Norman Tebbit Biography

Norman Tebbit
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Norman Tebbit
Quick Facts

Birthday: March 29, 1931

Nationality: British

Famous: Political Leaders British Men

Age: 89 Years, 89 Year Old Males

Sun Sign: Aries

Also Known As: Norman Beresford Tebbit, Baron Tebbit

Born Country: England

Born in: Ponders End, Enfield, United Kingdom

Famous as: Member of Parliament

political ideology: Conservative

Family:

Spouse/Ex-: Margaret Tebbit

father: Leonard Tebbit

mother: Edith Tebbit

City: Enfield, England

More Facts

education: Edmonton County School

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Norman Tebbit is a British politician who has been a 'Conservative' member, a 'House of Lords' inductee, and a 'Royal Air Force' (RAF) officer. He is a life peer, too. As a 'Member of Parliament,' he represented the Epping (1970–1974) and Chingford (1974–1992) constituencies. He later served as an employment secretary (1981–1983), a trade and industry secretary (1983–1985), the chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (1985–1987), and the chairman of the ‘Conservative Party’ (1985–1987). Throughout his political journey, Tebbit has been known as a staunch right-winged politician and a great supporter of Margaret Thatcher. He has made some controversial and powerful statements that speak volumes of his strong political opinions. Tebbit and his wife were victims of the 'Grand Hotel' bombing in Brighton. He quit politics after the 1987 general election, to attend to his wife. He retired from parliament in 1992 and was then inducted to the 'House of Lords.'
Childhood & Early Life
Norman Beresford Tebbit was born on March 29, 1931, in Ponders End, Middlesex, to Edith and Leonard Tebbit.
He attended the 'Edmonton County Grammar School.'
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Early Career
Tebbit was a 'Financial Times' journalist and then served the 'Royal Air Force.' In July 1954, he fractured two vertebrae in an accident, while flying a 'Meteor 8' aircraft at the ‘RAF’ in Waterbeach, near Cambridge.
After ‘RAF,’ he became a 'British Overseas Airways Corporation' (BOAC) navigator and pilot in 1953, starting with the 604 (County of Middlesex) squadron of the 'Royal Auxiliary Air Force' in North Weald, Essex.
He was a 'British Air Line Pilots' Association' official for ‘BOAC’ and flew 'Avro Yorks,' 'Argonauts,' 'Britannias,' 'DC7Cs,' and the 'Boeing 707.'
Political Career
In 1970, Tebbit became an MP for Epping and an MP member of the 'Conservative Monday Club.' He was subsequently elected as an MP for Chingford in February 1974.
On July 6, 1970, as an MP, he questioned the then-'Board of Trade’ minister, Frederick Corfield, about the 'Comet-4' aircraft crash in Spain on July 3.
Due to a ''closed shop'' in 1975, the ''Ferrybridge Six'' lost their jobs, and the government refused any unemployment benefit to them. The secretary of state for employment, Michael Foot, justified the dismissal. Following this, Tebbit accused him of violating the liberty of the common man.
On March 2, 1978, during a parliamentary debate, Tebbit asked Foot if he accepted that making it compulsory to join a trade union was an act of fascism. Foot, in reply, labeled him a "semi-house-trained polecat." In response, Tebbit wore a polecat symbol on his coat when he received the title of ''Lord'' in 1992.
He became an under-secretary in the ministry of trade when the 'Conservative Party' won the 1979 general election.
In the September 1981 cabinet re-shuffle, the erstwhile prime minister, Margaret Thatcher, named Tebbit as the employment secretary. His appointment was regarded as a relief from the predecessor, James Prior's approach to the trade unions.
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In response to 'Young Conservative’ national chairman Iain Picton's justification of the 1981 riots in Handsworth and Brixton, by blaming unemployment, Tebbit made one of his most controversial statements. He said that his father, too, was unemployed but never engaged in riots. He added that his father "got on his bike and looked for work."
The statement was misquoted, while he was referred to as "Onyerbike" for a while.
According to Tebbit's 'Employment Act 1982,' the unfairly dismissed employees were eligible to receive higher compensation, provided they fulfilled some conditions. The act took away the trade unions' immunity from liability in a wrongful act. As mentioned in his memoirs, Tebbit considered the act his "greatest achievement in Government."
According to the 'Nuffield' study of the 1983 general election, after Thatcher (331 appearances), Tebbit had the second-highest number of appearances (as a 'Conservative') on radio and TV news broadcasts during the campaign (81 appearances).
In the October 1983 cabinet re-shuffle, Tebbit became the trade and industry secretary. Though Thatcher wanted him to be the home secretary, William Whitelaw, who held the position at that point, vetoed the decision.
The 'Grand Hotel' bombing in Brighton saw Tebbit being injured and his wife being permanently crippled. The 'Irish Republican Army' had planned the bombing.
In 1985, since Thatcher wanted to retain Tebbit in the cabinet, she appointed him as the chairman of the ‘Conservative Party’ and chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster.
With Thatcher's support, he strongly opposed the acquisition of 'Westland Aircraft' by the 'Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation,' which was known as the 'Westland Affair' (1985–1986). In 1985, he released his book 'Britain's Future: A Conservative Vision.'
In 1986, Tebbit, went against Thatcher for the first time, when she refused the cabinet's consultation on the bombing raid in Libya.
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On April 13, 1986, Tebbit and his chief of staff, Michael Dobbs, presented the 'Saatchi and Saatchi' polling results to Thatcher. The reports suggested she had tainted her public image due to inflation and weak trade unions. She refused to take their suggestions of keeping a low profile, as she suspected Tebbit's motives.
In addition to the suspicion, Thatcher's act of commissioning 'Young and Rubicam,' which gave her a clean chit for the election campaigns, led to tension between them.
As her popularity declined in the polls, the ‘Conservatives’ were pretty confident of Tebbit succeeding Thatcher.
Along with 'Saatchi and Saatchi,' Dobbs, and the 'Conservative' director of research, Robin Harris, Tebbit introduced the party slogan, ''The Next Move Forward,'' for the 1986 'Conservative Party Conference' in Bournemouth.
Tebbit's books 'Britain in the 1990s' and 'Values of Freedom,' both released in 1986.
With Thatcher’s consent, Tebbit sued 'The Guardian' and journalist Hugo Young for publishing a quote criticizing him. The quote "No-one with a conscience votes Conservative" was published on January 6, 1987. The tabloid repeated the quote while Young again mentioned Tebbit in a letter to 'The Spectator.'
Such hatred against 'Conservatives' scared Tebbit. He feared that the 'Labour Party' might take advantage of such quotes in the forthcoming general election. The case closed in 1988, and 'The Guardian' issued an apology to Tebbit and paid compensation, too.
For the 1987 general election, Tebbit and 'Saatchi and Saatchi' collaborated for the party's campaign, which focused on the aspects in which 'Labour' was weak, such as defense, taxation, and the economy.
Despite his involvement in the campaign, Tebbit had informed Thatcher that he would leave after the election to attend to his ailing wife.
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On July 31, 1987, Tebbit received the honorary title of the 'Order of the Companions of Honour.'
In November 1984, as the trade and industry secretary, Tebbit privatized 'British Telecom.' He named a director of the company on November 3, 1987.
In late 1987 and 1988, Tebbit temporarily allied with 'Conservative' member and businessman Michael Heseltine and successfully abolished the 'Inner London Education Authority.'
Under Tebbit's leadership, the 'Conservative' backbench unsuccessfully opposed a bill that promised to provide British citizenship to households from Hong Kong.
Archbishop Desmond Tutu requested Thatcher to condemn Tebbit for labeling the South African apartheid as cowardice in April 1988, but she chose to defend Tebbit.
On December 19, 1988, in an interview with politician and journalist Woodrow Wyatt, he clarified that he would not return to politics unless Thatcher was removed, and her successor would try to destroy everything they had built up until then.
In another interview with Wyatt on February 22, 1990, Tebbit said that he would nominate himself only if Thatcher resigned suddenly. He supported her during the 1990 ‘Conservative Party’ leadership election.
Tebbit refused Thatcher’s offer of taking up the positing of the education secretary, as he wanted to devote all his time to his disabled wife.
Despite having a great probability of defeating Heseltine in the election, as Tebbit had believed, Thatcher withdrew on November 22. He did not contest the election and began supporting the erstwhile deputy prime minister, John Major.
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In April 1990, Tebbit introduced the “Cricket Test” (or the “Tebbit Test”) as one of the barometers to indicate whether the ethnic minority in Britain was truly British or not, by testing their support for the England cricket team. Surprisingly, the majority of Britain's Asian population failed the test.
In 1991, Tebbit told Wyatt that there was no hope that certain immigrant or minority communities would ever consider themselves as British citizens. He specifically spoke about the Muslims in Bradford, terming them as "extremely dangerous."
Tebbit did not contest in the 1992 election, as he wished to take care of his wife. He was granted a life peerage and was inducted to the 'House of Lords.' On July 6, 1992, he became Baron Tebbit of Chingford.
During Brighton's 'Conservative Party Conference' in October 1992, Tebbit lambasted Major's government and the 'Maastricht Treaty' (officially the 'Treaty on European Union'), which the European communities had signed on February 7, 1992, to further European integration.
In Major's memoirs, he labeled Tebbit as a hypocrite because Tebbit had previously convinced the 'Conservative' MPs to vote for the 'Single European Act' but had opposed the ‘Maastricht Treaty.’
In 1995, Tebbit switched his allegiance and began supporting John Redwood for his campaign for the 'Conservative Party' leader.
On November 26, 1996, in the 'House of Lords' conference, Tebbit indicated that a major portion of aid sent to Africa was spent on corruption and very little reached the poor.
In 1997, Iain Duncan Smith succeeded him to the Chingford and Woodford Green seats, jointly. For all who considered Tebbit right-winged, he commented, "…you should meet this guy."
He wrote a letter to 'The Daily Telegraph' in November 1998, objecting to homosexuals being allowed to become the home secretary.
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In a May 2001 'The Spectator' article, Tebbit asked for an independent inquiry on the infiltrations of the 'United Kingdom Independence Party' (UKIP) and James Goldsmith's 'Referendum Party.'
He also opposed the 'Civil Partnership Act 2004.' In the 2005 'Conservative' leadership election, Tebbit supported David Davis.
In August 2005, with reference to the London bombings of July 7, 2005, in which men of Pakistani and Jamaican origins were involved, Tebbit justified his 1991 statements to Wyatt.
In March 2007, Tebbit financially aided the 'Better Off Out' campaign, claiming his support for British withdrawal from the ‘European Union.’
He is the honorary vice-president of the 'Conservative Way Forward' group founded by Thatcher. He believed that the shift of the 'Conservative Party' to a more "center-right" had created a political vacuum, which in turn had led the ‘UKIP’ to rise.
In March 2009, he claimed his support for the ‘UKIP,’ and in May, he urged to exercise control over the three prime political parties in the upcoming ‘EU Parliament’ election.
In May 2013, he criticized the coalition government for making efforts to pass a bill for homosexual marriage.
In 2017, Lord Tebbit opposed the change made in the 'Brexit Bill' by the ‘Lords,’ that allowed ‘EU’ citizens to live and work within the U.K. even after 'Brexit.'
Personal Life
Tebbit has been married to Margaret Elizabeth Tebbit, a former nurse, since 1956. They have two sons and a daughter.
He is an agnostic.
In a May 2014 interview, Tebbit revealed that he had been suffering from a kind of cardiac arrhythmia for over 40 years.
Media Representation
In the TV puppet show 'Spitting Image,' Tebbit was portrayed as a sinister character.

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