Alistair Cooke, Lord Lexden
Cooke was born in Colchester, Essex, he read history at Peterhouse, Cambridge. After postgraduate research in Cambridge and Edinburgh (1966-9), he worked as an academic historian at Queen's University, Belfast (1969-77). He also worked as an archivist in the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland, sorting and cataloguing the private papers of a number of politicians.
Cooke spent most of his career (1977-97) as a senior official in the central organisation of the Conservative Party. He was political adviser to Airey Neave, the Party's Spokesman on Northern Ireland, from 1977 to 1979. He later became chairman of Friends of the Union, established by Ian Gow.
Cooke was Deputy Director of the Conservative Research Department (CRD) from 1985 to 1997. From 1988 to 1997 he was also Director of the Conservative Political Centre (CPC), established by Rab Butler.
From 1997 to 2004 he was General Secretary of the Independent Schools Council (ISC). He chaired a committee of senior head teachers and education experts which led to the creation of the Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI).
- About Lord Lexden, alistairlexden.org.uk, accessed 18 July 2013.