Politician & Activist

Rory Stewart

Roderick James Nugent Stewart OBE FRSL FRSGS, known as Rory Stewart, is a British diplomat, author, writer and politician.

He served as Member of Parliament for Penrith and The Border from 2010 to 2019 and was international development secretary in 2019.

First elected as a Conservative, Stewart had the party whip removed in September 2019 and subsequently sat as an independent.

  • Full name: Roderick James Nugent Stewart OBE FRSL FRSGS
  • Profession: British politician
  • Born: 3 January 1973 (age 47 years), British Hong Kong
  • Spouse: Shoshana Clark (m. 2012)
  • Children: Alexander Wolf Stewart
  • TV shows: Afghanistan: The Great Game – A Personal View by Rory Stewart, MORE
  • Education: Balliol College, Dragon School, University of Oxford, Eton College
Follow Rory Stewart on Social media

About Rory Stewart

Stewart was born on 3 January in British Hong Kong. The son of Brian Stewart and his wife, Sally Elizabeth Acland Nugent (née Rose).

 Stewart’s father, born in Edinburgh, Scotland, was a colonial official and diplomat who, in the 1970s, was a candidate to become the Chief of the UK’s Secret Intelligence Service or MI6.

His father’s family is from Broich House (built in 1770), which is near Crieff in Perth and Kinross, Scotland.

His maternal grandfather was Jewish. Stewart spent his early years in South Kensington, London before his family moved to Malaysia.

He returned to Britain for boarding school, being educated at the Dragon School, in Oxford, and Eton College.

As a teenager, he was a member of the Labour Party  and he has spoken about this in a number of interviews, including on BBC Radio 4’s Political Thinking with Nick Robinson.

During his gap year in 1991, he was commissioned (a short service limited commission) in the Black Watch for five months as second lieutenant (on probation).

Stewart studied Philosophy, Politics and Economics at Balliol College, Oxford University. While a student at Oxford, Stewart was a private tutor to Prince William and Prince Harry during the summer.


After education at the Dragon School, Eton College and Balliol College, Oxford, Stewart became a diplomat, working in Indonesia and Montenegro.

He left the civil service to undertake a two-year walk across Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan, India and Nepal. He later wrote a best-selling book, The Places in Between, about his experiences.

He subsequently served as a deputy governor for the Coalition Provisional Authority following the 2003 invasion of Iraq, and wrote a second book covering this period, Occupational Hazards or The Prince of the Marshes.

He later lectured at Harvard and worked for several non-governmental organisations, including as executive chairman of the Turquoise Mountain Foundation.


In 2009, Stewart joined the Conservative Party and was selected as the parliamentary candidate for Penrith and The Border. He was elected to the House of Commons the following year, and was later elected as chair of the Defence Select Committee.

In 2015, he was appointed to the Cameron Government as minister for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

From 2016 to 2019, Stewart served in the May Government as international development minister, Africa minister, and prisons minister.

In 2019, he was promoted to the cabinet as international development secretary. Stewart stood as a candidate for leader of the Conservative Party in the 2019 leadership contest, finishing fifth.

On 3 October 2019, Stewart announced he had resigned from the Conservative Party and that he would stand down as an MP at the next general election. He is now an independent candidate in the 2021 London mayoral election.