Norman Tebbit

From Academic Kids

Norman Beresford Tebbit, Baron Tebbit, PC (born March 29, 1931), is a right-wing British Conservative politician and former MP for Chingford.

Contents

Early life

Born in Enfield, he was a journalist on the Financial Times, before serving with the RAF during four years of National Service. On leaving the RAF he joined BOAC in 1953 as a pilot. He entered politics in 1970.

Member of Parliament

He was a close ally of Margaret Thatcher and served as her Secretary of State for Employment, Secretary of State for Trade and Industry and President of the Board of Trade (October 1983 - September 1985), as Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and as party chairman (1985 - 1987). During the Brighton hotel bombing he was injured and his wife, Margaret, was permanently disabled.

In the aftermath of urban riots (Handsworth riots and Brixton riot) in the summer of 1981, Tebbit responded to a suggestion that the rioting was caused by unemployment by saying:

I grew up in the 1930s with an unemployed father. He did not riot. He got on his bike and looked for work, and he went on looking until he found it.

This exchange was the origin of the attribution to Tebbit of the slogan On yer bike!.

He is also known for originating the "cricket test", also known as the "Tebbit test", where he suggested that people from ethnic minorities in Britain should not be considered truly British until they supported the England cricket team, as opposed to the country of their or their ancestors' birth.

In 1986 Norman Tebbit, as Conservative party chairman, led a wave of right-wing criticm of the BBC over a programme about the American bombing of Tripoli.

Elevated to the peerage

Tebbit decided not to stand in the 1992 election, in order to devote more time to caring for his disabled wife. After the election he was granted a peerage and entered the House of Lords. His former seat of Chingford was aggregated with Woodford Green in boundary changes and was held for the Conservative Party by his successor and protégé Iain Duncan Smith.

Tebbit is still a highly influential figure in the Conservative party, and a vice-president of the Conservative Way Forward group. He remains an extreme Eurosceptic and his outspoken views on race and immigration throughout his career have brought him both support and opprobrium - as an MP he was nicknamed the "Chingford skinhead".

In 2004, he continued to provoke strong reactions with his outspoken opposition to the UK Government's Gender Recognition Bill and Civil Partnership Bill.

Quotes

About Tony Blair (1 May 2005):

I don't think he's a liar, just a fantasist. He says whatever he likes, and then he believes it.[1] (http://politics.guardian.co.uk/backbench/comment/0,14158,1474838,00.html)


Preceded by:
James Prior
Secretary of State for Employment
1981–1983
Followed by:
Tom King
Preceded by:
Cecil Parkinson
Secretary of State for Trade and Industry
1983–1985
Followed by:
Leon Brittan
Preceded by:
The Earl of Gowrie
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
1985–1987
Followed by:
Kenneth Clarke
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