Sir John Alan Redwood (born 15 June 1951) is a British Conservative Party politician. Since 1987, he has been the Member of Parliament (MP) for Wokingham in Berkshire. He was formerly Secretary of State for Wales in the Major government and was twice an unsuccessful candidate for the leadership of the Conservative Party in the 1990s. He subsequently served in the Shadow Cabinets of William Hague and Michael Howard, and has remained a backbencher since then.
Sir John Redwood
|Shadow Secretary of State for Deregulation|
6 May 2005 – 5 December 2005
|Preceded by||Position established|
|Succeeded by||Position abolished|
|Shadow Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions|
15 June 1999 – 2 February 2000
|Preceded by||Gillian Shephard|
|Succeeded by||Archie Norman|
|Shadow Secretary of State for Trade and Industry|
11 June 1997 – 15 June 1999
|Preceded by||Michael Heseltine|
|Succeeded by||Angela Browning|
|Secretary of State for Wales|
27 May 1993 – 26 June 1995
|Prime Minister||John Major|
|Preceded by||David Hunt|
|Succeeded by||William Hague|
|Minister of State for Local Government|
15 April 1992 – 27 May 1993
|Prime Minister||John Major|
|Preceded by||Michael Portillo|
|Succeeded by||David Curry|
|Minister for Corporate Affairs|
26 July 1989 – 15 April 1992
|Prime Minister||Margaret Thatcher|
|Preceded by||Francis Maude|
|Succeeded by||Neil Hamilton|
|Director of the Number 10 Policy Unit|
5 May 1982 – 12 November 1987
|Prime Minister||Margaret Thatcher|
|Preceded by||Ferdinand Mount|
|Succeeded by||Brian Griffiths|
|Member of Parliament|
|Assumed office |
11 June 1987
|Preceded by||William van Straubenzee|
John Alan Redwood
15 June 1951
Dover, Kent, England
(m. 1974; div. 2003)
|Alma mater||Magdalen College, Oxford|
St Antony's College, Oxford
Redwood is a veteran Eurosceptic who was described in 1993 as a "pragmatic Thatcherite". He was the co-chairman of the Conservative Party's Policy Review Group on Economic Competitiveness until 2010. He has the role of Chief Global Strategist of investment management company Charles Stanley & Co Ltd (part of Charles Stanley Group). Redwood is a long-term critic of the European Union and of the United Kingdom's membership of the European Union. He supported Brexit in the 2016 EU referendum, and is a member of the British Eurosceptic pressure group Leave Means Leave.
John Redwood was born in Dover, the second child of William Redwood (1925—2016), an accountant and company secretary, and his wife, Amy Emma (née Champion), the manager of a shoe shop. He had an elder sister, Jennifer, who died as a baby in 1949. He grew up in a council house, and describes his family buying their own house as a "big breakthrough" for the family.
Redwood was educated at Kent College, Canterbury, and Magdalen College, Oxford, where he graduated BA in modern history, and in 1972 was elected a Fellow by examination of All Souls College, Oxford, which later led to a distinguished fellowship. At All Souls, he wrote a DPhil thesis which investigated the fear of atheism in England, from the Restoration to the publication of Alciphron by George Berkeley. He graduated DPhil in 1975.
He was an Oxfordshire County Councillor between 1973 and 1977, the youngest ever at the age of 21 when elected, and stood in the Peckham by-election of October 1982 where he lost to Harriet Harman. From 1983 onwards, he headed Margaret Thatcher's policy unit, where he was one of the champions of privatisation.
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 oversaw the abolition of the Community Charge, known as the "Poll Tax", and its replacement with the Council Tax.
Redwood was 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.[better source needed] He has generally been opposed to same-sex marriage. He voted for the reintroduction of capital punishment in 1988, 1990 and 1994 and voiced support for the reintroducing of the death penalty when he launched his leadership bid on 26 June 1995. Redwood has stated since then: "I have never spoken or written against civil partnerships and gay marriage and am not proposing any change to current laws. I regard the debate about capital punishment as being over and do not support its reintroduction."
In the Government reshuffle of May 1993, Redwood was appointed to the Cabinet as Secretary of State for Wales. He deferred some road-widening schemes in Wales because of suggested harm to the environment.
In February 1995, he was at loggerheads with the Countryside Council for Wales, because he had decided to cut its grant by 16%. 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, including when he returned £100 million of Wales's block grant to the Treasury unspent in 1995. Redwood committed a gaffe in 1993, when he attempted to mime to the Welsh national anthem at the Welsh Conservative Party conference, when he did not know the words. Redwood subsequently learned the anthem but, in August 2007, an unconnected news story on Redwood was illustrated with the same clip. This resulted in Conservative activists filing complaints, and as a result the BBC apologised to Redwood for airing the dated footage.
Leadership contests and subsequent careerEdit
When John Major called upon his critics to "put up or shut up" and tendered his resignation to allow for a leadership challenge, Redwood resigned from the Cabinet, and stood against Major in the subsequent party leadership election on 26 June 1995. In the ballot held on 4 July 1995, 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".
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. After being defeated in the third round with 38 votes to Kenneth Clarke's 64 and William Hague's 62, Redwood backed Clarke against Hague.
Redwood was subsequently appointed Shadow Secretary of State for Trade and Industry by the victorious William Hague. He was appointed Shadow Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions in June 1999, but was dropped in a mini reshuffle in February 2000, being succeeded by Archie Norman.
Redwood is a veteran Eurosceptic. A critic of the Euro before its launch, in 2011 Redwood suggested that the Eurozone should "break up", and proposed that the United Kingdom should give up its Council voting rights in return for the ability to opt out of any EU legislation. There are no existing laws that would permit such an arrangement, as it would make European law not apply evenly across the Union as a whole. Later that year, he joined 81 rebel Conservative MPs in voting for an in-out referendum for leaving the European Union, saying afterwards "People used to call me an extreme Eurosceptic. Now I’m a moderate." Before the Brexit referendum, Redwood wrote that, to Conservative Eurosceptics like him, leaving the EU was "more important than which party wins the next election or who is the prime minister."
Since then, he has suggested the United Kingdom need not prioritise a post-Brexit deal with the EU, and received criticism for writing an investment advice column which recommended investors "look further afield" than the United Kingdom. Redwood denied this interpretation, saying that he simply advises investors of where international markets are heading and did not write an investment column "recommending investors pull their money out of the United Kingdom".
In statements to media and in the House of Commons, Redwood has consistently defended the position that the UK should not pay the so-called Brexit bill (amounting to around £39 billion). This is in line with a House of Lords EU financial affairs committee report, which itself is contested on its legal soundness since the financial settlement simply reflects commitments already entered into by the UK under the EU's multi-annual financial framework for the years 2014–2020 and therefore is not linked to the process of the UK leaving the European Union. In December 2019, Redwood voted in favour of the Withdrawal Agreement through which the UK accepts to pay its outstanding financial obligations to the EU.
He has often been compared to a Vulcan, a comparison originally made by Matthew Parris, due to his physical appearance and intonation, a preference for making arguments with logic over passion and a perception for being cold and humourless.
John Redwood is viewed by many in the UK as an English nationalist. His politicking prior to and succeeding the Scottish independence referendum placed him "front and centre" to any political gain due to the perceived power vacuum resulting from any possible changes to the status quo of the union. In the days and weeks following the Scottish referendum Sir John along with others in the Conservative Party called for radical reform involving the establishment of an English Parliament.
Redwood worked as an investment analyst, manager and director for Robert Fleming and for NM Rothschild in the 1970s and 1980s. In 2007 he co-founded Evercore Pan-Asset Capital Management Ltd, a financial management company, which was subsequently sold to Charles Stanley. He is currently Chief Global Strategist at Charles Stanley & Co Ltd. He was previously a non-executive chairman of Mabey Securities, an investment arm of the engineering firm Mabey.
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). The marriage broke down after 28 years, and they divorced a year later in July 2003.
In the mediaEdit
Redwood was interviewed about the rise of Thatcherism for the BBC television documentary series of 2006, Tory! Tory! Tory!, and has often appeared on television, including appearances on the BBC's Question Time.
Redwood regularly updates a blog of political commentary which he has called John Redwood's Diary. Printed and bound copies of this blog are housed at the British Library and can be accessed through the British Library catalogue.
- I Don't Like Politics: But I Want to Make a Difference. Politico's Publishing. October 2006. ISBN 978-1-84275-182-4.
- Singing the Blues: 30 Years Of Tory Civil War. Politico's Publishing. October 2004. ISBN 978-1-84275-076-6.
- Just Say No!: 100 Arguments Against the Euro. Politico's Publishing. July 2001. ISBN 978-1-902301-99-0.
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- Local Government Review, Vol. 156, Part 1 (Justice of the Peace Ltd, 1992), p. 400
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- Chris Cook, John Stevenson, eds., Longman Companion to Britain Since 1945 (2014), p. 121
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- Woolf, Marie (2 September 2004). "John Redwood: He's back as Red-Tape Man, the unlikeliest sex symbol in the universe". The Independent. Retrieved 13 November 2017.
- "Making the break". Economist. 8 December 2012. Retrieved 13 November 2017.
- Redwood, John. "Let's give up our EU veto and opt out instead". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 13 November 2017.
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- Coppola, Frances (12 November 2017). "British Lawmaker Advises Investors To Take Their Money Out Of The UK". Forbes. Retrieved 14 November 2017. John Redwood's Diary 17 February 2018 www.http://johnredwoodsdiary.com/
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- "Brexit divorce bill explained: Why the UK needs to pay the EU to leave". Qz.com. 21 November 2017. Retrieved 23 January 2019.
- "The financial cost to the UK of leaving the EU | The Centre for Business Research blog". Cbr.blog.jbs.cam.ac.uk. 30 March 2017. Retrieved 23 January 2019.
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- "New Year's Honours list: John Redwood one of 3 MPs awarded knighthood". Inews.co.uk. 28 December 2018. Retrieved 23 January 2019.
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- Patricia Holland, Broadcasting and the NHS in the Thatcherite 1980s (2013), pp. 137–138
- Matthew Parris, Chance Witness: An Outsider's Life in Politics (2013), pp. 432–437
- John Redwood's Diary Retrieved 2 June 2020
- John Redwood's Diaries, archives and manuscripts catalogue, the British Library. Retrieved 2 June 2020
- John Redwood MP official site
- Debrett's People of Today
- John Redwood MP, at UK Parliament Website
- Profile at the Conservative Party
- Profile at Parliament of the United Kingdom
- Contributions in Parliament at Hansard
- Contributions in Parliament at Hansard 1803–2005
- Voting record at Public Whip
- Record in Parliament at TheyWorkForYou
- Profile: John Redwood, BBC News, 16 October 2002
- BBC Interview 2004
- Appearances on C-SPAN
|Parliament of the United Kingdom|
William van Straubenzee
| Member of Parliament
| Secretary of State for Wales
| Shadow Secretary of State for Trade and Industry
| Shadow Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions
|New office|| Shadow Secretary of State for Deregulation