Richard Spring

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The Right Honourable
The Lord Risby
Prime Ministerial Trade Envoy to Algeria
In office
November 2012 – present
Prime Minister David Cameron
Preceded by New position
Member of Parliament
for West Suffolk
In office
2 May 1997 – 12 April 2010
Preceded by new constituency
Succeeded by Matthew Hancock
Member of Parliament
for Bury St Edmunds
In office
9 April 1992 – 1 May 1997
Preceded by Eldon Griffiths
Succeeded by David Ruffley
Personal details
Born (1946-09-24) 24 September 1946 (age 69)
Cape Town, South Africa
Nationality British
Political party Conservative
Spouse(s) Jane Henniker-Major
Relations Kenneth Spring, Dick Spring
Alma mater University of Cape Town, Magdalene College, Cambridge
Occupation Politician
Religion Church of England

Richard John Grenville Spring, Baron Risby (born 24 September 1946) is a Conservative Party politician in the United Kingdom. He served as Member of Parliament (MP) for Bury St Edmunds from 1992 to 1997, and for West Suffolk from 1997 to 2010. He joined the House of Lords in 2010 and is currently the British Trade Envoy to Algeria.

Parliamentary career[edit]

Spring contested Ashton-under-Lyne at the 1983 general election. He was first elected as an MP at the 1992 General Election, representing Bury St Edmunds. Spring served as Parliamentary Private Secretary to Sir Patrick Mayhew as Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (1994–95).

On 9 April 1995, Spring resigned from this position after a News of the World sting caught him in a "three in a bed sex romp" with a male acquaintance and the acquaintance's girlfriend.[1][2][3] It subsequently emerged that the woman had captured audio of the liaison on a hidden tape recorder.[4] The publication of the story was attacked as an example of entrapment, and on the grounds that it served no public interest. News of the World columnist Woodrow Wyatt, writing in The Times, stated that "[t]hat anyone is entitled to privacy in their homes, in their cups or in their beds is a wholly alien concept to the News of the World. The News of the World has as good as asked for a privacy law. The Government and Opposition should no longer hesitate to produce it".[5] Even the News of the World's proprietor, Rupert Murdoch, privately criticized the story as "over the top".[6] The scandal was linked in the media to John Major's ill-fated "Back to Basics" campaign.[7]

Spring subsequently served as PPS to Tim Eggar as Minister for Trade and Industry (1995–96) and to Nicholas Soames and James Arbuthnot as Ministers of State at the Ministry of Defence (1996–97).[8] In 1997, Spring was elected as MP for West Suffolk. He was Opposition Spokesman for Foreign Affairs between 2000 and 2004 and Shadow Minister for the Treasury between 2004 and 2005.[9] On 23 November 2009, Spring announced that he would stand down at the 2010 general election.[10] Between 2005 and 2010 he was a Vice-Chairman of the Conservative Party, responsible for business links in the City of London. He was also Director of the British Syrian Society between 2003 and 2011, and featured on a 2012 Dispatches program on the Assad regime.[11]

On 24 December 2010, Spring was created a life peer as Baron Risby of Haverhill in the County of Suffolk.[12] Lord Risby sits as a Conservative in the House of Lords.[13]

In September 2011, Risby was elected as the Vice-Chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for East Asian Business. In November 2012, Lord Risby was announced as one of nine prime ministerial trade envoys, with responsibility for Algeria.[14]

Outside Parliament[edit]

Lord Risby is currently the Chairman of the British Ukrainian Society, a post that he has held since 2007.[15] He is also one of two patrons of the business organisation City Future, along with Sir John Major.[16] Risby is a director of several businesses and organisations, including Hawkley Oil and Gas Ltd and Minexco Petroleum Inc, and is the president of the Combined Heat and Power Association.[17] He is also the Deputy Chairman of the Small Business Bureau.[18]

Personal life[edit]

Spring was born in 1946 in Cape Town, South Africa where he attended Rondebosch Boys' High School and Cape Town University. As a child he lived in the picturesque suburb of Fresnaye. He subsequently studied at the University of Cambridge. Spring then entered the City, and was a vice-president of Merrill Lynch.[19] He married Hon. Jane Henniker-Major, daughter of John Henniker-Major, 8th Baron Henniker, in 1979 in Westminster. They divorced in 1993, having had two children.[20]

He is a descendant of the Suffolk merchant Thomas Spring and a relation of Kenneth Spring. In 1992 he became the sixth member of the Spring family to represent a Suffolk constituency in the House of Commons, although the first for over 300 years.[21] Spring is also a descendant of George Grenville, the Whig statesman who served as British Prime Minister in the eighteenth century.


  1. ^ "Tory MP, The Tycoon and the Sunday School Teacher", News of the World, 9 April 1995
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^ Morgan, Piers (2012). The Insider: The Private Diaries of a Scandalous Decade. Random House. p. 73. 
  5. ^ Herbert, Emily (2012). Piers Morgan: The Biography. John Blake. p. 56. ISBN 1843589400. 
  6. ^ Morgan (2012), p. 74
  7. ^ Glauber, Bill (1995-04-11). "Tories Getting A's In School For Scandal". Baltimore Sun. 
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^ "Newmarket MP Richard Spring to stand down". Newmarket Journal. 23 November 2009. 
  11. ^
  12. ^ The London Gazette: no. 59656. p. 24903. 30 December 2010.
  13. ^
  14. ^
  15. ^
  16. ^
  17. ^
  18. ^
  19. ^ "Richard Spring: Electoral history and profile". The Guardian (London). 
  20. ^
  21. ^ Hansard, 11 May 1992, Richard Spring MP's maiden speech

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Sir Eldon Griffiths
Member of Parliament for Bury St Edmunds
Succeeded by
David Ruffley
New constituency Member of Parliament for West Suffolk
Succeeded by
Matthew Hancock