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South Suffolk: Yeo’s 30 years in Parliament

20:00 03 February 2014

Tim Yeo with his wife Diane after being selected to fight South Suffolk in the 1983 general election.

Tim Yeo with his wife Diane after being selected to fight South Suffolk in the 1983 general election.

Tim Yeo was born in March 1945, and after attending Charterhouse School and Cambridge University worked in the City of London.


He unsuccessfully contested the Bedwellty seat in the February 1974 General Election for the Conservatives (losing to Neil Kinnock) and from 1980 until 1983 he was chief executive of The Spastics Society, which has now changed its name to Scope.

In 1983 there was a major change in the constituency map, and the South Suffolk constituency was formed.

Mr Yeo was not well known in the county, but in 1982 he managed to get the Conservative nomination to fight the seat – defeating sitting Sudbury and Woodbridge MP Keith Stainton in the process.

Mr Yeo won the seat in the 1983, and has held it ever since. It has become smaller – it lost Haverhill in 1997 – but his majority has never been seriously threatened, even in the 1997 Labour landslide.

During the early 1990s Mr Yeo became minister for the environment and countryside, but was forced to resign from the Government early in 1994 when it was revealed he had fathered the child of a Conservative councillor in London.

His constituency stood by him, and he fought four more general elections.

He held senior shadow ministerial appointments between 1997 and 2005, including shadow Minister of Agriculture and shadow Secretary for Trade and Industry.

He returned to the back benches after the 2005 general election, although as chairman of the influential parliamentary energy and climate change committee he has had a high profile over the last few years.

Mr Yeo’s support for green energy has attracted criticism from some quarters – and his political opponents have pointed out that his earnings from outside interests, some connected with the environmental businesses, outstrips his parliamentary salary by a significant margin.

Last summer he was featured in an investigation by a Sunday newspaper which said he had offered to coach a potential witness due to appear before his committee.

He was subsequently cleared of wrongdoing by the Parliamentary Standards Commissioner after he referred the case himself for an investigation

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