Guy Black, Baron Black of Brentwood

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The Right Honourable
The Lord Black of Brentwood
Personal details
Born (1964-08-06) 6 August 1964 (age 50)
Brentwood, England
Nationality British
Political party Conservative
Spouse(s) Mark Bolland
Alma mater Peterhouse, Cambridge University

Guy Vaughan Black, Baron Black of Brentwood (born 6 August 1964, Chelmsford, Essex) is Executive Director of the Telegraph Media Group and a Conservative Life Peer member of the House of Lords.[1]

His career has spanned politics and the media. In the Media Guardian Top 100 listings in September 2012, he was ranked 55.[2] He is a member of the Association of Conservative Peers.

Black was director of the political section at the Conservative Research Department from 1986 to 1989 when David Cameron was his deputy. Cameron became head of the CRD's political section in 1990 after Black left. In 2003/04 when Cameron was Tory vice-chairman and Black was Michael Howard's press secretary, they met daily in preparation for the publication of the Hutton report about the death of Dr David Kelly.[3]

Education[edit]

The elder of twins, Black was educated at Brentwood School, Essex and then Peterhouse, Cambridge. He graduated from there with double first class honours in history in 1985, having won the Sir Herbert Butterfield Prize for history.

Conservative Party career[edit]

After a graduate traineeship at Barclays de Zoete Wedd, Black joined the Conservative Research Department in 1986. He was a member of the Brentwood and Ongar Conservative Association from 1982 to 1992.[4]

He left CRD in 1989 to become Special Adviser to the Secretary of State for Energy, John Wakeham, who was then spearheading the privatisation of the electricity industry.

He also served as a councillor for the Shenfield ward on the Brentwood District Council from 1988-92. After the 1992 election, Black spent four years in public affairs, working for Westminster Strategy (1992–94) and then Lowe Bell Good Relations (1994–96).[5]

Press Complaints Commission[edit]

In 1996, Black returned to work for Lord Wakeham as Director of the Press Complaints Commission (PCC). During his time there he was responsible for the tightening of the Code of Practice in the wake of the death in 1997 of Diana, Princess of Wales, and for putting in place the arrangements to protect the privacy of Princes William and Harry. During the passage of the Human Rights Act 1998, he successfully battled to have special protection established in the legislation to protect freedom of expression.[6]

Conservative Party Director of Communications[edit]

In December 2003, Black became Director of Communications for the Conservative Party, and Press Secretary to party leader Michael Howard MP, Leader of the Opposition.[7]

Media career[edit]

Black returned to the media after the 2005 general election, joining the Telegraph Media Group in September that year.

In September 2009, be became Chairman of the Press Standards Board of Finance (PressBof), the body responsible for funding the PCC and overseeing the industry's system of self-regulation. He also sits on the Advertising Standards Board of Finance (ASBOF),[8] which performs a similar role in funding the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).

Black is Chairman of the Commonwealth Press Union Media Trust,[9] which seeks to preserve and enhance media freedom throughout the Commonwealth. He was appointed a Trustee of the Imperial War Museum in July 2007, and reappointed in July 2011.[10] and was appointed a member of the Council of the Royal College of Music in 2009.[11] In 2010, he became a member of The Guild of St Bride's, Fleet Street. He was a Trustee of the Sir Edward Heath Charitable Foundation until he resigned in January 2009.[12]

Life peerage[edit]

He was created a Life Peer on 9 July 2010 taking the title Baron Black of Brentwood, of Brentwood in the County of Essex,[13] and he was introduced into the Lords on 13 July 2010 by Lords Wakeham and Marland, and made his maiden speech on 21 July on the role of older women in civic society and the particular problems of osteoporosis.

In a speech in the House of Lords on 25 November 2010 he attacked the use of "conditional fee" arrangements in cases involving privacy and libel. He said, "There is currently no more serious threat to media freedom and to the public’s right to know than the unfettered use by claimant lawyers of CFAs backed by the toxic combination of 100% success fees and 'after the event insurance.'

Conservatives in Communications[edit]

According to PR Week, the Conservatives in Communications group was formed in July 2011 and is led by Lord Black. The group is made up of Conservative Party-supporting public relations executives, professionals and lobbyists and aims to provide unofficial communications advice to the Conservative Party.[14]

Leveson inquiry[edit]

As Chairman of PressBof, Black has played a key part in the Leveson Inquiry hearings, including presenting proposals from the newspaper industry for a new system of independent self-regulation.[15]

Black has said the newspaper industry would fully implement the principles of the Leveson Report. He said: "if the industry can make rapid progress in the task of establishing a new system, such [legislation] would not be just be profoundly dangerous but completely unnecessary."[16]

Personal life[edit]

On 11 February 2006, he entered a civil partnership ceremony with his long-term partner Mark Bolland. Many leading media and political figures attended the ceremony and Murdoch MacLennan and Rebekah Brooks were witnesses. Black is the first openly gay Tory peer.

He is a Vice-President of the Debating Group.[17]

He is a member of Albany Associates International Ltd's advisory board.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Greenslade, Roy (29 May 2010). "The Telegraph's new Baron Black". The Guardian (London). 
  2. ^ "Lord Black | MediaGuardian 100 2012 | Media". London: The Guardian. 16 September 2012. Retrieved 20 November 2012. 
  3. ^ "Party donors feel the pinch on list that rewards friends and advisers". Consortnews.com. 2010-05-29. Retrieved 2013-04-29. 
  4. ^ "PM's former manager is awarded a peerage | This is Essex". Thisistotalessex.co.uk. 2010-06-10. Retrieved 2013-04-29. 
  5. ^ "The Lord Black of Brentwood Authorised Biography – Debrett’s People of Today, The Lord Black of Brentwood Profile". Debretts.com. Retrieved 2013-04-29. 
  6. ^ British Journalism Review Vol. 14, No. 1, 2003 - Guy Black: in the eye of the hurricane
  7. ^ "67. Guy Black". The Guardian (London). 12 July 2004. 
  8. ^ The Advertising Standards Board of Finance
  9. ^ CPU Media Trust
  10. ^ Imperial War Museum (2013) Trustee Profiles. iwm.org.uk Accessed 8 March 2013
  11. ^ Home | Royal College of Music
  12. ^ Sawer, Patrick (21 November 2010). "Anger over plan to sell Sir Edward Heath's historic home". London: Telegraph. Retrieved 20 November 2012. 
  13. ^ The London Gazette: no. 59488. p. 13382. 14 July 2010.
  14. ^ "Tory PR chiefs unite to assist Conservative Party comms effort". Prweek.com. 2011-08-05. Retrieved 2013-04-29. 
  15. ^ http://www.levesoninquiry.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/Submission-by-Lord-Black-of-Brentwood.pdf
  16. ^ Nicholas Watt, Chief political correspondent (29 November 2012). "Leveson plunges coalition into uncharted territory | Media". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 3 December 2012. 
  17. ^ [1] Debating Group

External links[edit]