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Roger Gale
Roger Gale

Sir Roger James Gale MP (born 20 August 1943) is a British Conservative politician. He was first elected in 1983 as the Member of Parliament (MP) for North Thanet in Kent.

Early life

Gale was born in Poole, Dorset and was educated at Southbourne Preparatory School and the Hardye's School in Dorchester. He completed his education at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama.

From August 1964 to January 1965 he worked as a disc-jockey for Radio Caroline North.[1]

Gale joined the Conservative Party in 1964, and was elected as the vice-chairman of the Conservative Association in Holborn and St Pancras in 1971. He was selected to contest Birmingham Northfield at the 1982 by-election caused by the suicide of the sitting Conservative MP Jocelyn Cadbury. He narrowly lost the by-election to Labour's John Spellar by just 289 votes.

Parliamentary career

Gale was elected to the House of Commons at the 1983 general election for the newly-drawn Kent seat of North Thanet. He gained the seat with a majority of 14,545 and has remained the MP since then. His Labour Party opponent in the 1983 election was Cherie Blair, wife of the future Prime Minister Tony Blair. Gale made his maiden speech in the House of Commons on 30 June 1983.[2]

Gale served as a member of the Home Affairs Select Committee in 1990 and was appointed as the Parliamentary Private Secretary to the successive ministers of state at the Ministry of Defence Archie Hamilton and Jeremy Hanley following the 1992 general election until 1994. He was a member of the broadcasting select committee from between the general elections of 1997 and 2005. He has been a member of the Speaker's Panel of Chairmen since 1997. He was a vice chairman of the Conservative Party under the leadership of Iain Duncan Smith from 2001–2003 with responsibility for presentation.

In 2008, Gale said that capital punishment was a solution to fatal knife stabbings.[3] He supports the ban on fox hunting. He is also reportedly a eurosceptic,[4] although he opposes Brexit. He has been a member of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe since 2010,[5] and currently heads the 18-member British parliamentary delegation to the Assembly.[6]

He is a founding member and current president of Conservative Animal Welfare, a group of Conservative MPs and MEPs. Gale strongly opposed Conservative prime minister David Cameron's introduction of same-sex marriage, stating in the House of Commons: "Marriage is the union between a man and a woman. Has been historically. Remains so. It is Alice in Wonderland territory, Orwellian almost, for any government of any political persuasion to seek to come along and try to rewrite the lexicon. It will not do."[7]

Gale was knighted in the 2012 New Year Honours for public and political services.[8] In February 2016, Gale was nominated for a 'Grassroots Diplomat' award for his involvement in the campaign to save and reopen Manston Airport, which is in his constituency.[9] He was appointed to the Privy Council of the United Kingdom in the 2019 New Years Honours List, giving him the Honorific Title "The Right Honourable" for life.

Gale was opposed to Brexit prior to the 2016 EU membership referendum.[10]

Personal life

Gale has been married three times: firstly to Wendy Dawn Bowman in 1964 (marriage dissolved in 1967), without issue; secondly to Susan Linda Sampson in 1971 (marriage dissolved in 1980), by whom he has a daughter; thirdly to Susan Gabrielle Marks, by whom he has two sons. On BBC Radio in March 2017, he said that he employs Lady Gale using public funds on a salary of between £30,000 and £40,000.

He is a member of three trade unions: the National Union of Journalists, Equity and the Broadcasting, Entertainment, Cinematograph and Theatre Union (BECTU). He has actively supported the Conservative Trade Unionists organisation, being a long serving president of the Greater London branch. He has travelled widely, including to: Norway, United States of America, The Gambia, Sierra Leone, Malawi, Cuba, Cyprus, Zambia, Mongolia, South Africa, Mozambique, Ghana, Kenya, Macedonia, and Botswana.

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