David Heath


David Heath was re-elected MP for Somerton and Frome in May 2010 with a majority of 1,817.

David Heath is the Liberal Democrat Shadow Leader of the House.

David Heath was born on 16th March 1954 in Westbury-sub-Mendip, Somerset. He attended Millfield School and went on to study at St John’s College Oxford, (MA Physiological Sciences) and the City University, London. On leaving University in 1979, he went into practice as a registered optician.

His political career began in 1985 when he was elected to Somerset County Council as a Liberal. He remained on the council until May 1997, serving as Leader from 1985 to 1989, and as Leader of the Opposition from 1989 to 1991. He was appointed CBE for political service in 1989.

In 1990-91 David worked as parliamentary consultant to the Word Wide Fund for Nature, and in the 1992 General Election he contested the Somerton and Frome constituency for the first time. He served as Chairman of Avon and Somerset Police Authority from 1993 to 1996, and Chairman of Somerset County Council’s Education Committee in 1996-97. He was also vice chairman of the Association of County Councils 1994-97, and was a member of the Audit Commission 1994 to 1997. Since July 1997 he has been a Vice-President of the Local Government Association.

At the 1997 General Election David was elected MP for Somerton and Frome. He was the Liberal Democrat frontbench spokesman on Foreign Affairs and then spokesman for Agriculture and Rural Affairs. He was also selected as the Liberal Democrat Member of the Commons Select Committee on Foreign Affairs. He also was invited to sit on the Parliamentary Assembly of the OSCE (Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe).

During the 2001 – 2005 Parliament David was Liberal Democrat spokesman for Work, as part of the shadow Work & Pensions team from 2001 – 2002; spokesman for Science from 2001 – 2003; number 2 in the Home Affairs team from 2002 – 2005; spokesman for the Lord Chancellors Department in the House of Commons (latterly known as the Department for Constitutional Affairs) from 2003 – 2005. He served on the Standards & Privileges Committee 2001 – 2005 and the Science & Technology Committee from 2001 – 2003. He was also instrumental during the last Parliament in setting up the All Party Parliamentary Group on Eye Health and Visual Impairment, serving as the chairman from inauguration.

Having been re-elected for a third time in May 2005, with an increased majority, David was appointed Liberal Democrat Shadow Leader of the House of Commons, while continuing with his role as party spokesman on Constitutional Affairs. After the election of Sir Menzies Campbell as party leader in March 2006, David was reappointed Shadow Leader of the House, as well as Shadow Cabinet Office Minister, and given a special roving brief for Human Rights and Civil Liberties.When the Cabinet was reshuffled in July 2007, David was appointed Shadow Secretary of State for Justice and Lord Chancellor. David became Shadow Secretary of State for Justice and Shadow Lord Chancellor under Nick Clegg. David resigned from his post in March 2008. In October 2008 David was appointed to lead the Commission on Privacy, with a remit to examine the current state of privacy in the UK and how new technology can be used to protect rather than undermine the confidentiality of personal data. In January 2009 David was reappointed Shadow Leader of the House.

David is married and has two children. He lives in the heart of his constituency at Witham Friary between Frome and Bruton.

Millfield School; St John’s College, Oxford

Registered optician, Parliamentary Consultant to the World Wide Fund for Nature 1990-91, Member of Audit Commission 1994-1997.

Council experience:
Elected to Somerset County Council 1985-97, Leader of the Council 1985-89, Leader of the Opposition 1989-91, Chairman of Avon and Somerset Police Authority 1993-1996.

Parliamentary experience:
Shadow Leader of the House Jan 2009- ,2007- 2008 Shadow Secretary of State for Justice and Shadow Lord Chancellor, 2005-07 Shadow Leader of the House and Shadow Cabinet Office Minister for human rights

In the 2001-2005 Parliament, Chair, All Party Parliamentary Group on Eye Health & Visual Impairment. Member, All Party Groups on Pharmacy, Diabetes, United Nations, Romania. Parliamentary Assembly of the OSCE.

Constituency: Somerton and Frome

Constituency Address: 14 Catherine Hill, Frome, Somerset, BA11 1BZ

Constituency Tel: 01373 473 618

Date of Birth: 16 March 1954

Email: davidheath@davidheath.co.uk

Party: Liberal Democrats

Personal Website: http://www.davidheath.co.uk/

Twitter: @DavidHeathMP