Roger Knapman

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Roger Knapman
Roger Knapman.jpg
Leader of the UK Independence Party
In office
5 October 2002 – 27 September 2006
Preceded by Jeffrey Titford
Succeeded by Nigel Farage
Government Whip for the Conservative Party
In office
23 July 1996 – 1 May 1997
Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Armed Forces Minister
In office
28 November 1990 – 14 April 1992
Member of the European Parliament for the South West England
In office
10 June 2004 – 4 June 2009
Preceded by Earl of Stockton
Succeeded by Earl of Dartmouth
Member of Parliament
for Stroud
In office
11 June 1987 – 1 May 1997
Preceded by Sir Anthony Kershaw
Succeeded by David Drew
Personal details
Born (1944-02-20) 20 February 1944 (age 74)
Crediton, Devon, United Kingdom
Nationality British
Political party UK Independence Party (Since 1997)
Conservative (Before 1997)
Spouse(s) Carolyn Knapman [1]
Children 2
Residence United Kingdom
Alma mater Royal Agricultural College

Roger Maurice Knapman (born 20 February 1944 in Crediton, Devon) is a British politician and a former leader of the UK Independence Party (UKIP).

Early life

The son of Harry Arthur Blackmore Knapman, a farmer, and Joan Margot née Densham[2], Roger Knapman was educated at Allhallows School, Lyme Regis, and the Royal Agricultural College, Cirencester. Before entering politics, he was a Chartered Surveyor and partner with West Country, a firm of livestock auctioneers and surveyors, 1963-77. He was then a Chartered Surveyor in his own right 1978-85.[3]

Parliamentary career

As a member of the Conservative Party, Knapman was elected MP for Stroud in 1987, and was Vice-Chairman of the Conservative European Affairs Committee.[4] Between 1990 and 1992, he served as Parliamentary Private Secretary to the armed forces minister, Archie Hamilton. In this capacity he joined the Conservative Monday Club's Foreign Affairs Committee Delegation to the Croatian Government in October 1991 to observe their war of independence against Serbia. He resigned from his government position in order to oppose the Maastricht Treaty. He successfully defended his seat in the 1992 general election. In 1995 he became a government whip. In 1997, however, he lost his seat to the Labour candidate, David Drew.


Shortly afterwards, Knapman left the Conservative party to join UKIP. He stood as their candidate in the 2001 general election for North Devon, coming fourth yet narrowly retaining his deposit.

From 2000, he was UKIP's political advisor, and in 2002 he was elected unopposed as party leader. In 2004 he was elected a Member of the European Parliament for the South West England constituency. As leader of the only British party in the European Parliament to vote against the expansion of the EU in 2004 (and publicly opposing immigration), there was some amusement in May 2006 when it was revealed that he had employed a team of Polish builders to renovate his Grade II listed home in Devon, claiming there were no suitable local workers – a claim denied by local builders.

He contested Totnes at the 2005 general election, coming 4th with 7.7% of the vote.

In 2006, he announced that he had no intention of seeking re-election as party leader; the leadership contest was won in September of that year by Nigel Farage MEP. Knapman was the only leader of UKIP to have succeeded in completing a full four-year term until Farage did so in 2014 after returning to the role in 2010.


  1. ^ Culture (2005-05-03). "A quiet life on the fringes of power". Telegraph. Retrieved 2014-05-20.
  2. ^ She died before 1991.
  3. ^ Dod's Parliamentary Companion 1991, 159th Year, 172nd edition, Hurst Green, Sussex, p.502. ISBN 0-905702-17-1 Parameter error in {{isbn}}: Invalid ISBN.
  4. ^ Dod's 1991, p.502.

External links

  • Hansard 1803–2005: contributions in Parliament by Roger Knapman
  • Official website
  • Profile at European Parliament website
Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Anthony Kershaw
Member of Parliament for Stroud
Succeeded by
David Drew
Party political offices
Preceded by
Jeffrey Titford
Leader of the United Kingdom Independence Party
Succeeded by
Nigel Farage
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