- Anthony Meyer
:"for the English actor of the 1970s and 1980s see
Anthony Meyer (actor)"
Sir Anthony John Charles Meyer, 3rd Baronet (
27 October 1920– 24 December 2004) was a British soldier, diplomat, and Conservative Party politician, best known for standing against Margaret Thatcherfor the party leadership in 1989. He was passionately in favour of the European Union, and this and other policies led to him becoming increasingly marginalised in Thatcher's Conservative Party.
Meyer's grandfather, Sir Carl Ferdinand Meyer was born in
Hamburg, Germanyinto a Jewishfamily. He migrated to Britain in the late 19th century, when he worked for the Rothschilds, and later for De Beers; he eventually became Governor of the National Bank of Egyptand was given a hereditary baronetcy for the large donations he made to found a National Theatre in Britain. Meyer's father, Sir Frank Cecil Meyer, was vice-chairman of the De Beers diamond cartel, and from 1924 to 1929 he was Conservative Member of Parliamentfor Great Yarmouth, Norfolk.
Education and war service
Anthony Meyer was educated at
Eton College, like his father, and he inherited the baronetcy at the age of 15 when his father died in a hunting accident. Like his father, he also attended New College, Oxford, but after one year he joined the Scots Guardsin 1941, the same year he married Barbadee Knight, and they would have one son and three daughters. During the battle for Caen, in the breakout from the Normandy invasion beaches he was seriously wounded when the tank he was travelling in was hit, and he spent the next nine months on his back in hospital. During this time he read extensively to make up for his lost years at Oxford, but decided not to return to university. Instead, he joined HM's Treasury where he mostly worked on winding up the affairs of the Polish government-in-exile.
In 1946 he passed the Foreign Service examinations, and from 1951 to 1956 he was appointed to the British Embassy in
Paris, where he became First Secretary in 1953. The subsequent appointment to the embassy in Moscowwas not so enjoyable – he did not speak the language, and confined to the "diplomatic ghetto" through the Soviet government's ban on foreign contacts with its citizens, he said he did not have a job to do. He was rescued by a Soviet attempt to compromise him – he reported an attempt to lure him into a cab by a woman agent to the ambassador, who put Meyer and his family on the next plane home. Between 1958 and 1962, he worked at the Foreign Office on European political problems, at a time when the Office was changing its policy from being against the " Common Market" to in favour of Britain's joining it.
Finding a party, and a seat
The death of his mother in 1962 provided Meyer with the family's wealth, and he decided to enter politics to support his pro-European views. He later said that he was initially undecided whether to stand for the Conservatives or the Liberal Party, but his admiration for the Conservative prime minister
Harold Macmillanswung his choice. In 1963 he was selected to fight the constituency of Eton and Slough, then held by Labour's leftwing internationalist Fenner Brockway. In the 1964 General Election, Meyer won the Eton and Slough seat by 11 votes, gaining respect by ignoring his constituency party's advice to campaign on the race issue, which could have swung a number of votes in that constituency at the time. His was one of only two Conservative gains in that election. Recognising that he would only be in the seat temporarily, Meyer made the most of his time in Parliament, advocating Britain's joining the Common Market, strengthening the United Nations, and voting to abolish the death penalty. In the 1966 General Election he lost his seat to Labour's Joan Lestorby 4,663 votes.
His liberalism made him almost untouchable in the Conservative party, and his applications to stand in six constituencies (including Windsor, where he lived) were rejected, but eventually fellow
Old Etonian Nigel Birchrecommended Meyer to replace him in the constituency of West Flintshire, in north-eastern Wales. He returned to Parliament at the 1970 General Election.
MP for West Flintshire
He became a popular MP in his new constituency, gaining a reputation for putting the interests of his constituency ahead of Conservative government policy, e.g. by voting against the closure of the
Shottonsteelworks, supporting the AirbusA300B whose wings some of his constituents built, against its all-British rival the BAC311, while insisting on the importance of an effective pan-European technology. After Labour's return to power in 1974, he opposed continued sanctions against the white minority government in Rhodesia, claiming that it was intended to transfer power "forcibly to a violent minority".
When the Conservative party returned to power under
Margaret Thatcherin 1979, Meyer's type of pro-Europeanism was at odds with the Euroscepticismof the bulk of the party. When his Flintshire West constituency's boundaries were expanded and redrawn to form the North West Clwyd constituency in 1983, there was an attempt by local party activists to replace him with the more Thatcherite MEP, Beata Brookes, whom Meyer managed to defeat. In 1989, Meyer put himself forward as the pro-European stalking horsefor the leadership of the Conservative Party, fully expecting that one of the more prominent pro-Europeans such as Sir Ian Gilmour or Michael Heseltinewould take over the role; in the event, none of them had the courage to do so, and Meyer had no illusions that he had any chance of success. In the leadership election Meyer was defeated by 314 votes to 33, but when spoilt votes and abstentions were added it was discovered that 60 MPs – a full sixth of the parliamentary party – had failed to support Thatcher. As Meyer said, "people started to think the unthinkable", and Thatcher was ousted the following year.
Meyer was promptly deselected as a candidate for the 1992 general election by the Clwyd-North West constituency party for his "treachery", by a 2-1 majority. The deselection campaign was enlivened by a tabloid newspapers' revelation that Meyer had for 26 years had an affair with black former model and blues singer,
Simone Washington, who had kept a diary of their sex games. He and his wife (since 1941), Barbadee, could laugh about the affair, which she condoned – when the tabloid press telephoned, Meyer would call out "Darling, it's someone from the "Daily Sleaze" asking about Simone".
After his forced career change in 1992 Meyer became policy director for the
European Movement, and in 1998 he defected to the Pro-Euro Conservative Partybefore becoming a member of the Liberal Democrats. After 1999 he became a lecturer on European affairs until his death at age 84 in 2004.
His son, Anthony Ashley Frank Meyer, (born 1944), succeeded him in the baronetcy.
In popular culture
Meyer was portrayed by Geoffrey Wilkinson in the 2002
BBCproduction of Ian Curteis's controversial " The Falklands Play".
* [http://politics.guardian.co.uk/politicsobituaries/story/0,1441,1385868,00.html "The Guardian" obituary] ,
January 8, 2005.
* [http://www.federalunion.org.uk/news/2005/050108times.pdf "The Times" obituary] (PDF) via federalunion.org,
January 8, 2005.
* [http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2005/01/10/db1001.xml&sSheet=/portal/2005/01/10/ixportal.html "Daily Telegraph" obituary] ,
January 10, 2005.
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.
Look at other dictionaries:
Anthony Meyer (actor) — Infobox actor name = Anthony Meyer caption = birthdate = July 24, 1947 (age 60) birthplace = Watford, Hertfordshire, EnglandAnthony Meyer (born July 24, 1947) best known as Tony Meyer is a retired English actor of the 1970s and 1980s. He is the… … Wikipedia
Meyer (surname) — This article is about the surname and a list of people with the surname. For other uses, see Meyer. Not to be confused with Meier. Meyer Family name Language(s) of origin German Related names (see below) Meyer Definition: From the Middle High… … Wikipedia
Meyer — El apellido Meyer variante de la palabra meiger procedente del alto medio alemán , tal palabra significa más alto o superior y era de uso frecuente por parte de los propietarios o administradores de los grandes agricultores o arrendatarios la… … Wikipedia Español
Meyer Lansky — in 1958 Born Meyer Suchowljansky July 4, 1902(1902 07 04) Grodno, Russian Empire … Wikipedia
Anthony Winter — Anthony William Nick Winter (* 25. August 1894 in Brocklesby, New South Wales; † 7. Mai 1955 in Pagewood, New South Wales) war ein australischer Leichtathlet. Bei einer Körpergröße von 1,81 m betrug sein Wettkampfgewicht 74 kg. Anthony Winter war … Deutsch Wikipedia
Meyer Lansky — en 1958 … Wikipedia Español
Anthony Carfano — (c. 1898 September 25, 1959) aka Little Augie Pisano was a New York gangster who became a caporegime, or group leader, in the Luciano crime family under mob bosses Charles Lucky Luciano and Frank Costello. Early lifeA longtime friend of Costello… … Wikipedia
Anthony C. Strollo — Anthony C. Strollo, auch bekannt als „Tony Bender“ (* 18. Juni 1899 New York City; † 8. April 1962 Fort Lee, New Jersey) war ein hochrangiger US amerikanischer Mobster der La Cosa Nostra, dem die Tätigkeit in gleich drei der Fünf Familien von New … Deutsch Wikipedia
Anthony Melchior Frank — (* 1931 in Berlin, Deutschland) war von 1988 bis 1992 Postmaster General der Vereinigten Staaten. Frank wanderte erst 1937 in die Vereinigten Staaten ein. Seine Familie floh vor dem Holocaust und besorgte sich ein Visum mit der Bürgschaft von… … Deutsch Wikipedia
Anthony Cornero — Anthony Admiral Cornero (August 18, 1899 July 31, 1955) was an organized crime figure in Southern California from the 1920s through the 1950s. During his varied criminal career, he bootlegged liquor into Los Angeles, ran gambling ships in… … Wikipedia