True worked in the Conservative Research Department from 1975 to 1982, also serving as assistant to the Deputy Leader of the Conservative Party from 1978 to 1982. He was special adviser to Norman Fowler, Secretary of State for Health and Social Security from 1982 to 1986. He then moved to be Director of the Public Policy Unit from 1986 to 1990. He was Deputy Head of the Prime Minister’s Policy Unit from 1991–95, before becoming special adviser within the Prime Minister’s Office in 1997, until the general election of that year. In his memoirs the former Prime Minister John Major says that True was his favourite speechwriter. He was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 1993 New Year Honours.
True served as private secretary to the Leader of the Opposition in the House of Lords and Director of the Opposition Whips’ Office there from 1997 to 2010. On 23 December 2010 he was created a life peer as Baron True, of East Sheen in the County of Surrey.
He was a Conservative councillor in the London Borough of Richmond-upon-Thames from 1986 to 1990 and again from 1998 to 2018. He served as Leader of the Council from 2010 to 2017, having previously served as Deputy Leader from 2002 to 2006 and Leader of the Opposition from 2006 to 2010.
He has been, since 2006, a trustee of the Richmond Civic Trust, and since 1996 a trustee of Sir Harold Hood’s Charitable Trust. He served the Olga Havel Foundation in the same capacity from 1990 to 1994.