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John Redwood

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John Redwood
John Redwood

The Right Honourable John Redwood (born June 15, 1951) is a British Conservative politician, MP for Wokingham and Shadow Secretary of State for Deregulation.

Redwood, born in Dover, Kent, had a brilliant academic career behind him (Graduate of Magdalen College, Oxford, fellow of All Souls' College, Oxford since 1972 and currently a lecturer at Middlesex University) when he became MP for Wokingham in 1987. By 1993 he was in the Cabinet, as Secretary of State for Wales, a job which had to be given to an MP for an English constituency because none of the then remaining six Conservative MPs representing Welsh constituencies was sufficiently experienced to serve as a Cabinet Minister. Redwood's perceived haughty manner and apparent disregard for national feeling did not endear him to the population, most notoriously when in 1995 he returned 100 million pounds of Wales' block grant to the UK treasury unspent, and it was a relief to many when he was succeeded by William Hague two years later. Redwood's most famous gaffe was his attempt to sing along to the Welsh national anthem at a public event, when he appeared not to know the words.

Undaunted, Redwood attempted to further his career by standing for the party leadership in 1995 against the incumbent prime minister, John Major, whose more liberal views he had never shared. It was on the question of the European Union that Redwood finally took issue with the party leadership, taking a hardline withdrawalist stance. When Major resigned after the 1997 general election defeat, Redwood stood for the leadership again, and was again defeated, though he secured marginally greater support than his rival right-wing candidates Peter Lilley and Michael Howard.

On 8 September 2004, Michael Howard (now leader of the Opposition) added him to the Shadow Cabinet as Secretary of State for Deregulation, in a move seen by many commentators as a reaction to the relative success of the fringe United Kingdom Independence Party in the 2004 European Parliamentary elections.

Redwood's appearance has led to some commentators, originally his former colleague turned political sketch-writer, Matthew Parris, noting similarities between him and Star Trek's Mr. Spock and so Redwood is often called a Vulcan. In line with this, political cartoonists often draw him with pointed ears. It is a comparison which Redwood has taken in good humour.

See also

External links



Preceded by:
David Hunt
Secretary of State for Wales
1993–1995
Succeeded by:
David Hunt

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