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(William) John Biffen, Baron Biffen

(1930-2007), Conservative politician; Lord Privy Seal and Leader of the House of Commons

Sitter in 5 portraits
The son of a Somerset farmer, John Biffen entered Parliament in 1961 as a Conservative MP. Never content merely to toe the party line, he voted against a number of government policies, most notably entry to the EEC. As a result, he remained on the backbenches under the leadership of Edward Heath. From 1979, Biffen held a number of senior offices under Margaret Thatcher including Leader of the House of Commons, Secretary of State for Trade and Lord President of the Council. In 1986 he was famously branded a 'semi-detached member of the Cabinet' by Mrs Thatcher's press secretary Bernard Ingham, after suggesting that she might not go on forever. Biffen entered the House of Lords as a life peer in 1997.

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John Biffen, by Walter Bird - NPG x165182

John Biffen

by Walter Bird
bromide print, 5 November 1965
NPG x165182

Margaret Thatcher and the Cabinet of 1979, by Central Press - NPG x182327

Margaret Thatcher and the Cabinet of 1979

by Central Press
bromide press print, June 1979
NPG x182327

(William) John Biffen, Baron Biffen, by Nick Sinclair - NPG x87068

(William) John Biffen, Baron Biffen

by Nick Sinclair
bromide fibre print, circa 1993
NPG x87068

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