Tom King, Baron King of Bridgwater

Infobox Politician

honorific-prefix = The Right Honourable
name = The Lord King of Bridgwater,
honorific-suffix = PC
birth_date = 13 June 1933
birth_place = Rugby, Warwickshire, UK
office = Secretary of State for Defence
term_start = 24 July 1989
term_end = 11 April 1992
primeminister = Margaret Thatcher
John Major
predecessor = George Younger
successor = Malcolm Rifkind
office2 = Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
term_start2 = 3 September 1985
term_end2 = 24 July 1989
primeminister2 = Margaret Thatcher
predecessor2 = Douglas Hurd
successor2 = Peter Brooke
office3 = Secretary of State for Employment
term_start3 = 16 October 1983
term_end3 = 2 September 1985
predecessor3 = Norman Tebbit
successor3 = David Young
office4 = Secretary of State for Transport
term_start4 = 11 June 1983
term_end4 = 16 October 1983
predecessor4 = David Howell
successor4 = Nicholas Ridley
office5 = Secretary of State for the Environment
term_start5 = 6 January 1983
term_end5 = 11 June 1983
predecessor5 = Michael Heseltine
successor5 = Patrick Jenkin
party = Conservative

Thomas Jeremy King, Baron King of Bridgwater, CH, PC (born 13 June 1933), is a British Conservative politician who was Member of Parliament for Bridgwater in Somerset, from 1970 until 2001.


Early life

Educated at Sheriff House, Rugby School; King was elected to Parliament at a by-election in 1970, following the death of sitting MP Sir Gerald Wells.

In government

He held the posts of Employment Secretary and Secretary of State for Northern Ireland at a time when these were high-profile roles with the potential for controversy, but was not very well-known.

King also served as Defence Secretary under Prime Minister John Major during the Gulf War in 1991. After retirement to the back benches, he became chairman of the Intelligence and Security Select Committee, during which time KGB agent Vasili Mitrokhin defected to reveal 87-year-old Melita Norwood as a Soviet spy [ [ BBC News | UK | 'More KGB revelations to come' ] ] .

He is now a life peer as Baron King of Bridgwater, and sits in the House of Lords.

Personal life

He is married to Jane Tilney, now Lady King; and has one son Rupert (married to media and entertainment solicitor Alice Rayman), and one daughter Elisa.

In popular culture

King was portrayed by Peter Blythe in the 2004 BBC production of "The Alan Clark Diaries".

King was the subject of a song in the satirical ITV programme Spitting Image where he was dipicted as the Invisible Man during his term as Secretary of State for Employment.


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