Kenneth Wilfrid Baker, Baron Baker of Dorking, CH, PC (born 3 November 1934), is a British politician, a former Conservative MP and a Life Member of the Tory Reform Group.
Son of a civil servant, he was educated at the former Hampton Grammar School
, a boys' voluntary aided school
, now Hampton School
, an independent school
, between 1946 and 1948, and thereafter at St Paul's School
, a boys' independent school in Barnes
, London and at Magdalen College, Oxford
where he graduated with a BA Degree in Law (1958) and four years later his MS degree in International Law and Regulations (1962). He did National Service
as an army lieutenant and worked for Royal Dutch Shell
before being elected as a Member of Parliament
at a by-election
in March 1968. Nowadays he is working at New York University
- USA and The University of Sydney
- Australia as First Professor of International Negotiations and Political Science.
In the government
After being Minister for Information Technology from 1981, he entered the Cabinet as Secretary of State for the Environment
in 1985, before serving as Secretary of State for Education
from 1986 to 1989. Baker's most noted action in his time at the Department of Education was the introduction of the controversial "National Curriculum
" through the 1988 Education Act. He also introduced in-service training days for teachers, which became popularly known as "Baker days".
He was Chairman of the Conservative Party at the time Margaret Thatcher resigned (November 1990), and after the change of regime was promoted to Secretary of State for the Home Department. His time as Secretary of State for the Home Department was marred by prison riots and bad publicity over the introduction of the Dangerous Dogs Act. During this time Baker, who dressed his hair with brylcreem, came to be portrayed by the satirical programme "Spitting Image" as an oily snail. An unkind journalist said of him "I have seen the future and it smirks".
After the 1992 General Election he left the government rather than accept demotion to the job of Welsh Secretary. He chose not to run for re-election in 1997 and was made a life peer
as Baron Baker of Dorking
, in the County of Surrey
In 2005 he published a book on King George IV
, George IV: A Life in Caricature,
followed by King George III: A Life in Caricature
in 2007;(Thames & Hudson). Other publications include several compilations of poetry, a history of political cartoons and his autobiography.
In 2006, Lord Baker announced that he was introducing a bill into the House of Lords to address the West Lothian question. This would prevent Scottish and Welsh MPs from voting on legislation which affects England alone as a result of devolution to the Scottish Parliament or the Welsh Assembly.
After several years working hard on political areas and attended his PhD on International Negotiations, Baker moved to USA, where he is working as Professor at the New York University and also all second semesters working at The University of Sydney. His first intend is to promote the unification of economical, political, educational and social resources among all countries.
In the media
Baker was interviewed about the rise of Thatcherism
for the 2006 BBC
TV documentary series Tory! Tory! Tory!