Christopher Chope

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Sir Christopher Chope
Official portrait of Mr Christopher Chope crop 2.jpg
Member of Parliament
for Christchurch
Assumed office
1 May 1997
Preceded by Diana Maddock
Majority 25,171 (49.7%)
Member of Parliament
for Southampton Itchen
In office
9 June 1983 – 9 April 1992
Preceded by Bob Mitchell
Succeeded by John Denham
Personal details
Born (1947-05-19) 19 May 1947 (age 70)
Putney, London, England
Nationality British
Political party Conservative
Spouse(s) Christine Mary Hutchinson (m. 1987)
Children 2
Alma mater University of St Andrews[1]
Website Chris Chope for Christchurch

Sir Christopher Robert Chope OBE MP (born 19 May 1947) is a British barrister and Conservative politician. He is the Member of Parliament for Christchurch. A prominent Brexit advocate, he has been supportive of Leave Means Leave, a Eurosceptic pressure group.[2]

Early life

Christopher Chope was born in Putney, the son of Pamela (née Durell) and Robert Chope, a judge.[3] He was educated at the St Andrew's Preparatory School in Eastbourne and Marlborough College, before attending Queen's College at the University of St Andrews where he was awarded an LLB degree in 1970. He was a contemporary of Michael Fallon and Michael Forsyth, and was influenced by Madsen Pirie.[4] He finished his education at the Inns of Court School of Law. Chope was called to the bar at the Inner Temple in 1972.

Chope was elected as a councillor on the Wandsworth London Borough Council in 1974 and became the council leader in 1979; he left the council on his first election to Parliament in 1983. Chope was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire in the 1982 New Year Honours for services to local government.[5] He was one of the pioneers in the selling off of council housing stock and aggressively reducing council spending, which earned him the sobriquet "Chopper" Chope.

Parliamentary career

He was elected as an MP at the 1983 general election for Southampton Itchen where he defeated the Social Democratic Party (and previously Labour) MP Bob Mitchell by 5,290 votes and became the first Conservative MP for Southampton Itchen since the constituency was created in 1950.

Chope was appointed as the Parliamentary Private Secretary to Peter Brooke, the Minister of State at the Treasury in 1986, before being promoted by Margaret Thatcher to serve in her government as the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for the Environment later in the same year, where he was responsible for steering through the "Community Charge" (popularly known as the Poll tax) legislation. He was moved under the leadership of John Major to serve in the same rank at the Department of Transport from 1990 until he lost his Southampton Itchen seat to John Denham at the 1992 general election.

After his defeat, Chope took up a consultancy with Ernst & Young in 1992, but was re-elected at the 1997 general election for the Christchurch constituency. In 1997, he became a spokesman on the Environment, Transport and the Regions as well as being the Vice Chairman of the Conservative Party under William Hague, but left the frontbench later that year when he became a member of the Trade and Industry Select Committee. He returned to the frontbench after the 2001 election as a spokesman on the Treasury. In 2002, he moved to Transport, then left frontbench politics after the 2005 general election. He currently serves on the Panel of Chairs.

Chope was chairman of the Thatcherite Conservative Way Forward group and used to be a barrister in the Chambers of Peter Rawlinson.

On 10 February 2009, he called for the minimum wage to be abolished. His Employment Opportunities Bill, which would, according to Chope, introduce more freedom to the job market and decrease unemployment, was backed by ten other Conservative MPs at the first reading, among them Edward Leigh, David Wilshire, Nigel Evans, Bill Cash and Peter Bone.

Later that year, in the expenses scandal, it emerged that Chope claimed £136,992 in parliamentary expenses in 2007/08. This included claiming £881 to repair a sofa.[6]

On 12 March 2010, he was responsible for the blocking of a bill to protect poor countries from "vulture funds", despite his party's support for the bill.[7]

In October 2010, Chope helped host a meeting of climate-science sceptics at Westminster.[8]

On 11 October 2011, Chope raised an eleventh-hour objection to the Hillsborough debate taking place because he believed a debate about MPs' pensions was more important. Cries of "shame" echoed around the chamber and Labour MP Jamie Reed said that the perpetrator should be "named and shamed" for raising the objection.[9]

Chope helped to lead backbench support for the motion calling for a European Referendum. He has also been heavily involved in the use of private member's bills to achieve this aim.[10]

Chope came under fire in January 2013 for referring to some staff in the House of Commons as "servants". Parallels were drawn between this opinion and his views on the minimum wage.[11]

Chope voted against the legislation for same-sex marriage in 2013.[12]

In June 2013 Chope was one of four MPs who camped outside Parliament in a move to facilitate parliamentary debate on what they called an "Alternative Queen’s Speech" – an attempt to show what a future Conservative government might deliver.[13] 42 policies were listed including reintroduction of the death penalty and conscription, privatizing the BBC, banning the burka in public places and preparation to leave the European Union.[13] The Daily Telegraph believed the whips sent Edward Leigh to try and persuade the group not to table the amendments.[13]

In December 2013 Chope objected[14][15] to the second reading of the Alan Turing (Statutory Pardon) Bill in the House of Commons. Because of this, the Government decided to act under the royal prerogative of mercy. On 24 December 2013 Queen Elizabeth II granted Turing a free pardon.[16][17]

On 28 November 2014 Chope, a private landlord, filibustered a Liberal Democrat bill with cross party support intended to make revenge evictions an offence.[18]

In 2014 Chope along with six other Conservative Party MPs voted against the Equal Pay (Transparency) Bill which would require all companies with more than 250 employees to declare the gap in pay between the average male and average female salaries.[19]

He came under criticism in late 2014 for repeatedly blocking a bill that would ban the use of wild animals in circus performances, justifying his actions by saying "The EU Membership Costs and Benefits bill should have been called by the clerk before the circuses bill, so I raised a point of order".[20]

In October 2015, Chope joined fellow Conservative members Philip Davies and David Nuttall in extended speeches, known as a filibuster, against a private member's bill that would have placed restrictions on hospital parking charges for carers. Their actions caused the bill to run out of time.[21]

Chope was appointed a Knight Bachelor in the 2018 New Year Honours for political and public service.[22]

Personal life

Chope married Christine Mary Hutchinson in April 1987 in Wimborne Minster and they have a daughter, Antonia, born in February 1990 and a son, Philip, born in August 1992.[citation needed]


  1. ^ Waller, Robert; Criddle, Byron (7 May 2007). The Almanac of British Politics. Routledge. p. 301. ISBN 1135206767. 
  2. ^ "Co-Chairmen - Political Advisory Board - Supporters". Leave Means Leave. 
  3. ^ "Index entry". FreeBMD. ONS. Retrieved 20 December 2017. 
  4. ^ "Christopher CHOPE" (PDF). Parliamentary Profile Services Ltd. 
  5. ^ "No. 48837". The London Gazette. 30 December 1981. p. 9. 
  6. ^ Hennessy, Patrick (24 May 2009). "MPs' expenses: Tory Christopher Chope's £881 bill for repairing sofa". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 14 March 2010. 
  7. ^ Nigel Morris, Andy McSmith and Kunal Dutta (13 March 2010). "Tory MP blocks bill targeting 'vulture funds'". London: The Independent. Retrieved 14 March 2010. 
  8. ^ Leo Hickman (26 October 2010). "Cabal of climate sceptics to descend on UK Parliament". The Guardian. London. 
  9. ^ "Hillsborough debate delay criticised by Andy Burnham". BBC News. 12 October 2011. Retrieved 23 October 2011. 
  10. ^ "The 'real Tory Queen's Speech': Rebel MPs table Bills including EU exit and national service". Daily Mail. London. 5 July 2010. 
  11. ^ "Tory MP Chope Calls Commons Staff 'Servants'". Sky News. 
  12. ^ "Gay marriage how did your mp vote Map". 6 February 2013. Retrieved 18 April 2015. 
  13. ^ a b c Robert Watts (20 June 2013). "Conservative MPs launch attempt to bring back death penalty, privatise the BBC and ban burka". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 21 June 2013. 
  14. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 24 December 2013. Retrieved 24 December 2013. 
  15. ^ Scott Roberts (2 December 2013). "Lib Dem MP John Leech disappointed at delay to Alan Turing pardon bill". Pink News. 
  16. ^ Oliver Wright (23 December 2013). "Alan Turing gets his royal pardon for 'gross indecency' – 61 years after he poisoned himself". The Independent. 
  17. ^ "Alan Turing granted Royal pardon by the Queen". The Daily Telegraph. 
  18. ^ "MPs block revenge evictions bill - Shelter Response". 5 December 2014. Archived from the original on 5 December 2014. 
  19. ^ "Equal Pay: Seven male Tory MPs vote against bill to make big companies reveal gender pay gap". The Independent. 16 December 2014. Retrieved 18 April 2015. 
  20. ^ "Anger after bill to ban wild animals in circuses is blocked by MP Chris Chope". Bournemouth Echo. 
  21. ^ Perraudin, Frances (30 October 2015). "Tory MP's filibuster blocks bill to give carers free hospital parking". The Guardian. Retrieved 9 September 2017. 
  22. ^ "No. 62150". The London Gazette (Supplement). 30 December 2017. p. N2. 

External links

  • Chris Chope for Christchurch
  • Profile at Parliament of the United Kingdom
  • Contributions in Parliament at Hansard 2010–present
  • Contributions in Parliament during 2006–07 2007–08 2008–09 2009–10 at Hansard Archives
  • Contributions in Parliament at Hansard 1803–2005
  • Voting record at Public Whip
  • Record in Parliament at TheyWorkForYou
  • Christopher Chope MP biography at the site of the Conservative Party
  • Guardian Unlimited Politics - Ask Aristotle: Christopher Chope MP
  • Christchurch Conservatives
  • Greg Palast investigates Christopher Chope for BBC's Newsnight
  • BBC News - Christopher Chope profile 30 March 2006
Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Bob Mitchell
Member of Parliament for Southampton Itchen
Succeeded by
John Denham
Preceded by
Diana Maddock
Member of Parliament for Christchurch
Retrieved from ""
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