Alan Duncan born 31 March 1957
Alan James Carter Duncan MP is a British Conservative politician, and Member of Parliament for Rutland and Melton. He was educated at Merchant Taylors' School and St John's College, Oxford, where he coxed the college's first eight crew and was elected President of the Oxford Union. He went on to win a Kennedy Scholarship to study at Harvard.
Alan Duncan was born in Rickmansworth, Hertfordshire, and before beginning his political career he worked as a trader of oil and refined products, first with Shell and latterly working as a self employed broker and consultant for Marc Rich, but he remained involved in politics as an active member of Battersea Conservative Association, except from 1984 to 1986 when he lived in Singapore.
Duncan first stood for Parliament as a Conservative candidate in the 1987 general election, unsuccessfully contesting the safe Labour seat of Barnsley West and Penistone. For the 1992 general election he was selected as the Conservative candidate for Rutland and Melton, a safe Conservative seat in rural Leicestershire.
From 1993 to 1995 Duncan sat on the Social Security Select Committee. His first governmental position was as Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Minister of Health, a position he obtained in December 1993 and resigned from in January 1994.
In July 1995 he was appointed Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Chairman of the Conservative Party, Dr Brian Mawhinney. In November 1995 Mr Duncan performed a citizen's arrest on an Asylum Bill protester who threw paint and flour at Brian Mawhinney on College Green.
In June 1997 Duncan was entrusted with the positions of Vice Chairman of the Conservative Party and Parliamentary Political Secretary to the Party Leader. Subsequently he has held various shadow cabinet posts, including health, constitutional affairs, international development and transport. After David Cameron won the party leadership in December 2005 he appointed Duncan Shadow Secretary of State for Trade and Industry. In July 2007 he was appointed Shadow Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform, as new prime minister Gordon Brown had abolished the Department for Trade and Industry the previous week, replacing it with the aforementioned new department. In January 2009 he became Shadow Leader of the House of Commons.
Duncan was the first sitting Conservative MP voluntarily to acknowledge that he is gay; he did this in an interview with The Times on 29 July 2002, although he was open about the matter in private for several years before this.
Duncan was voted third most eligible bachelor and best looking male politician by the gay news website Pink News in a 2005 poll of their readers.
On 3 March 2008 it was announced in The Daily Telegraph that Duncan would be entering into a civil partnership with his partner James Dunseath. The ceremony took place in July 2008, making Duncan the first member of either the Cabinet or the Shadow Cabinet to be civilly partnered.
Duncan is currently a Minister of State in the Department for Intrenational Development, a post he has held sicen the General Election in May 2010.
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