Richard Ottaway is a former Officer in the Royal Navy and the Royal Naval Reserve. He read Law at Bristol University. On qualifying as a solicitor in 1977, he specialised in maritime and commercial law with leading city firms.
He was first elected to Parliament as the Member for Nottingham North from 1983-87. After a period in industry he returned to Parliament in 1992 as the Member for Croydon South, and was re-elected in 1997, 2001 and 2005.
Between 1992 and 1995, he was Parliamentary Private Secretary to Michael Heseltine MP and from October 1995 was a Government Whip.
In opposition until 2005 he served as a Front Bench spokesman for the Conservative Party as Shadow Minister for London and Local Government, Shadow Defence Minister, Shadow Paymaster General and Shadow Secretary of State for the Environment.
In the 2005–2010 parliament he was a member of the Intelligence and Security Committee and Vice Chairman of the 1922 Committee He was also a member of the Conservative Party Board.
After the 2010 election he became the first Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee to be elected by MPs from all sides of the House.
In 2011 he was declared The Week’s, Back Bencher of the year. In 2012, he won a 2012 Global Media Award for his research into population growth.
He is also former chairman of the All Party Parliamentary London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Group and is currently a member of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Population, Development and Reproductive Health.
He is married to Nicky and enjoys jazz and sailing. He is a successful yachtsman and has won a number of amateur trophies.