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Robert Key (politician)

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Robert Key (politician)

Robert Key
Minister for Sport
In office
14 April 1992 – 27 May 1993
Prime Minister John Major
Preceded by Robert Atkins
Succeeded by Iain Sproat
Member of Parliament
for Salisbury
In office
10 June 1983 – 12 April 2010
Preceded by Michael Hamilton
Succeeded by John Glen
Personal details
Born (1945-04-22) 22 April 1945
Plymouth, Devon, England
Nationality British
Political party Conservative
Spouse(s) Susan Irvine
Alma mater Clare College, Cambridge
Religion Church of England

Simon Robert Key known as Robert Key (born 22 April 1945) is a Conservative Party politician in the United Kingdom. He is the former Member of Parliament (MP) for Salisbury, Wiltshire.


  • Early life 1
  • Political career 2
  • Personal life 3
  • References 4
  • External links 5
  • News items 6

Early life

Key was born in Plymouth, the son of Maurice Key, afterwards Bishop of Truro.[1] At the age of 10 he was part of a school walk on Swanage Beach in Dorset where he and six friends discovered an old wartime mine which detonated; only Key and one other boy survived.[2][3] He went to Salisbury Cathedral School, then independent Sherborne School. He studied economics at Clare College at the University of Cambridge, receiving an MA and CertEd. He taught at the Loretto School in Edinburgh from 1967-9, then taught economics at Harrow School from 1969-83.

Political career

He contested the Holborn and St Pancras South seat in 1979. He was the Member of Parliament for Salisbury between 1983 and 2010, and was Minister for Local Government and Inner Cities in the Department of the Environment (now DEFRA) from 1990-2, setting up the Inner Cities Religious Council[4] in 1991, and was Minister for Sport at the Department of National Heritage (now Culture, Media and Sport) from 1992-3. He was Minister for Roads and Traffic from 1993-4.

In opposition, Key served as a front-bench spokesman during the leaderships of William Hague and Iain Duncan Smith: in 2001, he was the shadow minister for Science and Energy, and in July 2002 the shadow minister for International Development. He stood down from this position in June 2003, returning to the backbenches, but retaining his membership of the Defence Select Committee.

In 2005, he won re-election with an increased majority. From 1994 until 2001, he was a Director of Hortichem (now Certis UK since 2001) in Amesbury.

On 2 December 2009, Key announced his decision to stand down at the next general election.

Robert Key is a member of the General Synod of the Church of England.

Personal life

He is the son of John Maurice Key who was the 10th Bishop of Truro from 1960 to 1973, as well as the Bishop of Sherborne from 1947 until 1960. He married Scottish Susan Irvine in 1968 in Perth. They have one son and two daughters and live in Harnham. He is a committed choral singer and member of the Church of England.


  1. ^ "Robert Key". wordiq. Retrieved 22 January 2011. 
  2. ^ "4 Boys Killed On Beach: Crater Made By Explosion - Wartime Minefield" The Times May 14, 1955,page 8 column 5
  3. ^ Department of the Official Report (Hansard), House of Commons, Westminster. "House of Commons Hansard Debates for 17 Mar 2010 (pt 0009)". Retrieved 2010-05-26. 
  4. ^ "Neighbourhood renewal - Communities and neighbourhoods - Communities and Local Government". Archived from the original on April 2, 2008. Retrieved 2010-05-26. 

External links

  • Robert Key official site
  • Guardian Unlimited Politics - Ask Aristotle: Robert Key MP
  • - Robert Key MP
  • The Public Whip - Robert Key MP voting record
  • Hansard 1803–2005: contributions in Parliament by Robert Key
  • Salisbury Conservatives
  • BBC News - Robert Key profile 30 March 2006

News items

  • Rebelling on gay adoption in 2003
  • His lack of fondness for Muzak
  • Comments during the early stages of the Embryo Bill in The Daily Telegraph in March 2008
  • Salisbury MP will not stand again - BBC News article from 2 December 2009
Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Michael Hamilton
Member of Parliament for Salisbury
Succeeded by
John Glen
Political offices
Preceded by
Robert Atkins
Minister for Sport
Succeeded by
Iain Sproat
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