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Paul Drayson, Baron Drayson

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The Lord Drayson
Drayson signing a memorandum in 2006
Minister of State for Strategic Defence Acquisition Reform
In office
8 June 2009 – 11 May 2010
Prime MinisterGordon Brown
Preceded byPosition established
Succeeded byThe Lord Astor of Hever
Minister of State for Science and Innovation
In office
3 October 2008 – 11 May 2010
Prime MinisterGordon Brown
Preceded byIan Pearson
Succeeded byDavid Willetts (Universities and Science)
Minister of State for Defence Equipment and Support
In office
6 May 2005 – 7 November 2007
Prime MinisterTony Blair
Gordon Brown
Preceded byThe Lord Bach
Succeeded byThe Baroness Taylor of Bolton
Member of the House of Lords
Lord Temporal
Assumed office
8 June 2004
Life Peerage
Personal details
Born (1960-03-05) 5 March 1960 (age 64)
Political partyLabour
SpouseElspeth Bellhouse
RelationsBrian Bellhouse (father-in-law)
ResidenceNether Lypiatt Manor
Alma materAston University
24 Hours of Le Mans career
TeamsDrayson Racing
Best finish28th/NC (2010)
Class wins0

Paul Rudd Drayson, Baron Drayson, FREng, PC[1] (born 5 March 1960),[2] is a British businessman, amateur racing driver and Labour politician. He was Minister of Science in the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills until May 2010, where he replaced Ian Pearson. In June 2009 he was additionally appointed as Minister of State for Strategic Defence Acquisition Reform at the Ministry of Defence.[3] After losing his ministerial positions in the General Election 2010 he decided to devote himself totally towards his motorsports company Drayson Racing Technology.[4] He is chairman and CEO of Drayson Technologies Ltd.[5]

Early life and career[edit]

After attending St Dunstan's College, Drayson graduated from Aston University in Production Engineering, followed in 1986 by a PhD in robotics.[6] From 1986 to 1991 he was managing director of the Lambourn Food Company. From 1992 to 1998 he was managing director of Justin de Blank Ltd.

In 1993 he co-founded PowderJect Pharmaceuticals plc in Oxford which specialised in the production of vaccines, and was Chief Executive until 2003 when PowderJect was acquired by Chiron Corp.[7]

Between 2001 and 2002 he was the Chairman of the BioIndustry Association. From 2002 to 2005 he was chairman of the fundraising campaign to build a children's hospital at John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford. Since 2003, he has been the Entrepreneur-in-Residence at the Said Business School, Oxford University.

Drayson is the current president of the Motorsport Industry Association. He is chairman and CEO of Drayson Technologies Ltd near Oxford.[5]

Labour Party[edit]

Drayson has been a large contributor to the Labour Party, with BBC News reporting in 2005 that he "was made a lord and then the UK defence procurement minister after giving New Labour more than £1m." [8] He donated £100,000 in 2002 before PowderJect Pharmaceuticals plc was awarded a £32 million contract for a smallpox vaccine. He donated £505,000 on 17 June 2004 six weeks after being appointed to the House of Lords by Tony Blair and a further £500,000 on 21 December 2004.[9]


In May 2005 Drayson replaced Lord Bach as Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State and Minister for Defence Procurement and as Government Spokesman for Defence to the House of Lords. Drayson's responsibility for defence procurement in the Ministry of Defence (MoD) was one of the most high-profile jobs in the MoD. His remit included oversight of the Defence Procurement Agency and Defence Logistics Organisation. In December 2005 Drayson published a report entitled The Defence Industrial Strategy (DIS).

On 6 March 2007 Drayson was promoted to Minister of State for Defence Equipment and Support. He oversaw the new Defence Equipment and Support Organisation.[10] On 29 June 2007 he also became a Minister of State in the newly created Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform, combining this with his role in the Ministry of Defence. He stood down from ministerial responsibilities on 7 November 2007. His official reason for stepping down was his wish to participate in the Le Mans race, but it has been reported that the actual reasons were being left out of the loop when Prime Minister Gordon Brown decided to disband the Defence Export Services Organisation and equipment budget deficits which would make the follow-up to the DIS largely irrelevant.[11] His job as Defence Procurement Minister was transferred to Lady Taylor.[12]

He rejoined the Brown government as Minister of State for Science and Innovation in the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills on 3 October 2008 following a cabinet reshuffle.[13]

Sensyne Health[edit]

Sensyne Health, floated on the AIM in 2018, uses NHS data to provide clinical insights to the pharmaceutical industry. In 2020 Drayson was accused of creating a culture of fear at Sensyne.[14] It had data-sharing agreements with 12 NHS trusts, which were given shares in the company.[15]

In April 2022 Drayson was ousted as chief executive,[16] shortly after the company's financial report claimed that it would run out of money by February 2022.[17]

Personal life[edit]

Drayson driving the Lola B09/60 at the 2010 24 Hours of Le Mans

Drayson is married to Elspeth Bellhouse, the daughter of scientist Brian Bellhouse.[18] They have five children, and live between homes in London and Nether Lypiatt Manor near Stroud in Gloucestershire, purchased for £5.75 million in 2006 from Prince and Princess Michael of Kent.[19]

Self-described as a "car nut and I'm a Government minister",[20] he has owned an Aston Martin Vanquish, his wife an Aston Martin DB9, and his collection includes a Lotus Elan. He has also raced a bio-ethanol powered Aston Martin DBRS9 GT3-spec race car for Barwell Motorsport[21] in the British GT Championship. He competed in the American Le Mans Series (ALMS).[12]

Drayson was born blind in one eye which, under FIA rules, prevented him from acquiring an international racing licence for participation in the Le Mans 24 Hours. In light of his performance during the 2008 ALMS season and FIA rule changes, he was granted an international licence to allow him the chance of competing in the 2009 24 Hours of Le Mans.[22] Drayson finished 37th overall and 12th in class at the race. He also competed at the 2010 event but failed to finish.

Drayson has currently competed in two seasons of the ALMS with a best finish of a win at the 2010 Road America race in a LMP Lola B09/60. For 2011, Drayson made the switch to the EV Cup, a new championship for electric cars. He will drive a Westfield iRACER.[23][needs update]

24 Hours of Le Mans results[edit]

Year Team Co-Drivers Car Class Laps Pos. Class
2009 United Kingdom Drayson Racing United Kingdom Jonny Cocker
United Kingdom Marino Franchitti
Aston Martin V8 Vantage GT2 GT2 272 DNF DNF
2010 United Kingdom Drayson Racing United Kingdom Jonny Cocker
Italy Emanuele Pirro
Lola B09/60-Judd LMP1 254 NC NC


Drayson was elevated to the House of Lords on 1 June 2004, made a working peer titled Baron Drayson, of Kensington in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea.[24] In July 2011, Drayson was elected as Fellow[1] of The Royal Academy of Engineering,[1] the UK's national academy for engineering.


Coat of arms of Paul Drayson, Baron Drayson
Coronet of a Baron
Sable a Mullet of eight points gyronny Or and Argent between four strands of DNA issuing in saltire Argent and four strands of DNA issuing in cross Or
On either side a Jaguar Sable holding in the interior forepaw a Rapier Argent hilt pommel and guard Or
A Jaguar rampant Sable holding in the dexter forepaw a Rapier Argent hilt pommel and guard Or
The grantee's interests in fencing and motor racing are featured as is his career in the pharmaceutical industry which is reflected in the strands of DNA.


  1. ^ a b c "List of Fellows". Archived from the original on 8 June 2016. Retrieved 16 October 2014.
  2. ^ The Independent: Lord Drayson – Britain's top gun
  3. ^ "MOD Website: Minister of State for Strategic Defence Acquisition Reform". Archived from the original on 13 May 2010. Retrieved 29 April 2010.
  4. ^ John Dagys, "10 Questions With Paul Drayson", speedtv.com Archived 30 May 2010 at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ a b Vaughan, Adam (4 August 2013). "Lord Drayson takes on UK air pollution crisis with new smart sensor". The Guardian. Retrieved 7 September 2015.
  6. ^ "Press release: ASTON UNIVERSITY PHD GRADUATE APPOINTED MINISTER FOR SCIENCE". Aston University. 7 October 2008. Archived from the original on 17 July 2011.
  7. ^ Saunders, Andrew (6 July 2016). "Lord Drayson on new Freevolt technology that could power devices for free". Managementtoday.co.uk. Retrieved 29 June 2017.
  8. ^ Elliot Choueka (17 November 2005). "The irresistible rise of 'Tony's crony'". Retrieved 26 June 2013.
  9. ^ Peston, Robert (September 2008). Who Runs Britain?. London: Hodder & Stoughton. p. 275. ISBN 9780340839447.
  10. ^ Lord Drayson appointed minister Archived 20 March 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  11. ^ UK DIS falls into abeyance as Drayson decides to quit, Jane's Defence Weekly, 14 November 2007, p. 5
  12. ^ a b "Minister quits to race in Le Mans". BBC News. 7 November 2007. Retrieved 7 November 2007.
  13. ^ Amos, Jonathan (3 October 2008). "Lord Drayson takes science brief". BBC News. Retrieved 4 October 2008.
  14. ^ Croft, Jane (23 April 2020). "Sensyne chief accused of creating 'culture of fear' at tech start-up". Financial Times. Archived from the original on 11 December 2022. Retrieved 31 July 2020.
  15. ^ "Trusts left with valueless company shares given in exchange for patient data". Health Service Journal. 1 July 2022. Retrieved 26 August 2022.
  16. ^ "Sensyne boss Lord Drayson ousted in bid for survival".
  17. ^ "Sensyne healthier without Drayson".
  18. ^ Andrew Clark (19 January 2002). "Interview: Paul Drayson, Powderject Pharmaceuticals | Business". The Guardian. Retrieved 29 June 2017.
  19. ^ Prufrock column, The Sunday Times, 23 July 2006.
  20. ^ On the move: Lord Drayson Sunday Times – 20 October 2007
  21. ^ www.barwellmotorsport.co.uk, Barwell Motorsport
  22. ^ Drayson Racing News and Notes for 24 Hours of Le Mans Aston Martin Racing
  23. ^ Matt Beer (23 February 2011). "Drayson quits ALMS for electric series". Autosport.com. Retrieved 23 February 2011.
  24. ^ "No. 57308". The London Gazette. 4 June 2004. p. 6995.

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by Minister of State for Defence Equipment and Support
Succeeded by
Preceded by Minister of State for Science and Innovation
Succeeded byas Minister of State for Universities and Science
New creation Minister of State for Strategic Defence Acquisition Reform
Succeeded by
Orders of precedence in the United Kingdom
Preceded by Gentlemen
Baron Drayson
Followed by