Stephen was born in 1952. He was educated at Uppingham School and Brasenose College, Oxford. He is married and has a daughter and three sons. He was personal assistant to Peter Walker MP at Worcester in the February 1974 General Election. He contested Hull East in the October 1974 General Election.
He was adopted as Prospective Conservative Parliamentary Candidate for Loughborough in March 1976 and elected as the first Conservative Member of Parliament for Loughborough since 1945 in the General Election in May 1979. Between May 1979 and June 1983 he was the youngest Member of the House of Commons.
From June 1983 to June 1987, he served as Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Secretary of State for Energy, the Rt Hon Peter Walker MP.
In June 1987, he was appointed an Assistant Government Whip and became a Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury (a senior Government Whip) in December 1988. From May 1990 to April 1992, he was Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Department of Health. In April 1992, he was appointed Financial Secretary to the Treasury.
Stephen was Secretary of State for National Heritage from July 1994 until July 1995 and Secretary of State for Health from July 1995 - March 1997.
In the 1997 General Election, he won the new seat of Charnwood with a majority of 5,900, and subsequently served as Shadow Secretary of State for Education and Employment. In June 1998, he left the Shadow Cabinet to return to the backbenches.
From 2006-07 he was Co-Chair of the Public Service Improvement Group, established by David Cameron to review policy in education, health, social care and housing.
In June 2010 Stephen was elected as the Chair of the Health Select Committee.