Councillor John Barnes MBE

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Party: Conservative

Division: Rother North West

Parish: Brightling ; Burwash ; Dallington ; Etchingham ; Hurst Green ; Ticehurst

Contact information

Home address: 
The Barn, Burgham
Sheepstreet Lane
East Sussex
TN19 7AZ

Phone:  01580 819142


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Committee appointments

Term of Office

  • 01/05/1997 -

Appointments to outside bodies

Additional Information

My politics


I first became interested in politics at school and took an active part in student politics both at national and international level. Although I fought three General Elections, I found it much more enjoyable to combine an academic career at the LSE with service in local government and in the NHS. Fortunately the LSE valued its staff taking on public service roles and I found the experience of great benefit in my teaching of Government as a subject.

I first became a councillor in 1968 and was able to play a part in shaping education policy locally and nationally as Chairman of Education in Kent and later in East Sussex. I was also able to contribute through service on a number of quangos.

My interest in the NHS led to board membership of the SE Thames Regional Health Authority and I chaired Primary Care Trusts from 2001 to 2010.

But I get a great deal of satisfaction from trying to sort out problems at a more local level and helping individual constituents with their problems. A particular satisfaction has been securing new schools at Ticehurst, Hurst Green and now Etchingham, where we are also to have a new village hall and playgroup facility..

Perhaps the most major ongoing worry for all my constituents is speeding traffic and I am working with them to see what can be done. Obviously in lean times, it is not easy to find resources to improve local services, but I am proud of the way East Sussex has managed to find innovative ways in which to deliver effective services, despite facing a major reduction in Government grant.


More about me


I was elected councillor for Ticehurst in 1997, three years after I moved to the area with my family. I am experienced in local politics, having served on Kent County Council (1973-89) and Greenwich Borough Council (1968-73).

But how did I get here?

I joined the Young Conservatives and became PA to Ian Fraser MP in the 1959 General Election. Subsequently I was active in student politics in Cambridge, nationally and internationally.

I stood for Parliament, contesting the safe Labour seat Walsall North in 1964, 1966 and 1970. I was indirectly elected as an Alderman on Greenwich Borough Council in 1968.

In 1973, I was elected as a county councillor in Kent, but stood down in 1989. I served briefly on the Schools Examination and Assessment Council until it was merged in 1992 and on the National Council for Vocational Qualifications 1992-97.

I have also served on the Council for National Academic Awards, on the South East Thames Regional Health Authority, and chaired the Bexhill and Rother (2001-06) and East Sussex Downs and Weald (2006-10) Primary Care Trusts.

My community

My division has some of the most beautiful villages in Britain with some fine churches and many historical buildings. The communities I serve are lively, each of them with a very different character. They are served by some excellent schools.

The High Weald is an area of outstanding natural beauty and a historically important landscape. It provides excellent walking. As a keen birdwatcher, I am glad to be in a county with some very important habitats for birds.

My home life

I am married with three married children and nine grandchildren.

My spare time and other responsibilities

I retired having taught Government at the London School of Economics (1964-2003) and served as Chairman first of the Bexhill and Rother Primary Care Trust 2001-6 and then of East Sussex Downs and Weald PCT 2006-10. As you will see from what I have written above I am active in a number of voluntary bodies and am currently trying to reduce speeding in our villages.

Writing is a spare time occupation but in addition I enjoy bird watching, listening to classical music, and visiting historical buildings. I am an avid reader.

Although I'm very much an ex-cricketer, I do try to watch as much as I can.

I also maintain my own website,