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John Peyton, Baron Peyton of Yeovil

John Peyton, Baron Peyton of Yeovil

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John Wynne William Peyton, Baron Peyton of Yeovil PC
Privy Council of the United Kingdom
Her Majesty's Most Honourable Privy Council, usually known simply as the Privy Council, is a formal body of advisers to the Sovereign in the United Kingdom...

, FZS
Zoological Society of London
The Zoological Society of London is a charity devoted to the worldwide conservation of animals and their habitats...

 (13 February 1919 – 22 November 2006) was a British
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 politician. He was 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...

 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 Yeovil for 32 years, from 1951 to 1983, and an early and leading member of the Conservative Monday Club
Conservative Monday Club
The Conservative Monday Club is a British pressure group "on the right-wing" of the Conservative Party.-Overview:...

. He served as Minister of Transport
Secretary of State for Transport
The Secretary of State for Transport is the member of the cabinet responsible for the British Department for Transport. The role has had a high turnover as new appointments are blamed for the failures of decades of their predecessors...

 (later renamed Minister of Transport Industries in the Department of the Environment) from 1970 to 1974. He was a candidate for leader of the Conservative Party in 1975, losing to Margaret Thatcher
Margaret Thatcher
Margaret Hilda Thatcher, Baroness Thatcher, was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1979 to 1990...

.

Early years


Peyton was educated at 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"....

. As a member of the Eton OTC
Officers Training Corps
The Officer Training Corps is a part of the British Army which provides military leadership training to students at UK universities...

, he was a member of the honour guard within the grounds of Windsor Castle
Windsor Castle
Windsor Castle is a medieval castle and royal residence in Windsor in the English county of Berkshire, notable for its long association with the British royal family and its architecture. The original castle was built after the Norman invasion by William the Conqueror. Since the time of Henry I it...

 at the state funeral
State funeral
A state funeral is a public funeral ceremony, observing the strict rules of protocol, held to honor heads of state or other important people of national significance. State funerals usually include much pomp and ceremony as well as religious overtones and distinctive elements of military tradition...

 of King George V
George V of the United Kingdom
George V was King of the United Kingdom and the British Dominions, and Emperor of India, from 6 May 1910 through the First World War until his death in 1936....

 in 1936. He read law at Trinity College, Oxford
Trinity College, Oxford
The College of the Holy and Undivided Trinity in the University of Oxford, of the foundation of Sir Thomas Pope , or Trinity College for short, is one of the constituent colleges of the University of Oxford in England. It stands on Broad Street, next door to Balliol College and Blackwells bookshop,...

 from 1937, but took a commission in the 15/19 Hussars
15th/19th The King's Royal Hussars
The 15th/19th The King's Royal Hussars was a cavalry regiment of the British Army. It was created as part of the reduction in the cavalry in the aftermath of World War I. It was formed by the amalgamation of the 15th The King's Hussars and the 19th Royal Hussars on 11 April 1922, becoming the...

 in 1939 on the outbreak of World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

. He was sent to France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 as part of the British Expeditionary Force
British Expeditionary Force (World War II)
The British Expeditionary Force was the British force in Europe from 1939–1940 during the Second World War. Commanded by General Lord Gort, the BEF constituted one-tenth of the defending Allied force....

, but was captured in Belgium
Belgium
Belgium , officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a federal state in Western Europe. It is a founding member of the European Union and hosts the EU's headquarters, and those of several other major international organisations such as NATO.Belgium is also a member of, or affiliated to, many...

 in May 1940, and spent 5 years in a German
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

 prisoner of war
Prisoner of war
A prisoner of war or enemy prisoner of war is a person, whether civilian or combatant, who is held in custody by an enemy power during or immediately after an armed conflict...

 camps, first in Laufen in Bavaria
Bavaria
Bavaria, formally the Free State of Bavaria is a state of Germany, located in the southeast of Germany. With an area of , it is the largest state by area, forming almost 20% of the total land area of Germany...

, then Warburg
Warburg
Warburg is a town in eastern North Rhine-Westphalia on the river Diemel near the three-state point shared by Hessen, Lower Saxony and North Rhine-Westphalia. It is in Höxter district and Detmold region...

 in Westphalia
Westphalia
Westphalia is a region in Germany, centred on the cities of Arnsberg, Bielefeld, Dortmund, Minden and Münster.Westphalia is roughly the region between the rivers Rhine and Weser, located north and south of the Ruhr River. No exact definition of borders can be given, because the name "Westphalia"...

, then Eichstätt
Eichstätt
Eichstätt is a town in the federal state of Bavaria, Germany, and capital of the District of Eichstätt. It is located along the Altmühl River, at , and had a population of 13,078 in 2002. It is home to the Katholische Universität Eichstätt-Ingolstadt, the lone Catholic university in Germany. The...

 in Bavaria
Bavaria
Bavaria, formally the Free State of Bavaria is a state of Germany, located in the southeast of Germany. With an area of , it is the largest state by area, forming almost 20% of the total land area of Germany...

 in mid 1942, and finally Moosburg
Moosburg
Moosburg an der Isar is a town in the Landkreis Freising of Bavaria, Germany.The oldest town between Regensburg and Italy, it lies on the river Isar at an altitude of 421 m . It has 17,275 inhabitants and covers an area of 44 km². It is easily reached by the A 92 autobahn and regional trains on...

 in Bavaria
Bavaria
Bavaria, formally the Free State of Bavaria is a state of Germany, located in the southeast of Germany. With an area of , it is the largest state by area, forming almost 20% of the total land area of Germany...

 from early 1945. He was liberated by American troops later in 1945. A brother was killed at St Nazaire in 1942.

Peyton studied law while confined, and became a barrister
Barrister
A barrister is a member of one of the two classes of lawyer found in many common law jurisdictions with split legal professions. Barristers specialise in courtroom advocacy, drafting legal pleadings and giving expert legal opinions...

, being called to the bar in 1945. He accompanied Sir Walter Monckton, advisor to the Nizam of Hyderabad, to India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

 in 1946 and 1947, in the run up to Indian independence. He became a broker at Lloyd's of London
Lloyd's of London
Lloyd's, also known as Lloyd's of London, is a British insurance and reinsurance market. It serves as a partially mutualised marketplace where multiple financial backers, underwriters, or members, whether individuals or corporations, come together to pool and spread risk...

 in 1947, and then pursued a political career.

Marriages


He was married twice. He married Diana, daughter of Douglas Clinch, in 1947, but was divorced in early 1966. They had two sons, one of which died young, and a daughter. He remarried on 27 July 1966, to Mary Cobbold, daughter of Colonel Humphrey Wyndham (also her second marriage).

Politics


Peyton unsuccessfully contested the safe Labour seat of Bristol Central
Bristol Central (UK Parliament constituency)
Bristol Central was a parliamentary constituency in the city of Bristol. It returned one Member of Parliament to the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom....

 for the 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...

 in the 1950 general election
United Kingdom general election, 1950
The 1950 United Kingdom general election was the first general election ever after a full term of a Labour government. Despite polling over one and a half million votes more than the Conservatives, the election, held on 23 February 1950 resulted in Labour receiving a slim majority of just five...

. He was subsequently elected a 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 Yeovil in the 1951 general election
United Kingdom general election, 1951
The 1951 United Kingdom general election was held eighteen months after the 1950 general election, which the Labour Party had won with a slim majority of just five seats...

. He became Parliamentary Private Secretary
Parliamentary Private Secretary
A Parliamentary Private Secretary is a role given to a United Kingdom Member of Parliament by a senior minister in government or shadow minister to act as their contact for the House of Commons; this role is junior to that of Parliamentary Under-Secretary, which is a ministerial post, salaried by...

 to Nigel Birch, a junior defence minister, from 1952 to 1958. He supported the Suez War. He then served as Parliamentary Secretary
Parliamentary Secretary
A Parliamentary Secretary is a member of a Parliament in the Westminster system who assists a more senior minister with his or her duties.In the parliamentary systems of several Commonwealth countries, such as the United Kingdom, Canada and Australia, it is customary for the prime minister to...

 to the Secretary of State for Power from 1962 to 1964. He remained opposition spokesman on power in opposition, until 1966.

He became Minister of Transport
Secretary of State for Transport
The Secretary of State for Transport is the member of the cabinet responsible for the British Department for Transport. The role has had a high turnover as new appointments are blamed for the failures of decades of their predecessors...

 in the government of 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 ....

 after the 1970 general election
United Kingdom general election, 1970
The United Kingdom general election of 1970 was held on 18 June 1970, and resulted in a surprise victory for the Conservative Party under leader Edward Heath, who defeated the Labour Party under Harold Wilson. The election also saw the Liberal Party and its new leader Jeremy Thorpe lose half their...

, one of six Monday Club MP members to achieve high office. His ministerial office was renamed Minister of Transport Industries when it was combined into the new Department of the Environment
Secretary of State for the Environment
The Secretary of State for the Environment was a UK cabinet position, responsible for the Department of the Environment . This was created by Edward Heath as a combination of the Ministry of Housing and Local Government, the Ministry of Transport and the Ministry of Public Building and Works on 15...

 in October 1970. He remained in this position until the October 1974 general election
United Kingdom general election, October 1974
The United Kingdom general election of October 1974 took place on 10 October 1974 to elect 635 members to the British House of Commons. It was the second general election of that year and resulted in the Labour Party led by Harold Wilson, winning by a tiny majority of 3 seats.The election of...

. He was in office when the Mersey Docks and Harbour Board
Mersey Docks and Harbour Company
The Mersey Docks and Harbour Company , formerly the Mersey Docks and Harbour Board , owns and administers the dock facilities of the Port of Liverpool, on the River Mersey, England...

 collapsed; he privatised British Rail
British Rail
British Railways , which from 1965 traded as British Rail, was the operator of most of the rail transport in Great Britain between 1948 and 1997. It was formed from the nationalisation of the "Big Four" British railway companies and lasted until the gradual privatisation of British Rail, in stages...

's travel agency, Thomas Cook
Thomas Cook
Thomas Cook of Melbourne, Derbyshire, England founded the travel agency that is now Thomas Cook Group.- Early days :...

, in 1972; and made helmets compulsory for motorcyclists and seatbelts compulsory for car drivers. He also delivered a Green Paper
Green paper
In the Commonwealth, the Republic of Ireland and the United States a green paper is a tentative government report of a proposal without any commitment to action; the first step in changing the law...

 that proposed the Channel Tunnel
Channel Tunnel
The Channel Tunnel is a undersea rail tunnel linking Folkestone, Kent in the United Kingdom with Coquelles, Pas-de-Calais near Calais in northern France beneath the English Channel at the Strait of Dover. At its lowest point, it is deep...

.

He became Shadow Leader of the House of Commons
Shadow Leader of the House of Commons
The Shadow Leader of the House of Commons is a member of the Official Opposition Shadow Cabinet responsible for working with the Leader of the House in arranging Commons business and holding the Government to account in its overall management of the House...

 in opposition. In 1975, he sought to become leader of the Conservative Party, standing in the second ballot after Margaret Thatcher
Margaret Thatcher
Margaret Hilda Thatcher, Baroness Thatcher, was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1979 to 1990...

 defeated 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 ....

 in the first ballot. He gained only eleven votes in the election, coming bottom of the poll, and Thatcher was elected by a convincing majority. He was shadow Minister for Agriculture in Thatcher's shadow cabinet, and was offered the position of Minister of Transport after 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...

, but refused to return to his old office and became the only member of the shadow cabinet not to secure a ministerial position in the new government.

Peyton stood down from the House of Commons
British House of Commons
The House of Commons is the lower house of the Parliament of the United Kingdom, which also comprises the Sovereign and the House of Lords . Both Commons and Lords meet in the Palace of Westminster. The Commons is a democratically elected body, consisting of 650 members , who are known as Members...

 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...

, and Yeovil was won by Paddy Ashdown
Paddy Ashdown
Jeremy John Durham Ashdown, Baron Ashdown of Norton-sub-Hamdon, GCMG, KBE, PC , usually known as Paddy Ashdown, is a British politician and diplomat....

 for the Liberal Party
Liberal Party (UK)
The Liberal Party was one of the two major political parties of the United Kingdom during the 19th and early 20th centuries. It was a third party of negligible importance throughout the latter half of the 20th Century, before merging with the Social Democratic Party in 1988 to form the present day...

. Peyton was made a life peer
Life peer
In the United Kingdom, life peers are appointed members of the Peerage whose titles cannot be inherited. Nowadays life peerages, always of baronial rank, are created under the Life Peerages Act 1958 and entitle the holders to seats in the House of Lords, presuming they meet qualifications such as...

 as Baron Peyton of Yeovil, of Yeovil in the County of Somerset
Somerset
The ceremonial and non-metropolitan county of Somerset in South West England borders Bristol and Gloucestershire to the north, Wiltshire to the east, Dorset to the south-east, and Devon to the south-west. It is partly bounded to the north and west by the Bristol Channel and the estuary of the...

 the same year.

He held right-wing views, but consistently opposed capital punishment
Capital punishment
Capital punishment, the death penalty, or execution is the sentence of death upon a person by the state as a punishment for an offence. Crimes that can result in a death penalty are known as capital crimes or capital offences. The term capital originates from the Latin capitalis, literally...

, and he led a rebellion against the privatisation of the British rail industry under 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...

 in 1990. He also supported reform of the House of Lords to create a wholly directly elected second chamber.

Outside politics


Peyton was chairman of the British subsidiary of the Texas Instruments
Texas Instruments
Texas Instruments Inc. , widely known as TI, is an American company based in Dallas, Texas, United States, which develops and commercializes semiconductor and computer technology...

 from 1974 to 1990. He also held positions with the London and Manchester Assurance Company, Trusthouse Forte, and British Aluminium
British Aluminium
The aluminium producer British Aluminium Ltd was originally formed as the British Aluminium Company Ltd on 7 May 1894 and was subsequently known as British Alcan Aluminium Plc...

, of which he was chairman from 1987 to 1991. He was treasurer of the Zoological Society of London
Zoological Society of London
The Zoological Society of London is a charity devoted to the worldwide conservation of animals and their habitats...

 from 1984 to 1991.

He published an autobiography
Autobiography
An autobiography is a book about the life of a person, written by that person.-Origin of the term:...

, Without Benefit of Laundry in 1997, and a biography of Solly Zuckerman
Solly Zuckerman
Solly Zuckerman, Baron Zuckerman, OM, KCB, FRS was a British public servant, zoologist, and scientific advisor who is best remembered as an advisor to the Allies on bombing strategy in World War II, for his work to advance the cause of nuclear non-proliferation, and for his role in bringing...

in 2001.

He was survived by his second wife, Mary, and his daughter and surviving son from his first marriage.

External links