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Julian Ridsdale: Wikis


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Sir Julian Errington Ridsdale, CBE (8 June 1915 – 21 July 2004) was a British National Liberal and later Conservative Party politician and long-serving Member of Parliament for the constituency of Harwich in Essex. He took a particular interest in Japan.

The son of a stockbroker and nephew both of former Conservative Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin and Liberal MP Sir Aurelian Ridsdale, he was educated at Tonbridge School and at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. After being commissiined as an officer in the Royal Norfolk Regiment, he studied Japanese at the School of Oriental and African Studies and during the war was a military intelligence officer specialising in Japan, rising to the rank of Major.

After the war, he ran a fruit farm in Sussex.

His wife Victoire Evelyn Patricia "Paddy" Bennett, whom he married in 1942, was then secretary to the writer Ian Fleming. She is reported to have been a model for the character Miss Moneypenny, secretary to James Bond. She was her husband's secretary and chairman of the Conservative MPs' Wives, and was awarded the DBE in 1991.


Electoral history

In the 1951 general election, Ridsdale stood as the Conservative candidate in the London seat of Paddington North, but lost to the sitting Labour MP William Field.

In 1954 the National Liberal MP for Harwich, Sir Stanley Holmes was elevated to the peerage as Baron Dovercourt, and Ridsdale was selected as the National Liberal candidate to contest the consequent by-election. He was elected on 11 February 1954, defeating Labour's Miss Shirley Catlin (later Shirley Williams, fighting her first election), and he served for nearly forty years, being re-elected in nine subsequent general elections: 1955, 1959, 1964, 1966, 1970, February 1974, October 1974, 1979, 1983 and 1987. Ridsdale did not stand again in 1992 general election, and was succeeded by the Conservative Iain Sproat.

Parliamentary career

After supporting Prime Minister Anthony Eden during the 1956 inavsion of Suez, Ridsdale served from 1957-58 as the Parliamentary Private Secretary (PPS) to John Profumo, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies. From 1958-60 he was PPS to the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs. His ministerial career was brief, as Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Air from 1962-64.

Returning to the backbenches, he continued to mark himself as traditional rightwing Conservative, opposing tax increases and supporting capital punishment. In 1968, he supported Enoch Powell after Powell's controversial anti-immigration "Rivers of Blood speech", calling him "the Winston Churchill of today".

Retaining his wartime interest in Japan, Ridsdale concentrated on improving Anglo-Japanese relations and developing trade links. He was Chairman of the British Japanese Parliamentary Group from 1964-92 and the leader of successive Parliamentary delegations to Japan. He was also Member of the North Atlantic Assembly from 1979-92.

He received the CBE in 1977 and was knighted in 1981.


External links

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Sir Stanley Holmes
Member of Parliament for Harwich
Succeeded by
Iain Sproat


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