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Leon Brittan: Wikis


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The Right Honourable
 The Lord Brittan of Spennithorne

In office
26 September 1995 – 10 June 1999
Preceded by Henning Christophersen
Succeeded by Neil Kinnock

In office
26 September 1995 – 10 June 1999
Preceded by Frans Andriessen
Succeeded by Chris Patten

In office
26 September 1995 – 10 June 1999
Preceded by Position Created
Succeeded by Pascal Lamy

In office
15 June 1989 – 15 June 1993
Preceded by Peter Sutherland
Succeeded by Karel Van Miert

In office
11 June 1983 – 2 September 1985
Preceded by William Whitelaw
Succeeded by Douglas Hurd

Born 25 September 1939 (1939-09-25) (age 70)
North London, England, UK
Political party Conservative
Profession Barrister
Religion Judaism

Leon Brittan, Baron Brittan of Spennithorne, QC, PC, DL (born 25 September 1939 in North London, United Kingdom) is a British barrister, politician and former Conservative Member of Parliament, as well as former member of the European Commission. His brother is Sir Samuel Brittan, an economics commentator at the Financial Times and financial journalist.


Early life

Leon was born to parents of Lithuanian Jewish extraction, and was educated at the Haberdashers' Aske's Boys' School and then Trinity College, Cambridge (where he was President of the Cambridge Union Society), he started his career as a lawyer. He is a cousin of both Malcolm Rifkind and Mark Ronson.[citation needed]

Member of Parliament

After unsuccessfully contesting the constituency of North Kensington in 1966 and 1970, he was elected to parliament in the general election of February 1974 for Cleveland and Whitby, and became an opposition spokesman in 1976. He was made a Queen's Counsel in 1978. Between 1979 and 1981 he was Minister of State at the Home Office, and then was made Chief Secretary to the Treasury, a Cabinet position. At the 1983 election he changed his seat to Richmond. He was Home Secretary from 1983 to 1985, and was then moved to Secretary of State for Trade and Industry. He resigned over the Westland affair.

In Jeffrey Archer's 1984 novel First Among Equals Brittan was mentioned briefly as Chancellor of the Exchequer in the late 1980s. This was in the future at the time of publication - and before the Westland Affair; in reality Brittan would never hold that position.


European Commission

He was made European Commissioner for Competition at the European Commission early in 1989, resigning as an MP to take the position. In 1995 he became European Commissioner for Trade and European Commissioner for External Affairs, also serving as Vice-President of the European Commission. Brittan resigned with the rest of the commission in 1999 amid accusations of fraud.


He was created Baron Brittan of Spennithorne, of Spennithorne in the County of North Yorkshire in February 2000. He is Vice Chairman of UBS AG Investment Bank, non-executive director of Unilever and member of the international advisory committee for Total.


His wife, Diana, Baroness Brittan of Spennithorne, was named a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 2004. Leon Brittain has two stepdaughters.

External links

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
James Tinn
Member of Parliament for Cleveland and Whitby
Feb 19741983
Constituency abolished
Preceded by
Timothy Kitson
Member of Parliament for Richmond (Yorkshire)
Succeeded by
William Hague
Political offices
Preceded by
John Biffen
Chief Secretary to the Treasury
1981 – 1983
Succeeded by
Peter Rees
Preceded by
William Whitelaw
Home Secretary
1983 – 1985
Succeeded by
Douglas Hurd
Preceded by
Norman Tebbit
Secretary of State for Trade and Industry
1985 – 1986
Succeeded by
Paul Channon
Preceded by
Stanley Clinton Davis and
The Lord Cockfield
European Commissioner from the United Kingdom
1989 – 1999
with Bruce Millan (1989 – 1995)
Neil Kinnock (1995 – 1999)
Succeeded by
Neil Kinnock and
Chris Patten
Preceded by
Peter Sutherland
European Commissioner for Competition
1989 – 1993
Succeeded by
Karel Van Miert
Preceded by
Position created
European Commissioner for Trade
Succeeded by
Pascal Lamy
Preceded by
Frans Andriessen
European Commissioner for External Affairs
1995 – 1999
Succeeded by
Chris Patten
Preceded by
Henning Christophersen
Vice-President of the European Commission
1995 – 1999
Succeeded by
Neil Kinnock
Academic offices
First Chancellor of the University of Teesside
1993 – 2005
Succeeded by
The Lord Sawyer


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