23 October 2006
Shadow Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills
David Willetts is a leading English social thinker and politician. His purpose in visiting China was to learn how Chinese people see their development challenge and how China is meeting it; to learn about education in China at all levels; to meet Chinese with experience of England so that he could hear their observations on our two countries; to understand the work of the British Council in China.
David Willetts has written books and articles that are widely respected, and he has pursued a political career of distinction. He was Paymaster General in the last Conservative government and is currently Shadow Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities & Skills. The Financial Times has written of him as a future Prime Minister.
David Willetts was educated at a state school and at Oxford, from where he graduated with First Class Honours in 1978. He first worked in the Treasury, before being recruited to Prime Minister Margaret Thatchers Downing Street Policy Unit, advising on economic and social policy. From 1987-92 he was Director of Studies at the Centre for Policy Studies. In 1992 David Willetts was elected Member of Parliament for Havant (which constituency he continues to represent in the House of Commons).
David Willetts is unusual in being widely respected by intellectuals and policy makers of all political views, for his thoughtful, impartial approach to the social issues of the day, for his analytical mind and his deep sense of social responsibility.