About Lord Ashcroft
Lord Ashcroft KCMG PC is an international businessman, philanthropist, author and pollster.
He has a near lifelong interest in bravery that goes back to when he was a boy and his father, Eric, told him of his experiences during the D-Day Landings, while serving as a young officer. Gradually, that interest in courage grew into a passion for gallantry medals and the stories behind them. In 1986, Lord Ashcroft started collecting Victoria Crosses (VCs), an interest that eventually led to the creation of the largest collection of such decorations in the world. There are now more than 200 VCs in this collection, which is estimated to be worth well over £50 million. In the autumn of 2010, the collection went on public display for the first time at the Imperial War Museum (IWM) in London. The new Lord Ashcroft Gallery, paid for by a £5 million donation from Lord Ashcroft, also exhibits VCs and George Crosses (GCs) already in the care of the IWM. Lord Ashcroft also has substantial private collections of GCs, Special Forces medals and medals for gallantry in the air. He has made substantial donations to numerous military charities. He was a principal benefactor to the Bomber Command Memorial in London, donating £1 million in support. He has written six bravery books in the “Heroes” series.
In 2011, Lord Ashcroft was appointed as lead adviser to the Ministry of Defence for the strategic review of military bases in Cyprus. In 2012, he was appointed a member of the Privy Council (PC) and was made the Prime Minister’s Special Representative for Veterans’ Transition, working with all departments to ensure military personnel receive the support they need when making the transition to civilian life. He resigned from this position in 2018. In 2012, with the approval of the Ministry of Defence, Lord Ashcroft published The Armed Forces & Society, a study of the relationship between the public and the military, which included the biggest-ever independent survey of serving Forces personnel. In late 2012, he was appointment to the board of the Imperial War Museum, a position he held until stepping down in 2019.
In 2000, Lord Ashcroft was appointed Knight Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George (KCMG). In the same year, he was made a life peer, although he resigned from the House of Lords in 2015 to concentrate on other areas of his life.
Lord Ashcroft was Treasurer of the Conservative Party from 1998 to 2001 and Deputy Chairman of the party from 2005 to 2010, with special responsibility for the target seats campaign and opinion research. In 2019, Lord Ashcroft was appointed Honorary Chairman of the International Democrat Union (IDU), having previously held the position of Treasurer of this group.
He has many, varied business interests with significant investments and participation in both public and private companies in the United Kingdom, United States and the Caribbean. He is an entrepreneur who, at one point, ran companies employing more than 100,000 people. In 1997, he negotiated the sale of ADT to Tyco International for more than $6.7 billion.
Lord Ashcroft has donated tens of millions of pounds to charitable causes and in 2013 signed The Giving Pledge, a commitment by some of the world’s richest people to donate the majority of their wealth to charity. Lord Ashcroft has founded and supported numerous altruistic endeavours that tend to focus on his areas of particular interest, notably crime prevention, education and military history. Lord Ashcroft is the founder and Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Crimestoppers, the only UK charity dedicated to solving crimes; Vice Patron of the Intelligence Corps Museum; Chairman of the Trustees of Ashcroft Technology Academy; and the former Chancellor of Anglia Ruskin University in the UK, which awarded him an Honorary Doctorate in 1999. He is also a Trustee of the Cleveland Clinic in the US and in 2019 he became a member of the 1921 Society recognising those who have donated more $1 million or more to the clinic’s mission. In 2016, Lord Ashcroft was made a Fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society and Knight Grand Cross of The Most Sacred Order of The Holy Trinity (Ethiopia – promoted to Grand Collor in 2021). In 2017, he was made a Senior Fellow of the International Strategic Studies Association and in the same year he became an Honorary Belize Rotarian. Lord Ashcroft is a former Patron of the Forces in Mind Trust Research Centre and a former President of the West India Committee.
Lord Ashcroft has written 25 books, including several political biographies, and is widely respected for his political polling.