Douglas-Home, Alexander Frederick, Baron Home of the Hirsel

Douglas-Home, Alexander Frederick, Baron Home of the Hirsel

(dŭg`ləs-hyo͞om), 1903–95, British politician. Educated at Eton and Oxford, he was elected to the House of Commons in 1931 as a Conservative. As parliamentary private secretary (1937–39) to Neville ChamberlainChamberlain, Neville
(Arthur Neville Chamberlain), 1869–1940, British statesman; son of Joseph Chamberlain and half-brother of Sir Austen Chamberlain. The first half of his career was spent in business and, after 1911, in the city government of Birmingham, of which he
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, he supported the latter's policy of appeasement toward Nazi Germany. He lost his Commons seat in 1945; reelected in 1950 he resigned (1951) when he succeeded his father's peerage as the 14th earl of Home. He served as minister of state (1951–55), secretary of state for commonwealth relations (1955–60), and leader of the House of Lords (1957–60). As foreign secretary (1960–63), he pursued a policy of détente with the USSR and worked for the establishment of an independent British nuclear deterrent.

In Oct., 1963, he became prime minister after Harold MacmillanMacmillan, (Maurice) Harold, 1st earl of Stockton,
1894–1986, British statesman. A descendant of the founder of the publishing house of Macmillan and Company, he was educated at Eton and at Oxford and served in
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's resignation, emerging as the controversial compromise choice of a divided party. The first peer to become prime minister since 1902, he renounced his Scottish title for life and took a seat in Commons as Sir Alec Douglas-Home. As prime minister, he was handicapped by the divisions within his party and the continuing distraction of the ProfumoProfumo, John Dennis,
1915–2006, British politician. After studying at Harrow and Oxford, he entered Parliament as a Conservative member in 1940 and left in 1945 for an appointment as chief of staff in Japan.
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 scandal.

After the Conservative defeat in Oct., 1964, he led the opposition until July, 1965. During his term as Conservative party leader, reforms gave the party's members of Parliament the power to elect the party leader. Douglas-Home was foreign secretary (1970–74) under Edward HeathHeath, Sir Edward Richard George,
1916–2005, British statesman. Educated at Oxford, he served in the Royal Artillery during World War II, rising to the rank of colonel.
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. He retained his seat in Commons until 1974, when he was created a life peer.

Bibliography

See his autobiography The Way the Wind Blows (1976).

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