Richard was born in Aberdeen in 1942 and educated at the London School of Economics and the John Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, Bologna.
He is a Founder/Director of a retail food business in London, and he was an underwriting Member of Lloyd's from 1974 to 1994.
In 1971 Richard was appointed member of the South East Economics Planning Council and served on the Environmental and Trade and Industry Committees.
In the General Election of October 1974 he was personal assistant to the Member of Parliament for Glasgow Cathcart, Edward Taylor.
Richard unsuccessfully contested Nottingham East in February 1974 but was elected Member of Parliament for Aldridge Brownhills in May 1979.
He is a member of the Conservative Group for Europe and the European Reform Group. In 1979 he became a member of the Treasury and Civil Service Select Committee, the Conservative Parliamentary European Affairs Committee, the Conservative Parliamentary Industry Committee, and the European Affairs Committee.
He has been a member of the Select Committee on Modernisation of the House of Commons and the Joint Committee on Human Rights.
He has introduced four Private Members' Bills: the Crown Immunity Bill (1986), Protection of Official Information Bill (1988), the Referendum Bill on Maastricht (1992), and the Public Interest Disclosure Bill (The Whistleblowers Bill) (1997).
In 1987 he won the Spectator's Award as Backbencher of the Year. In 1988 he won an award from the Campaign for Freedom of Information, and in 1989 was voted by colleagues, in a MORI poll, one of the ten most effective MPs. In November 1995 he won the Spectator's Award as Parliamentarian of the Year.