- Stephen Dorrell
name = Stephen Dorrell
constituency_MP = Charnwood
1 May 1997
majority = 8,809 (17.4%)
predecessor = "new constituency"
constituency_MP2 = Loughborough
3 May 1979
1 May 1997
John Desmond Cronin
birth_date = Birth date and age|1952|03|25|df=yes
nationality = British
spouse = Penelope Anne Wears Taylor
party = Conservative
Brasenose College, Oxford
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 Leicestershireand is a Patron of the Tory Reform Group.
He was born in
Worcesterand was educated at Uppingham Schooland Brasenose College, Oxfordwhere he was awarded a Bachelor of Artsdegree. He was with the Royal Air ForceVoluntary 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.
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, 1981when Bobby Sandswas 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 Carronwas 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 Secretaryto his old boss Peter Walker, who had now become the Secretary of State for Energy.
Stephen Dorrell was promoted to government after the 1987 General Election by the Prime Minister
Margaret Thatcheras 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 Stateat 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 Heritagein 1994, and on appointment became a Member of the Privy Council. He headhunted Jennie Page for the job of Millennium DomeChief 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 Healthin 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 tapein 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'.
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 Reedof 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 Haguehe became shadow Secretary of State for Education and Employment, but left the shadow cabinet in 1998, and has remained a backbenchersince.
David Cameronwas 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
* [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
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