Background and education
Morrison was the son of John Morrison, a Wiltshire landowner and Conservative Member of Parliament who was later ennobled as Baron Margadale, and was educated at Eton. Morrison's great-great-grandfather James Morrison created the family's great fortune by stockpiling black crepe fabric in readiness for the mourning of King William IV in 1837, becoming known as "the richest commoner in the Empire". In the 1830s, he circumvented high tariffs on pairs of gloves by importing right-handed gloves through Yarmouth, Isle of Wight, and left-handed ones through Southampton. Morrison was the brother of Peter Morrison, who became member of parliament for Chester, while his sister, Dame Mary Morrison, has been a Woman of the Bedchamber to Queen Elizabeth II for over fifty years. After Eton and National Service in the Life Guards, Morrison went up to Cambridge for two years, but left, explaining later that "I was just wasting my time and didn't feel like a third year... But I did leave voluntarily." He then trained at the Royal Agricultural College, Cirencester, before starting work on managing the family estates.
In 1958, Morrison became a member of Wiltshire County Council and chaired its Education Committee in 1963-1964. He entered Parliament in May 1964 at a by-election in the Devizes constituency which followed the death of Percivall Pott, holding the seat for the Conservatives against all opinion poll forecasts and against the trend in three other by-elections held on the same day. This was put down to his being well-known, popular and active in the constituency. His campaign had the support of Ian Fleming, a relation by marriage of Morrison's wife Sara, who wrote an article called To Westminster with Love beginning with the words "Charles Morrison - Licensed to Kill."
Soon after his election to parliament, Morrison supported Ted Heath's bid for the party leadership and went on to serve as shadow minister for sport. However, when his party returned to power under Heath in 1970, Morrison failed to be given a job in the new government. In 1966, Morrison bought Fyfield Manor near Pewsey in Wiltshire from the former Prime Minister Anthony Eden. As a landowner and Conservative Party MP his moderate views did not find favour with Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. He continued as MP for Devizes until his retirement in 1992, when he was succeeded by Michael Ancram. He was knighted in 1988.
Morrison married firstly, on 28 October 1954, Antoinette Sara Frances Sibell Long, the only child of the 2nd Viscount Long and his wife Frances Laura Charteris. They had two children, but the marriage ended in divorce. In 1984 he married secondly Rosalind Elizabeth Ward (née Lygon). They also divorced.
- Charles Morrison obituary, telegraph.co.uk
- Daily Telegraph "Her Majesty's A-team" http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/the_queens_diamond_jubilee/9074791/Her-Majestys-A-Team.html
- Hansard 1803–2005: contributions in Parliament by Mr Charles Morrison
- Times Guide to the House of Commons 1987, Guardian obituary
- Leigh Rayment's Peerage Pages [self-published source][better source needed]
|Parliament of the United Kingdom|
H. Percivall Pott
|Member of Parliament for Devizes