Stephen Dorrell: Wikis


Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Right Honourable
 Stephen Dorrell MP

In office
5 July 1995 – 2 May 1997
Prime Minister John Major
Preceded by Virginia Bottomley
Succeeded by Frank Dobson

In office
20 July 1994 – 5 July 1995
Prime Minister John Major
Preceded by Peter Brooke
Succeeded by Virginia Bottomley

In office
11 April 1992 – 11 July 1994
Prime Minister John Major
Preceded by Francis Maude
Succeeded by George Young

Member of Parliament
for Charnwood
Assumed office 
1 May 1997
Preceded by new constituency
Majority 8,809 (17.4%)

Member of Parliament
for Loughborough
In office
3 May 1979 – 1 May 1997
Preceded by John Desmond Cronin
Succeeded by Andy Reed

Born 25 March 1952 (1952-03-25) (age 57)
Worcester, United Kingdom
Nationality British
Political party Conservative
Spouse(s) Penelope Anne Wears Taylor
Alma mater Brasenose College, Oxford

Stephen James Dorrell MP (born 25 March 1952) is a British politician. He is the Conservative Member of Parliament (MP) for the Charnwood constituency in northern Leicestershire and is a Patron of the Tory Reform Group.



Dorrell was born in Worcester. He was educated at the independent Uppingham School and at Brasenose College, part of the University of Oxford, where he was awarded a Bachelor of Arts degree. He was a member of the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve for two years from 1971.

Apart from his years in governmental office, Dorrell is a company director of the Faithful Group Ltd, his family's industrial clothing firm. Dorrell is also a director and 15% shareholder in The Wensum Group Ltd, which was created after corporate clothing company the Wensum Company in which Dorrell was also a director, went through a pre-packaged administration in 2009.[1]

Dorrell has been married to Penelope Anne Wears Taylor since 1980 and they have three sons and a daughter called alexandra, philip, william and christopher. He lives within his constituency, and is a former patron of Christian Aid.

Political career

During the February 1974 general election, Dorrell acted as a personal assistant to Conservative minister Peter Walker. He contested the safe Labour seat of Hull East at the October 1974 general election but was soundly defeated by the sitting MP and later Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott, who was returned with a majority of 25,793 votes.

At the 1979 general election, the Conservatives were returned to office under the leadership of Margaret Thatcher. Dorrell was elected to the House of Commons for the marginal seat of Loughborough, ousting the veteran Labour MP John Cronin by 5,199 votes. He has remained an MP since.

On his election he was the Baby of the House of Commons, an informal title for the youngest member. He was succeeded as the Baby of the House on 9 April 1981 when Bobby Sands was elected at the April 1981 Fermanagh and South Tyrone by-election, however Sands died on 5 May 1981 whilst on hunger strike in Long Kesh Prison. Dorrell again became the Baby of the House until 20 August 1981, when Sands's successor Owen Carron was elected at the August 1981 Fermanagh and South Tyrone by-election.

Following his election to parliament in 1979 he was a member of the Transport Select Committee. After the 1983 general election he was appointed as the Parliamentary Private Secretary to his old boss Peter Walker, who had now become the Secretary of State for Energy.


In government

Dorrell was promoted to government after the 1987 General Election by the Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher as an Assistant Government Whip, and in 1988 became a Lord Commissioner to the Treasury 'full whip'. He was appointed as the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department of Health in 1990 under the premiership of John Major. After the 1992 General Election he became the Financial Secretary to the Treasury.

Dorrell was promoted to the Major Cabinet as the Secretary of State for National Heritage in 1994, and on appointment became a Member of the Privy Council. He headhunted Jennie Page for the job of Millennium Dome Chief Executive according to The Observer[2]. Page was sacked shortly after the Dome's opening night fiasco. He was transferred to become the Secretary of State for Health in 1995, and remained in position until the end of the Conservative administration at the 1997 general election.

Dorrell was often deployed in the media as a spokesman for the Major government, as it was felt he conveyed an air of approachability and popular appeal. During party conference season in the late nineties he was followed by a camera crew from the BBC's Breakfast show, capturing the behind-the-scenes build-up to his conference speech. The actual speech was also shown, including his joke (at the height of tensions in the Conservative party over Europe) that he considered himself a 'bureausceptic'. Unfortunately the joke, a reference to trying to reduce the level of red tape in the Health Service fell on deaf ears. As a nineties Conservative Ministerial remark, it was on a par with that of Roger Freeman, another 'approachable Tory'.

After government

When constituency boundaries were revised for the 1997 election, he moved with his key rural voters into the new Charnwood Constituency. He won the seat comfortably with a majority of 5,900, Loughborough itself being lost to Andy Reed of Labour.

He launched a bid for the leadership of the Conservative Party in 1997 but withdrew before the first ballot when it became clear his support amongst Conservative MPs was negligible. Instead he threw his support behind Kenneth Clarke's bid. Under William Hague he became shadow Secretary of State for Education and Employment, but left the shadow cabinet in 1998, and has remained a backbencher since.

When David Cameron was elected to lead the Conservative party in December 2005, Dorrell was appointed co-chairman, with Baroness Perry, of the Public Service Improvement policy group.

His family business Wensum PLC went into administration in the first half of 2009, and was bought out using a controversial pre-pack deal, leaving behind an estimated £4 million of debts and avoiding its pension liabilities.[3] Stephen Dorrell now owns 15% of the new company.


External links

Offices held

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
John Desmond Cronin
Member of Parliament for Loughborough
Succeeded by
Andy Reed
Preceded by
David Alton
Baby of the House
1979–April 1981
Succeeded by
Bobby Sands
Preceded by
Bobby Sands
Baby of the House
May 1981– August 1981
Succeeded by
Owen Carron
Preceded by
(new constituency)
Member of Parliament for Charnwood
Political offices
Preceded by
Francis Maude
Financial Secretary to the Treasury
Succeeded by
George Young
Preceded by
Peter Brooke
Secretary of State for National Heritage
Succeeded by
Virginia Bottomley
Preceded by
Virginia Bottomley
Secretary of State for Health
Succeeded by
Frank Dobson
Preceded by
Chris Smith
Shadow Secretary of State for Health
Succeeded by
John Maples


Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address