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John Alan Redwood (born 15 June 1951) is a British Conservative Party politician and Member of Parliament (MP) for Wokingham in the county of Berkshire. He was formerly Secretary of State for Wales in Prime Minister John Major's Cabinet, and was an unsuccessful challenger for the leadership of the Conservative Party in June 1995.

The Right Honourable
John Redwood
Official portrait of John Redwood crop 2.jpg
Official parliamentary portrait, June 2017
Shadow Secretary of State for Deregulation
In office
6 May 2005 – 5 December 2005
Leader Michael Howard
Preceded by Position established
Succeeded by Position abolished
Shadow Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions
In office
15 June 1999 – 2 February 2000
Leader William Hague
Preceded by Gillian Shephard
Succeeded by Archie Norman
Shadow Secretary of State for Trade and Industry
In office
11 June 1997 – 15 June 1999
Leader William Hague
Preceded by Michael Heseltine
Succeeded by Angela Browning
Secretary of State for Wales
In office
27 May 1993 – 26 June 1995
Prime Minister John Major
Preceded by David Hunt
Succeeded by William Hague
Minister of State for Local Government
In office
15 April 1992 – 27 May 1993
Prime Minister John Major
Preceded by Michael Portillo
Succeeded by David Curry
Minister for Corporate Affairs
In office
26 July 1989 – 15 April 1992
Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher
John Major
Preceded by Francis Maude
Succeeded by Neil Hamilton
Member of Parliament
for Wokingham
Assumed office
11 June 1987
Preceded by William van Straubenzee
Majority 24,193 (43.2%)
Personal details
Born (1951-06-15) 15 June 1951 (age 66)
Dover, Kent, England
Political party Conservative
Alma mater Magdalen College, Oxford
St Antony's College, Oxford
All Souls College, Oxford

He is currently co chairman of the Conservative Party's Policy Review Group on Economic Competitiveness. He is employed by N M Rothschild & Sons.


Early lifeEdit

John Redwood was born in Dover. The second child of William Redwood (1925—2016),[1] an accountant and company secretary, and his wife, Amy Emma (née Champion), the manageress of a shoe shop. He had an elder sister, Jennifer, who died as a baby in 1949.[2][3]


Redwood was schooled at Kent College, Canterbury before reading a Bachelor of Arts (BA) in History at Magdalen College, Oxford and later obtaining a PhD from St Antony’s College, Oxford.[4] He was later awarded Distinguished Fellowship from All Souls College, Oxford.[5]

Member of ParliamentEdit

He was an Oxfordshire County Councillor between 1973 and 1977, the youngest ever at the age of 21 when elected, and contested Southwark, Peckham in October 1982 at the Peckham by-election, 1982 where he lost to Harriet Harman.[6]

Redwood became MP for Wokingham in June 1987. Redwood was made a Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State in July 1989 for Corporate Affairs at the Department of Trade and Industry. In November 1990, he was promoted to Minister of State.

Redwood became Minister for Local Government and Inner Cities after the 1992 General Election where he successfully saw to the abolition of the Community Charge, known as the "Poll Tax", and its replacement, the Council Tax.

Redwood has voted against key LGBT rights questions, being opposed to attempts to reduce the age of consent for homosexuality in both 1994 and 1999, choosing to vote to keep Section 28 in November 2003[7] and general opposition to same-sex marriage.[8] He also voted for the reintroduction of capital punishment[9][10] in 1988, 1990 and 1994.

In GovernmentEdit

In the Government reshuffle of May 1993, Redwood was appointed to the cabinet as Secretary of State for Wales.

According to some, he was energetic during his time as Secretary of State for Wales, while others consider it to be somewhat controversial. He deferred several road widening schemes which would have endangered the environment of rural areas in Wales.

In February 1995, he was at loggerheads with the Countryside Council for Wales because he had decided to cut its grant by 16%.[11] He also launched a scheme to provide more funding for popular schools with high numbers of applicants and concentrated extra expenditure on health and education services away from administrative overheads.

Redwood consequently gained a somewhat haughty reputation with apparent disregard for national feeling; this did not endear him further to some of the population, most memorably when in 1995 he returned £100,000,000 of Wales's block grant to the Treasury unspent.[12]

Redwood's made a gaffe in 1993 when he attempted to mime to the Welsh national anthem at the Welsh Conservative Party conference when he clearly did not know the words.[13] Redwood subsequently learned the anthem but, in August 2007, an unconnected news story on Redwood was illustrated with the same clip resulted in Tory activists filing complaints and as a result the BBC apologised to Redwood for airing the dated footage.[14]

1995 leadership contestEdit

When John Major tendered his resignation as Conservative leader in June 1995, Redwood resigned from the Cabinet, and stood against Major in the subsequent party leadership election on 26 June. In the ballot held on 4 July, Redwood received 89 votes, around a quarter of the then Parliamentary Party. Major received 218 votes, or two thirds of the parliamentary party vote.

The newspaper The Sun had declared its support for Redwood in the run up to the leadership contest, running the front-page headline "Redwood versus Deadwood".[15]

Further cabinet appointmentsEdit

When Major resigned as party leader after the General Election defeat of May 1997, Redwood stood in the resulting election for the leadership, and was again defeated. Redwood was appointed Shadow Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions, but was dropped in a mini reshuffle in February 2000, being succeeded by Archie Norman. Redwood's local constituency association had received numerous donations from the Mabey Group,[16] and in 2001 Redwood became chairman of a Mabey family trust, continuing for six years until 2007.

Political fundingEdit

The Wokingham Conservative Constituency Association has received £475,319.53 since 2005.[17] Since 2010, Redwood has received over £300,000 in remunerations from Evercore Pan-Asset Capital Management Ltd, a financial management company, and about £80,000 since 2010 from pump manufacturing company Concentric plc.[17][18]

He has received upwards of £9,000 in private donations from individuals the Viscount and Viscountess Bearsted.[19]


Redwood's appearance has led to some commentators, originally former Conservative MP turned political sketch-writer, Matthew Parris, noting similarities between him and Star Trek's Spock and so Redwood is often called a Vulcan.[20]

Redwood's tenure as Secretary of State for Wales was summarised humorously by Adam Price, an MP for Plaid Cymru, as "The most bizarre political appointment since Caligula made his horse a Senator."[21]

In the mediaEdit

Redwood was interviewed about the rise of Thatcherism for the 2006 BBC television documentary series Tory! Tory! Tory!, and continues to appear regularly on television, such BBC's Question Time.


Personal lifeEdit

He married Gail Felicity Chippington, a barrister, on 20 April 1974 in Chipping Norton; they had two children, Catherine (born 1978) and Richard (born 1982). They divorced acrimoniously in July 2003.[22][23][24]


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^ Deaths - England and Wales - July, August and September 1949
  4. ^ "About". Retrieved 2016-10-15. 
  5. ^ "All Souls College Oxford". Retrieved 2016-10-15. 
  6. ^ "Sheila Faith – obituary". Daily Telegraph. 16 October 2014. Retrieved 22 October 2014. 
  7. ^ "John Redwood". Retrieved on 23 November 2015.
  8. ^ "John Redwood". Retrieved on 23 November 2015.
  9. ^ "Leading Article: John Redwood's hasty credo". The Independent. 23 October 2011. Retrieved on 23 November 2015.
  10. ^ Nigel Farndale (12 November 2006). "Say no to gallows humour". Retrieved on 23 November 2015.
  11. ^ Lean, Geoffrey (19 February 1995). "Greens attack Redwood policies". The Independent. London. 
  12. ^ "BBC News | Wales | Labour scorns Tory no confidence threat". Retrieved on 23 November 2015.
  13. ^ Lauren Niland. "Rick Perry's predecessors: when politicians forget". the Guardian. Retrieved on 23 November 2015.
  14. ^ "BBC: We were wrong to mock John Redwood". Telegraph. Retrieved 24 September 2013. 
  15. ^ Macintyre, Donald; Brown, Colin (27 June 1995). "PM assails 'malcontent' Redwood". The Independent. London. 
  16. ^ Rob Evans and David Leigh (12 August 2008). "Building firm says it may have breached Saddam sanctions". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 30 January 2010. 
  17. ^ a b "". Search the Money. Retrieved on 23 November 2015.
  18. ^ "". Search the Money. Retrieved on 23 November 2015.
  19. ^ "". Search the Money. Retrieved on 23 November 2015.
  20. ^ "John Redwood". British Broadcasting Corporation, 'Politics 97'. 1997. Retrieved 12 Nov 15.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  21. ^ Adam Price's Speech, 12 September 2009, Plaid Cymru 2009 Party Conference, Llandudno
  22. ^ Brown, Colin (27 July 2003). "Redwood leaves his wife for former model Nikki Page". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 7 May 2010. 
  23. ^ Kite, Melissa (15 February 2004). "Redwood comes out fighting against ex-wife". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 7 May 2010. 
  24. ^ David Hencke, Westminster correspondent (28 March 2005). "Redwood's ex-wife debunks Vulcan jibe | UK news". The Guardian. Retrieved 24 September 2013. 

External linksEdit

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
William van Straubenzee
Member of Parliament
for Wokingham

Political offices
Preceded by
David Hunt
Secretary of State for Wales
Succeeded by
William Hague
Preceded by
Michael Heseltine
Shadow Secretary of State for Trade and Industry
Succeeded by
Angela Browning
Preceded by
Gillian Shephard
Shadow Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions
Succeeded by
Archie Norman
New office Shadow Secretary of State for Deregulation
Position abolished