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Douglas Hurd

Douglas Hurd

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Douglas Richard Hurd, Baron Hurd of Westwell, CH
Order of the Companions of Honour
The Order of the Companions of Honour is an order of the Commonwealth realms. It was founded by King George V in June 1917, as a reward for outstanding achievements in the arts, literature, music, science, politics, industry or religion....

, CBE
Order of the British Empire
The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire is an order of chivalry established on 4 June 1917 by George V of the United Kingdom. The Order comprises five classes in civil and military divisions...

, PC (born 8 March 1930), is a British
British people
The British are citizens of the United Kingdom, of the Isle of Man, any of the Channel Islands, or of any of the British overseas territories, and their descendants...

 Conservative
Conservative Party (UK)
The Conservative Party, formally the Conservative and Unionist Party, is a centre-right political party in the United Kingdom that adheres to the philosophies of conservatism and British unionism. It is the largest political party in the UK, and is currently the largest single party in the House...

 politician
Politician
A politician, political leader, or political figure is an individual who is involved in influencing public policy and decision making...

 and novelist, who served in the governments of Margaret Thatcher
Margaret Thatcher
Margaret Hilda Thatcher, Baroness Thatcher, was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1979 to 1990...

 and John Major
John Major
Sir John Major, is a British Conservative politician, who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and Leader of the Conservative Party from 1990–1997...

 between 1979 and his retirement
Retirement
Retirement is the point where a person stops employment completely. A person may also semi-retire by reducing work hours.Many people choose to retire when they are eligible for private or public pension benefits, although some are forced to retire when physical conditions don't allow the person to...

 in 1995.

Born in Marlborough, Wiltshire
Wiltshire
Wiltshire is a ceremonial county in South West England. It is landlocked and borders the counties of Dorset, Somerset, Hampshire, Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire and Berkshire. It contains the unitary authority of Swindon and covers...

, Hurd first entered parliament in February 1974
United Kingdom general election, February 1974
The United Kingdom's general election of February 1974 was held on the 28th of that month. It was the first of two United Kingdom general elections held that year, and the first election since the Second World War not to produce an overall majority in the House of Commons for the winning party,...

, as MP for the Mid Oxfordshire constituency (Witney
Witney (UK Parliament constituency)
Witney is a county constituency in Oxfordshire represented in the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. It elects one Member of Parliament by the first past the post system of election, and was created for the 1983 general election....

 from 1983). His first government post was as Minister for Europe, from 1979-83 (being the post's inaugural holder), and served in several cabinet posts from 1984 onwards, including Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, informally the Northern Ireland Secretary, is the principal secretary of state in the government of the United Kingdom with responsibilities for Northern Ireland. The Secretary of State is a Minister of the Crown who is accountable to the Parliament of...

 (1984-85), Home Secretary
Home Secretary
The Secretary of State for the Home Department, commonly known as the Home Secretary, is the minister in charge of the Home Office of the United Kingdom, and one of the country's four Great Offices of State...

 (1985-89) and Foreign Secretary
Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs
The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, commonly referred to as the Foreign Secretary, is a senior member of Her Majesty's Government heading the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and regarded as one of the Great Offices of State...

 (1989-95). He stood unsuccessfully
Conservative Party (UK) leadership election, 1990
The 1990 Conservative Party leadership election in the United Kingdom took place in November 1990 following the decision of former Defence and Environment Secretary Michael Heseltine to stand against the incumbent Conservative leader and Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher.Thatcher failed to win...

 for Conservative Party leadership in 1990, but retired from frontline politics during a cabinet re-shuffle in 1995.

In 1997, Hurd entered the House of Lords
House of Lords
The House of Lords is the upper house of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Like the House of Commons, it meets in the Palace of Westminster....

. Viewed as one of the Conservative Party's senior elder statesmen, he is a patron of the Tory Reform Group
Tory Reform Group
The Tory Reform Group is a group aligned to, but independent of, the British Conservative Party, that works to promote the values of the One Nation Tory vision...

, and remains an active figure in public life.

Early life


Douglas Hurd was born in Marlborough, Wiltshire, England, in 1930. His father Anthony Hurd
Anthony Hurd
Anthony Richard Hurd, Baron Hurd was a British politician and former Conservative Member of Parliament for Newbury....

 (later Baron Hurd) and grandfather Sir Percy Hurd
Percy Hurd
Sir Percy Angier Hurd was a British journalist and Conservative Party politician who served as a Member of Parliament for nearly thirty years...

 had both been Members of Parliament. Hurd attended Twyford School
Twyford School
Twyford School is a co-educational, independent, preparatory boarding and day school, located in the village of Twyford, Hampshire.-History:Twyford claims to be the oldest preparatory school in the United Kingdom....

 and Eton College
Eton College
Eton College, often referred to simply as Eton, is a British independent school for boys aged 13 to 18. It was founded in 1440 by King Henry VI as "The King's College of Our Lady of Eton besides Wyndsor"....

. He then went on to Cambridge University
University of Cambridge
The University of Cambridge is a public research university located in Cambridge, United Kingdom. It is the second-oldest university in both the United Kingdom and the English-speaking world , and the seventh-oldest globally...

, where he earned a first class degree in History
History
History is the discovery, collection, organization, and presentation of information about past events. History can also mean the period of time after writing was invented. Scholars who write about history are called historians...

 at Trinity College
Trinity College, Cambridge
Trinity College is a constituent college of the University of Cambridge. Trinity has more members than any other college in Cambridge or Oxford, with around 700 undergraduates, 430 graduates, and over 170 Fellows...

 and served as the President of the Cambridge Union Society
Cambridge Union Society
The Cambridge Union Society, commonly referred to as simply "the Cambridge Union" or "the Union," is a debating society in Cambridge, England and is the largest society at the University of Cambridge. Since its founding in 1815, the Union has developed a worldwide reputation as a noted symbol of...

.

In 1952, Hurd joined the Diplomatic Service
Diplomatic service
Diplomatic service is the body of diplomats and foreign policy officers maintained by the government of a country to communicate with the governments of other countries. Diplomatic personnel enjoy diplomatic immunity when they are accredited to other countries...

. He was posted to China
Republic of China
The Republic of China , commonly known as Taiwan , is a unitary sovereign state located in East Asia. Originally based in mainland China, the Republic of China currently governs the island of Taiwan , which forms over 99% of its current territory, as well as Penghu, Kinmen, Matsu and other minor...

, the United States and Italy, before leaving the service in 1966 to enter politics
Politics of the United Kingdom
The politics of the United Kingdom takes place within the framework of a constitutional monarchy, in which the Monarch is the head of state and the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom is the head of government...

 as a member of the Conservative Party.

Member of Parliament


He became secretary to the then Conservative leader Edward Heath
Edward Heath
Sir Edward Richard George "Ted" Heath, KG, MBE, PC was a British Conservative politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and as Leader of the Conservative Party ....

, and was first elected to Parliament in February 1974 to represent the constituency of Mid Oxfordshire. At the 1983 general election
United Kingdom general election, 1983
The 1983 United Kingdom general election was held on 9 June 1983. It gave the Conservative Party under Margaret Thatcher the most decisive election victory since that of Labour in 1945...

 the seat was replaced by Witney
Witney (UK Parliament constituency)
Witney is a county constituency in Oxfordshire represented in the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. It elects one Member of Parliament by the first past the post system of election, and was created for the 1983 general election....

, and he remained MP for the seat until he retired from the House of Commons in 1997
United Kingdom general election, 1997
The United Kingdom general election, 1997 was held on 1 May 1997, more than five years after the previous election on 9 April 1992, to elect 659 members to the British House of Commons. The Labour Party ended its 18 years in opposition under the leadership of Tony Blair, and won the general...

 after 23 years in Parliament. (The seat has been occupied by Conservative Party
Conservative Party (UK)
The Conservative Party, formally the Conservative and Unionist Party, is a centre-right political party in the United Kingdom that adheres to the philosophies of conservatism and British unionism. It is the largest political party in the UK, and is currently the largest single party in the House...

 leader David Cameron
David Cameron
David William Donald Cameron is the current Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, First Lord of the Treasury, Minister for the Civil Service and Leader of the Conservative Party. Cameron represents Witney as its Member of Parliament ....

 since 2001.)

In government, 1979-90


Hurd was appointed Minister of State at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office upon the Conservative victory in the 1979 general election
United Kingdom general election, 1979
The United Kingdom general election of 1979 was held on 3 May 1979 to elect 635 members to the British House of Commons. The Conservative Party, led by Margaret Thatcher ousted the incumbent Labour government of James Callaghan with a parliamentary majority of 43 seats...

, and remained in that post for the duration of the parliament. After the 1983 election Thatcher moved Hurd to the Home Office
Home Office
The Home Office is the United Kingdom government department responsible for immigration control, security, and order. As such it is responsible for the police, UK Border Agency, and the Security Service . It is also in charge of government policy on security-related issues such as drugs,...

, but just over a year later he was promoted to Cabinet rank, succeeding James Prior as Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, informally the Northern Ireland Secretary, is the principal secretary of state in the government of the United Kingdom with responsibilities for Northern Ireland. The Secretary of State is a Minister of the Crown who is accountable to the Parliament of...

. In this position, his diplomatic skills paved the way for the signing of the Anglo-Irish Agreement
Anglo-Irish Agreement
The Anglo-Irish Agreement was an agreement between the United Kingdom and Ireland which aimed to help bring an end to the Troubles in Northern Ireland...

 on the future of Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland is one of the four countries of the United Kingdom. Situated in the north-east of the island of Ireland, it shares a border with the Republic of Ireland to the south and west...

, which marked a turning point in British-Irish co-operation on the political situation in the troubled region. A month before the agreement was signed, however, Hurd returned to the Home Office, this time as Secretary of State, following the demotion of Leon Brittan to the Department of Trade and Industry. Widely seen as a 'safe pair of hands' and a solid, loyal member of the Cabinet, Hurd's tenure as Home Secretary was largely uncontroversial, although he was notably of the view that the British prison system did not work effectively and argued for more rehabilitation
Rehabilitation (penology)
Rehabilitation means; To restore to useful life, as through therapy and education or To restore to good condition, operation, or capacity....

 of offenders and alternative sentencing.

Candidature in the 1990 leadership election


After a sound performance as Home Secretary, Hurd's Cabinet career developed further during the turbulent final months of Margaret Thatcher's premiership. On 26 October 1989, Hurd moved to the Foreign Office
Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs
The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, commonly referred to as the Foreign Secretary, is a senior member of Her Majesty's Government heading the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and regarded as one of the Great Offices of State...

, succeeding John Major
John Major
Sir John Major, is a British Conservative politician, who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and Leader of the Conservative Party from 1990–1997...

, whose rapid rise through the Cabinet had seen him become Chancellor of the Exchequer
Chancellor of the Exchequer
The Chancellor of the Exchequer is the title held by the British Cabinet minister who is responsible for all economic and financial matters. Often simply called the Chancellor, the office-holder controls HM Treasury and plays a role akin to the posts of Minister of Finance or Secretary of the...

 in the wake of Nigel Lawson's
Nigel Lawson
Nigel Lawson, Baron Lawson of Blaby, PC , is a British Conservative politician and journalist. He was a Member of Parliament representing the constituency of Blaby from 1974–92, and served as the Chancellor of the Exchequer in the government of Margaret Thatcher from June 1983 to October 1989...

 resignation. This was the post in which Hurd made the greatest political impression.

In November 1990, he supported Margaret Thatcher's candidature as Conservative Party leader against challenger Michael Heseltine
Michael Heseltine
Michael Ray Dibdin Heseltine, Baron Heseltine, CH, PC is a British businessman, Conservative politician and patron of the Tory Reform Group. He was a Member of Parliament from 1966 to 2001 and was a prominent figure in the governments of Margaret Thatcher and John Major...

, but on her withdrawal from the second round of the contest
Conservative Party (UK) leadership election, 1990
The 1990 Conservative Party leadership election in the United Kingdom took place in November 1990 following the decision of former Defence and Environment Secretary Michael Heseltine to stand against the incumbent Conservative leader and Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher.Thatcher failed to win...

, Hurd decided to enter the race as a moderate centre-right candidate, drawing on his reputation as a successful 'law-and-order' Home Secretary. He was seen as an outsider, lagging behind the more charismatic Heseltine and the eventual winner, John Major, who shared the moderate centre-right political ground with Hurd but had the added advantages of youth and political momentum. Hurd came third, winning 56 of the 372 votes cast and, together with Heseltine, conceded defeat to allow Major, who had fallen just three votes short of an outright majority, to return unopposed and take over as Prime Minister on 27 November 1990. Hurd was gracious in defeat and, on the formation of Major's first Cabinet, was returned to his position as Foreign Secretary.

Foreign Secretary


Hurd was seen as a statesman
Statesman
A statesman is usually a politician or other notable public figure who has had a long and respected career in politics or government at the national and international level. As a term of respect, it is usually left to supporters or commentators to use the term...

like Foreign Secretary and his tenure was particularly eventful. He oversaw Britain's diplomatic responses to the end of the Cold War
Cold War
The Cold War was the continuing state from roughly 1946 to 1991 of political conflict, military tension, proxy wars, and economic competition between the Communist World—primarily the Soviet Union and its satellite states and allies—and the powers of the Western world, primarily the United States...

 and the collapse of the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 in 1991, as well as the first Gulf War
Gulf War
The Persian Gulf War , commonly referred to as simply the Gulf War, was a war waged by a U.N.-authorized coalition force from 34 nations led by the United States, against Iraq in response to Iraq's invasion and annexation of Kuwait.The war is also known under other names, such as the First Gulf...

 to drive Iraq
Iraq
Iraq ; officially the Republic of Iraq is a country in Western Asia spanning most of the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range, the eastern part of the Syrian Desert and the northern part of the Arabian Desert....

i troops out of Kuwait
Kuwait
The State of Kuwait is a sovereign Arab state situated in the north-east of the Arabian Peninsula in Western Asia. It is bordered by Saudi Arabia to the south at Khafji, and Iraq to the north at Basra. It lies on the north-western shore of the Persian Gulf. The name Kuwait is derived from the...

. Hurd cultivated good relations with the United States under President George Bush Sr.
George H. W. Bush
George Herbert Walker Bush is an American politician who served as the 41st President of the United States . He had previously served as the 43rd Vice President of the United States , a congressman, an ambassador, and Director of Central Intelligence.Bush was born in Milton, Massachusetts, to...

, and sought a more conciliatory approach to other members of the European Community, repairing relationships damaged during the increasingly Eurosceptic
EuroSceptic
EuroSceptic is the second album of British singer Jack Lucien. It was released in October 2009.Due to being an album influenced by Europop, it features songs with parts in different languages...

 tone of Margaret Thatcher's final years. Hurd welcomed a reunified Germany into the European political community in 1990.

One of the defining features of Hurd's tenure as Foreign Secretary was the British reaction to the increasingly vicious Yugoslav Wars
Yugoslav wars
The Yugoslav Wars were a series of wars, fought throughout the former Yugoslavia between 1991 and 1995. The wars were complex: characterized by bitter ethnic conflicts among the peoples of the former Yugoslavia, mostly between Serbs on the one side and Croats and Bosniaks on the other; but also...

. During the war in Bosnia
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Bosnia and Herzegovina , sometimes called Bosnia-Herzegovina or simply Bosnia, is a country in Southern Europe, on the Balkan Peninsula. Bordered by Croatia to the north, west and south, Serbia to the east, and Montenegro to the southeast, Bosnia and Herzegovina is almost landlocked, except for the...

, Hurd was seen as a leading voice among European politicians arguing against sending military aid to the Bosniaks
Bosniaks
The Bosniaks or Bosniacs are a South Slavic ethnic group, living mainly in Bosnia and Herzegovina, with a smaller minority also present in other lands of the Balkan Peninsula especially in Serbia, Montenegro and Croatia...

 and for maintaining the arms embargo, in defiance of the line taken by US President Bill Clinton
Bill Clinton
William Jefferson "Bill" Clinton is an American politician who served as the 42nd President of the United States from 1993 to 2001. Inaugurated at age 46, he was the third-youngest president. He took office at the end of the Cold War, and was the first president of the baby boomer generation...

, and arguing that such a move would only create a 'level killing field' and prolong the conflict unduly. Hurd also resisted pressure to allow Bosnian refugees to enter into Britain arguing that to do so would reduce pressure on the Bosnian Government to sue for peace Media. Douglas Hurd described his and British policy during that time as 'realist'. During this period the fractious relations between European and US leaders threatened the stability of the trans-Atlantic alliance and delayed any co-ordinated response to the bloodshed taking place in the collapsing Yugoslavia
Yugoslavia
Yugoslavia refers to three political entities that existed successively on the western part of the Balkans during most of the 20th century....

.
Shortly after his retirement from politics, Hurd travelled to Serbia
Serbia
Serbia , officially the Republic of Serbia , is a landlocked country located at the crossroads of Central and Southeast Europe, covering the southern part of the Carpathian basin and the central part of the Balkans...

 to meet Slobodan Milošević
Slobodan Milošević
Slobodan Milošević was President of Serbia and Yugoslavia. He served as the President of Socialist Republic of Serbia and Republic of Serbia from 1989 until 1997 in three terms and as President of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia from 1997 to 2000...

 on behalf of the British bank NatWest (see below), fuelling some speculation that Hurd had taken a pro-Serbian line. There has been criticism of Hurd's policies in relation to the war. The Bosnian government even threatened to charge Hurd as an accomplice to genocide
Genocide
Genocide is defined as "the deliberate and systematic destruction, in whole or in part, of an ethnic, racial, religious, or national group", though what constitutes enough of a "part" to qualify as genocide has been subject to much debate by legal scholars...

 before the war tribunal in The Hague
The Hague
The Hague is the capital city of the province of South Holland in the Netherlands. With a population of 500,000 inhabitants , it is the third largest city of the Netherlands, after Amsterdam and Rotterdam...

, though this came to nothing. In 2010, Douglas Hurd told a reporter that he was troubled by his Bosnia policy but still doubted that intervention would have brought about an earlier end to the war.

Hurd was involved in a public scandal concerning Britain's funding of a hydroelectric dam on the Pergau River in Malaysia, near the Thai border. Building work began in 1991 with money from the British foreign aid budget. Concurrently, the Malaysian government bought around £1 billion worth of arms from Britain. The suggested linkage of arms deals to aid became the subject of a UK government inquiry from March 1994. In November 1994, after an application for Judicial Review
Judicial review
Judicial review is the doctrine under which legislative and executive actions are subject to review by the judiciary. Specific courts with judicial review power must annul the acts of the state when it finds them incompatible with a higher authority...

 brought by the World Development Movement
World Development Movement
The World Development Movement is a membership organisation in the United Kingdom which campaigns on issues of global justice and development in the Global South....

, the High Court High Court of Justice
High Court of Justice
The High Court of Justice is, together with the Court of Appeal and the Crown Court, one of the Senior Courts of England and Wales...

 held that the British Foreign Secretary, Douglas Hurd had acted ultra vires
Ultra vires
Ultra vires is a Latin phrase meaning literally "beyond the powers", although its standard legal translation and substitute is "beyond power". If an act requires legal authority and it is done with such authority, it is...

 (outside of his power and therefore illegally) by allocating £234 million towards the funding of the dam, on the grounds that it was not of economic or humanitarian benefit to the Malaysian people. http://www.tiscali.co.uk/reference/encyclopaedia/hutchinson/m0045540.html In 1997, the administration of the UK's aid budget was removed from the Foreign Secretary's remit (previously the Overseas Development Administration had been under the supervision of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office, commonly called the Foreign Office or the FCO is a British government department responsible for promoting the interests of the United Kingdom overseas, created in 1968 by merging the Foreign Office and the Commonwealth Office.The head of the FCO is the...

). The new department, the Department for International Development
Department for International Development
The Department For International Development is a United Kingdom government department with a Cabinet Minister in charge. It was separated from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in 1997. The goal of the department is "to promote sustainable development and eliminate world poverty". The current...

 (DfID), has its own Secretary of State
Secretary of State
Secretary of State or State Secretary is a commonly used title for a senior or mid-level post in governments around the world. The role varies between countries, and in some cases there are multiple Secretaries of State in the Government....

 who is a member of the Cabinet
Cabinet (government)
A Cabinet is a body of high ranking government officials, typically representing the executive branch. It can also sometimes be referred to as the Council of Ministers, an Executive Council, or an Executive Committee.- Overview :...

.

In 1995, during the Cabinet reshuffle widely seen as setting up the Conservative team which would contest the next election, Hurd retired from frontline politics after eleven years in the Cabinet and was replaced by Malcolm Rifkind
Malcolm Rifkind
Sir Malcolm Leslie Rifkind KCMG QC MP is a British Conservative Party politician and Member of Parliament for Kensington. He served in various roles as a cabinet minister under Prime Ministers Margaret Thatcher and John Major, including Secretary of State for Scotland , Defence Secretary and...

.

Retirement


Hurd was generally a well-respected politician and parliamentarian, seen as an intellectual and old-school party grandee. After his retirement as Foreign Secretary, he remained a key supporter of John Major, and kept a range of active political involvements as well as taking on some business appointments, most notably as a deputy chairman of NatWest Markets and a board Director of the NatWest group, posts he held from October 1995 until 1999.

He left the House of Commons at the 1997 general election, and was created Baron Hurd of Westwell, of Westwell
Westwell, Oxfordshire
Westwell is a village and civil parish about southwest of Burford in Oxfordshire.-History:The Church of England parish church of Saint Mary is Norman. The chancel arch may have originally been Norman, but if so it was later altered in the Transitional style fron Norman to Early English Gothic...

 in the County of Oxfordshire
Oxfordshire
Oxfordshire is a county in the South East region of England, bordering on Warwickshire and Northamptonshire , Buckinghamshire , Berkshire , Wiltshire and Gloucestershire ....

, entitling him to remain in Parliament as a member of the House of Lords
House of Lords
The House of Lords is the upper house of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Like the House of Commons, it meets in the Palace of Westminster....

.

In December 1997 he was appointed Chairman of British Invisibles (now re-named International Financial Services London or IFSL). He was Chairman of the judging panel for the 1998
1998 in literature
The year 1998 in literature involved some significant events and new books.-Events:*March 5 - Tennessee Williams' 1938 play, Not About Nightingales, receives its stage première....

 Booker Prize for Fiction. He became a member of the Royal Commission on the Reform of the House of Lords in February 1999, and in September 1999 he was appointed High Steward of Westminster Abbey
Westminster Abbey
The Collegiate Church of St Peter at Westminster, popularly known as Westminster Abbey, is a large, mainly Gothic church, in the City of Westminster, London, United Kingdom, located just to the west of the Palace of Westminster. It is the traditional place of coronation and burial site for English,...

, reflecting his long active membership of the Church of England
Church of England
The Church of England is the officially established Christian church in England and the Mother Church of the worldwide Anglican Communion. The church considers itself within the tradition of Western Christianity and dates its formal establishment principally to the mission to England by St...

. He later went on to chair the Hurd Commission which produced a review of the roles and functions of the Archbishop of Canterbury
Archbishop of Canterbury
The Archbishop of Canterbury is the senior bishop and principal leader of the Church of England, the symbolic head of the worldwide Anglican Communion, and the diocesan bishop of the Diocese of Canterbury. In his role as head of the Anglican Communion, the archbishop leads the third largest group...

.

During the 2005 Conservative Party leadership contest
Conservative Party (UK) leadership election, 2005
The 2005 Conservative leadership election was called by party leader Michael Howard on 6 May 2005, when he announced that he would be stepping down as leader in the near future. However, he stated that he would not depart until a review of the rules for the leadership election had been conducted,...

, Hurd supported David Cameron
David Cameron
David William Donald Cameron is the current Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, First Lord of the Treasury, Minister for the Civil Service and Leader of the Conservative Party. Cameron represents Witney as its Member of Parliament ....

, the eventual winner, who is the incumbent
Incumbent
The incumbent, in politics, is the existing holder of a political office. This term is usually used in reference to elections, in which races can often be defined as being between an incumbent and non-incumbent. For example, in the 2004 United States presidential election, George W...

 MP
Member of Parliament
A Member of Parliament is a representative of the voters to a :parliament. In many countries with bicameral parliaments, the term applies specifically to members of the lower house, as upper houses often have a different title, such as senate, and thus also have different titles for its members,...

 for Hurd's former seat of Witney.

Hurd is currently a Member of the Global Leadership Foundation
Global Leadership Foundation
The Global Leadership Foundation is a not-for-profit, non-governmental organisation founded in 2004 by former State President of South Africa and Nobel Prize laureate F.W. de Klerk....

, an organization which works to promote good governance around the world. He is also Chairman of the Advisory Council at FIRST
First Magazine Limited
FIRST Magazine , or FIRST is a multi-disciplinary international affairs organisation based in London. The company was founded in 1984 and aims to promote communications between leaders in industry, finance and government worldwide and to promote strategic dialogue...

, an international affairs organisation.

On 17 July 2009 Lord Hurd was bestowed the honorary degree of Doctor of Letters
Doctor of Letters
Doctor of Letters is a university academic degree, often a higher doctorate which is frequently awarded as an honorary degree in recognition of outstanding scholarship or other merits.-Commonwealth:...

 by Aston University
Aston University
Aston University is a "plate glass" campus university situated at Gosta Green, in the city centre of Birmingham, England.Established in 1895 as the Birmingham Municipal Technical School, Aston was granted its Royal Charter as Aston University on 22 April 1966...

 in their Degree congregation.

Hurd is currently a member of the Top Level Group of UK Parliamentarians for Multilateral Nuclear Disarmament and Non-proliferation
Top Level Group
The Top Level Group of UK Parliamentarians for Multilateral Nuclear Disarmament and Non-proliferation is a cross-party parliamentary group in the United Kingdom, whose primary focus is the advancement of the nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation agenda in Britain and internationally...

, established in October 2009.

Personal life


Hurd is a writer of political thrillers including Scotch on the Rocks
Scotch on the Rocks
Scotch on the Rocks is a novel by Douglas Hurd and Andrew Osmond which was adapted into a TV serial. The book is the third in a loose trilogy, the other two being Send Him Victorious and The Smile on the Face of the Tiger....

(1971, with Andrew Osmond), Truth Game (1972), A Vote To A Kill (1975), Palace of Enchantments (1985, with Stephen Lamport), The Shape of Ice (1998) and Image in the Water (2001), plus 10 Minutes to Turn the Devil, a collection of short stories.
His non-fiction works include The Arrow War (1967), An End To Promises (1979),
The Search for Peace (1997), Memoirs (2003) and
Robert Peel, a Biography (2007). Choose your Weapons (2010).

One of Hurd's sons, Nick Hurd
Nick Hurd
Nicholas Richard Hurd , known as Nick Hurd, is a United Kingdom Conservative Member of Parliament.He was elected Member for Ruislip-Northwood at the May 2005 general election with 47.7% of the votes...

, is also a Conservative politician and was elected Member of Parliament
Member of Parliament
A Member of Parliament is a representative of the voters to a :parliament. In many countries with bicameral parliaments, the term applies specifically to members of the lower house, as upper houses often have a different title, such as senate, and thus also have different titles for its members,...

 for Ruislip-Northwood
Ruislip-Northwood (UK Parliament constituency)
Ruislip-Northwood was a borough constituency represented in the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. It elected one Member of Parliament by the first past the post system of election...

 at the May 2005 general election
United Kingdom general election, 2005
The United Kingdom general election of 2005 was held on Thursday, 5 May 2005 to elect 646 members to the British House of Commons. The Labour Party under Tony Blair won its third consecutive victory, but with a majority of 66, reduced from 160....

. On 14 May 2010 he was appointed Minister for Civil Society.

Another of Hurd's sons, Thomas, whose wife committed suicide, joined the Diplomatic Service
Diplomatic service
Diplomatic service is the body of diplomats and foreign policy officers maintained by the government of a country to communicate with the governments of other countries. Diplomatic personnel enjoy diplomatic immunity when they are accredited to other countries...

. His name appeared on a list of suspected MI6 operatives which was published on the Internet, as did Hurd himself, supposedly the work of disgruntled former SIS (MI6) or Security Service (MI5
MI5
The Security Service, commonly known as MI5 , is the United Kingdom's internal counter-intelligence and security agency and is part of its core intelligence machinery alongside the Secret Intelligence Service focused on foreign threats, Government Communications Headquarters and the Defence...

) employees. The authenticity of several entries on the list is questionable, leading to speculation that it was in fact compiled by a poorly informed amateur. The format of the list is taken from The Diplomatic Service List - an annual official publication (known within the Foreign and Commonwealth Office as 'The Green Book') listing all members of the Diplomatic Service
Diplomatic service
Diplomatic service is the body of diplomats and foreign policy officers maintained by the government of a country to communicate with the governments of other countries. Diplomatic personnel enjoy diplomatic immunity when they are accredited to other countries...

.

In 1988, Hurd set up charity Crime Concern. Crime Concern worked to reduce crime, anti-social behaviour and the fear of crime by working with young people, their families, and adult offenders offering opportunities through training and employment. Crime Concern merged with young people's charity Rainer in 2008 to become Catch22
Catch22 (charity)
Catch22 is a registered charity in the United Kingdom. Formed in 2008, it has over 1000 employees.-Scope:Catch22 work with young people and their families within England and Wales. They provide advice, mentoring, mediation, accommodation, education and employment opportunities to young people...

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Quotations

  • "We should be wary of politicians who profess to follow history while only noticing those signposts of history that point in the direction which they themselves already favour."
  • "People are very interested in politics, they just don't like it labelled 'politics'."
  • "Prison is an expensive way of making bad people worse."

Further reading

  • Memoirs by Douglas Hurd (Little, Brown, 2003)
  • The Search for Peace by Douglas Hurd (Little, Brown, 1997)

See also

  • Thatcher Ministry
    Thatcher Ministry
    Margaret Thatcher was the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom between 4 May 1979 and 28 November 1990, during which time she led a Conservative government. She was the first woman to hold that office...

     (1979–1990) and Major Ministry
    Major Ministry
    John Major was the Conservative Prime Minister of the United Kingdom for 6½ years from 28 November 1990 to 2 May 1997. He was first appointed Prime Minister having succeeded Margaret Thatcher as leader of the Conservative Party...

     (1990–1997), governments in which Hurd served
  • Order of the Companions of Honour
    Order of the Companions of Honour
    The Order of the Companions of Honour is an order of the Commonwealth realms. It was founded by King George V in June 1917, as a reward for outstanding achievements in the arts, literature, music, science, politics, industry or religion....

  • List of political families in the United Kingdom
  • Tory Reform Group
    Tory Reform Group
    The Tory Reform Group is a group aligned to, but independent of, the British Conservative Party, that works to promote the values of the One Nation Tory vision...

  • America All Party Parliamentary Group
    America All Party Parliamentary Group
    The America All Party Parliamentary Group is a cross-party group consisting of members of the Parliament of the United Kingdom, whose purpose is 'to prompt friendly relations and mutual understanding between members of the United States Congress and Members of Parliament; to arrange for the...


External links