Stephen Dorrell


Stephen Dorrell

Infobox MP
honorific-prefix =
name = Stephen Dorrell
honorific-suffix =



caption =
constituency_MP = Charnwood
parliament =
term_start = 1 May 1997
term_end =
majority = 8,809 (17.4%)
predecessor = "new constituency"
successor =
constituency_MP2 = Loughborough
parliament2 =
term_start2 = 3 May 1979
term_end2 = 1 May 1997
majority2 =
predecessor2 = John Desmond Cronin
successor2 = Andy Reed
birth_date = Birth date and age|1952|03|25|df=yes
birth_place = Worcester
death_date =
death_place =
nationality = British
spouse = Penelope Anne Wears Taylor
party = Conservative
relations =
children =
residence =
alma_mater = Brasenose College, Oxford
occupation =
profession =
religion =


website =
footnotes =

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.

He was born in Worcester and was educated at Uppingham School and Brasenose College, Oxford where he was awarded a Bachelor of Arts degree. He was with the Royal Air Force Voluntary Reserve for two years from 1971. Apart from his years in governmental office Dorrell has been a director of the Faithful Group Ltd, his family's industrial clothing firm.

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 2,348 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

Stephen 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.

Stephen 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 Observercite web|title = How Dome dreams were dashed - The Observer, 6 February 2000|url = http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2000/feb/06/millennium.uk|accessdate = 2008-07-31] . 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.

He has been married to Penelope Anne Wears Taylor since 1980 and they have three sons and a daughter. He is a former patron of Christian Aid.

External links

* [http://www.stephendorrell.org.uk/ Stephen Dorrell MP] official site
* [http://www.epolitix.com/EN/MPWebsites/Stephen+Dorrell/ ePolitix.com - Stephen Dorrell MP]
* [http://politics.guardian.co.uk/person/0,9290,-1442,00.html Guardian Unlimited Politics - Ask Aristotle: Stephen Dorrell MP]
* [http://www.theyworkforyou.com/mp/stephen_dorrell/charnwood TheyWorkForYou.com - Stephen Dorrell MP]
* [http://www.publicwhip.org.uk/mp.php?mpn=Stephen_Dorrell&mpc=Charnwood The Public Whip - Stephen Dorrell MP]
* [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/politics/2061932.stm BBC News - Stephen Dorrell MP] profile 18 October 2002

Offices held


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