Alan Lennox-Boyd, 1st Viscount Boyd of Merton

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The Right Honourable
The Viscount Boyd of Merton
CH PC DL
Secretary of State for the Colonies
In office
28 July 1954 – 14 October 1959
Monarch Elizabeth II
Prime Minister Winston Churchill
Sir Anthony Eden
Harold Macmillan
Preceded by Oliver Lyttelton
Succeeded by Iain Macleod
Personal details
Born 18 November 1904 (1904-11-18)
Died 8 March 1983 (1983-03-09)
Nationality British
Political party Conservative
Spouse(s) Lady Florence Guinness
(1918–2001)
Alma mater Christ Church, Oxford

Alan Tindal Lennox-Boyd, 1st Viscount Boyd of Merton, CH, PC, DL (18 November 1904 – 8 March 1983) was a British Conservative politician.

Background, education and military service[edit]

Lennox-Boyd was the son of Alan Lennox-Boyd by his second wife Florence, daughter of James Warburton Begbie. He had an elder half-sister and three full brothers, two of whom were killed in the Second World War and one who died in Germany in April 1939. He was educated at Sherborne School, Dorset, and graduated from Christ Church, Oxford, with a Master of Arts. He served in the Second World War as a Lieutenant in the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve with Coastal Forces.[1]

Political career[edit]

Lennox-Boyd was elected as Member of Parliament (MP) for Mid Bedfordshire in 1931 (at the age of 26), and was admitted to Inner Temple, as a barrister in 1941. He was a member of Winston Churchill's peacetime government as Minister for Transport and Civil Aviation from 1952 to 1954. In this post he once memorably opined that road accidents were the result not of the taking of large risks, but of the taking of small risks very large numbers of times.

In 1954 he became Secretary of State for the Colonies, where he oversaw early stages of decolonisation, with the granting of independence to Cyprus, Ghana, Iraq, Malaya and Sudan. He was in office during the Mau Mau Rebellion in Kenya, and was persuaded to stay in office by Harold Macmillan after being censured for the Hola massacre. He talked openly about independence for the Federation of Malaya, and invited the then Chief Minister of Malaya, Tunku Sir Abdul Rahman Al-Haj and his friends to Lancester House to discuss the possibility of Malaya's becoming a sovereign nation.

Following the Suez Crisis of 1956, Lennox-Boyd appears to have made the initial approach to writer Ian Fleming about the possibility Prime Minister Sir Anthony Eden's using Fleming's Jamaican house, Goldeneye, for a rest cure given the precarious state of Eden's health. Because of security considerations, he initially intimated to Fleming that he wanted Goldeneye for a holiday of his own and, when he resisted Fleming's suggestion that his and Fleming's wife (a close friend of Lady Eden) liaise over the arrangements, Fleming at first assumed that he was planning an extra-marital assignation.[2]

After the 1959 general election, Lennox-Boyd was replaced as Colonial Secretary by Iain Macleod.

In September 1960 he was raised to the peerage as Viscount Boyd of Merton of Merton-in-Penninghame in the County of Wigtown. This caused a by-election for his Mid Bedfordshire constituency which was won by Stephen Hastings. He was further honoured the same year when he was appointed a Companion of Honour. Being opposed to the line taken in Harold Macmillan's Wind of Change speech, he subsequently became an early patron of the Conservative Monday Club.

Other public positions and business career[edit]

Lord Boyd of Merton held the office of Deputy Lieutenant of Bedfordshire between 1954 and 1960 and Deputy Lieutenant of Cornwall in 1965. He was managing director of Arthur Guinness & Sons between 1959 and 1967, and was a Companion of Honour and Privy Councillor.

Mau Mau rebellion[edit]

In June 1957, Lennox-Boyd, who was Secretary of State for the Colonies, received a secret memorandum written by Eric Griffiths-Jones, the attorney general of Kenya. The letter described the abuse of Mau Mau detainees. The memorandum was passed on by Sir Evelyn Baring, the Governor of Kenya, who is alleged to have added a cover letter asserting that inflicting "violent shock" is the only way to deal with Mau Mau insurgents.

In April 2011 a Guardian report[3] described a cache of government documents which may indicate that, despite clear briefings, Lennox-Boyd repeatedly denied that the abuses were happening, and publicly denounced those colonial officials who came forward to complain.

Family[edit]

Lord Boyd married Lady Patricia Guinness, daughter of Rupert Guinness, 2nd Earl of Iveagh, on 29 December 1938. They had three children:

Lord Boyd died in March 1983, aged 78, and was succeeded by his eldest son, Simon.

Lady Boyd died in May 2001, aged 83. She gave her name to the Viscountess of Merton cup, awarded at the Cornwall Spring Flower Show. [4]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Flag 4 by Dudley Pope, London 1954
  2. ^ Richard Davenport-Hines (2013) An English Affair
  3. ^ "Secret memo gave guidelines on abuse of Mau Mau in 1950s". The Guardian. 11 April 2011. Archived from the original on 12 April 2011. Retrieved 12 April 2011. 
  4. ^ "Cornish gardens scoop four trophies". Smallholder. 

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Milner Gray
Member of Parliament for Mid Bedfordshire
19311960
Succeeded by
Stephen Hastings
Political offices
Preceded by
John Dugdale
Minister of State at the Colonial Office
1951–1952
Succeeded by
Henry Hopkinson
Preceded by
John Maclay
Minister of Transport
1952–1953
Succeeded by
Himself
as Minister of Transport
and Civil Aviation
Minister of Civil Aviation
1952–1952
New title Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation
1953–1954
Succeeded by
John Boyd-Carpenter
Preceded by
Oliver Lyttelton
Secretary of State for the Colonies
1954–1959
Succeeded by
Iain Macleod
Peerage of the United Kingdom
New creation Viscount Boyd of Merton
1960–1983
Succeeded by
Simon Lennox-Boyd