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Thursday, 17 October, 2002, 14:42 GMT 15:42 UK
Oliver Letwin

Date of birth

19 May 1956

Political profile

Oliver Letwin has been an MP since 1997, but despite a meteoric rise in the Conservative ranks, did not come to public prominence until 2001.

During the general election campaign, he gave a newspaper interview in his capacity as shadow chief secretary, in which he suggested that the Tory spending plans ultimately envisaged cuts of 20bn in public spending.

More recently, he reportedly declared that he would rather go out on the streets and beg than send his children to a inner-city comprehensive school.

He is an extremely intelligent Thatcherite and Eurosceptic. A 'policy wonk', he worked in the 1980s for Thatcherite guru Sir Keith Joseph, before moving to the Downing Street Policy Unit where he helped to develop the poll tax.

He became an advisor to foreign governments on privatisation, and wrote a book, 'Privatising the world'.

A thinker rather than a slugger, and more socially liberal than the bulk of the Parliamentary Conservative Party, he was a surprise choice for Shadow Home Secretary in Iain Duncan Smith's first shadow cabinet, especially after initially supporting Michael Portillo for leader.

During his time as Shadow Home Secretary, he gained wide respect from other parties for his thoughtful and constructive contributions to debates.

In November 2003, Michael Howard appointed him Shadow Chancellor, whereupon he was forced to quit his city job with NM Rothschild after facing accusations of conflict of interest.

Contact

Constituency office: 01308 456891

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