Richard Palmer (born August 14, 1949) is an English politician who served as Prime Minister of England and Leader of the National Party from 2001 to 2006. He previously served as Environment Secretary, Foreign Secretary, Chancellor of the Exchequer and Deputy Prime Minister during the Taylor government.
A self made businessman, Palmer entered parliament at the 1990 general election. He served in several ministerial roles under Megan Taylor before entering cabinet as Environment Secretary in 1998. He was rapidly and unexpectedly promoted to Foreign Secretary in 1999, and Chancellor the following year. Palmer also served as Deputy Prime Minister from June 2001. He was elected Leader of the National Party in the November 2001 leadership election. As Prime Minister he marked a decisive break with the policies and attitude of the Taylor government, moving the National Party towards the centre. He led the National Party to election victories at both the 2002 and 2005 general elections.
By 2006 however he had become a divisive figure within his own party, and was seen my some as betraying Taylor's legacy. He was challenged for the leadership by Stacy Silverman in February 2006, and in a surprise move was defeated. Palmer retired from parliament at the 2008 election, and returned to business.
Richard Palmer was born on August 14, 1949 in
After being encouraged by his friend Ian Driscoll to run for parliament, in February 1989 Palmer put himself forward to be the National Party candidate for the safe seat of Winchester. In a close selection process he was narrowly adopted as a candidate.
Palmer entered government in 1994 as junior minister at the department of education. He later served as a junior minister at the home office 1995-7 and at the deparment of energy 1997-1998.
In 1998 he entered cabinet as Environment Secretary.