Journalism & Politics


Gyles Brandreth was Member of Parliament for the City of Chester from 1992 to 1997. He was successively Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Financial Secretary to the Treasury, to the Secretary of State for National Heritage and the Secretary of State for Health. He served as a Junior Whip at the Department of the Environment, the Department of Transport and the Department of Health and, later, as a Whip and Lord Commissioner of the Treasury, in the Cabinet Office and the Treasury.

His Private Member’s Bill became the 1994 Marriage Act and is the legislation that enabled civil marriages to take place in venues others than register offices, such as hotels, stately homes and historic houses.

As PPS at the Department of National Heritage, he noticed the vacant plinth in London’s Trafalgar Square and set in motion the scheme that allows it to be used to display original and unusual works of art.

A statue of a thumb

Gyles Brandreth has worked as an occasional speech writer for three British prime ministers. He has published an account of his time in politics, Breaking the Code: Westminster Diaries

“A wonderful book. A serious contribution to history, as well as funny and touching. Breaking the Code is how politics genuinely is.”
- Daniel Finkelstein, The Times


Gyles Brandreth has been a working journalist and columnist since 1969 when he had his first column in Honey magazine. Since then he has been a columnist for Woman, Woman’s Own, TV Times and his ‘Alphabet Soup’ column was widely syndicated in the US. In the UK he has contributed to magazines as varied as the New Statesman, the Spectator and Dogs Today.

As a reporter, he worked first for the Manchester Evening News in 1971, under the editorship of Brian Redhead. Since then he has written for every national newspaper in Britain and is a regular contributor to The Times, Telegraph and Daily Mail. From 1997 to 2002 he was editor-at- large of the Sunday Telegraph Review and nominated for a British Press Award as Interviewer of the Year.

He has travelled around the world interviewing princes, prime ministers, presidents, authors, artists and entertainers, and a selection of his acclaimed interviews is published in Brief Encounters.

In 2004 he succeeded Lynda Lee-Potter as host of the Daily Mail Literary Lunches. In 2015 he succeeded Sir Terry Wogan as host of The Oldie magazine’s Oldie of the Year Awards.