The Wilberforce Society | Board of Patrons
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Board of Patrons



The Board of Patrons comprises illustrious individuals who have served with distinction in various fields, including policy-making. With their wealth of experience and contacts, the Board serves as an invaluable source of guidance and support for the society.




Lord Wilson of Dinton has been the Patron of The Wilberforce Society since June 2010. He was born in Glamorgan and educated at Radley (1956-60) and Clare College Cambridge (1961-65). He was called to the Bar but, rather than practice, entered the Civil Service as an assistant principal in the Board of Trade in 1966. He subsequently served in a number of departments including 12 years in the Department of Energy where his responsibilities included nuclear power policy, the privatisation of Britoil, personnel and finance. He headed the Economic Secretariat in the Cabinet Office under Mrs Thatcher from 1987-90 and after two years in the Treasury was appointed Permanent Secretary of the Department of the Environment in 1992. He became Permanent Under Secretary of the Home Office in 1994 and Secretary of the Cabinet and Head of the Home Civil Service in January 1998. Since his retirement in September 2002 he has been Master of Emmanuel College, Cambridge.




Lord Carnwath CVO PC – Justice of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom

Lord Deben PC – Former Secretary of State for the Environment, now Chairman of Sancroft International and Chairman of Veolia Water UK

Professor Andrew Gamble – Head of the POLIS Department, University of Cambridge

Lord Kilclooney PC (NI) – Former Deputy Leader of Ulster Unionist Party

Baroness Prashar of Runneymede CBE – Crossbench Peer and Chairman of Judicial Appointments Commission

Prof. Lord Rees of Ludlow OM FRS – Astronomer Royal and Master of Trinity College, Cambridge. Former President of the Royal Society

Mary Ann Sieghart – Columnist at The Independent, presenter of Profile on Radio 4 and Chair of the Social Market Foundation. Former Assistant Editor at The Times and presenter of Newshour on the BBC World Service

Andre Stein – Principal, Structured Finance Partners

Peter Westaway – Chief Economist, Europe at Vanguard Asset Management and Former Senior Research Adviser at the Bank of England

Janet Williams QPM – Chair, INTERPOL Group of Major Event Security Experts and former DAC at the Metropolitan Police




Tom Davenport and Ben Watts – In their first year at Cambridge, Tom Davenport and Ben Watts set out to create a society where students could discuss and produce innovative and practical policy proposals on a wide range of policy areas, having seen that there was no forum at the university for students wanting to discuss policy beyond the confines of party political ideologies. The result, The Wilberforce Society, was the first student-run think tank in the United Kingdom. Tom and Ben wanted to create an organisation that unlike most other student political organisations could avoid ideological battles and TWS continues in this vein, building upon the foundations they built. Both the founders were at Sidney Sussex College where Tom studied history of art and Ben read economics, and both are now working as consultants in London.