Roger Gale

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Sir Roger Gale
Official portrait of Sir Roger Gale crop 2.jpg
Member of Parliament
for North Thanet
Assumed office
9 June 1983
Preceded by Constituency Created
Majority 10,948 (23.3%)
Personal details
Born (1943-08-20) 20 August 1943 (age 74)
Poole, Dorset, England
Nationality British
Political party Conservative
Spouse(s) Susan Gabrielle Marks
Alma mater Guildhall School of Music and Drama
Occupation Broadcaster, disc jockey, television producer, radio producer and journalist

Sir Roger James Gale (born 20 August 1943) is a British Conservative politician who has served as the Member of Parliament (MP) for North Thanet in Kent since 1983.

Early life[edit]

Gale was born in Poole, Dorset and was educated at Southbourne Preparatory School and the Hardye's School in Dorchester. He completed his education at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama.

He is the only former pirate radio disc-jockey to become a member of parliament.[1] He joined Radio Caroline North in August 1964, where he stayed until January 1965. From late 1965 to 1967, Gale helped set up and run Radio 270, "Voice of the North", with wrestling impresario Don Robinson and other Yorkshire businessmen; Radio 270 had a chequered career before closing along with the other pirate radio stations. Gale also fitted in work as the personal assistant to the general manager at Universal Films on and off for the nine years from 1962, before joining the BBC in 1972 as a reporter for Radio London, becoming a producer of current affairs in 1973. He became the producer of Radio 1's Newsbeat, then the producer of Radio 4's Today programme from 1973–6. In 1976, he was appointed Director of BBC Children's Television. He left the BBC in 1979 and joined Thames Television as a senior producer on children's television where he remained until his election to parliament.

Parliamentary career[edit]

Gale joined the Conservative Party in 1964, and was elected as the vice-chairman of the Conservative Association in Holborn and St Pancras in 1971. He was selected to contested Birmingham Northfield at the 1982 by-election caused by the suicide of the sitting Conservative MP Jocelyn Cadbury. He narrowly lost the by-election to Labour's John Spellar by just 289 votes. He was elected to the House of Commons at the 1983 General Election for the newly drawn Kent seat of Thanet North. He won the seat with a majority of 14,545 and has remained the MP there since. His Labour Party opponent in the 1983 election was Cherie Blair, wife of the future Prime Minister Tony Blair. Gale made his maiden speech in the House of Commons on 30 June 1983.[1]

Gale served as a member of the home affairs select committee in 1990 and was appointed as the Parliamentary Private Secretary to the successive ministers of state at the Ministry of Defence Archie Hamilton and Jeremy Hanley following the 1992 General Election until 1994. He was a member of the broadcasting select committee from between the general elections of 1997 and 2005. He has been a member of the Speaker's Panel of Chairmen since 1997. He was a vice chairman of the Conservative Party under the leadership of Iain Duncan Smith from 2001–2003 with responsibility for presentation.

Gale has expressed strong views in support of capital punishment, voicing it as the solution to knife crime[2] though, unlike many Conservative MPs, he supports the ban on fox hunting. He is also apparently a eurosceptic,[3] although he opposes Brexit. He has been a member of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe since 2010, and currently heads the 18-member British parliamentary delegation to the Assembly.

He is a founding member and current president of Conservative Animal Welfare, a group of Conservative MPs and MEPs interested in the promotion animal welfare. Gale strongly opposed Conservative prime minister David Cameron's introduction of same-sex marriage, claiming in the House of Commons: "Marriage is the union between a man and a woman. Has been historically. Remains so. It is Alice in Wonderland territory, Orwellian almost, for any government of any political persuasion to seek to come along and try to rewrite the lexicon. It will not do."[4]

Gale was knighted in the 2012 New Year Honours for public and political services.[5]

In February 2016 Sir Roger Gale was nominated for a 'Grassroots Diplomat' award for his involvement in the campaign to save and reopen Manston Airport, which is in his constituency.[6]

Gale was opposed to Brexit prior to the 2016 referendum.[7]

Personal life[edit]

Roger Gale has been married three times, firstly to Wendy Dawn Bowman in 1964, whom he divorced in 1967, in 1971 he married Susan Linda Sampson and they had a daughter – they too divorced in 1980. Later the same year he married Susan Gabrielle Marks and they have two sons and a host of pets. On BBC Radio in March 2017 he revealed that he employs Susan using public funds on a salary of between £30,000 and £40,000. He is a member of three trade unions: the National Union of Journalists, Equity and the Broadcasting, Entertainment, Cinematograph and Theatre Union (BECTU). He has actively supported the Conservative Trade Unionists organisation, being a long serving president of the Greater London branch. He has travelled widely including to Norway, United States of America, The Gambia, Sierra Leone, Malawi, Cuba, Cyprus, Zambia, Mongolia, South Africa, Mozambique, Ghana, Kenya, Macedonia, and Botswana.


  1. ^ Cable Systems and Services (Hansard, 30 June 1983)
  2. ^ BBC NEWS | Magazine | The point of knives
  3. ^ Roger Gale profile, BBC, 16 October 2002. Retrieved on 18 March 2008.
  4. ^ "Gay marriage: MPs urged to back Bill". BBC News. 5 February 2013. Retrieved 10 March 2014. 
  5. ^ "No. 60009". The London Gazette (Supplement). 31 December 2011. p. 1. 
  6. ^
  7. ^ Goodenough, Tom (16 February 2016). "Which Tory MPs back Brexit, who doesn’t and who is still on the fence?". The Spectator. Retrieved 11 October 2016. 

External links[edit]

News items[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
New constituency Member of Parliament for North Thanet
1983 – present