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Derick Heathcoat-Amory

(b. 1899)


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(b. London, 26 Dec. 1899; d. Devon, 20 Jan. 1981)

British; Chancellor of the Exchequer 1958–60; Viscount Amory 1960, KG 1968 The son of a baronet, Heathcoat-Amory was educated at Eton and Christ Church, Oxford, and spent his formative years in the family's textile business. A former Liberal, he was converted to Conservatism by Harold Macmillan's Middle Way. A member of Devon county council for almost twenty years (1932–51), his entry to parliament came relatively late in life. He was elected as the Conservative MP for Tiverton in 1945, shortly before his 46th birthday. He was recruited by R. A. Butler to assist in drawing up the party's Industrial Charter and on the party's return to office in 1951 was given ministerial office, serving principally as Minister of Agriculture before being made Chancellor of the Exchequer in January 1958, following Peter Thorneycroft's decision to resign. He had difficulty resisting Macmillan's demands for an expansionary budget in 1959 and was uncomfortable at the dispatch box, looking close to collapse during the budget speech. He gave up office in July 1960, accepting a viscountcy, and the following year became High Commissioner for Canada, a post he held for two years. He subsequently held a number of other business and public posts, including serving as chairman of Voluntary Service Overseas and president of the Association of County Councils. A very private man, who never married, he was motivated by a sense of public duty. He was also noted for his modesty. His biographer aptly titled his biography The Reluctant Politician.

Subjects: Politics.


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