John Hemming (politician)

Infobox MP
honorific-prefix =
name = John Hemming
honorific-suffix = MP

constituency_MP = Birmingham Yardley
majority = 2,672 (9.1%)
term_start = 6 May 2005
term_end =
predecessor = Estelle Morris
successor = Incumbent
birth_date = Birth date and age|1960|03|16|df=yes
birth_place = Birmingham
death_date =
death_place =
nationality = British
spouse =
party = Liberal Democrat
relations =
children =
residence =
alma_mater = Magdalen College, Oxford
occupation =
profession =
religion =

website =
footnotes =

John Alexander Melvin Hemming (born 16 March 1960) is a British politician, the Member of Parliament for Birmingham Yardley and Group Chair of the Liberal Democrats on the city council of Birmingham, England.

Hemming was until 1 May 2008 an elected councillor for the South Yardley Ward. In 2005, he was elected as Member of Parliament for Birmingham Yardley. He is the first Liberal or Liberal Democrat to win a parliamentary seat in Birmingham since Wallace Lawler won in Birmingham Ladywood in 1969. In 2004, Hemming became deputy leader of Birmingham City Council in a deal where the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats shared control of the City Council. He stood down from this position on his election to parliament in 2005.

In 2007 he became Liberal Democrat Spokesman for the West Midlands and returned to lead the West Midlands Liberal Democrat team of spokespeople with Lorely Burt MP as the Deputy Leader.

Early life

Hemming, a millionaire, was educated at King Edward's School, Birmingham, where he won the Rickard Prize for Arithmetic and was a Scholar specialising in Theoretical, Atomic and Nuclear Physics at Magdalen College, Oxford, where he showed an early interest in politics, standing as Liberal candidate for Secretary of the OUSU. He was beaten into fourth place by the dog standing for the 'Silly Party'.John Hemming, [ My record as a student politician] , 12 April 2005, accessed 10 July 2007] He was also elected as the Policy Convenor of Magdalen College Junior Common Room and was the only Student to be represented both on the Joint Committee with the General Board and the Joint Committee with the Hebdomadal Council. While at Magdalen, he organised a successful rent strike, aided by the JCR Secretary, Peter Clinch.

Business history

In 1994, he created the first e-commerce operation outside the United States [ [ MarketNet] ] Fact|date=February 2007, creating the first insurance, travel and banking services in the world on the net. He also wrote the second implementation of SSL Fact|date=February 2007 following Netscape in 1995. He is a director of JHC plc.

He has a long-standing interest in the region and its ancient identity as Mercia, having as a student being elected to represent Oxford Students at the NUS conference as a Mercian Nationalist, and in 1997 set up his own record company, Music Mercia International. [ [,_yardley Register of Members' Interests on "TheyWorkForYou"] , accessed 10 July 2007]

In 2000, Hemming was a joint founder of the Phoenix Consortium which bought Rover Cars for £10. Hemming quarrelled with John Towers and was kicked out. [ [ MP John Hemming and the Phoenix Vulture Consortium] , Indymedia, 17 July 2005, accessed 10 July 2007] Five years after his departure, the company collapsed in 2005 with a diminished pension fund compared with that of 2000 and having cost some considerable sums to the public purse.

Anti-electoral fraud court cases

Hemming also campaigns against electoral fraud. He drafted the election petition for the Birmingham ward of Aston in 2004 that highlighted the fact that some Labour Candidates were driving around the city with blank postal votes and filling them in on an industrial estate in Witton. [ [ Labour trio's 'vote-rig factory'] , "BBC News Online", 2 March 2005, accessed 10 July 2007] Judge Richard Mawrey QC who heard the petition described Hemming as a "dreadful witness" and also that "his evidence was largely inadmissible hearsay. He possesses an inability to give a straight answer to a straight question". Judge Mawrey QC did however credit Hemming being right that there was fraud present when others denied that to be the case. [ [ The good, the bad and the really ugly - Birmingham Post ] ] The consequent by-election in 2005 resulted in three Lib Dem Candidates winning. [ [ Labour lose seats in by-election] , "BBC News Online", 29 July 2005, accessed 10 July 2007] On a subsequent appeal by the longest-standing of the three Labour Councillors, Muhammed Afzal, it was found that Afzal's involvement in any wrongdoing had not been established and his disqualification from holding public office was rescinded. Hemming has also issued a number of requests for Judicial Review to reduce fraud in the electoral system.

Accountability court cases

Hemming also campaigns to increase the accountability of government. He issued a Judicial Review in June 2006 against the Prime Minister with the objective of forcing Ministers to Answer questions. This legal action is in uncharted territory and is expected to be heard in Autumn 2006. Having been refused permission in the High Court he has applied for permission to appeal to the Court of Appeal. He failed in the Court of Appeal, but continues the campaign for accountability in Parliament.

ustainability campaigning

A frequent cyclist, [John Hemming, [ Parliamentary Bike Ride] , 21 June 2006, accessed 10 July 2007] Hemming was the first MP to convert his car to run on vegetable oil.Fact|date=July 2007 Refused permission by the parliamentary authorities to have a store of vegetable oil on the Parliamentary Estate he is required to travel around accompanied by cans of vegetable oil.

Independent Energy Scrutiny Panel

Hemming chairs the IESP a body involving representation from industry and the energy sector as well as consumers and other lobby groups. The IESP challenges government assumptions on energy policy and has take a specific interest in the Gas Market as a result of its recent tightness.

Justice for Families

As Chairman of Justice for Families, Hemming has been coordinating the activities of a number of campaigners and has raised a substantial number of Early Day Motions in trying to reduce the number of injustices where families are damaged by false allegations.


Working with the National Bingo Association, Hemming has been campaigning to protect Bingo from the dual challenge of double taxation and the smoking ban.

Extramarital relationships and court cases

Shortly after his election in 2005, he made headlines when it was revealed that he was the father of a child with his personal assistant and fellow councillor Emily Cox, but that he would stay with his wife and her three children. His wife Christine commented that she forgave him and is standing by him, as he has always been honest about his extramarital affairs, of which she said there had been no less than 26 (a number Hemming says is an exaggeration). [Nick Britten, [ My lover is pregnant, MP tells his wife] , "Daily Telegraph", 18 June 2005, accessed 10 July 2007] [ [ VOTE LIBIDO DEM!] , "The Daily Mirror", 10 January 2006, accessed 10 July 2007] Following the publication of details of the affairs, Hemming voted for himself for the "News of the World"'s 'Love Rat of the Year' competition. [ [,,2-2005460808,00.html MP bid for Love Rat prize] , "The Sun", accessed 18 September 2007]

Political career

Hemming was first elected to Birmingham City Council in 1990, in Acocks Green ward. He moved to the South Yardley ward following boundary changes in 2004. He ceased to be a member of Birmingham City Council following the elections on the 1 May 2008 when he did not run for re-election.

He has fought a number of General Elections: in 1983 (Hall Green), 1987 (Small Heath) and 1992, 1997 and 2001 (Yardley) before winning in 2005. As an MP, he has shown a particular interest in gas, and possible shortages, asking dozens of questions in Parliament on the issue, and running a blog on the subject ( [] ).

As an MP he campaigns on a wide range of issues. Recent successes include getting the Passport Agency to change rules on photographs for children and getting Ofcom to start the process of stopping "Silent Calls".

He has been a member of the Regulatory Reform Select Committee, Procedure Select Committee, Finance Bill Committee and Joint Committee on the Draft Legal Services Bill. He chairs the New Media All Party Parliamentary Group, is chair of the Peak Oil All Party Parliamentary Group, is a Vice-Chair of the Performers Alliance and is a Vice-Chair of the Carers All Party Parliamentary Group.

Following Charles Kennedy's call for a leadership contest, Hemming announced on his weblog that he was taking soundings as to whether to stand. When Kennedy subsequently resigned, Hemming said that he would stand to ensure there was a contest. Hemming was a rank outsider in the contest (some betting odds were in excess of 400-1). "The Times" reported that he was "an eccentric who left colleagues aghast by threatening to stand". [Greg Hurst, [,,17129-1983000,00.html Party contenders set out their stalls] , "Times Online", 13 January 2006, accessed 10 July 2007] On 13 January 2006, Hemming withdrew his candidature, saying that Lib Dem members did not believe he should stand. [John Hemming, [ Members back Hemming] , 13 January 2006, accessed 10 July 2007] He was a nominator for Mark Oaten, but said he would be willing to do the same for any serious candidate. He subsequently declared for the eventual winner, Sir Menzies Campbell.

John Hemming is a member of the Beveridge Group. [ [ About us] - "The Beveridge Group" 2007-10-28]


External links

* [ John Hemming's Web Log] official blog
* [ John Hemming's Gas Blog] official blog relating to gas shortage
* [ John Hemming's Web Site] official reference site
* [ John Hemming MP] profile at the site of Liberal Democrats
* [ Birmingham City Council profile]
* [ Birmingham Liberal Democrats]
* [,9290,-8896,00.html Guardian Unlimited Politics - Ask Aristotle: John Hemming MP]
* [,_yardley - John Hemming MP]
* [ The Public Whip - John Hemming MP] voting record
* [ John Hemming's flickr photos] * [ Hemmings Way] tongue-in-cheek Hemming for Lib Dem leader site (2006)

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