Richard Drax

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Richard Drax
Member of Parliament
for South Dorset
Assumed office
6 May 2010
Monarch Elizabeth II
Prime Minister David Cameron
Preceded by Jim (now Baron) Knight
Majority 7,443 (14.8%)
Personal details
Born Richard Grosvenor Plunkett-Ernle-Erle-Drax
(1958-01-29) 29 January 1958 (age 63)
Nationality British
Political party Conservative
Spouse(s) Elsebet née Bødtker
Relations see Family
Children 4
Residence Charborough House, Dorset
Alma mater Royal Agricultural College;
RMA Sandhurst
Profession Army officer; journalist
Religion Anglican
Military service
Allegiance  United Kingdom
Service/branch  British Army
Years of service 1978-1987
Rank UK-Army-OF2.gif Captain
Unit Coldstream Guards Badge.jpg Coldstream Guards

Richard Grosvenor Plunkett-Ernle-Erle-Drax (born 29 January 1958), known as Richard Drax, is a former British Army officer, journalist and now a Conservative Party politician.

Drax has served as Member of Parliament (MP) for South Dorset since 2010.


Drax was educated at Harrow School, an independent school in Middlesex, before going to the Royal Agricultural College, Cirencester where he graduated with a Diploma in Rural Land Management in 1990, receiving a further Diploma in Journalism in 1995.[1]


Military service

Drax passed out from RMA Sandhurst and was commissioned in the British Army joining the Coldstream Guards on 9 December 1978 as a Second Lieutenant; he was given the service number 506831.[2] Drax was promoted Lieutenant on 9 December 1980,[3] before being transferred to the Regular Army Reserve of Officers after active service on 9 December 1983, ending his first period of full time military service.[4]

Drax was reinstated on the Active List on 10 September 1984, beginning his second and final period of regular service. He retained the rank of Lieutenant with seniority from 10 September 1981 to reflect the three years he had served.[5] He was promoted Captain on 10 March 1986.[6]

He relinquished his British Army commission on 9 September 1987, thereby retiring after nine years' service as a Coldstreamer.[7]


Drax joined York's Evening Press as a reporter in 1991,[1] before joining BBC South where he appeared on both radio and television media, including the daily television news programme South Today.[8]

Parliamentary career

Selected as a Conservative prospective parliamentary candidate in July 2006, at the general election in May 2010 Drax defeated the incumbent Labour Member of Parliament for South Dorset, Jim Knight, later Baron Knight of Weymouth.[9]

On 5 February 2013, Drax voted in the House of Commons against a Second Reading of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013 which legalised marriage for same-sex couples.[10]


Drax is the eldest son of Walter Plunkett-Ernle-Erle-Drax JP DL and The Hon. Pamela Weeks and a grandson of Admiral The Hon. Sir Reginald Erle-Drax, younger son of the 17th Lord Dunsany thereby being in remainder to the ancient Barony of Dunsany (cr. 1462): the second oldest title in the Peerage of Ireland. His great-uncle was the celebrated writer and playwright the 18th Lord Dunsany, and his maternal grandfather was General the Lord Weeks.

His first wife (divorced 1997) was Zara Legge-Bourke, younger sister of the royal nanny Tiggy Legge-Bourke, relations of the Earl of Dartmouth. Drax married secondly Eliza, daughter of Commander James Dugdale RN (related to David Cameron); Drax has married again and has four children in total.[11]

At least six of his ancestors, including John Samuel Wanley Sawbridge Erle-Drax and the 17th Lord Dunsany, were Members of Parliament for Dorset and Gloucestershire between the 1680s and 1880s. A cousin is the 19th and present Lord Dunsany.[12]

His home is the ancestral seat, Charborough House, Dorset and Drax holds the lordship of the manor of Longburton.[13]

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 "DRAX, Richard Grosvenor". Who's Who 2013. A & C Black. November 2012. Retrieved 29 June 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 47757. p. 1300. 29 January 1979. Retrieved 29 June 2013.
  3. The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 48460. p. 17809. 22 December 1980. Retrieved 29 June 2013.
  4. The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 49574. p. 16793. 19 December 1983. Retrieved 29 June 2013.
  5. The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 49904. p. 14268. 22 October 1984. Retrieved 29 June 2013.
  6. The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 50461. p. 3836. 17 March 1986. Retrieved 29 June 2013.
  7. The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 51067. p. 11736. 21 September 1987. Retrieved 29 June 2013.
  8. "Dorset South Tories choose Drax". BBC News. 28 July 2006. Retrieved 29 June 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. Laura Kitching and Catherine Bolado (7 May 2010). "Election 2010: Sweeping victory for Tory Richard Drax". Dorset Echo.CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. The House of Commons 2013 Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill 2012-13.
  12. Mosley, Charles (ed.) (2003). Burke's Peerage & Baronetage, 107th edn. London: Burke's Peerage & Gentry Ltd. p. 1240 (DUNSANY, B). ISBN 0-9711966-2-1.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  13. Owen, Glen (6 December 2009). "The name's Richard Grosvenor Plunkett-Ernle-Erle-Drax... but 'De-toff' Cameron calls him plain Richard Drax". Daily Mail. Retrieved 29 June 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Jim Knight
Crowned Portcullis.svg
Member of Parliament
for South Dorset

2010 – present