Oliver Heald

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For the Canadian soccer player, see Ollie Heald.
Sir Oliver Heald
Recent Picture of Oliver Heald QC MP Nov 2012.jpg
Oliver Heald
Solicitor General for England and Wales
In office
4 September 2012 – 15 July 2014
Prime Minister David Cameron
Preceded by Edward Garnier
Succeeded by Robert Buckland
Shadow Secretary of State for Constitutional Affairs
In office
15 March 2004 – 8 May 2007
Leader Michael Howard
Preceded by Alan Duncan
Succeeded by Post Abolished
Shadow Leader of the House of Commons
In office
11 November 2003 – 10 May 2005
Leader Michael Howard
Preceded by Eric Forth
Succeeded by Chris Grayling
Member of Parliament
for North East Hertfordshire
North Hertfordshire (1992-1997)
Assumed office
9 April 1992
Preceded by Ian Stewart
Majority 15,194 (30.1%)
Personal details
Born (1954-12-15) 15 December 1954 (age 60)
Reading, Berkshire, England
Nationality British
Political party Conservative
Spouse(s) Christine née Whittle
Alma mater Pembroke College, Cambridge
Occupation Politician
Profession Lawyer
Religion Church of England
Website www.oliverheald.com

Sir Oliver Heald QCMP (born 15 December 1954) is a British barrister and Conservative politician, who currently serves as Member of Parliament (MP) for North East Hertfordshire.


Heald was born in Reading, Berkshire, and was educated at the Reading School and Pembroke College, Cambridge, where he read Law. He was called to the Bar at the Middle Temple in 1977 and was a practising barrister in London and East Anglia at Fenners Chambers in Cambridge from 1979 until he was appointed a Government Minister in 1995.

He became the Chairman of the North Hertfordshire Conservative Association for two years from 1984. He unsuccessfully contested the London Borough of Southwark seat of Southwark and Bermondsey at the 1987 general election but finished in third place some 12,550 behind the sitting Liberal MP Simon Hughes. He became the Vice President of the Southwark and Bermondsey Conservative Association in 1988 for five years, becoming the President for five years from 1993.[1]

Early career[edit]

Heald was elected to the House of Commons for North Hertfordshire at the 1992 general election following the retirement of the Conservative MP Ian Stewart. He held the seat with a majority of 16,531 and has remained an MP since. He made his maiden speech on 9 June 1992 in which he spoke of his political beginnings on a soapbox at Speaker's Corner.[2]

In Parliament he served on the Education Select Committee for two years from 1992. He was appointed as the Parliamentary Private Secretary (PPS) to the Minister of State at the Home Office Peter Lloyd in 1994. Later in the year he became the PPS to the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, William Waldegrave.

He was promoted to serve in the Government of John Major in 1995 when he was appointed as the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department of Social Security, where he remained until the fall of the Conservative government in 1997. In 1995 he introduced the Insurance Companies (Reserves) Act.[3]

In Opposition[edit]

The seat he represented was abolished in 1997 and since that general election he has been returned to Parliament for the new seat of North East Hertfordshire. After the election he became an Opposition Whip under the new leadership of William Hague, before moving on to become a Spokesman for Home Affairs with responsibility for police matters. He was made a Spokesman for Health by Iain Duncan Smith in 2001. He joined his Shadow Cabinet as the Shadow Leader of the House of Commons in 2003. In 2004 he was then appointed to serve as Shadow Secretary of State for Constitutional Affairs and in 2005 was appointed by David Cameron as the Shadow Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster.

In July 2007 he became a backbencher following 13 years' continuous service on the Conservative Front Bench. From November 2007 to September 2012 he was a member of the Work and Pensions Select Committee, and from March 2008-September 2012 he was a member of the Committee on Standards in Public Life. From July 2010 until September 2012 he was appointed to the House of Commons Standards and Privileges Committee and he has also been a member of the UK Delegation to the Council of Europe.

Return to Government[edit]

In 2012, Heald returned to Government as Solicitor-General even though he had previously helped to lead the rebellion against the House of Lords Reform Bill which he vociferously opposed. However, he did not actually vote for or against the Bill which probably helped his chances of promotion.[4]

Insignia of a Knight Bachelor

Personal life[edit]

Heald became the Executive Chairman of the Society of Conservative Lawyers in July 2008. He takes a particular interest in healthcare. He cites Willie Whitelaw as a mentor.

He and his wife Christine (née Whittle) live in his Hertfordshire constituency, the market town of Royston; they have a son and two daughters.[5]


External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Ian Stewart
Member of Parliament for North Hertfordshire
Constituency abolished
New constituency Member of Parliament for North East Hertfordshire