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He first served in government as Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Minister of Education.Thereafter he spoke - from the Opposition benches - on trade and technology.He had, also, from 1962 been closely involved in the affairs of the National Trust.Sometime - it is impossible to be precise - after 1979 Ridley's views on foreign policy underwent a sea-change.Nicholas Ridley, politician, born 17 February 1929, Civil Engineering Contractor Brims & Co Ltd Newcastle upon Tyne 1950-59, Director 1954-70, MP (Conservative) Cirencester and Tewkesbury Division of Gloucestershire 1959-92, Director Heenan Group Ltd 1961-68, PPS to Minister of Education 1962-64, Delegate to Council of Europe and WEU 1962-66, Member Royal Commission on Historical Manuscripts 1967-79, Parliamentary Secretary Ministry of Technology 1970, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State Department of Trade and Industry 1970-72, Director Ausonia Finance 1973-79, Marshall Andrew Ltd 1975-79, Minister of State Foreign and Commonwealth Office 1979-81, Financial Secretary to HM Treasury 1981-83, PC 1983, Secretary of State for Transport 1983-86, for the Environment 1986-89, for Trade and Industry 1989-90, created 1992 Baron Ridley of Liddesdale, author of My Style of Government: the Thatcher years 1991, married 1950 The Hon Clayre Campbell (three daughters; marriage dissolved 1974), 1979 Judy Kendall, died 4 March 1993.AT SOME time during the autumn of 1972 the prime minister, Edward Heath, decided to reverse the economic policies on which he had been elected in 1970.'I had to explain to him that the ministry should not exist, because it involved public expenditure.And I was against all but the most minimal use of the taxpayer's purse.' There you have Nicholas Ridley, a man of improbable independence of mind in the - on the whole - dull politics of our day.
By 1990, though, he had completely changed his views.
In particular, he seriously misread the intentions of the Argentinian government towards the Falkland Islands.
But, before the Falklands crisis fell upon the Government in 1982, Thatcher had moved him to the Treasury, as Financial Secretary.
Nicholas Ridley evinced an early fascination with politics.
After Eton and Balliol College, Oxford, he fought Blyth for the Conservatives in 1955, and won Cirencester and Tewkesbury in the General Election of 1959.
A junior minister at the Department of the Environment once said that Ridley 'wore a permanent sneer'.