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Edward Pearce, 26 July 1990

A Sparrow’s Flight: Memoirs 
by Lord Hailsham.
Collins, 463 pp., £17.50, July 1990, 0 00 215545 1
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... of Quintin Hogg suggest themselves. Perched upon the horsehair seat known as the Woolsack is the Lord Chancellor, hands clasped at the top of his walking-stick, tricorn hat sitting on his full-bottomed wig. On such a formal occasion he looked totally a man of the 18th century, so much did the face and manner fit the rigout. Most modern men in fancy dress ...

Smart Alec

Peter Clarke, 17 October 1996

Alec Douglas-Home 
by D.R. Thorpe.
Sinclair-Stevenson, 540 pp., £25, October 1996, 1 85619 277 6
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... of a leadership contest which turned the coroneted head of another contender, the once and future Lord Hailsham, by unmasking him as nothing more than a professional politician out of the chorus line in Iolanthe. D.R. Thorpe’s reference at one point in this engaging new biography to ‘the insouciant calm under pressure that eight hundred years of ...


Clive James: Lord's Day, 7 February 1985

... but be dire. Somehow the idea had got about that it was a lively moment in the House of Lords when Lord Hailsham bounced up and down on the Woolsack, and that in the normal course of business there was nothing to be heard from the buttoned red leather benches – pictures of these had been seen in the colour-supplements – except the death rattle of ...

Professional Misconduct

Stephen Sedley, 17 December 2015

... to the newly set up Office of Judicial Complaints resulted in a public reprimand from the lord chancellor and the lord chief justice, who stated that a firm line had now been drawn under the issue and that the judge enjoyed his full confidence. Whether Mr Justice Peter Smith continues to enjoy the full confidence of ...
Whatever Happened to the Tories: The Conservatives since 1945 
by Ian Gilmour and Mark Garnett.
Fourth Estate, 448 pp., £25, October 1997, 1 85702 475 3
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... hears. He is very ambivalent about Macmillan, whom he obviously cannot forgive for conjuring Lord Home out of a hat in 1963. Also striking is his dislike of Harold Wilson, who is, broadly speaking, depicted as having debauched British politics by an almost singular lack of principle. Indeed, in his account, not the least benign consequence of a Tory ...

Holding all the strings

Ian Gilmour, 27 July 1989

Macmillan. Vol. II: 1957-1986 
by Alistair Horne.
Macmillan, 741 pp., £18.95, June 1989, 0 333 49621 3
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... not writing for himself alone but for future historians. In the summer of 1963 Macmillan had sent Lord Hailsham to Moscow to negotiate the final stage of the treaty to ban nuclear tests. As Minister for Science, Hailsham had not been the obvious choice for such an assignment. But that same summer, when he expected to ...

High Priest of Mumbo-Jumbo

R.W. Johnson, 13 November 1997

Lord HailshamA Life 
by Geoffrey Lewis.
Cape, 403 pp., £25, October 1997, 0 224 04252 1
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... Oxford by-election of 1938, is Under-Secretary for Air in Churchill’s Government by 1945, First Lord of the Admiralty at the time of Suez, the head of various other ministries, Tory Party Chairman and, for a record 12 years, Lord Chancellor, formally the country’s highest office. (The ...


Michael Stewart: Staggeringly Complacent, 6 June 1985

... Meanwhile we are stuck with a government whose behaviour becomes increasingly bizarre. There is Lord Hailsham – such a venerable member of the Cabinet that even Mrs Thatcher can apparently not bring herself to pension him off – engaging in a rearguard action to preserve the privileges of part of his own legal profession that would have got him ...

Balfour’s Ghost

Peter Clarke, 20 March 1997

Why Vote Conservative? 
by David Willetts.
Penguin, 108 pp., £3.99, February 1997, 0 14 026304 7
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Why Vote Liberal Democrat? 
by William Wallace.
Penguin, 120 pp., £3.99, February 1997, 0 14 026303 9
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Why Vote Labour? 
by Tony Wright.
Penguin, 111 pp., £3.99, February 1997, 0 14 026397 7
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... 1947, when they commissioned the Labour MP John Parker and the Conservative MP Quintin Hogg, now Lord Hailsham, to produce books of a couple of hundred pages each. ‘When the manuscripts were received,’ the publishers were forced to reveal, ‘it was found that while Mr Parker had kept closely to the length suggested, Mr Hogg’s exposition had run ...

From Old Adam to New Eve

Peter Pulzer, 6 June 1985

The Conservative Party from Peel to Thatcher 
by Robert Blake.
Methuen/Fontana, 401 pp., £19.95, May 1985, 0 413 58140 3
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Westminster Blues 
by Julian Critchley.
Hamish Hamilton, 134 pp., £7.95, May 1985, 0 241 11387 3
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... Younger Pitt and Charles James Fox, or with the battle over Parliamentary Reform in the 1830s – Lord Blake prefers the second of these – it is evident that the two parties arose simultaneously. They have not shown equal powers of survival. Whiggery has long disappeared, though 20th-century Conservatives have included a few Whiggish eccentrics. The Liberal ...

When should a judge not be a judge?

Stephen Sedley: Recuse yourself!, 6 January 2011

... person’s prosperity, plainly. The case which set the tone in Britain, in 1848, involved the then lord chancellor, Lord Cottenham. Cottenham turned out to hold shares in the canal company in whose favour he had decided a case brought by a litigious solicitor named Dimes, who had bought a piece of land in order to hold the ...

Subduing the jury

E.P. Thompson, 4 December 1986

... seven. In the Criminal Law Act of 1977 they were further reduced to three. Meanwhile, in 1973, the Lord Chancellor, Lord Hailsham, by an Order in the law vacation, had struck out the ancient practice of listing the occupations of jurors summoned onto the panel. Two further measures were taken in the compendious 1977 ...

Stick to the Latin

R.W. Johnson, 23 January 1997

Enoch Powell 
by Robert Shepherd.
Hutchinson, 564 pp., £25, October 1996, 0 09 179208 8
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... the longueurs of the Opposition front bench in the mid-Sixties by swapping Greek quotations with Lord Hailsham. Hailsham was no mean classical scholar but had to admit that Powell ‘never failed to beat me on my ground. He remembered the rarest of things. He had it instantly available. It was always exactly to the ...

Too Obviously Cleverer

Ferdinand Mount: Harold Macmillan, 8 September 2011

Supermac: The Life of Harold Macmillan 
by D.R. Thorpe.
Pimlico, 887 pp., £16.99, September 2011, 978 1 84413 541 7
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The Macmillan Diaries Vol. II: Prime Minister and After 1957-66 
edited by Peter Catterall.
Macmillan, 758 pp., £40, May 2011, 978 1 4050 4721 0
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... revive the decayed industrial estuaries of the Tyne, the Tees, the Mersey and the Clyde; sending Lord Hailsham up to the North-East in a cloth cap was an embarrassing afterthought, which only drew attention to the threadbare nature of Macmillan’s economic policy. The Middle Way (1938), his most substantial and influential political tract, was, as ...

Do we need a constitution?

Peter Pulzer, 5 December 1991

The Constitution of the United Kingdom 
Institute for Public Policy Research, 128 pp., £20, September 1991, 1 872452 42 6Show More
A People’s Charter 
Liberty, 118 pp., £7.99, October 1991, 9780946088393Show More
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... reform and a non-Conservative majority next year should kill it off. Do we not remember that Lord Hailsham, who had warned us against ‘elective dictatorship’ in the dark days of Jim Callaghan, forgot all about this danger in the ten years when he was Lord Chancellor? The Constitutional Convention, held at the ...

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