Peter Thorneycroft, Baron Thorneycroft

Peter Thorneycroft, Baron Thorneycroft

Infobox Chancellor
name=George Edward Peter Thorneycroft
Baron Thorneycroft
order=Chancellor of the Exchequer
term_start =13 January 1957
term_end =6 January 1958
primeminister =Harold Macmillan
predecessor =Harold Macmillan
successor =Derick Heathcoat-Amory
birth_date =1909
death_date =1994
party=Conservative Party

George Edward Peter Thorneycroft, Baron Thorneycroft CH PC (26 July 1909 – 4 June 1994), was a British Conservative Party politician.

Thorneycroft was educated at Eton and then was called to the bar. He was elected to the House of Commons as Member of Parliament (MP) for Stafford at a by-election in 1938, but lost the seat at the 1945 general election. He returned to Parliament at a by-election in October 1945 as MP for Monmouth in Wales, and held that seat until his defeat at the 1966 general election. After his first marriage and divorce, he married his second wife Carla, Contessa Roberti in 1949.

He served as President of the Board of Trade under Winston Churchill and Anthony Eden. In 1957, Harold Macmillan appointed him Chancellor of the Exchequer, one of the most senior positions in the government. He resigned in 1958, along with two junior Treasury Ministers, Enoch Powell and Nigel Birch, in objection to increased government expenditure. Macmillan, himself a former Chancellor, made a famous and much-quoted remark to the effect that the resignations were merely "little local difficulties". In reality, Macmillan was deeply concerned about the possible effects of Thorneycroft's resignation, but chose to hide his worries from public view. The phrase is now so well-known that most people do not know what or whom it refers to.

Thorneycroft returned to the Cabinet in 1960 and held a number of posts in government and then in opposition under Macmillan and Alec Douglas-Home. Ted Heath, who became leader of the party in 1965, had been Chief Whip when Thorneycroft resigned in 1958 and had seen the resignation as a betrayal. Thorneycroft lost his seat at the 1966 general election and received a life peerage, taking a seat in the House of Lords as Baron Thorneycroft, of Dunston in the County of Stafford. Thorneycroft was a strong supporter of Margaret Thatcher's monetarist policies, and she made him Chairman of the Conservative Party in 1975. He held this position until 1981. He was notable as an amateur watercolourist and held exhibitions. He had a son, by his first wife and a daughter by his second wife, Lady Carla Thorneycroft.

External links

* [ "Brief biography and list of Thorneycroft documents held atSouthampton University"]
* [ "Review of Peter Thorneycroft biography by Stanley Crooks at Southampton University," October 2007]
* [ "Publisher's blurb for the Crooks biography of Thorneycroft"]
* [ "Two portraits of Peter Thorneycroft at the National Portrait Gallery, one being a photograph by Cecil Beaton"]


*cite book |last=Craig |first=F. W. S. |authorlink= F. W. S. Craig |title=British parliamentary election results 1918-1949 |origdate= |origyear=1969 |edition= 3rd edition |year=1983 |publisher= Parliamentary Research Services |location=Chichester |id= ISBN 0-900178-06-X

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