Patrick Cormack

Sir Patrick Thomas Cormack FSA (born 18 May 1939) is a British politician, historian, journalist and author. He is the Conservative Member of Parliament for South Staffordshire. Prior to 1970 he was a member of the Bow Group and the Conservative Monday Club, resigning from them both the end of 1971 .

Personal life

Patrick Cormack was born in Grimsby just before the outbreak of World War II, he was educated locally at the St James's Choir School and the Havelock School before attending the University of Hull where he was awarded a Bachelor of Arts in 1961. He taught at his former alma mata St James's Choir School in 1961, before becoming a training and education officer with Ross Ltd in 1966. The following year, 1967, he was appointed an assistant house master at the Wrekin College in Wellington for two years, after which he became the head of history at the Brewood Grammar School in 1969.

He has been married to Kathleen Mary MacDonald since 1967 and they have two sons.



He had contested the safe Labour parliamentary seat of Bolsover at the 1964 general election where he was soundly beaten by the sitting MP Harold Neal who won with a majority of 23,103 votes. At the 1966 general election he contested the seat of his home town, Grimsby, but again he was defeated, this time by the Secretary of State for Education and Science Anthony Crosland who gained a majority of 8,126. It proved third time lucky for Patrick Cormack when he contested the parliamentary seat of Cannock at the 1970 general election where he narrowly ended the Commons career of Jennie Lee, the wife of the founder of the National Health Service Aneurin Bevan. Cormack won with a majority of 1,529 and has remained an MP since, and he is now one of the most senior members of parliament in terms of service. Jennie Lee, on the other hand, was made a life peer.


Now in parliament, in 1970 Patrick Cormack was appointed as a Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Department of Health and Social Security until 1973. He moved constituencies at the February 1974 general election, fleeing marginal Cannock for the newly drawn seat of South West Staffordshire which he won comfortably with a majority of 9,758. He was a member of the Education Select Committee for the duration of the 1979 Parliament. In 1983, his constituency changed to its present incarnation, Staffordshire South, and after the 1983 general election he became a member of the Chairman's Panel and he is still a member today. He was knighted in 1995 for his service to parliament, and in 1997, after 27 years as an MP on the backbenches, he was finally promoted by the Leader of the Opposition William Hague to become the opposition's Deputy Leader of the House of Commons, a position he resigned from in 2000, following the retirement of Betty Boothroyd, in order to run for the position of Speaker of the House of Commons (which instead went to Michael Martin). Since 2005 he has been the chairman of the Northern Ireland Select Committee.

He is seen as a One Nation Tory and has written many books ranging from the history of parliament, British castles, English cathedrals and a book on William Wilberforce in 1984. He was a Heathite and was a frequent rebel under Margaret Thatcher. He is the second longest current serving Conservative MP after Peter Tapsell. He also speaks French.

The 2005 general election was postponed in Staffordshire South due to the death of the Liberal Democrat candidate, Jo Harrison, but when the election did take place on 26 June 2005, he won comfortably. In February 2007, it was announced that he had failed to win the readoption of his constituency party for the next general election. This vote was later declared invalid as more people voted than were present at the meeting. In July 2007, the South Staffordshire Conservatives' executive council voted on the matter, but this resulted in a tie. Consequently, a vote of all local party members was held to decide whether he would be their candidate. In the vote, held on 14 September, Cormack was readopted as the Conservative candidate, receiving the backing of over 75% of participating party members. Cormack expressed his gratitude and called the victory a "great relief".

On History

He takes a very active interest in many issues but largely on English Heritage issues and he is a very knowledgeable parliamentary historian. He has sat on many bodies since becoming an MP over 35 years ago, he has been a trustee of the Churches Preservation Trust since 1972 and is a fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London. A committed Christian, in 1978 he became a rector's warden at Parliament's parish church, St Margaret's, Westminster, a position he held until 1990. He has been a council member of British Archaeology since 1979 and also a member of the Worshipful Company of Glaziers and Painters of Glass for the same length of time. He was made a Freeman of the City of London in 1980. For ten years from 1983 he was trustee on the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust.


External links

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