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DE VILLIERS, Richard
#1
Name: Richard De Villiers
Avatar: John Thurso
Constituency: Grantham
Party & Faction: Conservative and Unionist, Cornerstone Group

DE VILLIERS, Richard Aloysius was born October 7, 1933, the only son and youngest child of Hampton de Villiers, third son to the Baronet De Villiers, a school teacher and his wife, Cynthia (Graham), also a school teacher. His father died in active service on June 4, 1941, and De Villiers was hence raised by his mother and two older sisters. He was originally educated at King’s Norton Grammar School for Boys but was sent, at age 13, to King Edward’s School for Boys after winning a scholarship where he received his preliminary education in Classics. De Villiers excelled in the study of Ancient Greek and Latin but struggled to make friends due to his precocious and serious nature and his almost entirely consuming approach to his studies. Likewise, Richard was poor at sports due to a frail gait. His commitment to his studies, however, earned him a further scholarship to read Classics at the University of Oxford after his two year’s compulsory military service.

De Villiers served his military service in Canada for the RAF. There, he met his wife, a French-Canadian by the name of Marie-Josée du Pont. The couple married in 1951. Richard achieved the rank of Flight Lieutenant before returning to academia and England as a scholarship-recipient at Oxford University’s All Soul’s College where he read to a double first in Classics, again excelling in translation and ancient languages. It was here that De Villiers began to gain an interest in politics, joining the Oxford Conservatives and the Oxford Union where his skills as an orator became more pronounced and sharply honed. In 1957, after receiving his degree from Oxford, De Villiers and his wife, once again, returned to Canada where Richard had been given a teaching job at the University of Ottawa. The couple would spend the next twelve years in Ontario, where Marie-Josée also taught as a school teacher. During this time, Richard was actively involved with the Social Credit Movement both federally and provincially, with Richard serving as Chairman of the Union of Electors from 1959-1963 and even being a candidate for provincial election in the Ottawa area for the Social Credit Party of Ontario.

In 1969, Richard’s excellent academic record earned him the opportunity to return to his former University where he would be a Fellow at All Soul’s and an Associate Professor of Classics. His writings and translations in this time were widely used by academics and he was cited more than 500 times in the short six-year term as professor at Oxford. De Villiers also contested in two elections during this time, first as the Conservative Candidate for Bolsover in February 1974, which he lost, and then as the Conservative Candidate for Birmingham Yardley in October of the same year; that election yielded a better result, but still a loss. The next year, De Villiers was approached by the Board of Directors of the newly-formed Hull College of Higher Education to serve as Dean of Arts at their school. He accepted the position and left Oxford for the last time, although he maintains the title of Fellow at All Soul’s College. While at Hull College, De Villiers would, again, contest two general elections: first as the Conservative Candidate for the Isle of Wight, which he narrowly lost out on after a very strong electoral performance, and then as the Conservative Candidate for Grantham, finally being elected to serve as a Member of Parliament in 1983.

Thanks to his already-extensive academic record and knowledge of education, the newly-elected MP was immediately placed in cabinet by then-Prime Minister Thatcher, as the Undersecretary-of-State for Education and Science. In this time, De Villiers was heavily involved in the creation of the GCSE programme and worked closely with the Secretary of State, Keith Joseph, on its establishment and implementation. De Villiers was also highly involved in the preparation of the white paper, The Development of Higher Education into the 1990s, but escaped much of the criticism over the paper’s controversial content because he was promoted to become Minister for the Arts months before its release in 1985.

As Minister for the Arts, De Villiers championed the increased emphasis on British national heritage in Museums and Libraries across the country, securing some additional funding for those institutions. His work was largely uncontroversial in this role and he was relatively successful. In 1987, he was promoted a third time to become Secretary of State for Education and Science and oversee, finally, the implementation of the National Curriculum which had been in the works since his time in the Education Office some years prior. The implementation was controversial, but De Villiers soldiered on, ensuring that it was implemented as statute before his resignation in 1991 over a perceived lack of support from Number 10 and his belief that John Major was “too weak a man” to lead the party to victory.

As of today, De Villiers remains a backbench MP. He is a member of the Countryside Alliance and is widely considered the archetype of a High Tory. He was baptized Anglican and was a committed High Church Anglican until his conversion to Roman Catholicism in 1955 after becoming acquainted with the Oxford Movement. He cited John Henry Cardinal Newman, Hilaire Belloc, and GK Chesterton as some influences on his decision. De Villiers has published a book about Catholicism in England called The Faith of Our Fathers: Traditional Catholicism and England (1958). Ideologically, De Villiers is a High Tory who stresses counter-revolution, monarchism, noblesse-oblige, and economic self-sufficiency. He is also a great champion of the classical core curriculum, which he argues is necessary to produce pupils who can think and communicate well. De Villiers is a One Nation Tory with very conservative social views.

Richard and his wife have six children: Elizabeth Regina White (b. 1953, m. 1975) who is a teacher and named in honor of the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II that same year, Fredericka Joan Bigsby (b. 1955, m. 1982) who is an Historian, Mary-Louise Grimm (b. 1958, m. 1979) who is a homemaker, Felicity Perpetua Gordon (b. 1961, m. 1986) who is a teacher, Richard Aloysius De Villiers II (b. 1965, m. 1992) who is a professor and philosopher, and Sister Margaret Joan De Villiers (b. 1970, took vows in 1990), who is a Dominican Sister. The couple live in Lincolnshire on a small farm and tend a very small herd of sheep and goats, have some chickens, and have a small vegetable garden. De Villiers is a bibliophile, boasting a collection of rare and antique books. He is also a committed huntsman, often spending his days off on the hunt for stag and foxes. When in London, Richard stays in a small flat near Westminster.
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Shadow SoS for Regions, Nations, & Devolution | Constitutional Affairs

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#2
Signing out. This round is a complete failure on almost every count. I may come back for a new round if there is enough to convince me that it won't be a complete waste of time.
[Image: VO5PA6L.png]
R I C H A R D • D E • V I L L I E R S
C O N S E R V A T I V E
for
G R A N T H A M

Shadow SoS for Regions, Nations, & Devolution | Constitutional Affairs

CORNERSTONE GROUP
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#3
I'm sorry you feel that way, you'll be welcome to come back at any time.
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#4
Check your PMs please.
DR. HENRI DE MONTESQUIEU, S.J.D.
 HOUSE OF MONTESQUIEU (NOBLE FAMILY)





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