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Monday, 21 October, 2002, 10:38 GMT 11:38 UK
John Whittingdale
John Whittingdale

Date of birth

16 October 1959

Political profile

John Whittingdale's appointment as shadow trade and industry secretary in Iain Duncan Smith's first shadow cabinet was a very rapid promotion for the MP whose only previous formal frontbench experience was a brief stint as a junior Treasury spokesman.

He was subsequently moved to become shadow culture, media and sport Secretary in Iain Duncan Smith's second re-shuffle.

He regained that post in the September 2004 Tory reshuffle.

But Michael Howard had begun his leadership by appointing Mr Whittingdale as shadow secretary of state for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food.

The Maldon and Chelmsford East MP has an impressive political track record and links to some of the party's most senior figures.

He is a former special adviser at the Department of Trade and Industry and before his election served as Margaret Thatcher's private secretary.

He was also parliamentary private secretary to Eric Forth and to William Hague.

He is a strongly Eurosceptic Thatcherite, and a member of both the No Turning Back group and Conservative Way Forward.

He was, with Iain Duncan Smith, one of the handful of new Tory MPs in 1992 not to support the Major government over Maastricht, although he chose to abstain rather than actively to rebel.

Contact

Commons office: 020 7219 5828
Constituency office: 01621 855663

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