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John Redwood

John Redwood (born June 15, 1951) is a British right-wing politician. It was of Redwood that John Major is believed to have been speaking when he made his famous comment about neutralising MPs who disagreed with his policies by inviting them into the Cabinet. (Major used a less polite turn of phrase.)

Redwood, born in Dover, Kent, had a brilliant academic career behind him (Fellow of All Souls' College, Oxford since 1972) when he became MP for Wokingham in 1987. By 1993, he was in the Cabinet, as Secretary of State for Wales, a job which had to be given to an MP for an English constituency because none of the then remaining six Conservative MPs representing Welsh contituencies was sufficiently experienced to serve as a Cabinet Minister. Redwood's haughty manner and apparent disregard for national feeling did not endear him to the population, and it was a relief to many when he was succeeded by William Hague two years later. Redwood's most famous gaffe was his attempt to mime to the Welsh national anthem at a public event, which was caught on camera.

Undaunted, Redwood attempted to further his career by standing for the party leadership in 1995 against the incumbent prime minister, John Major, whose liberal views he had never shared. It was on the question of Europe that he finally took issue with the party leadership, taking an extreme isolationist stance. When Major resigned after the 1997 general election defeat, Redwood stood for the leadership again, and was again defeated, though he secured marginally greater support than his rival right wing candidates Peter Lilley[?] and Michael Howard.

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