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Speaker Biography

Sir Ian Wrigglesworth

Sir Ian is Chairman of the Port of Tyne, of which he has been a Director since 2003. He manages his own property investment company, based in Gateshead, and from 1995 to 2008 he was founder Chairman of UK Land Estates, one of the biggest property development and investment companies in the North East. He is a former Director of Tyne Tees Television and a number of other private and public companies. He was also Chairman of the Northern CBI and founder Chairman of the Northern Business Forum.

In addition to his business activities, Sir Ian was Chairman of the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art until 2009. He was founder Chairman of the partnership between Newcastle and Gateshead Councils, known as the NewcastleGateshead Initiative which led NewcastleGateshead’s bid for European Capital of Culture in 2002. He was also Deputy Chairman of the Governors of the University of Teesside until 2002.

Sir Ian was MP for Teesside Thornaby and Stockton South between 1974 and 1987. He was first elected as a Labour Member and, as one of the founder members of the SDP, was re-elected as an SDP Member in 1983.When he was defeated in 1987 he became Deputy Chairman of the Livingston Group, a Teesside engineering and machine tool company.

He was elected as the first national President of the Liberal Democrats in 1988,at the same time Paddy Ashdown was elected Leader. He was the founder Chairman of the Liberal Democrat Business Forum and is Chairman of the national Trustees of the Liberal Democrats. Prior to being elected to Parliament he worked in the City at National Giro Bank and in Middlesbrough at the Midland Bank.

He was born in Stockton-on-Tees, attended Stockton Grammar School and qualified as a teacher at the College of St Mark & St John in Chelsea. He has homes in Heddon-on-the-Wall, Northumberland, and Notting Hill in London. He is a Deputy Lieutenant of Tyne & Wear and a Freeman of the City of London.