The Lord Ryder of Wensum
Chief Whip of the House of Commons
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury
In office
28 November 1990 – 20 July 1995
Prime MinisterJohn Major
Preceded byTim Renton
Succeeded byAlastair Goodlad
Junior ministerial offices 1986–1990
Paymaster General
In office
14 July 1990 – 28 November 1990
Prime MinisterMargaret Thatcher
Preceded byThe Earl of Caithness
Succeeded byThe Lord Belstead
Economic Secretary to the Treasury
In office
24 July 1989 – 14 July 1990
Prime MinisterMargaret Thatcher
Preceded byPeter Lilley
Succeeded byJohn Maples
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food
In office
25 July 1988 – 24 July 1989
Prime MinisterMargaret Thatcher
Preceded byDonald Thompson
Succeeded byDavid Curry
Assistant Government Whip
In office
16 October 1986 – 24 July 1988
Prime MinisterMargaret Thatcher
Member of Parliament
for Mid Norfolk
In office
9 June 1983 – 8 April 1997
Preceded byConstituency Created
Succeeded byKeith Simpson
Political Secretary to the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
In office
Prime MinisterMargaret Thatcher
Preceded byTom McNally
Succeeded byDerek Howe
Personal details
Born (1949-02-04) 4 February 1949 (age 75)
Political partyConservative
Alma materMagdalene College, Cambridge

Richard Andrew Ryder, Baron Ryder of Wensum, OBE, PC (born 4 February 1949) is a British Conservative Party politician. A former Member of Parliament (MP) and government minister, he was made a life peer in 1997 and was a member of the House of Lords from 1997 to 2021.

Early life

He was educated at Radley College and Magdalene College, Cambridge.

In the 1981 Birthday Honours Ryder was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE), for political service.[1]

Parliamentary career

Having unsuccessfully fought the Labour seat of Gateshead East in February and October 1974, Ryder was elected at the 1983 general election as MP for the Mid Norfolk constituency. From 1990 to 1995 he was the government's Chief Whip. This period includes the Conservative backbench rebellion over the Maastricht Treaty. The maverick MPs, known as the Maastricht Rebels, were under intense pressure from the government whips but still brought the administration of John Major close to collapse.

Ryder retired from the House of Commons at the 1997 general election, and was created a life peer as Baron Ryder of Wensum, of Wensum in the County of Norfolk on 22 November 1997. He will retire from the Lords on 12 April 2021.[2]

Outside Parliament

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He became Vice-Chairman of the BBC on 1 January 2002 for a four-year term.

Ryder was appointed Acting Chairman of the BBC following the resignation of Gavyn Davies on 28 January 2004. Davies resigned following the criticism of the BBC in the Hutton Report, which was set up to investigate "the circumstances surrounding the death of Dr David Kelly". One of Ryder's first acts as chairman was to give a televised statement, during which he offered an unreserved apology for the mistakes made during the Dr. Kelly affair. This apology was criticised by many, including departing Director General, Greg Dyke, as overdone. In the same statement Ryder announced that the process to select a new Chairman had begun, and that he would not be putting his name forward. Michael Grade was appointed on 2 April 2004 and took up his post on 17 May; Ryder resumed the post of Vice-Chairman.

Ryder resigned early on 1 August 2004, after which the position was assumed by Anthony Salz.

Ryder is the Chairman of the Institute of Cancer Research, and is a director of Ipswich Town F.C.


He is a nephew of the late Sue Ryder, the Baroness Ryder of Warsaw.[citation needed]


  1. ^ "No. 48639". The London Gazette (Supplement). 13 June 1981. p. 11.
  2. ^ "No. 54961". The London Gazette. 27 November 1997. p. 13331.
Government offices Preceded byTom McNally Political Secretary to the Prime Minister 1979–1981 Succeeded byDerek Howe Parliament of the United Kingdom Preceded byConstituency reestablished Member of Parliament for Mid Norfolk 19831997 Succeeded byKeith Simpson Political offices Preceded byPeter Lilley Economic Secretary to the Treasury 1989 Succeeded byJohn Maples Preceded byThe Earl of Caithness Paymaster General 1990 Succeeded byThe Lord Belstead Preceded byTim Renton Chief Whip of the Conservative Party 1990–1995 Succeeded byAlastair Goodlad Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury 1990–1995 Media offices Preceded byGavyn Davies Vice Chairman of the BBC Board of Governors 2002–2004 Succeeded byAnthony Salz Chairman of the BBC Board of GovernorsActing 2004 Succeeded byMichael Grade Orders of precedence in the United Kingdom Preceded byThe Lord Watson of Invergowrie GentlemenBaron Ryder of Wensum Followed byThe Lord Hattersley