||This biographical article needs additional citations for verification. (July 2008)|
|The Right Honourable
|Secretary of State for National Heritage|
11 April 1992 – 22 September 1992
|Prime Minister||John Major|
|Preceded by||Office Created|
|Succeeded by||Peter Brooke|
|Chief Secretary to the Treasury|
28 November 1990 – 11 April 1992
|Prime Minister||John Major|
|Preceded by||Norman Lamont|
|Succeeded by||Michael Portillo|
|Minister for the Arts|
26 July 1990 – 28 November 1990
|Prime Minister||Margaret Thatcher|
|Preceded by||Richard Luce|
|Succeeded by||Tim Renton|
|Minister of State for Home Affairs|
27 October 1989 – 26 July 1990
|Prime Minister||Margaret Thatcher|
|Preceded by||John Patten|
|Succeeded by||Angela Rumbold|
|Minister of State for Health|
25 July 1988 – 27 October 1989
|Prime Minister||Margaret Thatcher|
|Preceded by||Tony Newton|
|Succeeded by||Anthony Trafford|
|Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs|
13 June 1987 – 25 July 1988
|Prime Minister||Margaret Thatcher|
|Preceded by||Tim Renton|
|Succeeded by||William Waldegrave|
|Member of Parliament
3 May 1979 – 1 May 1997
|Preceded by||Hugh Jenkins|
|Succeeded by||Tony Colman|
12 March 1949 |
Wareham, Dorset, England
|Conservative (until 2003)|
|Spouse(s)||Judith Mellor (1974–1995)|
|Domestic partner||Penelope Lyttelton, Viscountess Cobham|
|Alma mater||Christ's College, Cambridge|
|Profession||Barrister - not practising|
David John Mellor QC (born 12 March 1949) is a former British politician, non-practising barrister, broadcaster, journalist and businessman. As a member of the Conservative Party, he served in the Cabinet of Prime Minister John Major as Chief Secretary to the Treasury (1990–92) and Secretary of State for National Heritage (April–September 1992), before resigning in 1992. He was the Member of Parliament (MP) for Putney from 1979 to 1997.
Since leaving Parliament, Mellor has worked as a newspaper columnist, a radio presenter, after-dinner speaker, served as Chairman of the government's 'Football Task Force', and established a successful career as an international business consultant and entrepreneur.
Education and early career
Born in Wareham, Dorset, Mellor was educated at Swanage Grammar School, and Christ's College, Cambridge, where he was Chairman of the Cambridge University Conservative Association and a contestant on University Challenge. After briefly working for Jeffrey Archer (then a Member of Parliament (MP)) while studying for his bar exams, Mellor became a barrister in 1972 and Queens Counsel in 1987. He has not practised since being elected as an MP and remains "non practising".
After contesting West Bromwich East in the general election in October 1974, he subsequently became the MP for Putney aged only 30 in the general election of 1979. He was re-elected on three further occasions in the general elections of 1983, 1987, and 1992.
In 1981, Mellor was made Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Department of Energy, thus becoming Mrs Thatcher's youngest minister, aged 32. He remained her youngest minister for four years.
In 1983, Mellor was appointed to the Home Office where he was involved in several pieces of ground-breaking "Law and Order" legislation, including the pioneering Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984, which amongst other things required police to tape-record all interviews with suspects in order for such evidence to be admissible at trial; The Prosecution of Offenders Act 1985 establishing the Crown Prosecution Service; legislation enabling the re-investigation of Miscarriages of Justice; and the significant vivisection "laboratory testing of animals" welfare legislation the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986.
The last Act, prepared by a coalition of animal welfarists and scientists led by Sir Andrew Huxley (President of the Royal Society), and was jointly launched by them, Mellor, and campaigner Dr Michael Balls – Father of Ed Balls MP (who went on to become the Labour Party's shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer) – gave the UK what is still the most advanced framework for the protection of laboratory animals.
In 1987, Mellor was promoted to the Foreign Office by Margaret Thatcher, and was made responsible for the Middle East, Eastern Europe, and the Soviet Union (before the fall of the Iron Curtain). In January 1988 during an official visit to Israel he protested angrily in front of press and TV cameras to an Israeli army colonel about what he saw as the "excessive" and brutal way troops were treating local Palestinians. Mellor's furious demand that it be stopped, and later statement to journalists that the treatment was "an affront to civilised values" was broadcast around the world, and caused an international incident for which Mellor refused point blank to apologise. He was later privately reprimanded by Thatcher.
He was briefly Minister for Health in 1988, where he was responsible for health service reforms, before he was made a Privy Councillor in 1990 by Margaret Thatcher, shortly before she resigned as Prime Minister.
Mellor was briefly Arts Minister in 1990 before entering John Major's new Cabinet as Chief Secretary to the Treasury in November 1990. He was interviewed in December 1991 on the TV programmne Hard News following the establishment of the Calcutt Review inquiring into Press Standards. Mellor claimed during the interview that "the press – the popular press – is drinking in the Last Chance Saloon" and called for curbs on the "sacred cow" of press freedom. The press, coming under heavy criticism at that time, reacted furiously, alleging that he was prejudging Sir David Calcutt's inquiry.
After the 1992 general election he remained a Cabinet Minister when he was made Secretary of State in the newly created Department for National Heritage (now the Department for Culture, Media and Sport), during which period he was vernacularly known as the "Minister for Fun" after comments he made to the waiting press on leaving 10 Downing Street on his appointment.
Retaliation from the media for his "last chance saloon" comment came in July 1992, when Mellor's former mistress, actress Antonia de Sancha, sold her kiss and tell story of Mellor's extra-marital affair with her for £35,000. In a precursor to the "phone-hacking" scandal that would engulf Rupert Murdoch’s News of the World in 2006 and later in 2010, their telephone conversations had been secretly recorded by de Sancha's landlord, an activity which at the time was entirely legal in England. The Sun, relying on material supplied by publicist Max Clifford, made a number of lurid fictional claims about the relationship that de Sancha later admitted in a newspaper interview were entirely untrue; this was subsequently confirmed by David Mellor in 2011 at the Leveson Inquiry into Press Behaviour.
John Major, then Prime Minister, supported Mellor through the incident, but the media maintained their interest. During a libel case brought by Mona Bauwens against The People, which came to the High Court in September 1992, led to the revelation that Mellor had accepted the gift of a month-long holiday in Marbella from Bauwens for his family which took place in August 1990. Mellor's connection to Bauwens, the daughter of Jaweed al-Ghussein, the finance director of the PLO (formally the Palestine National Fund) maintained the pressure on him. Mellor resigned on 24 September 1992.
Following the Dunblane school shooting in 1996 when Thomas Hamilton shot dead 16 children and their teacher before committing suicide, Mellor led a backbench revolt against the Government, which subsequently led to the almost complete banning of the owning and possession of handguns.
Defeat at 1997 general election
Mellor contested the 1997 general election, but was defeated by the Labour Party's Tony Colman as one of the most notable Tory casualties as Labour won by a landslide to end nearly 20 years of Conservative government. The election night was memorable for Mellor's showdown with the Referendum Party founder Sir James Goldsmith — Mellor was taunted by Goldsmith and the pro-handgun candidate (who gave him a slow hand clap and shouted "Out! Out! Out!") during his concession speech. Mellor retorted:
|“||... and Sir James... has got nothing to be smug about, and I would like to say that 1,500 votes is a derisory total. We have shown tonight that the Referendum Party is dead in the water, and Sir James can get off back to Mexico knowing your attempt to buy the British political system has failed!||”|
Mellor was chairman of the incoming Labour government's 'Football Task Force' from August 1997 until its dissolution in 1999. Among the recommendations accepted by the Labour government and introduced into law was the criminalisation of racial abuse by an individual spectator, as distinct from a group.
Mellor has also pursued a career in journalism, and has written columns for six national newspapers including the Evening Standard, The Guardian and The People, often on current affairs, but also his specialist interests of sport and the arts. A supporter of Chelsea, he regularly presented football-related programmes on BBC Radio 5 until 2001, and classical music programmes on BBC Radio 2 and BBC Radio 3.
He currently presents "David Mellor" and The New Releases Show on Classic FM. He is Opera and Classical Music critic for British newspaper The Mail on Sunday. He is a regular contributor on LBC Radio and hosts a Saturday morning politics and current affairs discussion programme alongside Labour's former London Mayor, Ken Livingstone. He has been a fixture on the "After Dinner" speech circuit since leaving government in 1992.
Since leaving office has pursued a successful career as an international business consultant focusing heavily on the Middle East and China. He has been a senior advisor to a wide range of blue-chip companies as diverse as Ernst & Young, BAE Systems, Aedas, and a major Gulf-based Islamic bank. He is also senior partner of an investment brokerage company with offices in London and Hong Kong.
In June 2010, it was reported in The Daily Telegraph, the Daily Mirror and the Daily Mail that Mr. Mellor called a chef a 'fat bastard' during a licensing wrangle at the River Lounge restaurant near his home at St Katharine Docks, East London. The articles claimed Mr. Mellor used bad language and told the chef he should 'do his £10-an-hour job somewhere else'. The Daily Mail article claimed that the episode was recorded, but not released, by the court and that a "court insider who claimed to have heard the full tape" said "It was very offensive to the people in question - a chef and a waitress - and is dynamite stuff. It's a shame the court couldn't hear it - it really made Mr. Mellor out to be a tyrant."
In November 2014 The Daily Telegraph and The Independent reported that Mellor had been secretly recorded by a taxi driver, saying "you think that your experiences are anything compared to mine?" In the secret recording of an encounter on 21 November, Mellor and the cab driver argue over which is the better route to their destination.
The article also alleged that he swore at the driver. According to accounts of the recording, Mellor said: "Of course you could apologise but I don’t suppose a guy like you does apologise because you think you’re a big (expletive deleted) having driven a cab for 10 years. You don’t need to worry about someone who’s been in the Cabinet, who’s an award-winning broadcaster, who’s a Queen’s Counsel. Treat me like (expletive deleted), ruin my wife’s day. ... And if you think you’re going to be sarky with me, get a better education before you try being sarcastic with me. So if you’re not going to say you’re sorry just shut the (expletive deleted) up." He also called the driver "sweaty, stupid little (expletive deleted)." Mellor later told the media that he regretted losing his temper, but still blamed the driver for provoking him.
It was later revealed that Mellor had been questioned by police over an alleged "racist rant" at a security guard in 2013. No charges were ever brought.
||This section of a biography of a living person does not include any references or sources. (November 2014)|
Mellor married Judith on 20 July 1974; the couple had two sons, and they divorced in 1995.
In popular culture
- In House of Cards Series 2 episode 1 "To Play the King", Brynford-Jones says about his public exposure scandal of 15 years before: "I could have fought the case for a year and still have lost. Every paper would have given me a Melloring."
|Wikiquote has quotations related to: David Mellor|
- "BBC: Breakfast with Frost". BBC News. 11 May 2003. Retrieved 12 July 2014.
- "Breakfast with Frost: Extract From Paper Review, David Mellor". BBC News. 11 May 2003. Retrieved 12 July 2014.
- "Sony Radio Academy Awards 2012: Winners and nominees in full". Digital Spy. 15 May 2012. Retrieved 12 July 2014.
- [dead link]
- Bar Standards Board Website - Records 8 December 2010 -
- Putney (UK Parliament constituency)#Elections 1983–2010
- Daily Telegraph, 10 June
- Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984
- quoted in Roy Greenslade Press Gang: How Newspapers Make Profits From Propaganda, London: Macmillan, 2003 , p.539, n.21, p739; Hard News, Channel 4, 21 December 1989, The Times, 22 December 1989, p.5
- "Closing time at the Last-Chance Saloon". Sirc.org. Retrieved 12 July 2014.
- Keren David (24 July 1992). "Antonia de Sancha: 'I am the real victim,'". The Independent. Retrieved 12 July 2014.
- Euan Ferguson (2 November 2002). "Antonia de Sancha on moving forwards and emotional hangovers". The Guardian. Retrieved 12 July 2014.
- "David Mellor". The Leveson Inquiry. Retrieved 12 July 2014.
- "BBC ON THIS DAY 1992: Mellor resigns over sex scandal". BBC News. 24 September 1975. Retrieved 12 July 2014.
- Stephen Ward "Mellor family guests of PLO man's daughter", The Independent, 15 September 1992
- Anton La Guardia "Mona Bauwens to seek retrial as libel action ends in 'hung' jury Mona Bauwens to seek retrial", The Herald (Glasgow), 23 September 1992
- "'I want to get rid of Arafat'", Daily Telegraph;, 28 August 2002
- "1992: Mellor resigns over sex scandal". BBC News. 24 September 1992.
- "BBC ON THIS DAY 1996: Handguns to be banned in the UK". BBC News. Retrieved 12 July 2014.
- "David Mellor ranted at '£10 an hour' chef in row over a noisy bar". Daily Telegraph. 10 June 2010. Retrieved 26 Nov 2014.
- "Tory David Mellor taped calling chef a ‘fat b*****d’ in noise rant - hear the audio". Daily Mirror. 10 June 2010. Retrieved 26 Nov 2014.
- "'Do your £10-an-hour job somewhere else': David Mellor's furious rant at 'fat' chef in row over restaurant's 'naked parties'". Daily Mail. 10 June 2010. Retrieved 26 Nov 2014.
- "Ex-cabinet minister David Mellor 'regrets' tirade against 'sweaty, stupid' taxi driver". Daily Telegraph. 25 Nov 2014. Retrieved 25 Nov 2014.
- Alexander, Ella (25 November 2014). "David Mellor 'regrets' angry row with 'sweaty stupid' taxi driver: 'Get a better education before you try being sarcastic with me'". The Independent. Retrieved 25 November 2014.
- Andrew Hough "David Mellor: from lawyer to MP to 'football pundit'", The Telegraph, 10 June 2010
- Catherine Pepinster "David Mellor to divorce", The Independent on Sunday, 6 November 1994
- "House of Cards: To Play the King". TV.com. November 28, 1993.
- Hansard 1803–2005: contributions in Parliament by David Mellor
- Profile at Speakers International
- David Mellor presents on Classic FM
- David Mellor (Rt. Hon. David Mellor QC) - Broadcaster, Journalist and Former MP (agent's site)
- Appearances on C-SPAN
|Parliament of the United Kingdom|
|Member of Parliament for Putney
|Minister of State for the Arts
|Chief Secretary to the Treasury
|New office||Secretary of State for National Heritage