Lady Olga Maitland

Lady Olga Maitland is a well known campaigner on defence and foreign affairs issues.

In March 1983 she launched a pro-NATO campaign against the anti-nuclear protest movement, Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament. At that time they were calling for one-sided nuclear disarmament in the face of a Soviet build up of medium range nuclear weapons.

Campaigning under the banner of Families for Defence and supported by her vice chairmen, who subsequently rose to the top ranks of Parliament, Dame Angela Rumbold, Rt. Hon. Mrs.Virginia Bottomley, MP, Rt. Hon. Ann Widdicombe, MP, and Mrs. Angela Browning, MP , Olga Maitland led a vigorous debate across the country into television studios, on the radio, in the universities and town halls. She organised high profile demonstrations against the anti-nuclear protest movements which took place in Trafalgar Square, Greenham Common airbase, Molesworth airbase, Faslane submarine base etc.

At the same time she challenged them during the Talks about Talks summits between the Americans and the then Soviets in Geneva. Olga Maitland's campaigns took her to Washington where she had a one-on-one meeting with President Reagan in the Oval Office at the White House, and to Rome where she had an audience with H.H. The Pope. Finally in Moscow during the Reagan – Gorbachev Summit Olga Maitland met with all the leading members of the Soviet government including a private meeting with Primakov, as well as the head of the Soviet Peace Committee, Generich Borovic.

With the ending of the Cold War and the collapse of Communism, it was decided to change the remit of Families for Defence from a campaigning wing to a defence and foreign affairs policy group, Defence and Security Forum.

Issues that Defence and Security Forum have undertaken have included supporting the Kuwaiti people during the Gulf War, when DSF linked up with the Free Kuwait Campaign in London. After the liberation, DSF has lent active support to the National Committee for the Kuwaiti Prisoners of War held in Iraq. Olga Maitland was invited by the chairman H.H. Sheikh Salem al Sabah to visit Kuwait and meet the families of the POWs. She then she had arranged a number of high profile events drawing attention to their detention in Iraq by Saddam Hussein.

In 2001 Olga Maitland visited Northern Iraq/ Kurdistan as a guest of the President Masoud Barzani. She met with the survivors of chemical weapons attacks by Saddam Hussein in 1988, all of whom continue to have serious health problems. She was also made aware of the importance the Kurds attach to the Safe Haven status which the then Prime Minister John Major put into place with the former President George Bush, Senior in 1991.

Olga Maitland has been a journalist since 1964. She began her career reporting crime and hard news with the Fleet Street News Agency. In 1965 she joined the Sunday Express as a reporter becoming a leading columnist from 1975 to 1991. She freelanced until 1998 when she joined the Daily Mail until 2001.

In 1986 Olga Maitland began her political career as a Conservative candidate for Holborn and St. Pancras in the ILEA elections. In 1987 she stood as Parliamentary Candidate for Bethnal Green and Stepney. In 1997 she was elected Member of Parliament for Sutton and Cheam with a

Majority of 10,750. She was defeated in 1997 by 2,000 and stood again for the seat in 2001, but was defeated.

During her Parliamentary career Olga Maitland was a member of education, health and the procedures select committees. She took through Parliament two Private Members Bills, the Prisoners Return to Custody Act 1995, and the Offensive Weapons Act 1996. She introduced two Ten Minute Rule Bills on Juvenile Crime, 1993 and Solvent Abuse, 1994.

She was an officer of the Northern Ireland, Defence and Foreign Affairs backbench committees.

In 1996 Olga Maitland was appointed as Parliamentary Private Secretary to Rt. Hon. Sir John Wheeler, PC, MP, Minister of State, and Deputy Secretary of State, Northern Ireland with special responsibilities for security.

Lady Olga Maitland is currently an adviser to a number of companies and governments.

Olga Maitland published in 1989 'Margaret Thatcher - The First Ten Years' 1997 'Faith In the Family.'  She was founder and chairman of Families for Defence until 1991.  Since then she has been the President of Defence and Security Forum.

 

 

 

DSF Executive

 

Lady Olga Maitland                     

President

 

Rt.Hon. Lord Mayhew of Twysden         

Vice President (Biography)

 

Major General Patrick Cordingley 

Chairman (Biography)

 

Colonel Philip Howes, OBE             

Treasurer and Trustee (Biography)

 

Honorary Patrons

 

Rt. Hon Lord Nazir Ahmed of Rotherham

Rt. Hon. Baroness Blatch CBE

Baroness Cox

Sir Ranulph Fiennes Bt

General Sir Michael Gow GCB

Rt Hon. The Earl of Lauderdale

Rt. Hon. Lord Lamont of Lerwick

Sir Alfred Sherman

Professor Norman Stone

Rt. Hon. Sir John Wheeler, JP, DL