William Joynson-Hicks

(b. 1865)

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(b. London, 23 June 1865; d. 8 June 1932)

British; Home Secretary 1924–9; Bt. 1919, Viscount Brentford 1929 Educated at Merchant Taylors' School, Joynson-Hicks became a successful solicitor. He changed his surname from Hicks to Joynson-Hicks (to include his wife's maiden name) in 1896 and was commonly called ‘Jix’. He was elected to Parliament as a Conservative MP in 1908, losing his seat in 1910 and then being returned for Brentford in 1911. Interested in transport (he was chairman of the Automobile Association from 1908 to 1923), he served on several committees dealing with transport issues. An opponent of maintaining the Lloyd George coalition, he tabled a vote of censure, provoking a spirited defence of the coalition by Austen Chamberlain. He held a number of junior ministerial posts in 1922 and 1923 before being appointed Minister of Health in August 1923. When the Conservatives were returned to power in November 1924 he was appointed Home Secretary and served in the post for the rest of the parliament (1924–9). He was responsible for handling the General Strike in 1926. Described by Roy Jenkins as ‘good on penal reform but illiberal on all else’, he authorized police raids to seize the works of authors such as D. H. Lawrence. He also persuaded the Prime Minister and Foreign Secretary to authorize a raid in 1927 on the Soviet Trade Delegation and All-Russian Co-operative Society building in Moorgate. The raid showed that the premises had been used for the purposes of Soviet subversion and relations with the Soviet Union were broken off. In June 1929, he was created a viscount. He died three years later, shortly before his 67th birthday.

Subjects: Politics.

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