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Michael Ashbridge

Jim Robertson

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Name: Michael Ashbridge

Avatar: Timothy Dalton

Age: 56 (born 14/02/1951)

Sex: Male
Ethnicity: White British

Marital Status: Married, three children

Sexual Orientation: Heterosexual


Party: Conservative Party (1973 - present)

Political Outlook: Liberal conservative - formerly a Thatcherite but has acquiesced to a more moderate stance. Eurosceptic

Constituency: Chelsea and Fulham (previously Kensington and Chelsea, 1997 - 2007)

Year Elected: 1997


Education: Fettes College (1964 - 1969)

LLB, University of Cambridge(1969 - 1972)

LLM, Yale University, (1972-1973)


Career: Barrister, crown prosecutor, councillor, publican

Political Career: Member of Parliament (1997 - present)

Shadow Attorney General (2000 - 2003)

Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (2003 - 2005)

Shadow Secretary of State for Constitutional Affairs (2005 - 2007)


Michael Ashbridge was born in Stroud on the 14th February 1951, the eldest of a set of twins born to Scottish architect Malcolm Ashbridge and his wife Elizabeth. Both he and his brother Rory were raised on their parent’s estate near Cirencester, a childhood Ashbridge would later describe as “idyllic.” His father was a figure of note in Gloucestershire due to his success as an architect, and made a failed attempt to purchase Highgrove House in the 1950s, losing out to Maurice Macmillan, son of the former Prime Minister. At the age of 13, Ashbridge and his brother were sent to Fettes College in Edinburgh. Outwith his interest in sports and drama at school, Ashbridge was a high academic performer, and after finishing at Fettes in 1969 was admitted to read law at Cambridge. After graduating from Cambridge in 1972, he attended Yale Law School to earn his masters, where he befriended student Hillary Rodham and her boyfriend Bill Clinton. Returning to England, he became a member of Gray’s Inn and was called to the bar in 1975. He practised law at 2 Hare Court in the Inner Temple and practised first as a defence barrister, but became a crown prosecutor in 1981. He was junior counsel to Allan Green QC during the trial of the Muswell Hill Murderer, and was perhaps best known for leading the prosecution of serial killer nurse Beverley Allitt in 1993. In 1993, he was also appointed Queen’s Counsel. In 1995, he became part owner in a pub opened by his brother, the Duke of Lennox, located in Bexley, London. He resigned as a crown prosecutor later the same year following a health scare and to focus more on the business and spending time with his family. However, it would not be long before another passion called Ashbridge back into action and away from family life.


Ashbridge was a lifelong conservative, which he later cited as primarily due to his family upbringing: his father was in retirement a major figure in Gloucestershire Tory politics. He joined the party after his return from America, and became an enthusiastic supporter of Margaret Thatcher following her election as leader, and remained so throughout the early years of her premiership. However, a dedicated liberal, he was appalled by Thatcher’s closeness with President Pinochet of Chile, and was a persistent critic of the government’s reluctance to take action against the government of South Africa and their apartheid regime. He was elected as secretary of the Kensington and Chelsea Conservative Association in 1995, and in 1996 was narrowly selected over Alan Clark in a tense and often acrimonious selection campaign which attracted national media attention.


He was elected as the MP for Kensington and Chelsea in May 1997, and quickly found himself involved in the leadership drama following his party’s landslide defeat, with an altercation in Westminster with Anne Widdecombe following her “something of the night about him” comments surrounding Michael Howard attracting media attention, comments which he took to be anti-Semitic. He initially supported Howard, before supporting William Hague’s successful campaign. He spent his first few years in Parliament focused on backbench issues and in 1998 became a member of the Home Affairs Select Committee. In February 2000, he was appointed as Shadow Attorney General for England and Wales. Following the 2001 general election, he supported David Davis initially for the leadership of the party, before backing Iain Duncan Smith, who kept him on as Shadow Attorney General. In 2003, following the vote of no-confidence in Duncan Smith by the parliamentary Conservative Party, it was rumoured that Ashbridge held meetings with Duncan Smith with the view to running as his successor, rumours that both men have since denied. In any case, Ashbridge did not announce his candidacy, and was appointed by Michael Howard as Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions in November 2003. Following the 2005 general election, Ashbridge was once again touted as a potential candidate for leader, but publicly ruled himself out, citing his support for David Davis, whom he heavily campaigned for during the leadership election. Following David Cameron’s election, he was appointed Shadow Secretary of State for Constitutional Affairs, and is widely expected to be appointed to the Cabinet following a Conservative victory at the snap election.


Ashbridge married Laura Reid, a Canadian lawyer whom he met when studying at Yale, in August 1978. The couple had three children together: Michael (b. 1979), a junior doctor;  James (b. 1981), a civil engineer; and Clarice (b. 1985), a law student. Laura died in 1989 of a short illness. He remarried in 1999 to South African model Christina Nair, who gave birth to his fourth child, Malcolm, in 2006. Ashbridge enjoys football, and is a supporter of his local club Chelsea, and Rangers. His brother Rory, continued to own the Duke of Lennox until his death from throat cancer in 2005, with Ashbridge becoming the sole owner of the pub. Ashbridge owns a number of commercial properties, including the Duke of Lennox, a small vineyard in France and a small distillery in Kintyre; and splits his time between a flat in Kensington and the family home in Gloucestershire.

The Hon. James Robertson MP

Shadow Home Secretary (1986 - present)

Shadow Secretary of State for Health and Social Security (1985 - 1986)

Member of Parliament for Motherwell South (1983 - present)

Member of Parliament for Motherwell and Wishaw (October 1974 - 1983)


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