He studied economics at Clare College at the University of Cambridge, receiving an MA and CertEd.
At the age of 10 he was part of a school walk on Swanage Beach in Dorset where he and six friends discovered an old wartime mine which detonated. Only Key and one other boy survived. He went to Salisbury Cathedral School, then independent Sherborne School.
He taught at the Loretto School in Edinburgh from 1967-9, then taught economics at Harrow School from 1969-83. He contested the Holborn and St Pancras South seat in 1979. He was Minister for Roads and Traffic from 1993-4.
In opposition, Key served as a front-bench spokesman during the leaderships of William Hague and Iain Duncan Smith: in 2001, he was the shadow minister for Science and Energy, and in July 2002 the shadow minister for International Development. He stood down from this position in June 2003, returning to the backbenches, but retaining his membership of the Defence Select Committee. From 1994 until 2001, he was a Director of Hortichem (now Certis UK since 2001) in Amesbury.
On 2 December 2009, Key announced his decision to stand down at the next general election. Rebelling on gay adoption in 2003His lack of fondness for MuzakComments during the early stages of the Embryo Bill in The Daily Telegraph in March 2008Salisbury MP will not stand again - BBC News article from 2 December 2009.
Robert Key is a member of the General Synod of the Church of England. He is a committed choral singer and member of the Church of England.
[49th United Kingdom Parliament. 50th United Kingdom Parliament. 51st United Kingdom Parliament.
52nd United Kingdom Parliament. 53rd United Kingdom Parliament. 54th United Kingdom Parliament]He is the former Member of Parliament (MP) for Salisbury, Wiltshire.
He was the Member of Parliament for Salisbury between 1983 and 2010, and was Minister for Local Government and Inner Cities in the Department of the Environment (now DEFRA) from 1990-2, setting up the Inner Cities Religious Council in 1991, and was Minister for Sport at the Department of National Heritage (now Culture, Media and Sport) from 1992-3.