Sir Richard Needham became a Member of Parliament in May 1979. He was a Member of the Public Accounts Committee before becoming a Minister for the Economy in Northern Ireland where he was responsible for the rebuilding of Belfast and Londonderry. He is the longest serving Minister in the Province. In 1992 he became Minister for Trade, where he was in charge of developing and implementing Britain’s export strategy as deputy to Michael Heseltine. He left the Government in 1995. In 1994 he was made a Privy Counsellor.
Sir Richard is a founder Member of the UK-Japan 21st Century Group. In 2004 the Japanese Government appointed him the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Star. He was Chairman of Avon Rubber Plc, Chairman of Biocompatibles Plc and a Director of Dyson Ltd for 16 years. He has been a director of NEC Europe Ltd since 1997.
For 20 years he was President of the British Exporters’ Association. Richard is the author of two books, Battling for Peace and The Honourable Member, and is an Honourary Doctor of Laws for the at the University of Ulster.