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Mike Weatherley, July 2010
Mike Weatherley, July 2010

Michael Richard Weatherley (born 2 July 1957) is a British Conservative Party politician who was the Member of Parliament (MP) for Hove in East Sussex from the 2010[1][2][3] to the 2015 general election.

Early life

Weatherley was born on 2 July 1957.[4] He was educated at Kent College, an independent school near Canterbury, Kent, and read business studies at London South Bank University. A chartered management accountant, professing a keen interest in live music, he was finance director of record producer Pete Waterman's group of businesses.[5] In 2007, Weatherley became Vice-President (Europe) for the Motion Picture Licensing Company.[6]

Political career

Weatherley's first parliamentary candidacy was at the 2001 general election in the safe Labour seat of Barking in east London. Two years later, he unsuccessfully stood for a council seat in Brighton and Hove in 2003. In the next Westminster election, he was Conservative parliamentary candidate for Brighton, Pavilion,[7] the seat adjacent to Hove. In the event, the seat was held by the incumbent Labour MP, David Lepper with a majority of over 5,000.

Weatherley then secured a seat on his local Crawley Borough Council, [8][9][10] defeating the Labour candidate, 2005 Big Brother contestant Eugene Sully. In 2006, Weatherley was selected by the Hove Conservative Association as their candidate for the next election.[10] He was finally successful in entering parliament in the 2010 general election when he defeated sitting Labour MP Celia Barlow, with a majority of 1,868.

Following his election, Weatherley campaigned to have squatting in residential properties criminalised, with the backing of Justice Minister Kenneth Clarke.[11] The campaign was successful and led to a provision in the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 creating a new offence. In November 2012, he was attacked with vegetables by a group of pro-squatting protesters ahead of a debate on the legislation at the University of Sussex. Weatherley and his staff were eventually led to safety by police.[12] Weatherley rejected claims in March 2013 that, as originator of the legislation, he was responsible for the death of a homeless man who had frozen to death while sleeping outside an empty bungalow.[13]

Weatherley has an interest in protecting intellectual property rights and is a member of the All Party Parliamentary Intellectual Property Group.[14] one of the main objectives of which is to highlight intellectual property rights. The campaign has gained support from musicians such as Alice Cooper.[15] In April 2014, he called on David Cameron to commit to the permanent funding of the Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit to extend its existence beyond 2015.[16]

Weatherley campaigned against the repeal of the Hunting Act 2004,[17] stating that "hunting foxes with hounds is a cruel and inhumane practice,"[18] and pledging to vote against any measure which would lead to the ban being overturned. He also campaigned against the implementation of the proposed ban on the retail display of tobacco products,[19] arguing that it would damage trade for small businesses.[20] Weatherley wrote to David Cameron in favour of same-sex couples gaining equal marriage rights, also advocating that religious organisations should be forced to register such ceremonies, which caused controversy.[21][22][23]

Weatherley was the Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Business and Retail Crime, along with various other APPGs.[24] He is also a Vice-President of the Debating Group.[25] He is a supporter of the Free Enterprise Group.[26]

After a period suffering from cancer of the oesophagus, Weatherley stood down at the 2015 general election.[27]

Personal life

Weatherley has two sons and a daughter with his first wife.[4][5] He subsequently remarried. In February 2010, he separated from his second wife, Brazilian-born Carla Weatherley.[28]

His main passion outside work and politics is rock music. In his spare time, he watches bands perform live in local venues and, in his maiden speech, he pledged that he would wear an Iron Maiden T-shirt in the Chamber.[29] On 15 December 2011, Weatherley announced that he was unable to fulfil his pledge, explaining, "It's not allowed in the Commons, I asked the Speaker if he'd give me permission and he said no."[30]

Weatherley is a keen cyclist, having participated in the London to Brighton bike ride and, along with 44 other cyclists, raising £230,000 for Childline and Nordoff Robbins by participating in a 100 mi charity bike ride along the Nile in Egypt.[6] He is also a qualified ski instructor and football referee, and former centre-forward of the Martha Gunners.[6]

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