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Tuesday, 22 October, 2002, 15:49 GMT 16:49 UK
Peter Lilley
Peter Lilley

Date of birth

23 August 1943

Political profile

Formerly one of the Tories' shining lights, Peter Lilley has, since 1999, sat on the backbenches where he has sought to make the intellectual case for Conservative politics, rather than actively promoting it.

He sat in the Cabinet throughout the Major government, most notably as Social Security Secretary from 1992-7.

He is economically on the right of the party but more socially liberal than many of his colleagues.

He is essentially a cerebral politician - despite sporadic attempts to portray himself as a rabble-rousing opponent of scroungers.

After the Conservatives' defeat in 1997, he stood for the leadership without much success, coming second last in the initial vote of MPs.

He did become Shadow Chancellor and Deputy Leader, but proved fairly powerless to land blows on Gordon Brown over the despatch box.

He was given the responsibility, in William Hague's policy review, of broadening the party's electoral strategy, which led to his making a speech in April 1999 suggesting that there should be limits to the reach of privatisation.

He has since reinvented himself as a libertarian pamphleteeer, in which guise he caused controversy in 2001 by calling for the legalisation of cannabis.

Contact

020 7219 4577

lilleyp@parliament.uk

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