Patricia Hewitt

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Person.png Patricia Hewitt   Powerbase Sourcewatch WebsiteRdf-icon.png
Patricia Hewitt.jpg
Born 2 December 1948
Alma mater Australian National University, Nuffield College, Oxford, Newnham College, Cambridge
Children 2
Spouse David Julian Gibson-Watt
Party Labour

Employment.png Secretary of State for Health Wikipedia-icon.png

In office
5 May 2005 - 27 June 2007
Succeeded by Alan Johnson

Employment.png Secretary of State for Trade and Industry link=, _Energy_and_Industrial_Strategy

In office
8 June 2001 - 5 May 2005
Preceded by Stephen Byers
Succeeded by Alan Johnson

Employment.png Minister for Women

In office
8 June 2001 - 5 May 2005
Succeeded by Tessa Jowell

Employment.png Economic Secretary to the Treasury Wikipedia-icon.png

In office
27 July 1998 - 17 May 1999
Preceded by Helen Liddell
Succeeded by Melanie Johnson

Employment.png Member of Parliament for Leicester West

In office
2 May 1997 - 12 April 2010
Preceded by Greville Janner

Employment.png President of the Board of Trade

In office
8 June 2001 - 5 May 2005

Patricia Hewitt is the former General Secretary of the National Council for Civil Liberties (NCCL) in the 1970s, and was Member of Parliament for Leicester West from 1997 to 2010. She was appointed as Minister for Small Business and e-Commerce at the Department of Trade and Industry (1999-2001) before becoming Secretary of State for Trade and Industry in 2001. She served as Secretary of State for Health from May 2005 – June 2007.[1]

Patricia’s five ways to meet a Minister

In the Dispatches programme ‘Politicians for Hire’, broadcast on 22 March 2010, Dispatches set up a fictional US public affairs company and contacted Hewitt and several senior politicians asking them if they were interested in a position on the advisory board in their London office. Hewitt attended a bogus interview and outlined to the undercover reporter five ways in which corporations could gain access to a serving Minister of State:

(1) Wining and dining

“You know when I was Business Secretary I would cheerfully accept hospitality initiations, for instance, because it was just a really useful way of getting to know business leaders rather better. Gordon is pretty against all of that.”

(2) The think-tank route

“Now the think tank and the seminar route I think is a very good one and will remain a good one and so identifying the right think-tank. Policy Exchange is a good one at the moment, Demos is another good one. And saying ok, does that think tank already have a relationship with Minister X? Can we invite Minister X to give a seminar on this subject? Your client would then sponsor the seminar and you do it via the think-tank. And that’s very useful, because what you get for your sponsorship is basically you sit next to the Minister.”

(3) Sponsor a Party Conference event

“Is a classic one, increasingly crowded for the Conservatives at the moment. A bit un-crowded for Labour last year, it used to be the reverse.”

(4) Direct invitation

“Sometimes you know just a direct invitation to have you know we want to come and see you about X will sometimes work.”

(5) Establish a presence in the Minister’s constituency

“So depending on the company if they’ve got a presence in some part of the country or there’s some link and then that fits with where roughly speaking where a Minister’s constituency is … that can be a more subtle route in … and doesn’t get trapped by the officials.” [2]

NCCL links to PIE

In February 2014, Patricia Hewitt apologised for the connection between the NCCL which she headed and a paedophile rights group, in accepting the claims by the Paedophile Information Exchange (PIE) that it was a campaigning and counselling organisation. She said in a statement:

“I got it wrong on PIE and I apologise for having done so.
“NCCL in the 1970s, along with many others, was naive and wrong to accept PIE's claim to be a 'campaigning and counselling organisation' that 'does not promote unlawful acts.
“As general secretary then, I take responsibility for the mistakes we made. I got it wrong on PIE and I apologise for having done so.
“I should have urged the executive committee to take stronger measures to protect NCCL's integrity from the activities of PIE members and sympathisers and I deeply regret not having done so.”

Harriet Harman, who was the NCCL's legal officer in the late 1970s, has said she regrets the link with the “vile paedophile” group, but has nothing to apologise for. Her husband, Jack Dromey, who also worked for the NCCL, has also said he vigorously opposed the PIE's presence in the civil liberties organisation.[3]




  1. Hewitt, Patricia, About Patricia Hewitt, accessed 25 November 2008.
  2. Patricia Hewitt. Interview. In: Dispatches, ‘Politicians for Hire’, Channel 4, 22 March 2010, 20:00 hrs.
  3. "PIE controversy: Patricia Hewitt apologises for connection between civil liberties organisation she headed and paedophile rights group"
  4. Costello, Miles, "BT snares former minister Patricia Hewitt," Times, 13 March 2008, accessed 25 November 2008.
  5. Times Online website, "BT snares former minister Patricia Hewitt," by Miles Costello, 13 March 2008, accessed 25 November 2008.
  6. Times Online website, "BT snares former minister Patricia Hewitt," by Miles Costello, 13 March 2008, accessed 25 November 2008.
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