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Ian Grist (5 December 1938 – 2 January 2002) was a British Conservative politician.

Ian Grist
Member of the United Kingdom Parliament
for Cardiff Central
In office
9 June 1983 – 9 April 1992
Preceded bynew constituency
Succeeded byJon Owen Jones
Member of the United Kingdom Parliament
for Cardiff North
In office
28 February 1974 – 9 June 1983
Preceded byMichael Roberts
Succeeded byGwilym Jones
Personal details
Born5 December 1938
Southampton, England
Died2 January 2002(2002-01-02) (aged 63)
Political partyConservative
Spouse(s)Wendy White
Alma materJesus College, Oxford

Grist was Member of Parliament (MP) for Cardiff North from February 1974 to 1983, and for Cardiff Central from 1983 until 1992.

Early lifeEdit

Grist was born in Southampton. First he went to prep school in Broadstairs, Kent, after which he was sent to Repton School. Having won a scholarship[1] he studied History at Jesus College, Oxford from 1957 to 1960.[2][3] He had joined the Young Conservatives in 1956[1] and in Oxford became Jesus College Conservative Association's secretary.[4][5]


At first Grist wanted a career as a colonial administrator. In 1960 he went to the Southern Cameroons as a plebiscite officer, and in 1961 he moved to Nigeria, working as a manager for the United Africa Company. In 1963 he returned to Britain.[1][4]

On his return he became the Tories' Welsh political education officer, and worked for the party as a researcher from 1970 to 1974. In the 1970 general election he stood for election in Aberavon, a Labour stronghold, and lost. However, he won the marginal Cardiff North constituency in the February 1974 election.[1]

Member of ParliamentEdit

Grist was known as a very assiduous Member of Parliament, who worked hard for his constituents and preferred to handle their complaints, rather than focus on his career. This enabled him to hold off several challenges in his marginal seat. When the Tories returned to power in 1979 he was appointed Parliamentary Private Secretary to Nicholas Edwards, the new Welsh Secretary, but he resigned in 1981. He returned to focusing on local issues.[1]

Following boundary changes Grist stood for Cardiff Central in the 1983 general election and won.[5] In the 1987 election he held the seat by fewer than 2000 votes in what was the "closest three-way contest in Wales".[6]

In 1987 Margaret Thatcher surprisingly appointed him Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Wales, a post for which his signature posed a problem ("I. Grist" signifying "Jesus Christ" in Welsh[1]), and remained in the position until he was sacked by John Major in 1990.[4] In the 1992 general election he lost Cardiff Central to Labour Co-operative candidate Jon Owen Jones.[7]

Outside ParliamentEdit

After losing his seat Grist was made the chairman of South Glamorgan Health Authority, a post he held until 1996, when he retired due to ill health.[1][7] His appointment was regarded as controversial.[7]

Political viewsEdit

While in opposition, Grist attacked Welsh devolution, unions, pop festivals and Neil Kinnock, whom he described as "neo-Marxist".[1] Under Thatcher he opposed the poll tax and the privatisation of water companies. He also supported the British-American alliance. In social matters, he opposed the death penalty, restrictions on abortion, and school corporal punishment. A pro-European, he supported Michael Heseltine's leadership challenge.[4]

Personal life and deathEdit

In 1966 he married Wendy White.[1] They had two sons, Julian and Toby.[4]

On the second day of 2002, Grist died of a stroke at the age of 63.[4]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Ian Grist". The Daily Telegraph. 12 January 2002. Retrieved 4 August 2014.
  2. ^ "Old Members' Obituaries (reprinted from the obituary printed in The Times on 8 January 2002)". The Jesus College Record: 93–4.
  3. ^ "GRIST, Ian". Who Was Who (subscription access). January 2007. Retrieved 19 July 2007.
  4. ^ a b c d e f Roth, Andrew (22 January 2002). "Ian Grist". The Guardian. Retrieved 4 August 2014.
  5. ^ a b Jones, John Graham. "Ian Grist". National Library of Wales. Retrieved 4 August 2014.
  6. ^ Waller, Robert; Criddle, Byron (1999). The Almanac of British politics (6th ed.). London: Routledge. p. 142. ISBN 9780415185417. Retrieved 4 August 2014.
  7. ^ a b c Tindle, Greg (10 January 2002). "Tributes are paid to former MP Ian Grist". South Wales Echo. Retrieved 4 August 2014.
Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Michael Roberts
Member of Parliament for Cardiff North
February 19741983
Succeeded by
Gwilym Jones
New constituency Member of Parliament for Cardiff Central
Succeeded by
Jon Owen Jones