Richard Bacon was first elected as Member of Parliament for South Norfolk in 2001. Since then he has been an active constituency MP and has been re-elected five times to represent the South Norfolk constituency.
Richard is busy supporting local communities across South Norfolk in many different ways, from securing funding for local projects and honouring veterans to campaigning for better maternity services and improved protection against flooding, visiting local schools and celebrating the opening of new post offices. Richard was one of the Norfolk MPs who persuaded Transport Ministers to deliver the completion of the A11 dualling, after decades of waiting under previous governments. Richard was also given a national award for his campaign to improve road safety.
For many years Richard has campaigned to change the law to require compulsory country-of-origin labelling for food, to give British farmers a fair deal and to allow consumers to make informed choices in the shops, and there is now general recognition that consumers have the right to know exactly where their food comes from.
Richard’s other work includes campaigning to secure faster broadband links for South Norfolk, better rail services and a bypass for the A140 at Long Stratton. Richard has taken action when required to ensure that important local services such as the East of England Ambulance Service and the Norfolk County Council Children’s Services have the right leadership and management.
Richard was the founder of the All Party Group of Self-Build, Custom and Community Housebuilding and Placemaking and successfully steered into law his Private Member’s Bill, now called the Self-Build and Custom Housebuilding Act to make it easier for individuals and groups to obtain land to build their own homes. He is a member of the Right to Build Task Force.
For 16 years Richard was a member of Parliament's public spending watchdog, the influential Public Accounts Committee. He has been heavily involved in the committee’s campaign to improve the management of HM Revenue & Customs to stamp out aggressive tax avoidance. Richard has led moves to increase scrutiny of private finance initiative projects including the Norfolk & Norwich Hospital as well as campaigning for government IT projects to be open to greater public scrutiny. Computer Weekly magazine described his efforts as “set to save millions of pounds”.
Richard’s book Conundrum: Why Every Government Gets Things Wrong – and What We Can Do About It, was described by the Daily Telegraph as performing "a valuable public service". Richard also contributed to the book How to Run a Country, published by the Reform think tank.
Richard is chairman of the Public Accounts Commission, a statutory body whose responsibilities include approving the budget and the strategy for the National Audit Office (NAO) and appointing the NAO’s non-executive directors. Richard also serves as serves as a member of the House of Commons International Development Committee scrutinising international aid spending to improve value for money.
Born in 1962, Richard was educated at The King's School, Worcester before going to the London School of Economics, where he took a First Class Honours degree in politics and economics. He also studied at the Goethe Institut in Berlin. After working in investment banking and financial journalism, Richard became an Associate Partner of Brunswick, a leading financial public relations consultancy, before setting up his own business, the English Word Factory, advising large companies on communications. Richard first became active in politics in the late 1970s and has held a wide variety of voluntary positions in the Conservative Party.
Richard’s colleagues from all political parties in Parliament voted him ‘Backbencher of the Year’ in 2006; the Political Studies Association named him as ‘Parliamentarian of the Year’ and the ConservativeHome website named him as ‘Outstanding Parliamentarian of the Year’. MPs also voted Richard as the ‘Commons Select Committee Member of the Year’. The Spectator magazine has twice named Richard as ‘Parliamentarian of the Year’.