Peter was born in 1944. He was educated at a mixed comprehensive school in Washington DC, Westminster School and Trinity College, Cambridge. He is married with one son and two daughters.
His wife, Virginia, is a former Member of Parliament for South West Surrey.
His previous careers have included lorry driving, industrial sales and industrial relations. He is an industrial economist.
He has been Chairman of the Church of England Children’s Society and a trustee of Christian Aid. He founded Family Forum. He is on the executive of the UK branch of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association. He has been a member of the Child Poverty Action Group and Transport House branch of the Transport and General Workers’ Union.
Peter was President of the Conservative Trade Unionists from 1978 to 1980. His special interests include family policy and foreign relations.
He contested West Woolwich in the general elections of February and October 1974. He won the seat in June 1975 when it was re-named Eltham. This was the first by-election win under Margaret Thatcher’s leadership.
He has served as Secretary of the Conservative Parliamentary Committee on Health and Social Services (1977-79) and Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1979-81).
He was Parliamentary Private Secretary to Cranley Onslow MP, Minister of State in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (1982-83) and then Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Rt Hon Norman Fowler, Secretary of State for Social Services.
In September 1984, Peter was Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Northern Ireland Office where his responsibilities included agriculture and the environment.
In 1992, Peter was appointed to serve on the Select Committee for Transport. In the 1997 General Election, Peter was elected Member of Parliament for Worthing West, West Sussex.
In June 1997, Peter was appointed to serve on the Select Committee on Standards and Privileges.