Jeremy John Irons (born 19 September 1948) was the 9th Prime Minister of the Republic of England, serving from 2005 to 2008, when he stepped aside in favor of Hugh Grant after the general election. He was leader of the Conservative Party from 2001 until 2008 and represents the constituency of Henley in Parliament. Irons won the party leadership in 2001 after winning a runoff against right-wing firebrand George Brandon, and then proceeded to stand as party leader in the ensuing three elections, winning in 2005 and 2008.
As Prime Minister, he focused on economic reforms to stimulate the economy after a lengthy, stagnant period of inflation and low economic growth in the early 2000's. While popular enough to earn reelection, Irons resigned abruptly in October of 2008 after a scandal emerged concerning his sons Samuel and Max and the potential improper investigation into their allegations due to their father's office. He remains MP for Henley and is a prominent member of the backbenches, and is likely to receive a Cabinet position in the event of a future Tory government.
Jeremy John Irons was born on the Isle of Wight on September 19, 1948, but upon the onset of the fighting during the Anarchy his parents fled with him to France and then the United States, where he lived until he was 10 years old and returned to England.
His family settled in London during the Reconstruction, which his father, having been an anti-Socialist during his years in England, opposed on ideological grounds. Irons attended Exeter from 1966 until 1970, and briefly went to Oxford Law before dropping out to start an importing business with his friend Greg Davies.
A self-made millionaire thanks to his import business by 1980, Irons became active in Conservative Party politics and tried unsuccessfuly in both 1981 and 1984 to run for Parliament in his constituency of Henley. He decided not to run in 1987 after having become discouraged and having to again face popular Labour incumbent George Farmer, to whom he had lost twice, and instead became a staffer for the Conservative Leadership. Following the electoral loss of 1987, he was made Deputy Director of Communications to new Party Leader John Cleese in a surprise move, and in 1990 he ran in Henley against Farmer, winning by a narrow vote during that year's Conservative landslide.
Irons spent the first three years of his career in the backbenches with minor committee assignments.