Leadership at The Margaret Thatcher Centre

The Rt Hon Sir Conor Burns, Chairman.

The Rt Hon Sir Conor Burns is the Member of Parliament for Bournemouth West and currently serves as the Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy to the US for Regional Trade and Investment.

Prior to entering Parliament in 2010, he worked in business development for a start-up information services company, as well as holding roles in the communications and financial services sector. Since being elected to the House of Commons he has served in many Government Departments working for Ministers – including Business and Energy, the Treasury and the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office.  He has served as Minister of State for Trade Policy and Minister of State and separately as Minister of State for Northern Ireland.

Sir Conor was close to Lady Thatcher in the later years of her life. He frequently visited her at her Chester Square home on Sunday evenings for drinks and often accompanied her to engagements.  Lady Thatcher gave her blessing for the Margaret Thatcher Centre to be named in her honour. Conor has chaired The Margaret Thatcher Centre since its inception.

Conor was sworn to membership of the Privy Council by Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in November 2019. He was Knighted for Political and Public Service in June 2023.

Donal Blaney, Founder.

Educated at Tonbridge School and the University of Southampton, Donal is a former National Chairman of the Conservative Graduates and Conservative Future. He was was a Councillor in the London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham, presented a daily show on Britain’s first internet-based television channel, 18DoughtyStreet, and has written for The MailOnline.

He is also the founder of Griffin Law. Starting his career in the law in 1996, Donal worked in the City of London and the West End before working in the British Virgin Islands between 2004 and 2006. A pioneering lawyer who prided the firm on lateral thinking, he obtained the world’s first anti-harassment injunction that was served via Twitter in 2009.

Donal has acted as ‘consigliere’ to a number of wealthy business owners and directors, providing cost-effective strategic advice from the unique viewpoint of a litigation specialist. His particular specialisms as a litigator are in respect of complex financial disputes with an international dimension, trust and tax disputes and asset tracing. Donal prides himself, and the firm, on being proactive, innovative, tenacious and commercially-minded. He is the kind of lawyer you want on your side, not against you.

Donal is married to Marci, a US Army veteran who served in Iraq, and divides his time between Kent and Florida. A lifelong fan of Liverpool FC, he is a season ticket holder at Anfield.