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Wednesday, 16 October, 2002, 09:11 GMT 10:11 UK
John Redwood

Date of birth

15 June 1951

Political profile

Despite never having held one of the major offices of state, John Redwood is the intellectual face of Euroscepticism.

A banker and academic, he was also head of the Number 10 policy unit during Mrs Thatcher's second term, where he was one of the greatest supporters of widespread privatisation, a stance he retains to this day.

He was elected to the Commons in 1987 and quickly climbed the ministerial ladder, joining the cabinet as secretary of state for Wales in 1993.

Unfortunately, the enduring television image of his time in the role was his attempt to sing the Welsh national anthem despite clearly not knowing the words.

When John Major resigned the leadership of the Conservative Party in 1995, inviting detractors to "put up or shut up", John Redwood challenged him, standing on a Eurosceptic platform.

His fringe supporters became known as the "barmy army" and the bid was a failure.

He became a roving critic of the party from the back benches.

He stood again for the leadership in 1997 and then joined William Hague's shadow cabinet, initially shadowing trade and industry and later opposing John Prescott.

His attacks on Labour were often passionate and well argued, but that did not prevent him from being dropped from the frontbench in 2000.

After Iain Duncan Smith became leader, Mr Redwood was offered the role of shadow trade and industry spokesman again, but turned it down.

He remained a potent presence on the back benches, making fierce attacks on the government and writing books and pamphlets denouncing the European Union and in praise of US capitalism.

Now he is back on the Tory front line as shadow deregulation secretary as Michael Howard uses him to spearhead his campaign to cut red tape.

Contact

redwoodj@parliament.uk

Constituency office 0118 962 9501

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