|Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for International Development|
16 May 2005 - 8 March 2006
|Member of Parliament |
for St Ives
1 May 1997 - 8 May 2015
|Born||2 December 1958|
|Political party||Liberal Democrat|
|Spouse(s)||Jill Elizabeth Marshall|
|Alma mater||University of Sussex|
University College, Oxford
Andrew Henry George (born 2 December 1958) is a British Liberal Democrat politician. He was the Member of Parliament (MP) for the constituency of St Ives in Cornwall from 1997 to 2015, when he was defeated by the Conservatives' Derek Thomas. He was the Vice-Chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Housing and Planning Group in the 2010 parliament.
George was educated locally at Helston Grammar School, in the town of Helston in Cornwall, before attending the University of Sussex where he received a Bachelor of Arts degree in cultural and community studies in 1980. He finished his education at University College at the University of Oxford, where he was awarded a master's degree in agricultural economics in 1981.
George worked as a charity worker, initially, as a rural officer with the Nottinghamshire Rural Community Council in 1981, and held a number of appointments in charity, business and research, until he became the deputy director of the Cornwall Rural Community Council in 1987, where he remained until his election to the House of Commons. Before joining the Liberal Democrats he was a member of Mebyon Kernow, and was one of the founder members of the Cornish Constitutional Convention, campaigning for a Cornish Assembly.
He contested the seat of St Ives at the 1992 general election where he finished second, just 1,645 votes behind the sitting Conservative MP David Harris. Harris stood down at the 1997 general election and George won the seat with a majority of 7,170 and remained as the MP there until 2015. He made his maiden speech on 22 May 1997.
In the House of Commons, George led the Liberal Democrats' Parliamentary DEFRA and Environment team. He rebelled against the Conservative/Liberal Democrat coalition government more than any other Liberal Democrat MP.
George was made the Liberal Democrats' Fisheries Spokesman by Paddy Ashdown in 1997, a role he undertook until 2007. Under the new leadership of Charles Kennedy in 1999 he also became Disability spokesperson as part of the Department of Social Security team. Following the 2001 General Election he became Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Leader of the Liberal Democrats Kennedy. He became Rural Affairs and Food spokesperson in 2002, a role he held until 2005. He was International Development spokesperson from the 2005 general election until 2006,
On 6 January 2006, George was one of the first members of the Liberal Democrat frontbench team to threaten to resign his post if Charles Kennedy had not stood down as leader by 9 January 2006. He was replaced on the front bench on 8 March by Kennedy's successor, Sir Menzies Campbell.
George suffers from the autoimmune disease Ankylosing spondylitis and has campaigned for a TNF inhibitor drug treatment to be made available to all patients. He is a member of the National Ankylosing Spondylitis Society's experts panel.
In the 2010 general election, George's majority was substantially reduced from 11,609 to 1,719 following boundary changes to his constituency.
From his election victory in 1997, George has campaigned in Parliament on many issues key to Cornwall. An early success was the campaign to win millions of pounds of European economic aid for Cornwall from the Objective One funding programme, for which he chaired the All Party Parliamentary Objective One Group.
On 12 May 2005, George became the first MP to swear his oath of allegiance to the Queen in Cornish after a long campaign for the language's official recognition George also claims to have been the first MP to use Cornish in his maiden speech back in 1997.
George voted in Parliament against Cornwall becoming a unitary authority. Local polls commissioned by the district councils indicated that approximately 80% of the public were opposed to the formation of the Cornish Unitary Authority.
George sponsored a Private Member's Bill to limit the application of the "bedroom tax" benefit cut only to tenants that had rejected a "reasonable offer" of alternative accommodation with the correct number of bedrooms. George opposed the "bedroom tax" in earlier votes, saying that those who supported it "should come down to meet some of my constituents who are affected by it and look them in the eye as they attempt to justify it"