For most of his life, Paul Tyler lived with his wife Nicky in Cornwall at Rilla Mill on the edge of Bodmin Moor.
On his mother’s side he is a direct descendant of Bishop Jonathan Trelawny, on whose behalf “20,000 Cornishmen” threatened to march on London against James II’s autocratic government in 1688! On his father’s side he is descended from Oliver Cromwell.
He was elected Liberal MP for Bodmin in 1974; in the October 1974 Election he increased the Liberal vote, but not sufficiently to withstand the swing. He subsequently worked for Shelter, managed a local newspaper group in the South West and, as a consultant, advised a variety of national environmental organisations.
Paul was elected MP for North Cornwall in April 1992 with a swing from the Conservatives of 6.5%.
He became Liberal Democrat Spokesman on Agriculture and Rural Affairs. In the House of Commons he led debates on a huge range of topics, from the Coastguard service to hill farming, from water charges to rail privatisation, not to mention animal welfare and Parliamentary reform.
He was especially active during the BSE/Beef crisis and initiated debates and challenged Ministers on their reaction to the crisis. He published “Country Lives, Country Landscapes” in 1996 and gained the Country Life Parliamentarian of the Year award. In a recent poll of Farmer’s Weekly readers he came high in a league table of the most effective campaigners for farming….above the Minister of Agriculture! There were no Conservatives featured on the list.
At the 1997 General Election, Paul was returned with the largest Liberal Democrat vote and the largest Liberal Democrat majority. Promoted to Chief Whip and Shadow Leader of the House, he managed the 47-strong Liberal Democrat parliamentary team for the duration of the last parliament.
After the 2001 General Election, Charles Kennedy reappointed Paul Shadow Leader of the House to work opposite the Rt Hon. Robin Cook MP, pushing forward Liberal Democrat plans for the modernisation and reform of Parliament as well as overseeing the current business of the House of Commons. Paul served as a member of the Select Committee on Modernisation of the House of Commons from 1997 until 2005.
Paul retired as an MP at the 2005 General Election and was subsequently made a life Peer. He now chairs the Faiths and Civil Society Unit at Goldsmiths College, London. He continues to specialise on issues relating to reform of both House of Parliament - with greater democratic accountability as the principal objective. Paul serves as Liberal Democrat Spokesman on constitutional reform in the House of Lords.
He and his wife have recently built a new sustainable, largely energy self-suffcient home in Nicky’s native Gloucestershire.
His official title is Lord Tyler of Linkinhorne.