceded by
Alan Duncan
Shadow Leader of the House of Commons
Succeeded by
Rosie Winterton
Preceded by
Harriet Harman
Leader of the House of Commons
Succeeded by
Andrew Lansley
Lord Privy Seal
Preceded by
Andrew Mitchell
Chief Whip of the House of Commons
Succeeded by
Michael Gove
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury
Party political offices
Preceded by
Andrew Mitchell
Conservative Chief Whip of the House of Commons
Succeeded by
Michael Gove
Baronetage of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Gerry Young
Baronet of Formosa Place
This article is issued from Wikipedia - version of the 10/7/2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.