About Bob Russell

Sir Bob Russell was the first Colchestrian born and bred to be elected as Colchester's MP since 1852. He was first elected in 1997; and re-elected in 2001, 2005 and 2010 with increased majorities.

It is more astonishing in view of the town's long history that Bob is the first former Mayor of Colchester who was subsequently elected to serve the town as Member of Parliament.



Bob comes from a family which, on his mother's side, has lived in the Colchester area for at least eight generations. He is married with twin sons and a daughter. His first daughter died, aged seven, in 1978 following an accident. He is the proud Grandfather of three boys and a girl.

Bob was educated in Colchester, at Myland Primary, St Helena Secondary Modern and the North-East Essex Technical College. As a youth he gained both the Queen's Scout Badge and the Duke of Edinburgh's Gold Award.

He was a founder member of the 1st Myland (35th Colchester) Scout Group.

He played football for Mile End Rangers and table tennis for King George V Youth Club.

In politics

In 1979 he was the Labour candidate for the former Colchester constituency (which in those days also included more than 30 villages), and in October 1974 he stood just over the border in Suffolk in the former Sudbury and Woodbridge constituency. He was second to the Tories on both occasions.

Bob represented the New Town Ward from 1971 to May 2002, being elected nine times. He was Mayor in 1986-87 and Council Leader from 1987 to 1991. He left the Labour Party in 1981.

Professional background

Bob began his journalistic career in 1963, as a Reporter on the "Essex County Standard" and the weekly "Colchester Gazette". He became News Editor of the "Braintree and Witham Times" in 1966, and in March 1968 (aged 21) became the country's youngest editor when he took over the "Maldon and Burnham Standard". He subsequently spent four years in London as a Sub-Editor on the former "Evening News" and later the "Evening Standard". He then spent 13 years as a Press Officer for Post Office Telecommunications /British Telecom at the regional offices in Colchester and from 1986 until he became MP in 1997 he was Publicity Information Officer for the University of Essex at Colchester.


Bob has a keen interest in the history of his home town and has spent the past two years researching Colchester’s past. He also has a passionate interest in Colchester today from voluntary groups to organisations to those living here.

This passion for the town he grew up in and lives in has, on occasion, resulted in him speaking up when he feels Colchester will suffer.

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