(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.