John Maples

The Right Honourable
The Lord Maples
Shadow Foreign Secretary
In office
15 June 1999  2 February 2000
Leader William Hague
Preceded by Michael Howard
Succeeded by Francis Maude
Shadow Secretary of State for Defence
In office
1 June 1998  15 June 1999
Leader William Hague
Preceded by George Young
Succeeded by Iain Duncan Smith
Shadow Secretary of State for Health
In office
19 June 1997  1 June 1998
Leader William Hague
Preceded by Stephen Dorrell
Succeeded by Ann Widdecombe
Economic Secretary to the Treasury
In office
26 October 1989  9 April 1992
Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher
John Major
Preceded by Richard Ryder
Succeeded by Anthony Nelson
Member of Parliament
for Stratford-on-Avon
In office
2 May 1997  12 April 2010
Preceded by Alan Howarth
Succeeded by Nadhim Zahawi
Member of Parliament
for Lewisham West
In office
10 June 1983  16 March 1992
Preceded by Christopher Price
Succeeded by Jim Dowd
Personal details
Born (1943-04-22)22 April 1943
Fareham, England
Died 9 June 2012(2012-06-09) (aged 69)
Political party Conservative
Spouse(s) Lawry Kennedy (1976–1980)
Jane Corbin (1986–2012)
Children 2 (with Corbin)
Alma mater Downing College, Cambridge
Harvard University
City Law School
Website Official website

John Cradock Maples, Baron Maples (22 April 1943 – 9 June 2012)[1] was a British politician. A member of the Conservative Party, he served as a Member of Parliament (MP) representing Lewisham West from 1983 to 1992 and Stratford-upon-Avon from 1997 to 2010. He was made a life peer in 2010.

Early life

John Cradock Maples was born at Fareham, Hampshire. His father, a businessman, lived in the Wirral; he was educated at Marlborough College, before going up to Downing College, Cambridge where he read Law, and played hockey for the college and performed with the Footlights. Maples received an MA in 1964, and later studied at the Harvard Business School. He was called to the Bar at the Inner Temple in 1965.[2]

In the 1960s, Maples founded the Cayman Islands law firm of Maples and Calder with James MacDonald and Douglas Calder.[3]

Parliamentary career

1983–1992: MP for Lewisham West

Maples was the MP for Lewisham West from 1983, until he lost the seat at the 1992 general election. His business background attracted him to the Treasury benches: Margaret Thatcher appointed him Parliamentary Private Secretary to Norman Lamont, then Economic Secretary to the Treasury. On Nigel Lawson's resignation in 1989, Lamont was made Chief Secretary to the Treasury, with Maples moving up to take Lamont's former role. During his time as Economic Secretary, 1989–90, Maples was instrumental in working with David Cameron on the policy to enter the Exchange Rate Mechanism, designed to track with the German Deutsch Mark Peg. In 1990, Maples had been appointed as Economic Secretary before the change of Prime Ministers. He dealt with the BCCI (Bank of Credit and Commerce International) case. The Arab bank was based in London, and fell prey to the subsequent Arms to Iraq scandals and collapsed, bankrupting its depositors. He was also responsible for monitoring the Bank of England's monetary policy, which included bank regulation.

At the 1992 General Election he lost the Lewisham seat to Labour, and left the Commons. He returned at the next General Election, but in the interim worked as Chairman of Saatchi and Saatchi, the advertising and lobbying group, who had supported Thatcher.

1997–2010: MP for Stratford-on-Avon

In 1995, after Stratford-upon-Avon MP Alan Howarth defected to Labour, Maples won the selection battle to replace him as Conservative candidate for the constituency, defeating local resident Maureen Hicks, former MP for Wolverhampton North East who had also lost her seat in 1992. Maples went on to be elected for the seat, which was one of the Conservatives' safest, in 1997. He was re-elected in both the 2001 and 2005 general elections.

Maples was a member of William Hague's shadow cabinet from 1997 to 2000, holding the Health, Defence and Foreign Policy briefs in succession. When Shadow Foreign Secretary he was caught apparently calling for Britain to help Vladimir Putin in the Second Chechen War.[4] by saying that "because there is nothing we can do about it anyway."[5]

In the reshuffle prompted by the return of Michael Portillo to the front bench, he lost his job to Francis Maude and left the shadow cabinet. Maples had been widely believed to be one of the main "plotters" behind the downfall of former Conservative party leader Iain Duncan Smith.[6]

He returned to front bench politics in a minor reshuffle in November 2006, when David Cameron appointed him Deputy Chairman of the Conservative Party with responsibility for candidate selection. He replaced ex-shadow cabinet minister Bernard Jenkin. Because of Cameron's high-profile attempts to have more female and minority candidates selected, which met with some opposition from local parties, the post was seen as an important one. Maples was a Cameron loyalist, and elevated to the House of Lords in July 2010.[7] While an MP, Maples was president of the Conservative Friends of Israel.[8]

In the 2009 MP's expenses scandal it emerged that Maples had claimed the Royal Automobile Club as his principal residence[9][10] though according to his obituary he immediately denied any wrongdoing.[2] On 10 January 2010, Maples announced that he would stand down from the House of Commons at the general election which was held that May.[11]

2010–2012: Life peer

In the dissolution Honours List, John Maples, on 24 July 2010, was created Lord Maples of Stratford-upon-Avon in the County of Warwickshire.[12]

During a Lords debate on voting reform in November 2010, Lord Maples compared Lewisham West unfavourably with his other former constituency, Stratford-upon-Avon, stating that they "could not be more different". He claimed that Lewisham West was "three square miles of concrete", did not have an "identity", and that many of its constituents "did not know which borough they lived in". He added that Stratford-upon-Avon had a "very articulate" electorate and Lewisham West had "immigration and housing problems".[13] Lord Maples was working on the Financial Services bill from the joint Parliamentary Finance Committee.[14]

Personal life

Maples married designer Lawry Kennedy (b. 1946-d. 1982), who was one of the first people, and first women, to renovate early 1900s brick townhouses to help gentrify abandoned and rundown neighborhoods in Boston and London. They married on the Rhode Island oceanfront in July 1976 and she divorced him in July 1980. He married journalist Jane Corbin in December 1986 in Westminster. The couple had a son in 1989 and a daughter in 1992.

Lord Maples died on 9 June 2012 from cancer, aged 69; his death was announced in the Lords by Lady D'Souza.[1]


  1. 1 2 "BBC News – Former Conservative MP and minister John Maples dies aged 69". BBC News. BBC. 11 June 2012. Retrieved 11 June 2012.
  2. 1 2 "Lord Maples". The Telegraph. London. 12 June 2012. Retrieved 14 June 2012.
  4. "Tories: Help Russia win in Chechnya". BBC News Online. 2 January 2000.
  5. cited in Hansard reports of Parliamentary Debates; Daily Telegraph, 13 June 2012, p.27.
  6. "View from the grassroots". BBC Online. 29 October 2003. Retrieved 23 January 2009.
  7. The Daily Telegraph, 13 June 2012, p.27.
  8. Anthony Lawson, Friends of Israel, 21 November 2010, at the 2:23 min mark.
  9. Prince, Rosa (14 May 2009). "John Maples claims Pall Mall club as main home: MPs' expenses". London: The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 10 January 2010.
  10. Prince, Rosa (15 May 2009). "John Maples fails to explain as 'main home' row grows: MPs' expenses". London: The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 10 January 2010.
  11. "Deputy Tory chairman John Maples to step down as MP". BBC News Online. 11 January 2010.
  12. Department of the Official Report (Hansard), House of Lords, Westminster (24 June 2010). "Lords Hansard text for 24 June 2010 (pt 0001)". Retrieved 11 June 2012.
  13. Andy Bloxham (20 November 2010). "Former MP for Lewisham describes it as 'three miles of concrete'". Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 27 November 2014.
  14. Daily Telegraph, p.27

News items

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Christopher Price
Member of Parliament
for Lewisham West

Succeeded by
Jim Dowd
Preceded by
Alan Howarth
Member of Parliament
for Stratford-on-Avon

Succeeded by
Nadhim Zahawi
Political offices
Preceded by
Richard Ryder
Economic Secretary to the Treasury
Succeeded by
Anthony Nelson
Preceded by
Stephen Dorrell
Shadow Secretary of State for Health
Succeeded by
Ann Widdecombe
Preceded by
George Young
Shadow Secretary of State for Defence
Succeeded by
Iain Duncan Smith
Preceded by
Michael Howard
Shadow Foreign Secretary
Succeeded by
Francis Maude
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