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EDITIONS
Monday, 15 July, 2002, 11:15 GMT 12:15 UK
The high-flying image-maker
Sir Christopher Meyer
Sir Christopher will take up his PCC post next year
Sir Christopher Meyer, the new chairman of the Press Complaints Commission, has years of experience in dealing with the media.

As former press secretary to Prime Minister John Major and Foreign Office spokesman, he has gained a strong reputation among political journalists.

He also played a key role in ensuring Britain's relationship with America remained solid after Republican President George W Bush came to power.

As Britain's ambassador to Washington since 1997, he is said to have bonded with the new president, which has proved helpful to Tony Blair.

Sir Christopher Meyer
Sir Christopher is said to be "unstuffy"
Sir Christopher is seen as a high flier, who won the coveted post in the Diplomatic Service at the relatively young age of 53.

Now 58, Sir Christopher was educated at Lancing College and Peterhouse College, Cambridge, before attending the John Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies in Bologna.

He joined the Diplomatic Service in 1966, and after two years in London was posted to Moscow and then Madrid.

On his return to London in 1973, he worked as head of the Soviet section in the East European and Soviet Department of the Foreign Office.

In 1976 he was transferred to the policy planning staff as speechwriter to the foreign secretary.

He then moved to Brussels where he specialised in trade policy for the UK Representation to the European Communities.

'Hacks'

Four years later, he returned to Moscow as political counsellor. His fluency in Russian and his warm manner made him a favourite with the key people in the Kremlin.

In 1984, Sir Christopher returned to London to spend four years as Foreign Office spokesman and press secretary.

He then spent a sabbatical year as a visiting fellow at Harvard University's Center for International Affairs.

There, he wrote a paper about the craft of spokesmanship, called Hacks and Pin-Striped Appeasers: Selling British Foreign Policy to the Press.

After that he was posted to Washington as minister with responsibility for trade policy, and in 1992 was promoted to minister and deputy head of mission.

In 1994, Prime Minister John Major brought Sir Christopher back to London to serve as his press secretary at 10 Downing Street in the hope of boosting his flagging image.

Legal wrangle

Sir Christopher built up a strong reputation with political journalists but left the post shortly before the 1997 general election to resume his diplomatic career as British ambassador to Germany.

In October of that year the new Prime Minister Tony Blair recognised his talents by promoting him to the crucial role of ambassador to Washington.

He has gone on to become the longest serving British ambassador to the US since World War II.

Sir Christopher's wife, Lady Catherine, has been involved in a legal battle to see her sons Alexander, 17 and Constantin, 15, who were abducted in 1994 by her German ex-husband Hans-Peter Volkmann.

Access has been repeatedly denied by domestic German courts, despite an enormous international campaign which has attracted high level support.

See also:

14 Jul 02 | Politics
01 Feb 02 | Politics
11 Jun 02 | Politics
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