The Conservative History Journal blog is very pleased to be publishing this article about an unjustly neglected Conservative politician and personality. The first Lord Hailsham played an important part in the Conservative Party in the twenties and thirties but has suffered the fate of so many politicians of that period in that attention has been concentrated on the Second World War and the events leading up to it with too many important issues set aside to be dealt with only by a small group of experts. Dr Chris Cooper's article seeks to restore the first Lord Hailsham's place.
The First but Forgotten Lord Hailsham
Dr Chris Cooper was recently awarded a PhD at the University of Liverpool. He has taught at a variety of higher education institutions and has published a number of articles on different aspects of modern British political history.
In the course of the twentieth century only one family succeeded in occupying cabinet posts in Conservative governments over three successive generations. Douglas Hogg served as Minister of Agriculture under John Major from 1995 to 1997 and, as a successful barrister, he must have nurtured hopes of eventually following his father and grandfather by becoming Lord Chancellor. But he did not prosper under subsequent Tory leaders and his career ended in controversy when his claim for cleaning the moat at his country manor-house epitomised the ‘expenses scandal’ of 2009. Douglas’s father, Quintin, was one of the century’s longest serving cabinet ministers. Becoming Harold Macmillan’s Minister of Education in 1957, he finally stepped down as Margaret Thatcher’s Lord Chancellor thirty years later. He came tantalisingly close to the party leadership and premiership when Macmillan resigned in 1963. Though Quintin Hogg, second Viscount Hailsham and, in a later incarnation, Baron Hailsham, died in 2001, he is well remembered for his formidable intellect, passionate oratory and ebullient personality. By contrast, Quintin’s father, also called Douglas, the doyen of this remarkable political family, is a largely forgotten figure. He wrote no memoirs and has yet to be the subject of a full-scale biography.
The rest of this article about the first Lord Hailsham can be read on the second Conservative History Journal blogsite that is reserved for longer pieces.