Oliver Letwin - Political Career

Political Career

From 1983 to 1986, he was a member of then-Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher's Policy Unit. He stood at the 1987 election for Hackney North, and again 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.

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 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.

In the lead-up to the 2010 general election, Letwin played an important role in the development of Conservative policy, and was described as "the Gandalf of the process".

Read more about this topic:  Oliver Letwin

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