Tom King, Baron King of Bridgwater

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The Right Honourable
The Lord King of Bridgwater
PC CH
Secretary of State for Defence
In office
24 July 1989 – 11 April 1992
Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher
John Major
Preceded by George Younger
Succeeded by Malcolm Rifkind
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
In office
3 September 1985 – 24 July 1989
Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher
Preceded by Douglas Hurd
Succeeded by Peter Brooke
Secretary of State for Employment
In office
16 October 1983 – 2 September 1985
Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher
Preceded by Norman Tebbit
Succeeded by David Young
Secretary of State for Transport
In office
11 June 1983 – 16 October 1983
Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher
Preceded by David Howell
Succeeded by Nicholas Ridley
Secretary of State for the Environment
In office
6 January 1983 – 11 June 1983
Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher
Preceded by Michael Heseltine
Succeeded by Patrick Jenkin
Shadow Secretary of State for Energy
In office
19 November 1976 – 4 May 1979
Leader Margaret Thatcher
Preceded by John Biffen
Succeeded by David Owen
Member of Parliament
for Bridgwater
In office
12 March 1970 – 7 June 2001
Preceded by Gerald Wills
Succeeded by Ian Liddell-Grainger
Personal details
Born (1933-06-13) 13 June 1933 (age 80)
Rugby, United Kingdom
Political party Conservative
Alma mater Emmanuel College, Cambridge
Religion Anglican

Thomas Jeremy King, Baron King of Bridgwater, CH, PC (born 13 June 1933), is a British politician. A member of the Conservative Party, he served in the Cabinet from 1983–92, and was the Member of Parliament (MP) for the constituency of Bridgwater in Somerset from 1970–2001. He was made a life peer in 2001.

Life and career[edit]

Education[edit]

King was educated at Rugby School (Sheriff House), an independent school for boys in Warwickshire, before attending Emmanuel College, Cambridge.

Military service[edit]

King served as an officer in the Somerset Light Infantry and during this period of national service he was seconded to the King's African Rifles.

Political career[edit]

King was elected to Parliament at the 1970 Bridgwater by-election, following the death of the sitting MP, Sir Gerald Wills.

King was brought into the Cabinet in 1983 by Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. After brief stints as the Environment Secretary and Transport Secretary, he went on to hold the posts of Employment Secretary and Northern Ireland Secretary at a time when these were high-profile roles with the potential for controversy. King's career in the Cabinet may appear odd to some observers due to his many quick moves between departments. The moves were a reflection of his ability to 'master his brief' quickly, and as successive crises hit the government it was King who was moved to fill the gap. King never had a strong public profile compared to other members of the Cabinet, but neither did he draw attention to himself by elementary errors or public gaffes.

King went on to serve as Defence Secretary under Prime Minister John Major during the Gulf War. He left the Cabinet after the 1992 general election, and returned to the backbenches where he served as Chairman of the Intelligence and Security Select Committee from 1994–2001, during which time KGB agent Vasili Mitrokhin defected to reveal 87-year-old Melita Norwood as a Soviet spy.[1]

King left the House of Commons at the 2001 general election, and was made a life peer as Baron King of Bridgwater. He now sits in the House of Lords. He serves as Deputy Chairman of the Conservative Party's Policy Group on National and International Security, which was set up by David Cameron in 2006.

In popular culture[edit]

King was portrayed by Peter Blythe in the 2004 BBC production of The Alan Clark Diaries.

King was the subject of a song in the satirical ITV programme Spitting Image in which he was depicted as the Invisible Man during his term as Employment Secretary.

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Gerald Wills
Member of Parliament for Bridgwater
19702001
Succeeded by
Ian Liddell-Grainger
Political offices
Preceded by
Michael Heseltine
Secretary of State for the Environment
1983
Succeeded by
Patrick Jenkin
Preceded by
David Howell
Secretary of State for Transport
1983
Succeeded by
Nicholas Ridley
Preceded by
Norman Tebbit
Secretary of State for Employment
1983–1985
Succeeded by
The Lord Young of Graffham
Preceded by
Douglas Hurd
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
1985–1989
Succeeded by
Peter Brooke
Preceded by
George Younger
Secretary of State for Defence
1989–1992
Succeeded by
Malcolm Rifkind
New office Chairperson of the Intelligence and Security Committee
1994–2001
Succeeded by
Ann Taylor