Sir Alexander Frederick Douglas-Home, Lord Home of the Hirsel (1903-1996)
Conservative Prime Minister 1963-1964

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Sir Alexander Frederick Douglas-Home, Lord Home of the Hirsel (1903-1996) Conservative Prime Minister 1963-1964

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He created the impression of being rather dated, rather fuddy-duddy, rather aristocratic, indifferent in health and altogether too well-mannered and gentle for politics in the age of Harold Wilson.
-
Sir Gerald Nabarro.


Additional Information on
Sir Alexander Frederick Douglas-Home, Lord Home of the Hirsel (1903-1996)
Conservative Prime Minister 1963-1964

Alexander Frederick Douglas-Home was the eldest son of Lord Dunglass 13th Earl of Home. He entered Parliament in 1931 as a Conservative member of the Commons, and became a supporter of MacDonald's National Government. After a brief stint as Private Secretary to Neville Chamberlain (1937-1940), a medical examination revealed a tubercular condition of the spine. After an operation Home spent the next two years convalescing, encased in a plaster cast, lying in bed and so read widely, particularly studying the philosophy and workings of Soviet Communism which was to prove useful when he became Foreign Secretary in 1960.

In 1951, on the death of his father, Home was able to take his seat in the House of Lords as the 14th Earl of Home. Shortly after this, Churchill appointed Home to the Scottish Office, and in 1955 he was transferred to Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations. Under Macmillan, Home became Lord President of the council and Leader of the House of Lords, and in July 1960 he was appointed as Foreign Secretary. During his three years in this position, Home endeared himself to the public - mainly due to his honesty and lack of fear.

In October 1963, Home succeeded Macmillan as Prime Minister of the Conservative Party. Unfortunately, the Conservatives were not very popular at this time, they had been in office for twelve years and had been shadowed by the Profumo and Vassall scandals. Added to this was the fact that the public and the opposition , led by Harold Wilson, did not believe that a peer understood the pleas of the common people. Wilson immediately launched a fierce attack on Home, and in October 1963 he renounced his peerage to be known as Sir Alec Douglas-Home, and moved from the Lords to the Commons. In November he was formally elected as leader of the Conservative party.

A year later, after a fierce battle between Home and Wilson, Labour gained the victory and Home consequently resigned. He was Leader of the Opposition until Edward Heath took over in 1965. Under Heath's ministry Home was appointed as Foreign Secretary once more. He held this post until the fall of the Conservatives in 1974. In the same year he was awarded another peerage, this time as 'Baron Home of the Hirsel'.


QUOTATION

No, because I do my sums with matchsticks.
- Himself in interview, The Observer, 1962, in answer to the question of whether he would ever become Prime Minister.

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