About Oliver


Oliver has been the Member of Parliament for West Dorset since 1997 and from 2010 he was the Minister for Government Policy in David Cameron's coalition government. He is currently Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Cabinet Minister in overall charge of the Cabinet Office.


He was born in 1956 and is married with two children. Oliver was educated at Cambridge University, Princeton University and London Business School.In a varied career, Oliver has been a research fellow at Cambridge University, a civil servant and a bank director. He lives in West Dorset and London.


Oliver is a passionate champion of progressive social reform, a cause which he advocated strongly as Shadow Home Secretary in his speeches on the ‘neighbourly society’ and he has been involved with numerous charities, including the Social Mobility Foundation, of which he is a former Trustee and Chairman. He is also committed to localism, having campaigned from the Conservative Front Bench for the Sustainable Communities Act, which began a serious move towards giving local communities and local governments more of the power held by central government. Oliver is therefore a particularly strong advocate of neighbourhood plans and is thrilled by the progress being made in places such as Cerne Abbas.


Within West Dorset itself, Oliver has worked tirelessly to help foster community pubs and community shops, job clubs, community libraries, community hospital transport and a large number of other Big Society initiatives. Indeed, Oliver himself volunteers by staffing the Thorncombe community shop, which provides a vital local amenity run by and for local residents. He also set up the West Dorset Social Action Map website which acts as an online resource promoting social action across the constituency. 


Oliver has campaiged on a range of issues of interest to his constituents including; local bus services, speed limits, local flooding and supporting local businesses. As West Dorset’s MP, Oliver has dealt with hundreds of letters and emails from constituents every week, in addition to holding regular advice surgeries. Oliver spends as much time as possible working with local schools, businesses and voluntary organisations. He has also played an active, and sometimes vital role, in promoting rural broadband and local infrastructure projects.


Oliver has been involved in policy formation and policy thinking for the last 25 years.His interest in thinking about government and political theory stems from his childhood. His father was an academic economist and his mother a political philosopher. Before becoming a cabinet minister, he held a series of positions in the Shadow Cabinet, as Shadow Chief Secretary, Shadow Home Secretary, Shadow Chancellor, Shadow Environment Secretary and Chairman of the Conservative Policy Review.


Oliver’s interests outside of politics include mountain-walking, skiing, philosophy and cooking. He has written many books, pamphlets and articles, including Ethics, Emotion and the Unity of the Self; Privatising the World: A Study of International Privatisation in Theory and Practice; and The Purpose of Politics.