Matthew Parris

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Full name: Matthew Francis Parris

Area of interest: Politics, world affairs, history and travel

Journals/Organisation: The Times | The Spectator


Personal website:



Representation: Gordon Poole | Speakers UK | Speakers Corner



About: An ex civil servant at the Foreign Office who became an MP and then turned to a media career as broadcaster and columnist. As well as The Times he is a frequent contributor to many other publications, including The Spectator, and has been named ‘Columnist of the Year’ at the British Press Awards on numerous occasions.

Education: Clare College, Cambridge: Law (first class degree); Yale: International Relations

Career: Worked at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office for two years; joined the Conservative Party Research Department CRD, becoming Margaret Thatcher's correspondence secretary, 1977/79; elected as the Conservative MP for West Derbyshire, 1979/86; surrendered his seat in 1986, commencing a media career: Presenter of London Weekend Television’s Weekend World - taking over from Brian Walden - for two years; Parliamentary sketchwriter for The Times, 1988/2001

  • Currently writes a diary piece (Thursday) for The Times, and a column for both The Times and The Spectator

Current position/role: Columnist and diarist, with an opinion column every Saturday and a diary piece on Thursday for The Times

  • also writes/written for:

Other roles/Main role: Author

Other activities: Led expeditions to Mount Kilimanjaro in 1967/1989, Zaire in 1973, Sahara in 1978, also to Peru and Bolivia; spent the Antarctic winter of 2000 on the French possession of Grande Terre (Desolation Island) in the Kerguelen Archipelago in the Indian Ocean



Broadcast media: Presents BBC Radio 4's biography series Great Lives (Wiki info), Great Lives (BBC Radio 4)

Video: BBC News - What lessons Gibbon may have for Britain, its politicians and its institutions? The Gibbon Test

Controversy/Criticism: Revealed Peter Mandelson was gay in Newsnight interview with Jeremy Paxman following the Ron Davies' scandal, consequently sacked as a columnist on The Sun by then editor, David Yelland

Awards/Honours: London Press Club's Edgar Wallace Outstanding Reporter of the Year Award, 1990; British Press Awards Columnist of the Year, 1991 and 1993; What the Papers Say Columnist of the Year, 1992; National newspaper category in the annual media awards given by the Institute for the Study of Drug Dependency, 1994; Writer of the Year in Granada Television's What the Papers Say Awards, 2004; PG Poll: Matthew Parris voted top comment journalist, Press Gazette, 3rd February 2010


Other: In a civil partnership with political journalist Julian Glover

Books & Debate:

Matthew Parris Mission Accomplished.jpg
Matthew Parris Chance Witness.jpg

Subjects cover politics and travel, and his autobiography, Chance Witness, winner of the Orwell Prize, 2004: Coping with the Soviet Union (with Peter Blaker, Julian Critchley), (Conservative Political Centre Bookshop, 1977) ISBN 0-85070-599-1; Inca Kola: A Traveller's Tale of Peru (Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1990) ISBN 0-297-81075-8; So Far So Good...: Selected Pieces (Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1991) ISBN 0-297-81215-7; Look Behind You!: Sketches and Follies from the Commons (Robson, 1993) ISBN 0-86051-874-4; Scorn: A Bucketful of Discourtesy, Disparagement, Invective, Ridicule, Impudence, Contumely, Derision, Hate, Affront, Disdain, Bile, Taunts, Curses and Jibes (Hamish Hamilton, 1994) ISBN 0-241-13384-X; Scorn with Added Vitriol (Hamish Hamilton, 1995) ISBN 0-241-13587-7; Great Parliamentary Scandals: Four Centuries of Calumny, Smear and Innuendo (Robson Books, 1995) ISBN 0-86051-957-0; Read My Lips: A Treasury of Things Politicians Wish They Hadn't Said (Parkwest Publications, 1997) ISBN 1-86105-043-7; I Couldn't Possibly Comment: More Sketches from the Commons (Robson Books, 1997) ISBN 1-86105-095-X; Scorn with Extra Bile Matthew Parris (editor) (Penguin Books, 1998) ISBN 0-14-027780-3; The Great Unfrocked: Two Thousand Years of Church Scandal (Robson, 1998) ISBN 1-86105-129-8; Against the Law: The Classic Account of a Homosexual in 1950s Britain Peter Wildeblood, Matthew Parris (introduction) (Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1999) ISBN 0-297-64382-7; I Wish I Hadn't Said That: The Experts Speak - and Get It Wrong! Matthew Parris (foreword), Christopher Cerf, Victor Navasky (HarperCollins, 2000) ISBN 0-00-653149-0; Off Message: New Labour, New Sketches (Robson Books, 2001) ISBN 1-86105-479-3; The King's English (Oxford Language Classics Series) Henry Fowler, Frank Fowler, Matthew Parris (introduction) (Oxford University Press, 2002) ISBN 0-19-860507-2; Chance Witness: An Outsider's Life in Politics (Viking, 2002) ISBN 0-670-89440-0; A Castle in Spain (Viking, 2005) ISBN 0-670-91547-5; Mission Accomplished!: A Treasury of the Things Politicians Wish They Hadn't Said (with Phil Mason) (JR Books Ltd, 2007) ISBN 1906217351; Nobody's good fortune: the autobiography of John Lang (Introduction) (Grosvenor House Publishing, Ltd. 2008) ISBN 1906210977

Latest work: Scorn: the anthology OCLC 233788894, 2008



The Times:

Column name:

Remit/Info: Politics

Section: Features

Role: Commentator




Commissioning editor:

Day published: Saturday

Regularity: Weekly

Column format:

Average length: 1300 words

Articles: 2017

Articles: 2016

Articles: 2015

Articles: 2014

Articles: 2013

Articles: 2012

Articles: 2011

Articles: 2010

Articles: 2009

Articles: 2008

The Spectator:

Column name: Another Voice

Remit/Info: Politics, world affairs, history and travel

Section: The Magazine / Regulars

Role: Commentator




Commissioning editor:

Day published:

Regularity: Fortnightly

Column format:

Average length: 1100/1200 words

Articles: 2010

Articles: 2009

Articles: 2008

News & updates:



  • Wikipedia bio
  • Hack watch: The security services and Whitehall have long kept dossiers on certain journalists but, characteristically, New Labour has widened the focus - as an internal cabinet memo obtained by the Guardian shows - Seumas Milne, Kevin Maguire, The Guardian, 22nd January 2001
  • Does he mean me? Alastair Campbell's diaries, published yesterday, are littered with casually abusive asides about the people he met. So what do Piers Morgan, Ann Widdecombe and his other victims think about their walk-on roles in his 794-page book? Oliver Burkeman reports - The Guardian, 10th July 2007