William Neil Carmichael (born 15 April 1961 in Hexham) is an English Conservative Party politician. He has been the Member of Parliament (MP) for the Stroud constituency in Gloucestershire since the 2010 general election.
Carmichael began his political career after being elected to Northumberland County Council in 1989 on which he served four years, during this time he was an unsuccessful parliamentary candidate in the 1992 General Election in the seat of Leeds East.
In 1999 he moved to Gloucestershire where he was selected to stand for the Conservatives in the parliamentary seat of Stroud, losing to Labour in 2001 and in 2005.
Neil Carmichael managed to win the seat of Stroud in the 2010 General Election, with a 2% swing to the Conservatives from Labour with a majority of 1,299.
On entering Parliament he made his maiden speech on 2 June 2010 and became a member of the Environmental Audit Committee, the task of whom is to monitor the worthiness of all government department activity from the perspective of cutting carbon emissions.
He has had a consistent interest in education; he had been a member of the Education Select Committee of the House of Commons with the duty to scrutinise the Department for Education and provide oversight on behalf of Parliament, before being elected as its chairman in June 2015. Earlier, in 2011 he founded the All Party Group on Education, Governance and Leadership after coauthoring a report seeking to influence the reform of school governing boards. He proposed a bill on the issue under the Ten Minute Rule in late 2014 but it made no further progress.
In 2012, he founded the All Party Parliamentary Group on Vascular Disease to raise awareness and encourages further research into vascular disease. As Chair of the group he co-authored reports which highlighted the regional differences in amputation rates throughout England and which found there could be over 5,000 unnecessary leg amputations a year . He also served as the Secretary of the Associate Parliamentary Health Group.
Neil Carmichael is recognised to be one of the most active debaters in the House of Commons; the BBC reported in July 2011 that he ranks fourth amongst more than 200 MPs who were first elected in 2010 in the number of debates that they have attended. As of 14 September 2011 he has voted in over 88% of divisions since becoming an MP, far above the average. Though being an active debater, he has always voted exactly in line with the Conservative whip, and on just one occasion he has voted in the opposite direction to the majority of voting Conservatives in a motion to bring a bill.
He was reelected in 2015 with his majority increased to 4,886
In 2010 Neil Carmichael was accused of hypocrisy over Wind farms by locals in Northumberland unhappy over his support on for a wind farm development on land that he owns at Bavington Hill Head Farm in Northumberland, while as a Conservative candidate describing a single turbine proposed at Nympsfield as a “monstrosity”, and pledging to work to protect Gloucestershire’s rural landscapes from “excessive” developments. Carmichael's argument is that many proposed schemes in Gloucestershire border on, or are in, the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty whereas the proposed scheme in Northumberland has no such concerns.
He was also criticised by CAMRA for voting with the Government against an amendment to allow licensees to choose a non-tied pub lease after reportedly promising them that he would support the amendment in a photoshoot the day before.