|Member of Parliament |
for South Dorset
|Assumed office |
6 May 2010
|Preceded by||Jim Knight|
|Born||Richard Grosvenor Plunkett-Ernle-Erle-Drax|
29 January 1958
Westminster, London, England
|Spouse(s)||Elsebet née Bødtker|
|Residence||Charborough House, Dorset|
|Alma mater||Royal Agricultural College|
Royal Military Academy Sandhurst
|Profession||Army officer; journalist|
|Years of service||1978–1987|
Richard Grosvenor Plunkett-Ernle-Erle-Drax (born 29 January 1958), known as Richard Drax, is a Conservative politician and a former British Army officer and journalist. Drax has served as Member of Parliament (MP) for South Dorset since the 2010 general election. He was re-elected in 2015 and 2017.
Drax was born on the 29 January 1958 in Westminster. He was privately educated at Harrow School before going to the Royal Agricultural College in Cirencester where he graduated with a diploma in rural land management in 1990, receiving a further diploma in journalism in 1995.
Drax passed out from the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst and was commissioned in the British Army joining the Coldstream Guards on 9 December 1978 as a second lieutenant; he was given the service number 506831. Drax was promoted lieutenant on 9 December 1980, before being transferred to the Regular Army Reserve of Officers after active service on 9 December 1983, ending his first period of full-time military service.
Drax was reinstated on the Active List on 10 September 1984, beginning his second and final period of regular service. He retained the rank of lieutenant with seniority from 10 September 1981 to reflect the three years he had served. He was promoted captain on 10 March 1986.
Drax worked at York's Evening Press as a reporter in 1991, before joining BBC South where he appeared on both radio and television media, including the daily television news programme South Today.
Selected as a Conservative prospective parliamentary candidate in July 2006, at the general election in May 2010 Drax defeated the incumbent Labour Member of Parliament for South Dorset, Jim Knight, later Baron Knight of Weymouth. Drax retained his seat in the 2015 general election with an increased majority and the 2017 general election.
In 2009, Drax faced criticism from political rivals for 'hiding his aristocratic roots' by not using his full quadruple-barrelled name. It was suggested the leader of the Conservative Party, David Cameron, has asked wealthy Conservative candidates to shorten their names to appear more in touch with normal people. Drax denied the accusations, saying that he only used the shortened version of his name because of the ‘logistic mouthful’, while Cameron's comments were a 'throw away joke'.
In 2013, he attracted controversy after he developed a 174 acre solar farm on his estate, in the face of opposition from several hundred local residents. He faced accusations of hypocrisy after he had campaigned against renewable energy elsewhere. Drax argued that local views had been considered and that the site was well screened.
In January 2016, Drax was one of 72 MPs who voted down an amendment in Parliament on rental homes being “fit for human habitation” who were themselves landlords who derived an income from a property.
Drax is the eldest son of Walter Plunkett-Ernle-Erle-Drax JP DL and The Hon. Pamela Weeks and a grandson of Admiral The Hon. Sir Reginald Drax, younger son of the 17th Lord Dunsany thereby being in remainder to the ancient Barony of Dunsany (cr. 1462): the second oldest title in the Peerage of Ireland. His great-uncle was the celebrated writer and playwright the 18th Lord Dunsany, and his maternal grandfather was General the Lord Weeks.
His first wife (divorced 1997) was Zara Legge-Bourke, younger sister of the royal nanny Tiggy Legge-Bourke, relations of the Earl of Dartmouth. Drax married his second wife; Eliza, daughter of Commander James Dugdale RN (related to David Cameron); Drax has remarried and has four children in total.
At least six of his ancestors, including John Samuel Wanley Sawbridge Erle-Drax and the 17th Lord Dunsany, were Members of Parliament for Dorset and Gloucestershire between the 1680s and 1880s. A cousin is the 19th and present Lord Dunsany. In 2013, the BBC revealed that his ancestor John Erle-Drax had been a slave trader, who had received £4,293 12s 6d in compensation when the slave trade was abolished.
- "Index entry". FreeBMD. ONS. Retrieved 23 November 2016.
- "DRAX, Richard Grosvenor". Who's Who 2013. A & C Black. November 2012. Retrieved 29 June 2013.
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- "No. 49574". The London Gazette (Supplement). 19 December 1983. p. 16793.
- "No. 49904". The London Gazette (Supplement). 22 October 1984. p. 14268.
- "No. 50461". The London Gazette (Supplement). 17 March 1986. p. 3836.
- "No. 51067". The London Gazette (Supplement). 21 September 1987. p. 11736.
- "Dorset South Tories choose Drax". BBC News. 28 July 2006. Retrieved 29 June 2013.
- Laura Kitching and Catherine Bolado (7 May 2010). "Election 2010: Sweeping victory for Tory Richard Drax". Dorset Echo.
- www.publications.parliament.uk: The House of Commons 2013 Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill 2012–13.
- "Richard Drax". Parliament UK. Retrieved 4 September 2018.
- "Richard Drax hits out over name change claims". Dorset Echo. 2009-12-08. Retrieved 4 September 2018.
- "Controversial Charborough Estate solar farm set for approval". Solar power portal.
- "Tories vote down law requiring landlords make their homes fit for human habitation". Independent. 13 January 2016. Retrieved 4 September 2018.
- Owen, Glen (6 December 2009). "The name's Richard Grosvenor Plunkett-Ernle-Erle-Drax... but 'De-toff' Cameron calls him plain Richard Drax". Daily Mail. Retrieved 29 June 2013.
- Mosley, Charles (ed.) (2003). Burke's Peerage & Baronetage, 107th edn. London: Burke's Peerage & Gentry Ltd. p. 1240 (DUNSANY, B). ISBN 0-9711966-2-1.
- "Ancestors of Dorset MP Richard Drax on slavery database". BBC. Retrieved 4 September 2018.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Richard Drax.|
- Official website
- Profile at Parliament of the United Kingdom
- Contributions in Parliament at Hansard 2010–present
- Voting record at Public Whip
- Record in Parliament at TheyWorkForYou
- Drax's Conservative Party Profile
- Dorset Life
|Parliament of the United Kingdom|
| Member of Parliament
for South Dorset
2010 – present