James Clappsion was born in 1956. He was educated at St Peter’s School, York and the Queen’s College, Oxford, where he obtained a Second Class Honours Degree in Philosophy, Politics and Economics. He is a Barrister.
He is married to Helen, a solicitor and University teacher, they have four children. His hobbies include Reading, Bridge and spending time with his family. He is a member of the National Trust, English Heritage and NSPCC.
James is a former Young Conservative, treasurer of Oxford University Conservative Association, Member of various Ward Committees and Member of Yorkshire Area panel of Voluntary Speakers.
James was a Candidate in the 1987 General Election for Barnsley East. He was a Candidate of Yorkshire South in the 1989 European Elections. In May and November 1990 he was a Candidate in the Bootle Parliamentary By-elections.
James was elected to Parliament as member for Hertsmere in 1992. James was Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Rt. Hon Baroness Blatch, Minister of State at the Home Office from September 1994 until July 1995. In July 1995, James was appointed Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department of the Environment.
In June 1997 he was appointed Front Bench Spokesman for Home Affairs. In the June 1999 reshuffle, James was appointed Front Bench Spokesman for Education and Employment. From September 2001 to July 2002, he served as Shadow Minister for Work. From July to November 2002, he was a Shadow Minister for the Treasury. In July 2007, he was appointed as a Shadow Minister for Work & Pensions.
His political interests include personal freedom and free enterprise economy, international affairs, law and order, agriculture and education.