John_Burnett,_Baron_Burnett

John Burnett, Baron Burnett

John Patrick Aubone Burnett, Baron Burnett (born 19 September 1945) is a Liberal Democrat politician in the United Kingdom, and was a Member of Parliament for Torridge and West Devon for 8 years, covering 2 elections 1997-2001 and 2001-5, until he stepped down at the 2005 general election. He was a commando with the Royal Marines for seven years, a cattle-breeder, and remains a solicitor specialising in tax matters.

He succeeded Emma Nicholson as MP for the constituency, after her defection in 1995 from the Conservative Party to the Liberal Democrats, and her elevation as a Liberal Democrat peer.

Following Burnett's decision to stand down in 2005, there was a swing of 5,000 votes in the 2005 election against Burnett's Liberal Democrat successor as candidate. The constituency has been reduced in size in a 2006 Boundary Commission re-alignment, although the impact of this is unclear.

In April 2006 it was announced that Burnett would be created a life peer to join the Liberal Democrat ranks in the House of Lords, and on 31 May he was created Baron Burnett, of Whitchurch in the County of Devon.

Burnett for much of his 8 years in Parliament had been regarded among his fellow Liberal Democrat MPs as "the cat that walked alone" : he distanced himself over his Party's stance on the war in Iraq, for example.

One of the high points of Burnett's parliamentary career was his promotion of the Bill which created "Limited Liability Partnerships", allowing solicitors, for example, to remain in the traditional partnership arrangements while having some of the benefits of limited companies.

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