Peter Lilley is a witty, lucid and thought-provoking speaker on economics, Parliament, energy and developing countries. He has had three careers: first as a Development Economist working on Aid projects in Africa and Asia; then in the City as a financial analyst specialising in Energy investment, becoming Partner of a leading City firm and Director of an oil and gas exploration company; then for 34 years in Parliament including 10 years as a Minister in Margaret Thatcher’s and John Major’s Cabinets at Trade and Industry then Social Security.
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Unlike most politicians who have pursued exclusively political careers, Peter Lilley has been able to bring his real-world experience to bear in government and parliament. His economic expertise led to his early appointment as Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, then promotion to Economic Secretary to the Treasury and then to serve in Margaret Thatcher’s Cabinet as Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (where he negotiated the last successful international trade agreement and implemented the Single Market programme). Under John Major he was given responsibility for the largest spending department - Social Security - to launch a successful programme of Welfare Reform. In Opposition, he became Shadow Chancellor then Deputy Leader of the Conservative Party Responsible for Policy Renewal.
After leaving the Front Bench, Peter’s experience working in Developing countries led David Cameron to appoint him to Chair (with Bob Geldof) the Global Poverty Commission after which he founded and remains co-Chair of the All-Party campaign ‘Trade Out of Poverty’. Because of his City experience he was asked to chair the All-Party Committee of Both Houses on reforming financial services regulation after the banking crash. And his knowledge of Energy led to his election to serve on the Energy and Climate Change Select Committee.
As a very active back-bench MP Peter Lilley has taken up issues which most politicians are afraid to tackle. He researches them deeply, publishes his findings and campaigns on controversial issues ranging from advocating legalisation of Cannabis, opposing compulsory Identity Cards, to questioning the economics of Climate Change policies and the economic value of mass immigration.
Peter prefers to speak on a non-party political basis to schools, universities, business groups etc. both about current economic, trade, energy and social policy issues and also about the importance of Parliament and his experience of decades in public life. His speech opening Parliament in 2010 was hailed as one of the wittiest in memory; and two of his speeches were included in the BBC CD of famous speeches of the twentieth century.
“I just wanted to write and tell you what an effect you had on our Probus members. To say we were ecstatic about the talk would be an understatement … we were all completely bowled over by your presentation, timing and great humour. It was a great pleasure to have you as our guest speaker.”
“I am so grateful to you for coming to speak to our annual dinner … your speech was full of wisdom from your thirty years in Parliament. The positive comments have been coming in from all around – ‘full of insight’, ‘so intelligent’, ‘a really good choice’.”
The Delusion of Incomes Policy (with Samuel Brittan)
The End of the Keynesian Era (ed Robert Skidelsky)
Common Sense on Cannabis – the Case for Legalisation
Winning on Welfare Reform (with Frank Field)
Save Our Pensions
Too Much of a Good Thing – towards a balanced migration policy
What is Wrong with Stern? The failings of the Stern Review of the Economics of Climate Change
Cost of the Climate Change Act