Robert Goodwill

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Robert Goodwill
File:Robert Goodwill MP, 2015.jpg
Goodwill addresses the IMO Assembly, November 2015
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport
Assumed office
7 October 2013
Prime Minister David Cameron
Preceded by Norman Baker
Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
In office
4 September 2012 – 7 October 2013
Prime Minister David Cameron
Preceded by James Duddridge
Succeeded by Karen Bradley
Member of Parliament
for Scarborough and Whitby
Assumed office
5 May 2005
Preceded by Lawrie Quinn
Majority 6,200 (13.0%)
Member of the European Parliament
for Yorkshire and the Humber
In office
15 July 1999 – 1 May 2004
Preceded by Position established
Succeeded by Godfrey Bloom
Personal details
Born (1956-12-31) 31 December 1956 (age 62)
Terrington, North Riding of Yorkshire, England
Nationality British
Political party Conservative
Spouse(s) Maureen Short
Children 3
Alma mater Newcastle University Bootham School
Religion Anglican

Robert Goodwill (born 31 December 1956) is a British farmer and Conservative Party politician. He is the Member of Parliament (MP) for Scarborough and Whitby and a former Member of the European Parliament (MEP) for Yorkshire and the Humber. Since October 2013, he has been the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport, serving under Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin.

Goodwill is a member of the Cornerstone Group of Conservative MPs and also a Eurosceptic.[1]

Early life

Goodwill was born in Terrington, North Riding of Yorkshire and was educated at the Quaker Bootham School [2] in York, and the University of Newcastle upon Tyne where he received a Bachelor of Science degree in agriculture in 1979. He is a farmer of 250 acres (100 ha) of mainly arable land near Malton which has been in his family since 1850. He has been the managing director of Mowthorpe (UK) Ltd since 1995 which offers environmentally friendly burials in the North Yorkshire countryside.[3]

Parliamentary career

Goodwill unsuccessfully contested Redcar at the 1992 general election where he finished second, some 11,577 votes behind the sitting Labour MP Mo Mowlam. He unsuccessfully contested Cleveland and Richmond at the 1994 European election. He again attempted to enter the House of Commons at the 1997 general election when he was selected for the marginally held Conservative seat of North West Leicestershire following the deselection[citation needed] of the sitting MP David Ashby. Goodwill was defeated by Labour's David Taylor by 13,219 votes. In 1998, he contested the Yorkshire South European Parliament by-election, but was again defeated.

He was elected as a Member of the European Parliament at the 1999 European Election for the Yorkshire and the Humber region, serving in Brussels and Strasbourg until the 2004 European election. He was Deputy Leader of the Conservative MEPs during his term, and also opposed the Conservative Party's membership of the European People's Party in the European Parliament.[4]

He was elected to the House of Commons at the 2005 general election for Scarborough and Whitby, gaining the seat from Labour's Lawrie Quinn by just 1,245 votes. He made his maiden speech on 6 June 2005, in which he boasted that his constituency is the setting for both the Yorkshire Television series Heartbeat at Goathland; and that the North Yorkshire Moors Railway has been used for the Hogwarts Express in the Harry Potter films.

After spending 18 months as a member of the Transport Select Committee, he was appointed an Opposition Whip by David Cameron in 2006 and promoted to the post of Shadow Roads Minister in the Transport team in 2007. He was re-elected with an increased majority of 8,130 at the 2010 general election and appointed to the Government as a Whip with responsibility for Treasury and DEFRA business. Goodwill is secretary of the All Party Parliamentary Flag Group.[5]

In the October 2013 ministerial reshuffle he became Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport, replacing Norman Baker.[6]Goodwill was given responsibility for aviation policy[7] Goodwill had previously established himself as a strong opponent of a third runway at Heathrow, inviting Greenpeace members to plant a tree in his constituency as a gesture of "solidarity" with opponents of Heathrow expansion.[7]

Goodwill was re-appointed to his position as Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport following the 2015 general election and the election of a Conservative majority government. He is the minister responsible for cycling, aviation, road safety, walking and High Speed 2.[8]


In 2000 whilst working as a Conservative MEP, Goodwill sparked controversy when he was quoted as saying "I fly from Leeds/Bradford to Brussels and we get a set fee of around £500, but if I buy a cheaper ticket, economy class for about £160 and £250, I can pocket the difference and, as a capitalist, also as a British Conservative, I see it as a challenge to buy cheap tickets and make some profit on the system".[9] Labour called this proof that sleaze was "alive and well" within the Conservative party whilst the Conservative Party itself condemned his actions saying "the party does not endorse the fiddling of expenses or the impression given that the system should be made available for personal profit". Goodwill later donated £2,000 to local charities following feedback from constituents.[10]

In 2012, following changes to the MPs expenses system, Goodwill moved out of the flat he bought in Pimlico and into rented accommodation. The flat was bought in 2006 and Goodwill claimed nearly £10,000 in expenses for Stamp Duty, Legal Fees, etc. The flat funded by those expenses now appears in his Register of Interests as he now derives rental income from it under the auspices of 'R W Goodwill, Property Division'. There has been local pressure for Goodwill to repay those expenses, but it is unknown if he has done so yet.

In 2013, following on from a review of capital gains made by MPs from their tax-payer funded second homes, the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority ordered Goodwill to repay £4,963.39.[11]

Personal life

He married Maureen Short in November 1987 in North Yorkshire and they have two sons (born May 1989 and June 1991) and a daughter (born May 1994). He was once the chairman of the cereals and livestock committee of the North Yorkshire National Farmers Union 1986-8. He takes a keen interest in steam engines and owns several; he once brought an engine back from the former Czechoslovakia to restore it.

He stepped in to save the Scarborough Pleasure Ship, Coronia, in January 2011 so that the historic, Dunkirk-veteran vessel can continue to be based in the harbour there.[12] He speaks French, German and some Russian.


  1. "UK Chamber of Shipping welcomes new Shipping Minister – Robert Goodwill". Hellenic Shipping News. 16 May 2015. Retrieved 28 May 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. Woodland, Jenny (2011). Bootham School Register. York, England: BOSA.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. [1]
  4. "Head-to-head: Should Tories quit the EPP?". BBC News. 6 June 2006. Retrieved 28 May 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. UK Parliament - Register of All Party Groups
  6. "Norman Baker leaves Transport Department in reshuffle". Chartered Institution of Highways and Transportation. 9 October 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. 7.0 7.1 Morris, Nigel. "New aviation minister Robert Goodwill opposed third runway at Heathrow". The Independent. Retrieved 25 March 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. MacMichael, Simon (13 May 2015). "Robert Goodwill reappointed minister for cycling". Retrieved 28 May 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. Independent - Tory MEP admits he profited on expenses
  10. Yorkpress - Goodwill gesture
  11. Real Whitby - Pay-back time for Goodwill
  12. "MP Robert Goodwill saves The Coronia". Gazette & Herald. 2 February 2011. Retrieved 4 June 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links