|Member of Parliament|
for Epping Forest
18 December 1988 – 1 May 1997
|Preceded by||Sir John Biggs-Davison|
|Succeeded by||Eleanor Laing|
|Member of Parliament|
for Oxford East
9 June 1983 – 11 June 1987
|Preceded by||Constituency created|
|Succeeded by||Andrew Smith|
|Born||24 May 1945|
Liverpool, Lancashire, England
|Alma mater||Liverpool Institute for Boys|
Worcester College, Oxford
Steven John Norris (born 24 May 1945 in Liverpool) is a British Conservative politician and businessman. Norris served as Member of Parliament for Oxford East from 1983 to 1987. After narrowly losing that marginal seat in 1987 he re-entered the House of Commons at a by-election for Epping Forest in 1988, which he held until stepping down to focus on his business career in 1997. He was subsequently chosen by Conservative Party members to be the Conservative candidate for Mayor of London in 2000 and 2004 in which he secured 42% and 45% respectively, coming second to Ken Livingstone but ahead of the Conservative Party's vote share for the Greater London Assembly.
Early life and career
Norris attended the Liverpool Institute for Boys, a grammar school, from 1956 to 1963 where he was Head Boy. He earned an open Exhibition in Social Studies and graduated from Worcester College, Oxford, where he was President of the University Law Society. After graduating, he pursued a career in the engineering and motor industries and entered politics upon election to Berkshire County Council in 1977, where he became Deputy Leader.
Parliamentary and ministerial career
In 13 years as Member of Parliament, Norris was appointed Parliamentary Private Secretary to William Waldegrave, at the Department of the Environment; to Nicholas Ridley at the Department of Trade and Industry; and to Kenneth Baker at the Home Office. He was then promoted to Minister for Transport in London by John Major in 1992, where he was responsible for the Jubilee line Extension, the largest extension of the London Underground network to date.
Public transport roles
Norris’ expertise on public transport issues led him to roles as Chairman of the National Cycling Strategy Board, Director General of the Road Haulage Association and President of the Motor Cycle Industry Association, and a Commissioner with the Independent Transport Commission. He also served as patron of the cyclists charity, Sustrans, and of the Campaign for Better Transport (UK) Trust.
Norris was a pioneer for equality for gays and lesbians before the law as a Member of Parliament and later as a Mayoral candidate. In particular, Norris took the step of writing to the Conservative Party Chairman Chris Patten to suggest that the party include an equal age of consent in its next election manifesto. This change in the law was eventually achieved in 2001 under the Blair government.
Additionally, Norris registered the Conservative Parliamentary Group for Homosexual Law Reform with the party's whips office and the 1922 Committee. Realising that the party would not make a manifesto commitment to age of consent equality, the group decided to lobby individual ministers and departments with an agenda for change. This included a review of the 1967 Sexual Offences Act to allow for an equal age of consent, as well as allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly in the armed forces; supporting a more liberal prosecution policy in Scotland; enforcement of existing Home Office advice against police entrapment and a more positive image for the Conservative Party on equality issues. Norris also was one of a handful of prominent Tories who lobbied against the discriminatory Section 28, ostensibly intended by its supporters to outlaw the teaching of homosexuality in schools, later was repealed by the Blair government and renounced by the Conservative Party under David Cameron. At the time of repeal, Norris opposed then leader William Hague’s support of the measure.
London Mayoral bids
In September 1999, Norris contested Jeffrey Archer for the Conservative Party nomination for Mayor of London. Archer was initially selected as the candidate by party members, but was forced to withdraw later that year after it was revealed that he had committed perjury in a libel case. Archer was subsequently convicted of the crime and imprisoned. Norris was then selected as the Conservative Party candidate in a ballot of members in December of that year, going on to earn 42% of the vote against duly-elected London Mayor Ken Livingstone.
In November 2002, Norris formally announced his intention to run again for the London mayoralty. In February 2003, he was again selected as the party’s candidate in a ballot of London party members. His platform included plans for after-hours London Underground services and an approach to crime based on the ‘broken windows’ theory that had been successful under New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani. Norris had met Giuliani during the campaign, and proposed an agreement with Giuliani Partners to advise him as mayor, should Norris be successful.
Following speculation that he might run again for the mayoralty in 2008, and the extension of the party's deadline for nominations in the hope of attracting a heavyweight candidate, Norris said in an interview that “If I run, I’ll win,” but ultimately choose not to apply. Subsequently, Boris Johnson became the party's candidate.
Norris is now a board member of a number of companies and a strategic advisor to several others in the fields of transport, infrastructure and property. He is one of Property Week’s Property Power 100 and is Chairman of Soho Estates, which controls around 60 acres of London's Soho district. He is also Chairman of London Resort Company Holdings, developers of the £3.5 billion entertainment resort project in North Kent. He is independent non-executive Chairman of Cambridgeshire County Council’s arms-length property company, This Land, and advises a number of private and quoted developers on major residential and commercial schemes.
In the infrastructure world, he is Chair of the Council of the National Infrastructure Planning Association and Chairman of AIM listed Driver Group plc, world leaders in expert witness and dispute resolution in civil engineering. He advises on major brownfield developments across the whole of the UK. In the field of transportation, he was a member of the board of Transport for London under Mayor Johnson. He is Deputy Chairman of Optare plc a UK bus manufacturer based in Sherburn in Elmet. He is a member of the board of directors of NYSE-listed Cubic Corporation Inc. of San Diego, CA, the defence and transportation technology specialists, developers of the London Oyster card and similar systems worldwide. He is also President of ITS-UK, an association that is part of the worldwide family of intelligent transport technology public and private sector not-for-profit organisations that share ground-breaking innovations in transport technology.
Current voluntary roles
Norris is a former Chairman of the Prince Michael International Road Safety Awards, currently a Vice-President of the Royal National Institute for the Deaf, branded as Action on Hearing Loss, a Patron of The Urology Foundation and Chairman of the Surrey Canal Sports Foundation. He is an Eminent Fellow of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport, Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Highways and Transportation, a Companion of the Institution of Civil Engineers and an Honorary Fellow of the Association for Project Management. He holds an Honorary Doctorate of Laws from the University of East London.
Norris married his first wife, Vicky, in 1969, and has two sons from that marriage. He has a son with his second wife, Emma, whom he married in April 2000. In 1993 he was reported to have had a series of extramarital affairs but remained in post with the support of then Prime Minister Sir John Major.
- "Governance - Campaign for Better Transport Charitable Trust". Campaign for Better Transport. Archived from the original on 11 January 2008. Retrieved 18 January 2008. "Independent Transport Commissioners". Retrieved 8 December 2013.
- Watkinson, David (28 November 2002). "Steve Norris to run for London Mayor". The Independent. Retrieved 3 March 2017.
|Parliament of the United Kingdom|
|New constituency|| Member of Parliament for Oxford East
Sir John Biggs-Davison
| Member of Parliament for Epping Forest