The Member for Abingdon – Airey Neave
Neave joined the British Army on the outbreak of the Second World War. Sent to France he was wounded at Calais in 1940 and taken prisoner by the German Army. After escaping from his first POW camp he was sent to the maximum security prison at Colditz Castle.
In January 1942 Neave became the first British officer to escape from Colditz. On his return to England he helped to train air crews in the means of escape in occupied territory. He was also recruited into M19, a branch of M16 responsible for the support of the French Resistance. As a result of his war service Neave was awarded the Croix de Guerre.
In 1946 Neave was a member of the Nuremberg war crimes team. He joined the Conservative Party and in the 1951 General Election was elected to the House of Commons. Neave held several junior government posts before suffering a heart attack in 1959.
When the Conservative Party came to power in 1979 Neave was appointed Secretary of State for Northern Ireland. Airey Neave was killed by an INLA car bomb outside the House of Commons on 30th March 1979.
The Member for Bolton – Ann Taylor
The Rt Hon. the Baroness Taylor of Bolton was born Winifred Ann Taylor on 02 July 1947 in Scotland, and is a Labour Life peer sitting in the House of Lords since 13 June 2005. She previously sat in the House Of Commons as MP for Dewsbury and Bolton West.
Baroness Taylor of Bolton has held the position of Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Defence and Security) (also in the Ministry of Defence) (2009 to 2010), Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Defence) (International Defence and Security) (also in Foreign and Commonwealth Office) (2008 to 2010), Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Defence) (Procurement) (2007 to 2008), Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury (Chief Whip) (1998 to 2001), Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons (Privy Council Office) (1997 to 1998), Assistant Whip (HM Treasury) (1977 to 1979) in government.
She was Shadow Leader of the House of Commons (1994 to 1997), Shadow Secretary of State (1994 to 1995), Shadow Secretary of State (1992 to 1994) in opposition.
The Member for Croydon North Est – Jack Weatherill
Bernard Weatherill was elected Member of Parliament on 15 October 1964 for Croydon North East as a Conservative. He became a party whip only three years later, and deputy Chief Whip six years after that. He was re-elected seven times for the same seat until his retirement in 1992.
From October 1971 to April 1973, Weatherill was Vice-Chamberlain of Her Majesty's Household, an office usually held by a Government whip, as Weatherill then was. He wrote a letter (hand-carried by messenger, or sent by telegram) to the Queen at the end of each day the House of Commons met, describing the debates, reactions, and political gossip. His letters are believed to have been more entertaining than the debates themselves.
He was made a member of the Privy Council in 1980.
He was Speaker of the House of Commons from 1983 to 1992. As Speaker at the time television cameras were first allowed to cover proceedings in the House of Commons, he became widely known throughout the English-speaking world due to broadcasts of Prime minister's questions.
He was the last Speaker to wear a wig while in the chair. He commented that the wig is a wonderful device that allows the Speaker to pretend not to hear some things. He enforced the rights of Parliament to be publicly told of government policies before they were announced to the press or elsewhere. A portrait of him by Robin-Lee Hall hangs in Portcullis House.
The Member for Henley – Michael Heseltine
Michael Ray Dibdin Heseltine was born in Swansea on 21 March 1933. He was educated at Shewsbury School and Pembroke College, Oxford. At 18 he joined the Conservative party. He married Anne Harding Williams in 1962.
After leaving Oxford, Hesletine became a commissioned officer in the Welsh Guards. He afterwards pursued a career in the media, becoming a television interviewer from 1960 to 1964 and the chairman of the Haymarket Press in 1964. In his path to Parliament he unsuccessfully contested Gower in 1959 and Coventry North in 1964. He was elected at Tavistock in 1966, which he held until 1974 when he was elected for Henley. He retained the seat until he was made a life peer as Baron Heseltine of Thenford in 2001.
After his first year in the House he joined the front bench. He served in the Department of Transport, as Junior Minister at the Department of Environment and as Minister for Aerospace and Shipping. In opposition he was spokesman on Industry (1974-76) and the environment (1976-79). When the Conservatives returned to government he became the Secretary of State for the Environment (1979-83) and for Defence (1983-86), resigning from the latter post as a result of the Westland affair, and subsequently challenging Margaret Thatcher to a contest for the leadership of the Conservative Party which led to her resignation in 1990. Under John Major, he returned to the cabinet as Secretary of State for the Environment (1990-92), President of the Board of Trade, and between 1995 and 1997 First Secretary of State and Deputy Prime Minister.
The Member for Manchester Withington – Fred Silvester
Frederick John Silvester (born 20 September 1933) is a British Conservative Party politician.
Silvester was educated at Sir George Monoux Grammar School, Walthamstow and Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge. He became a barrister, was called to the bar by Gray's Inn in 1957, and was an advertising executive. He served as a councillor on Walthamstow Borough Council 1961-64.
Silvester contested the Walthamstow West parliamentary constituency in 1966; he was elected a Member of Parliament (MP) at the Walthamstow West by-election in 1967, but lost the seat at the 1970 general election. He was returned to Parliament at the February 1974 general election as MP for Manchester Withington, and held that seat but he was defeated at the 1987 general election by Labour's Keith Bradley.
The Member for Rushcliffe – Kenneth Clarke
Kenneth Clarke CH QC MP has been our Member of Parliament in Rushcliffe since 1970, when he won the seat from Labour.
Ken was born in 1940 and educated at Nottingham High School and Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge. He is a barrister-at-law, having been called to the Bar by Gray's Inn in 1963 and becoming QC in 1980. He has practised on the Midland Circuit, based in Birmingham.
He first became active in politics at Cambridge, where he was President of the Union, and Chairman of the University Conservative Association. He was also the National Chairman of the Federation of University Conservative Associations.
Ken has extensive experience in government, spanning over three decades. He has served in two of the four Great Offices of State: Chancellor and Home Secretary.
During his time as Chancellor of the Exchequer, from 1993 to 1997, Britain recovered from recession and was set on a course of economic growth with low inflation. In addition, the budget deficit was halved and interest rates and unemployment fell. New Labour had simply to stick to his plans for the first three years of their Government to achieve a budget surplus. He bequeathed to Labour a golden economic legacy.
In December 2005, Ken was appointed head of the Democracy Task Force by David Cameron. The review ran for 18 months and looked at ways to reengage people in the democratic process and restore trust in politics by restoring Cabinet Government and accountability to the House of Commons.
In January 2009, Ken joined the Shadow Cabinet as Shadow Secretary of State for Business, bringing with him a wealth of experience from the public and private sectors.
In May 2010, Ken was appointed to join the Cabinet as Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice.
In September 2012, Ken became Minister without Portfolio with a special brief to advise on the economy.
The Member for Spelthorne – Humphrey Atkins
Atkins was educated at Wellington College, Berkshire, and served in the Royal Navy from 1940 to 1948. He worked for a linoleum manufacturer then became a director of a financial advertising agency. He contested the constituency of West Lothian in 1951, and was elected as a Member of Parliament (MP) for the Merton and Morden in 1955. He became MP for the Spelthorne in 1970.
Atkins was a Conservative Chief Whip from 1973 to 1979, and served as a Secretary of State for Northern Ireland from 1979 to 1981. On September 1981, he was appointed as Lord Privy Seal, which was a role as the chief government spokesman in the House of Commons for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs. This role was necessary because the Foreign Secretary, Lord Carrington, sat in the House of Lords. He resigned in April, 1982, along with Lord Carrington over the Falklands invasion. Atkins left the House of Commons in 1987, and was made a life peer as Baron Colnbrook of Waltham St Lawrence in the County of Berkshire.
Atkins died on 4 October 1996.
The Member for Wakefield – Walter Harrison
Walter Harrison (2 January 1921 – 19 October 2012) was a British Labour politician.
Harrison was educated at Dewsbury Technical College and School of Art. He was a foreman electrician and was active in the Electricians' Trade Union. He served as a councillor on West Riding County Council and as an alderman of Castleford Borough Council.
MP for Wakefield from 1964 to his retirement in 1987, Harrison served as a Government whip from 1966 to 1970 and as deputy Chief Whip from 1974 to 1979. In the Conservative landslide at the 1983 general election, he held his seat with a majority of only 360 votes.
The Member for Welwyn & Hatfield – Helene Hayman
Helene Hayman’s political career began in 1974, as Labour MP for Welwyn and Hatfield (1974-79). She was the youngest member of the House of Commons and one of 27 women MPs at the time.
After leaving the House of Commons in 1979, she undertook a number of roles in the healthcare sector, while raising her family. In 1996 she became a member of the House of Lords.
Her parliamentary roles included Opposition Spokesperson in the Lords for Health (1996-97); Under Secretary of State at the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions (1997-98); Under Secretary of State at the Department of Health (1998-99); and Minister of State at the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (1999-2001).