Nigel Lawson
British politician
Nigel Lawson
Nigel Lawson, Baron Lawson of Blaby, is a British Conservative politician and journalist. He was a Member of Parliament (MP) representing the constituency of Blaby from 1974–92, and served in the Thatcher Cabinet from 1981 to 1989. Prior to entering the Cabinet, he served as the Financial Secretary to the Treasury from May 1979 until his promotion to Secretary of State for Energy in recognition of his expertise in that field.
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Winter crisis shows UK health service at 'tipping point'
Yahoo News - about 1 month
Britain's NHS public health service has been the country's pride since 1948, but is currently gripped by a "humanitarian crisis" due to alleged "third world" conditions that are piling pressure on Prime Minister Theresa May. The stark image of 22-month-old Jack Harwood, wearing only a nappy, stretched across two plastic chairs while waiting to see a doctor in an Accident and Emergency ward dominated the front page of the Daily Mirror newspaper on Friday, laying bare the depth of the winter crisis. Doctors and hospitals have said the National Health Service (NHS) is "approaching a tipping point", with every winter putting increasing stress on the free-at-point-of-use service, described as a "national religion" by former minister Nigel Lawson.
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Yahoo News article
Debating Climate Change Seen as 'Blasphemy'– Nigel Lawson
Wall Street Journal - almost 2 years
Former U.K. Chancellor of the Exchequer Nigel Lawson tells WSJ’s Simon Constable that climate change has become something of a “new religion” to such an extent that debating it is seen as blasphemy. He also sees an international treaty on carbon emissions as a “stupid thing.
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Wall Street Journal article
Euro Needs Orderly Dissolution – Nigel Lawson
Wall Street Journal - almost 2 years
Former U.K. Chancellor of the Exchequer Nigel Lawson tells WSJ’s Simon Constable why the Euro needs to die, how Goldman Sachs cooked the books for Greece and why a 2% inflation target is passé. Plus, how central banks may not know how to unwind the massive money printing known as quantitative easing.
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Wall Street Journal article
Hospital crisis stokes anger in pre-election Britain
Yahoo News - about 2 years
The protest tents are being taken down but resentment burns on in Stafford, where the hospital is a notorious example of a healthcare crisis roiling Britain ahead of May's general election. "Staff are on their knees," said Karen Howell, a nurse in this former industrial town in central England who helped set up a protest camp in the hospital grounds and is campaigning with a new political party. The National Health Action Party is fielding a total of 12 candidates at the election -- most of them nurses and doctors in the National Health Service (NHS), Britain's state-funded system of free, universal healthcare. It was once described as the nearest thing the English have to a religion by Margaret Thatcher's finance minister Nigel Lawson.
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Yahoo News article
Peter Foster: Crazy over climate
Financial Post - over 3 years
The Royal Society, the U.K.’s once-venerable academy of science, has arguably lost its collective mind over the theory of projected catastrophic man-made global warming. Recently, its president, Paul Nurse, in seeking to avoid a meeting with skeptical experts from the Global Warming Policy Foundation, GWPF — the think tank set up by former Chancellor of the Exchequer Lord Nigel Lawson — linked skeptics with those who reject evolution and believe that the weather might be changed by prayer. Whatever kind of argument that is, it isn’t scientific, but it certainly invites analysis of the mindset that made it. An even more egregious example of the Royal Society’s support for treating skepticism as the result of ignorance or psychiatric disorder came with the granting earlier this year of a Wolfson Research Merit award — designed to attract and keep academic talent in Britain — to Stephan Lewandowsky, an Australian “cognitive scientist,” who recently moved to Bristol University. The awar ...
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Financial Post article
Brexit would be bad for Britain - almost 4 years
Quitting the European Union would be bad for Britain. Membership of even an unreformed EU is better than “Brexit”. Quitting would mean either not having access to the single market – at a huge cost to the economy – or second-tier membership. The debate over Brexit has moved into high gear in the past 10 days, after the UK Independence Party – which wants Britain to pull out of the EU – performed well in English local elections. The Conservative party, which rules in coalition with the pro-European Liberal Democrats, has been thrown into turmoil because UKIP has been winning votes largely from the Tories. What’s more, many Conservatives would like Britain to quit the EU too. Last week Nigel Lawson, one of Margaret Thatcher’s finance ministers, argued the case for Brexit. Boris Johnson, the mayor of London who is the Conservatives’ most popular politician, also shuffled a little further in a eurosceptic direction – although he stopped short of calling for an exit. David Cameron him ...
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British economy would be better off outside EU, says Nigel Lawson - The Guardian
Google News - almost 4 years
The Guardian British economy would be better off outside EU, says Nigel Lawson The Guardian Opponents of British membership of the European Union gained their most prestigious recruit when the former chancellor Lord Lawson claimed the British economy would be better off outside the EU. Lawson said the profoundly misguided aim of the EU was ... Lord Lawson calls for UK to exit EUBBC News Nigel Lawson: David Cameron must lead Britain out of the Lord Lawson: The case for exiting the EU is clearScotsman The Independent -Belfast Telegraph all 11 news articles »
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Google News article
When will we able to have a mature conversation about the health service? - (blog)
Google News - about 4 years (blog) When will we able to have a mature conversation about the health service? (blog) Nigel Lawson described the NHS as the closest thing to a national religion that this country has. The NHS is certainly like a national religion to the extent that it is pretty much impossible to have a rational debate about it. There is often a choice posited ... Thatcher's secret plot to dismantle the welfare state and privatise the NHS revealedDaily Mail Margaret Thatcher's role in plan to dismantle welfare state revealedThe Guardian National Archives: Your speeches are boring, Chancellor Howe was toldScotsman The Guardian Blogs (blog) all 7 news articles »
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Google News article
David Attenborough: force of nature
Guardian (UK) - over 4 years
David Attenborough may have lived the perfect life, travelling the world and seeing its wonders before tourism ravaged them. He talks to Robin McKie about his early regrets, battles with climate-change deniers, and his favourite place on Earth It is hard to believe that David Attenborough has ever mistreated a single animal in his life. This is a man for whom the natural world is sacred, after all. Yet midway through our interview, organised to promote his new television series Attenborough: 60 Years in the Wild, a crestfallen look crosses the great naturalist's features when I ask if he has any regrets about his career. "Jumping on animals. I regret that," he states. I blink in disbelief. It is as if Judi Dench had admitted to glue-sniffing. Attenborough explains. "Fifty years ago, I used to go along, chase a giant anteater and pull it by the tail so we could film it. I am sorry about that sort of thing. But those were different days." Then there was the time he and his crew were ...
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Guardian (UK) article
Green campaigners condemn Peter Lilley's energy committee post
Guardian (UK) - over 4 years
MPs and environmental groups say appointment of the climate sceptic to Commons energy committee is 'deeply worrying' • Peter Lilley: 'I am a global lukewarmist' and other quotes MPs and environmental campaigners on Thursday condemned the appointment of climate sceptic Peter Lilley to the committee that scrutinises the government's energy and climate policies, calling the move "deeply worrying". The Tory MP, one of only three MPs to vote against the Climate Change Act in 2008, has been appointed to the energy and climate change select committee. It follows a recent cabinet reshuffle that included John Hayes, a vocal critic of wind power in the past, being installed as the new energy minister, and Owen Paterson, an advocate of shale gas who has also spoken out against windfarms, as environment secretary. Lilley is the vice-chairman and senior independent non-executive director of Tethys Petroleum Ltd, an oil and gas company with operations in Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. ...
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Guardian (UK) article
Bob Ward: The Australian Echo Chamber of Climate Change Denial
Huffington Post - over 4 years
The Australian newspaper proved last week that the echo chamber of climate change denial is not restricted to the United States and United Kingdom. On 4 September, the newspaper, owned by News Limited, the Australian arm of Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation empire, published an article by Peter Lilley, a veteran UK Member of Parliament from the right wing of the Conservative Party, promoting his 'sceptical' views about climate change. Lilley is probably best-known for a cringeworthy speech he made at the Conservative Party conference in 1992 as Secretary of State for Social Security in John Major's Government, during which he adapted a song from The Mikado by Gilbert Sullivan, which began "I've got a little list of benefit offenders who I'll soon be rooting out", and included "young ladies who get pregnant just to jump the housing list" and "all those sponging socialists". More recently, Lilley was one of just five MPs, out of 646, who voted in 2008 against the Climat ...
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Huffington Post article
Heathrow's third runway: noise grows, but will it happen?
Guardian (UK) - over 4 years
Environmentalists and those living under the flight path are ready to fight if the Conservatives resurrect expansion plans Somehow, the noise never seems that bad from the actual airport. It certainly doesn't sound bad from Westminster. But in Hounslow, the London borough under the flight path for Heathrow's two runways, the planes loom unfeasibly large as they come in to land, with the background engine noise building up every ninety seconds or so to a conversation-defying eruption. In quieter places a consensus on Heathrow expansion has been steadily moulded by business and aviation executives: via discreet lobbying, a burgeoning file of reports, and conferences from London to Beijing. Backbench Tory MPs and union leaders alike have come out for the cause: warning Britain will lose its predominant place in global aviation, its access to growing markets. London will fall behind Paris, Frankfurt, even the Dutch, without more airport capacity. Foreign firms will relocate; jobs will g ...
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Guardian (UK) article
George Osborne is liability to Tories, poll reveals
Guardian (UK) - over 4 years
Guardian/ICM survey puts pressure on prime minister David Cameron as he plans cabinet reshuffle Full findings from the latest Guardian/ICM opinion poll (pdf) George Osborne has been identified as the government's weak link in a fresh poll showing that nearly half of voters believe he should be removed as chancellor in the forthcoming cabinet reshuffle. Amid a growing chorus among Conservative MPs for the prime minister to take the bold step of offering Osborne another high-profile cabinet post, the chancellor's weakness is highlighted in the latest Guardian/ICM poll which shows he has a net job satisfaction rate of minus 32 points. The prime minister, who is expected to consult aides on the reshuffle when he takes a short break from his Cornwall holiday to attend the opening ceremony of the Paralympic Games in London on Wednesday, is planning a shakeup that will go beyond the middle and junior ranks of his government. Aides say the changes to the cabinet will involve more than ...
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Guardian (UK) article
Comment on The Tories’ and Labour’s collective tax omnishambles by Alex Sabine
Liberal Democrat Voice - almost 5 years
A little schadenfreude over Labour’s shambolic Parliamentary manoeuvring on 45p tax is understandable, given their cries of coalition incompetence over the various budget measures that have been unravelling in the past few weeks, and their general abuse of the Lib Dems. However, the idea that the Lib Dems are blameless in all this is simply partisan wishful thinking. The party claimed that it was Nick Clegg’s (albeit rather last-minute) advocacy of a tycoon tax that forced George Osborne to go further than he originally intended in limiting tax reliefs. Yet it is this aspect of the budget in particular that seems to have sparked the biggest furore because of the effect on charities and universities. So now we have the rather bizarre spectacle of Vince Cable fretting publicly about these effects while Nick Clegg defends the “simple principle” at stake of a guaranteed minimum rate of tax. Even though I favour sweeping away (and not merely capping) the vast majority of tax privilege ...
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Liberal Democrat Voice article
'We can't afford another costly foreign venture' - Evening Standard
Google News - over 5 years
The call from Mr Tyrie, a former adviser to Chancellors Nigel Lawson and John Major, is likely to dismay aid organisations who oppose funds being diverted from tackling poverty and disease in impoverished nations. However, Mr Tyrie, who has campaigned
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Google News article
Nigella Lawson, queen of food porn and guest editor for Stylist - Plus Size Tall
Google News - over 5 years
Her father is the former Conservative chancellor, Nigel Lawson, and her mother was Vanessa Salmon, socialite and heiress to the Lyons Corner House empire. Nigella Lawson first started writing about food in 1985 in a restaurant column for The Spectator
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Google News article
Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of Nigel Lawson
  • 2011
    Lawson was a critic of David Cameron's coalition government economic policy, describing spending cuts consultation plans as a "PR ploy". In November 2011 he called for the "orderly" dismantling of the euro.
    More Details Hide Details Lawson was interviewed about the rise of Thatcherism for the 2006 BBC TV documentary series Tory! Tory! Tory!
    In 2011, Bob Ward claimed the GWPF was "spreading errors" and "the 'facts'" Lawson "repeats are demonstrably inaccurate" Ward referred to Lawson's "many times" repeated statement that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change worst-case scenario predicted the rise in Third World living standards in 100 years would be limited to just nine times current levels.
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  • 2010
    In 2010, he appeared on the Analysis programme to discuss banking reform.
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    Ward also criticised Lawson for repeating in a 2010 BBC radio debate that Antarctic ice volumes were unchanged even after his error was highlighted by his opponent, Professor Kevin Anderson.
    More Details Hide Details According to Ward, Lawson provided no evidence to back his claim which is contrary to satellite measurements and he similarly incorrectly implied that the correlation between CO2 and sea levels was uncertain as sea levels were rising more slowly since 1950 than before it. The current sea level rise is accelerating. Given the Charity Commission requires that statements by campaigning charities "must be factually accurate and have a legitimate evidence base" Ward suggested that they review the GWPF. Lawson's son Dominic Lawson is also a climate change sceptic, taking a similar viewpoint as his father in his columns in the Independent on Sunday.
    In an interview in 2010 Nigel Lawson said that an unintended consequence of the Big Bang was the financial crisis of 2007-2008.
    More Details Hide Details The trajectory taken by the UK economy from this point on is typically described as "The Lawson Boom" by analogy with the phrase "The Barber Boom" which describes an earlier period of rapid expansion under the tenure as Chancellor of Anthony Barber in the Conservative Government of Prime Minister Heath (1970 to 1974). Critics of Lawson assert that a combination of the abandonment of monetarism, the adoption of a de facto exchange-rate target of 3 Deutsche marks to the pound (ruling out interest-rate rises), and excessive fiscal laxity (in particular the 1988 Budget) unleashed an inflationary spiral.
  • 2009
    On 23 November 2009 Lawson became chairman of a new think tank, the Global Warming Policy Foundation, a registered education charity.
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  • 2008
    In July 2008 controversy was again incited when the Conservative magazine Standpoint published a transcript of a double interview with Lawson and Tory Policy Chief Oliver Letwin, in which Lawson described Letwin's views on global warming as "pie in the sky" and called on him and the Tory frontbench to "get real".
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    In 2008, Lawson published a book expanding on his 2006 lecture to the Centre for Policy Studies, An Appeal to Reason: A Cool Look at Global Warming.
    More Details Hide Details He argues the case that, although global warming is happening and will have negative consequences, the impact of these changes will be relatively moderate rather than apocalyptic. He criticises those "alarmist" politicians and scientists who predict catastrophe unless urgent action is taken. The book has, in its turn, been criticised by the IPCC: HM Government's Chief Scientific Adviser, Sir John Beddington, is reported to have told Lawson privately that he had "incorrect" and "misleading" claims in the book.
  • 2007
    Lawson explained that the 2007–2012 global financial crisis was an unintended consequence of the 1986 Big Bang after investment banks merged with high street banks putting depositors' savings at risk.
    More Details Hide Details Lawson has also appeared on the Business News Network in Canada to discuss global warming. In a debate with other former cabinet ministers and prominent journalists, Lawson has argued that political life is more in need of ideas and direction than grand political visions. Lawson is known for having coined several notable quotations, including "to govern is to choose. To appear to be unable to choose is to appear to be unable to govern." Lord Lawson has been married twice having children from both relationships. Lord Lawson is a member of the Garrick, Beefsteak and Pratt's Clubs.
    Lawson also contributed to the 2007 documentary film The Great Global Warming Swindle.
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  • 2006
    Lawson's lecture to the Centre for Policy Studies think-tank, published 1 November 2006 criticises the Stern Review and proposed what is described as a rational approach, advocating adaptation to changes in global climate, rather than attempting mitigation, i.e., reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
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  • 2005
    In 2005, the House of Lords Economics Affairs Select Committee, with Lawson as a member, undertook an inquiry into climate change.
    More Details Hide Details In their report, the Committee recommend the HM Treasury take a more active role in climate policy. The objectivity of the IPCC process is questioned, and changes are suggested in the UK's contribution to future international climate change negotiations. The report cites a mismatch between the economic costs and benefits of climate policy, and also criticises the greenhouse gas emission reduction targets set in the Kyoto Protocol. In response to the report, Michael Grubb, Chief Economist of the Carbon Trust, wrote an article in Prospect magazine, defending the Kyoto Protocol and describing the committee's report as being "strikingly inconsistent". Lawson responded to Grubb's article, describing it as an example of the "intellectual bankruptcy of the climate change establishment". Lawson also said that Kyoto's approach was "wrong-headed" and called on the IPCC to be "shut down". At about the same time of the release of the House of Lords report, the UK Government launched the Stern Review, an inquiry undertaken by the HM Treasury and headed by Lord Stern. According to the Stern Review, published in 2006, the potential costs of climate change far exceed the costs of a programme to stabilise the climate.
  • 2004
    In 2004, along with six others, Lawson wrote a letter to The Times criticising the Kyoto Protocol and claiming that there were substantial scientific uncertainties surrounding climate change.
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  • 1996
    In 1996, Lawson appeared on the BBC satirical and topical quiz show Have I Got News For You and, as a former Chancellor (the position of Chancellor being regarded as one of the "big four" Government positions, q.v..
    More Details Hide Details Great Offices of State) he had held the highest political office of any guest. He occasionally appears as a guest on his daughter Nigella's cookery shows. Lawson serves on the advisory board of the Conservative magazine Standpoint. During the United Kingdom parliamentary expenses scandal, it was revealed that Lawson managed to claim £16,000 in overnight allowances by registering his farmhouse in Gascony as his main residence. Lawson is a global warming sceptic and believes that man-made global warming is exaggerated.
  • 1992
    On 1 July 1992 he was given a life peerage as Baron Lawson of Blaby, of Newnham in the County of Northamptonshire.
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  • 1988
    The issue of exchange-rate mechanism membership continued to fester between Lawson and Thatcher and was exacerbated by the re-employment by Thatcher of Sir Alan Walters as personal economic adviser. Lawson's conduct of policy had become a struggle to maintain credibility once the August 1988 trade deficit revealed the strength of the expansion of domestic demand.
    More Details Hide Details As orthodox monetarists, Lawson and Thatcher agreed to a steady rise in interest rates to restrain demand, but this had the effect of inflating the headline inflation figure. After a further year in office in these circumstances Lawson felt that public articulation of differences between an exchange-rate monetarist, as he had become, and the views of Walters (who continued to favour a floating exchange rate) were making his job impossible and he resigned. He was succeeded in the office of Chancellor by John Major. Lawson's tenure as Chancellor of the Exchequer was longer than that of any of his predecessors since David Lloyd George, who served from 1908 to 1915. This was subsequently passed by Labour's Gordon Brown (1997–2007). After retiring from front-bench politics, Lawson decided, on his doctor's advice, to tackle his weight problem. He is 5 feet 10 inches (178 cm) tall; he lost five stone (70 pounds, 30 kg) from 17 stone, or 238 pounds (108 kg) to 12 stone, or 168 pounds (76 kilograms) – (BMI 34 to 24) in a matter of a few months, dramatically changing his appearance, and went on to publish the best-selling The Nigel Lawson Diet Book.
  • 1986
    His tax cuts, beginning in 1986, resulted in the "Lawson Boom" of the British economy, which had halved unemployment from more than 3,000,000 by the end of 1989.
    More Details Hide Details However, this led to a rise in inflation from 3% to more than 8% during 1988, which resulted in interest rates doubling to 15% in the space of 18 months, and remaining high in spite of the 1990–1992 recession which saw unemployment rise nearly as high as the level seen before the boom began. Lawson opposed the introduction of the Community Charge (nicknamed the poll tax) as a replacement for the previous rating system for the local financing element of local government revenue. His dissent was confined to deliberations within the Cabinet, where he found few allies and where he was over-ruled by the Prime Minister and by the ministerial team of the department responsible (Department of the Environment).
    Lawson, in his own defence, attributes the boom largely to the effects of various measures of financial deregulation. Insofar as Lawson acknowledges policy errors, he attributes them to a failure to raise interest rates during 1986 and considers that had Margaret Thatcher not vetoed the UK joining the European Exchange Rate Mechanism in November 1985 it might have been possible to adjust to these beneficial changes in the arena of microeconomics with less macroeconomic turbulence.
    More Details Hide Details Lawson also ascribes the difficulty of conducting monetary policy to Goodhart's Law.
  • 1983
    Lawson also changed the budget deficit from £10.5 billion (3.7% of GDP) in 1983 to a budget surplus of £3.9 billion in 1988 and £4.1 billion in 1989, the year of his resignation.
    More Details Hide Details During his tenure the rate of taxation also came down. The basic rate was reduced from 30% in 1983 to 25% by 1988. The top rate of tax also came down from 60% to 40% in 1988 and the four other higher rates were removed, leaving a system of personal taxation in which there was no rate anywhere in excess of 40 per cent. In 1986 the City of London's financial markets were deregulated in the so-called 'Big Bang'.
    After the Government's re-election in 1983, Lawson was appointed Chancellor of the Exchequer in succession to Geoffrey Howe.
    More Details Hide Details The early years of Lawson's chancellorship were associated with tax reform. The 1984 Budget reformed corporate taxes by a combination of reduced rates and reduced allowances. The 1985 Budget continued the trend of shifting from direct to indirect taxes by reducing National Insurance contributions for the lower-paid while extending the base of value added tax. During these two years Lawson's public image remained low-key, but from the 1986 Budget (in which he resumed the reduction of the standard rate of personal Income Tax from the 30% rate to which it had been lowered in Howe's 1979 Budget), his stock rose as unemployment began to fall from the middle of 1986 (employment growth having resumed over three years earlier).
    He was appointed as Chancellor of the Exchequer in June 1983, and served until his resignation in October 1989.
    More Details Hide Details In both Cabinet posts he was a key proponent of Thatcher's policy of privatisation of several key industries and deregulation and oversaw the Big Bang launched in London on 27 October 1986. Lawson was a backbencher from 1989 until he retired in 1992, and now sits in the House of Lords. He is still active in political life as President of Conservatives for Britain, a campaign for Britain to leave the European Union, and as chairman of the climate sceptic Global Warming Policy Foundation think tank. He is the father of six children, including Nigella Lawson, a food writer and celebrity cook, and Dominic Lawson, a journalist.
  • 1981
    In the Cabinet reshuffle of September 1981, Lawson was promoted to the position of Secretary of State for Energy.
    More Details Hide Details In this role his most significant action was to prepare for what he saw as an inevitable full-scale strike in the coal industry (then state-owned since nationalisation by the post-war government of Clement Attlee) over the closure of pits whose uneconomic operation accounted for the coal industry's business losses and consequent requirement for state subsidy. He was a key proponent of the Thatcher Government's privatisation policy. During his tenure at the Department of Energy he set the course for the later privatisations of the gas and electricity industries and on his return to the Treasury he worked closely with the Department of Trade and Industry in privatising British Airways, British Telecom, and British Gas.
  • 1979
    On the election of Margaret Thatcher's government, Lawson was appointed to the post of Financial Secretary to the Treasury. Although this is the fourth-ranking political position in the UK Treasury, Lawson's energy in office was reflected in such measures as the ending of unofficial state controls on mortgage lending, the abolition of exchange controls in October 1979 and the publication of the Medium Term financial Strategy.
    More Details Hide Details This document set the course for both the monetary and fiscal sides of the new government's economic policy, though the extent to which the subsequent trajectory of policy and outcome matched that projected is still a matter for debate.
  • 1970
    Lawson stood unsuccessfully at the 1970 General Election for the Eton and Slough seat before becoming Member of Parliament for Blaby in Leicestershire in February 1974, which seat he held until retiring at the 1992 General Election.
    More Details Hide Details While in Opposition, Lawson co-ordinated tactics with rebellious Government backbenchers Jeff Rooker and Audrey Wise to secure legislation providing for the automatic indexation of tax thresholds to prevent the tax burden being increased by inflation (typically in excess of 10% per annum during that Parliament).
  • 1961
    He progressed to the positions of City editor of The Sunday Telegraph in 1961 - where he introduced his friend Jim Slater's Capitalist investing column - and then editor of The Spectator (1966–1970).
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  • 1956
    Lawson began his career as a journalist at the Financial Times in 1956, writing the Lexicon column.
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  • 1932
    Lawson was born in 1932 to a wealthy Jewish family living in Hampstead, London.
    More Details Hide Details His father, Ralph Lawson (1904–1982), was the owner of a commodity-trading firm in the City of London, while his mother, Joan Elisa Davis, was also from a prosperous family of stockbrokers. His paternal grandfather, Gustav Leibson, a merchant from Mitau (now Jelgava in Latvia), changed his name from Leibson to Lawson in 1925, having become a British Citizen in 1911. Lawson was educated at two independent schools: at Beechwood Park School in Markyate (nr. St Albans) in Hertfordshire, followed by Westminster School in London (following in his father's footsteps), and Christ Church, Oxford, where he gained a first-class honours degree in Philosophy, Politics and Economics. Lawson carried out his National Service as a Royal Navy officer, during which time he commanded a fast patrol boat, HMS Gay Charger.
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