Paul Drayson

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Paul Rudd Drayson, Baron Drayson (born 5 March 1960)[1] is a British businessman, amateur racing driver and politician. He was Minister of Science in the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills until May 2010, where he replaced Ian Pearson. In June 2009 he was additionally appointed as Minister of State for Strategic Defence Acquisition Reform at the Ministry of Defence.[2] After losing his ministerial positions in the 2010 General Election he stated that he would devote himself totally towards his motorsports company Drayson Racing Technology.[3]


After attending St Dunstan's College, Drayson graduated from Aston University in Production Engineering, followed in 1986 by a PhD in robotics also from Aston.[4]

Role in business and politics


See Main Page Powderject

Lobbying role

Between 2001 and 2002 Drayson was the Chairman of the BioIndustry Association.

Labour donor

Drayson has been a large contributor to the Labour Party, with BBC News reporting in 2005 that he "was made a lord and then the UK defence procurement minister after giving New Labour more than £1m." In 2004 he was the party's largest individual donor.[5]

Ministerial role

On 6 May 2005 Drayson replaced Lord Bach as Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State and Minister for Defence Procurement and as Government Spokesman for Defence to the House of Lords.[6] His remit included oversight of the Defence Procurement Agency and Defence Logistics Organisation.

Just over a week after his appointment the Sunday Times reported that Drayson had 'admitted holding part of his personal fortune in an offshore tax haven that experts say could have helped him avoid £3m in tax. Lord Drayson, the new defence minister, established offshore trusts and companies in the Isle of Man that handled £30m he raised from the sale of his pharmaceuticals business. Experts say such arrangements are normally set up to avoid tax.[6]

According to the Sunday Times:

Drayson set up two offshore trusts -named Ventana and Amalfi -for him and his wife in 1997 shortly before PowderJect, the company he co-founded, was floated on the stock market. Each trust, registered in Douglas, the capital of the Isle of Man, held 2.825m shares in PowderJect. Six months later the Draysons formed two offshore companies, Vardale and Sherdley, which were owned by the two trusts.
In 2003, PowderJect was bought by an American company that paid the Draysons' offshore companies more than £30m for their shares. The money was sent to the Isle of Man, beyond the grasp of the UK Inland Revenue.[6]

The Sunday Times also reported that Drayson 'closed his offshore companies on March 8 this year - the week before Gordon Brown, the chancellor, introduced new laws to restrict British residents' use of tax havens... Yesterday, Drayson admitted holding "financial interests" offshore but said he brought his money back to Britain in the autumn.[6]

On 6 March 2007 Drayson was promoted to Minister of State for Defence Equipment and Support. He oversaw the new Defence Equipment and Support Organisation.[7]

On 29 June 2007 he also became a Minister of State in the newly created Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform, responsible for business and regulatory reform and combining this with his role in the Ministry of Defence.

He stood down from ministerial responsibilities on 7 November 2007. His official reason for stepping down was his wish to participate in the Le Mans race, but it has been reported that the actual reasons were being left out of the loop when Prime Minister Brown decided to disband the Defence Export Services Organisation and equipment budget deficits which would make the follow-up to the DIS largely irrelevant.[8] His job as Defence Procurement Minister was transferred to Ann Taylor.[9]

On 3 October 2008 Drayson returned to government being appointed by Gordon Brown as Minister of State for Science and Innovation in the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills following a cabinet reshuffle.[10] Drayson continued in place on the creation of the Department for Business Innovation and Skills in June 2009.[11]

In 2009 he gained an additional ministerial appointment as Minister of State at the Ministry of Defence.[12]

Drayson lost his ministerial positions as a result of the general election on 11 May 2010.

Lobbying and science policy activities

Sense About Science

Drayson served from 2002-2004 on a working party of the controversial pro-GM lobby-group Sense About Science[13]

Science Media Centre

In 2002 and 2003 Powderject donated to the newly created Science Media Centre. In the period 2002-4 Drayson also served on a Sense About Science working group with Fiona Fox of the SMC along with a number of others who were or became close to the SMC such as David Cope, Peter Cotgreave and Bob Ward all of whom have served on the board of the SMC, the latter two are currently (in 2013) still in such roles.

In 2005 and 2006 Drayson himself was appointed as a member of the board of the SMC. He was listed on the SMC site between at least 4 April 2005 and 9 January 2006.

After he became science minister in October 2008, Drayson continued to work with the SMC. In September 2009 he appointed Fiona Fox of the SMC as chair of a Science and the Media Expert Group and publicly offered to help scientists who felt that they had been misrepresented in the press.

He said the media had moved on from "scare stories" and deserved praise for high-quality coverage.
But he also offered practical help in response to audience concerns that scientists had no recourse if their words or findings were distorted, adding he would be "very happy" to be contacted about cases. He even provided his email address - via his personal Twitter feed - so that scientists could take up his offer.
"It is important for scientists, when they feel that they have been misrepresented by the media, not to accept it," Lord Drayson said.
"A government minister could investigate and on finding (evidence of misrepresentation), could follow up why it had happened," he explained. Ministers may be able to "ensure things were changed to reduce the likelihood of it happening again", he added.[14]

The aim of the group was said to be to 'develop an Action Plan' to improve coverage of science. It is notable that among its aims the group was to explore ways to expand the 'role and remit' of the SMC.[15]

In 2012 Drayson was appointed to the new Advisory committee of the Science Media Centre, which was first announced on the SMC website at some point between 26 February and 4 May 2012. In addition the Drayson Foundation the charity venture of Drayson and his wife donated to the SMC in 2011.


  • 1986-91: managing director, Lambourn Food Company.
  • 1998-1992: managing Director of Justin de Blank Ltd.
  • 1993-2003: co-founder and chief executive of Powderject.
  • 2004: raised to the peerage as Baron Drayson of Kensington.
  • 2005-7: appointed under-secretary of state and minister for Defence Procurement, and government spokesman for defence in the House of Lords.[1]
  • 2007-07 Minister of State (Ministry of Defence) (Defence Equipment and Support)
  • 2007-07 Minister of State (Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform) (Business and Regulatory Reform)
  • 2008-9 Minister of State (Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills) (Science and Innovation)
  • 2009-10 Minister of State (Department for Business, Innovation and Skills) (Science and Innovation)
  • 2009-10 Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)[12]

Affiliations, biography, resources, references



In March 2008 ACOBA allowed J C Bamford Excavators Ltd (JCB) to sponsor Drayson's racing team, Drayson Motor Racing LLP, as they saw "no reason why his motor racing team should not accept sponsorship from JCB forthwith, provided that he did not become personally involved in lobbying UK Government Ministers or Crown servants, including Special Advisers, on JCB’s behalf for a year after leaving office"[16]

  • Honorary President, Motorsports Industry Association, January 2011. Noted by ACOBA who saw "no reason why he should not take up this appointment forthwith, subject to the condition that, for 12 months from his last day in office, he should not become personally involved in lobbying UK Government Ministers or Crown servants, including Special Advisers, on behalf of the Motorsports Industry Association or its members".[17]


  • Lord Drayson of Kensington, UK government Dept for Business, Innovation and Skills website, This snapshot, taken on 10/09/2009, shows web content acquired for preservation by The National Archives



  1. 1.0 1.1 Danny Fortson Lord Drayson - Britain's top gunThe Independent on Sunday 5 November 2006
  2. MOD Website: Minister of State for Strategic Defence Acquisition Reform
  3. John Dagys, "10 Questions With Paul Drayson",
  5. Elliot Choueka, The irresistible rise of 'Tony's crony', BBC, 17 November 2005.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 Robert Winnett 'Minister put millions in tax haven', Sunday Times (London) May 15, 2005, Home news; News; 1
  7. Number 10 Lord Drayson appointed minister
  8. UK DIS falls into abeyance as Drayson decides to quit, Jane's Defence Weekly, 14 November 2007, p. 5
  9. Minister quits to race in Le Mans BBC News 7 November 2007.
  10. Jonathan Amos Lord Drayson takes science brief BBC News 3 October 2008.
  11. Department for Business Innovation and Skills Lord Drayson of Kensington - Minister for Science and Innovation This snapshot, taken on 02/09/2009, shows web content acquired for preservation by The National Archives, accessed 19 August 2013.
  12. 12.0 12.1 Parliament Lord Drayson, accessed 19 august 2013
  13. Peer review and the acceptance of new scientific ideas, Discussion paper from a Working Party on equipping the public with an understanding of peer review, November 2002 – May 2004. Compiled and presented by Tracey Brown, Director Sense About Science, p. viii, accessed 19 August 2013
  14. Zoe Corbyn 'Drayson pledge on science coverage' Times Higher Education, 24 September 2009, accessed 19 August 2013
  15. BIS Science and the Media Expert Group, This snapshot, taken on 02/02/2010, shows web content acquired for preservation by The National Archives, Accessed 17 August 2013.
  16. The Advisory Committee on Business Appointments Tenth Report 2008-2009 Advisory Committee on Business Appointments, accessed 7 November 2014
  17. Twelfth Report 2010-2011 Advisory Committee on Business Appointments, accessed 3 December 2014