Oliver Letwin

From Wikispooks
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Person.png Oliver Letwin   Powerbase Sourcewatch WebsiteRdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
(politician, deep state operative?)
Hampstead, London
Alma materEton, University of Cambridge/Trinity College
SpouseIsabel Davidson
Founder ofRed Tape Initiative
Member ofLegatum Institute
Former Conservative MP

Employment.png Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Wikipedia-icon.png

In office
14 July 2014 - 14 July 2016
Succeeded byPatrick McLoughlin

Employment.png Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer Wikipedia-icon.png

In office
6 November 2003 - 10 May 2005
DeputyGeorge Osborne
Preceded byMichael Howard

Employment.png Shadow Home Secretary Wikipedia-icon.png

In office
18 September 2001 - 6 November 2003
Preceded byAnn Widdecombe

Employment.png Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury Wikipedia-icon.png

In office
26 September 2000 - 18 September 2001
Succeeded byJohn Bercow

Employment.png Prime Minister's Europe Adviser

In office
24 June 2016 - 14 July 2016

Employment.png Member of Parliament for West Dorset

In office
1 May 1997 - 6 November 2019

Oliver Letwin (born May 19, 1956, Hampstead), was the British Member of Parliament for West Dorset.

He was the Minister of State at the Cabinet Office.[1]

He is Chairman of the Policy Review and Chairman of the Conservative Research Department.


He is the son of William Letwin, Emeritus Professor at the London School of Economics, and conservative academic Shirley Letwin, both of whom were members of the Mont Pelerin Society. He is also a director of N.M. Rothschild Corporate Finance Ltd.

Letwin was educated at Eton, Trinity College (Cambridge) and the London Business School. From 1983 to 1986 he was a member of Margaret Thatcher's Policy Unit. He unsuccessfully stood against Glenda Jackson for the Hampstead and Highgate seat in the 1992 election, before winning the West Dorset seat in 1997, by the narrow margin of 1,840 votes. In September 2001 he was appointed Shadow Home Secretary, by Iain Duncan Smith. In late 2003 the new party leader, Michael Howard, appointed Letwin his successor as Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer.

Policy Focuses

Public Spending

During the campaign for the 2001 general election, Letwin, as shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury, expressed an aspiration to curtail future public spending by fully 20 billion pounds per annum relative to the plans of the Labour government. When this proposal came under attack as regressive, Letwin found few allies among his colleagues prepared to defend it, and adopted a low profile for the remainder of the campaign. He famously went into 'hiding' during the 2001 election, and for some time after the election had finished.

As Shadow Chancellor he focused on reducing waste in the public sector. At the 2005 election the Conservative Party claimed to have found £35bn worth of potential savings, to be used for increased resources for front line services and for tax cuts. This approach was credited with forcing the government to introduce bureaucracy reduction and cost-cutting proposals of their own.

Law and Order

As Shadow Home Secretary he attracted plaudits for his advocacy of a "neighbourly society", which manifested itself in calls for street by street neighbourhood policing modelled on the philosophy of the police in New York. He was also largely credited with forcing the Home Secretary to withdraw his proposal in 2001 to introduce an offence of incitement to religious hatred. He successfully argued that such an offence would be impossible to define, so there would be little chance of prosecution. He also argued that Muslims would feel persecuted by such a law.

In May 2005, Letwin was appointed Shadow Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. It was reported that he had requested a role less onerous than his former treasury brief so that he would have time to pursue his career in the City at Rothschild's.[1]

Support for Cameron

Following the decision by Michael Howard to stand down as Conservative party leader after the May 2005 general election, Letwin publicly backed the youngest candidate and eventual winner David Cameron, a fellow Etonian. He was subsequently given the newly created role of Chairman of the Policy Review, when Cameron formed his first shadow cabinet in December 2005.


He was one of the biggest opponents of Brexit in Parliament.

Boris Johnson kicked him out the party and he didn't stand at the snap UK/General election/2019.


Select Bibliography

  • Oliver Letwin (1987) Ethics, Emotion and the Unity of the Self. Routledge. ISBN 0709941102.
  • Oliver Letwin and John Redwood. (1988) Britain's Biggest Enterprise - ideas for radical reform of the NHS. Centre for Policy Studies. ISBN 187026519X
  • Oliver Letwin (1988) Privatizing the World: A Study of International Privatization in Theory and Practice. Thomson Learning. ISBN 0304315273
  • Oliver Letwin (1989) Drift to union: Wiser ways to a wider community. Centre for Policy Studies. ISBN 1870265742
  • Oliver Letwin (2003) The Neighbourly Society: Collected Speeches. Centre for Policy Studies. ISBN 1903219604

External links


Employee on Wikispooks

Matthew JamisonParliamentary ResearcherDecember 2013


Related Document

TitleTypePublication dateAuthor(s)Description
Document:Here’s why the Grenfell inquiry will be a stitch-upArticle5 July 2017George MonbiotOn 14 June 2017, while the Grenfell Tower was smouldering, a meeting of the Red Tape Initiative panel decided that "on this occasion" they would not recommend the removal of the EU Construction Products Regulation, which seeks to protect people from fire, and restricts the kind of cladding that can be used.
Many thanks to our Patrons who cover ~2/3 of our hosting bill. Please join them if you can.


  1. Her Majesty’s Government, Number10.gov.uk, accessed 12 May 2010.