Sir Herbert Keith Speed, RD, DL (born 11 March 1934, Evesham) is a Conservative Party politician in the United Kingdom and former Member of Parliament. He is a descendant of cartographer and historian John Speed.
He was educated at Bedford Modern School. He served in the Royal Navy from 1947-56 and continued in the Royal Naval Reserve thereafter as a Lt Cdr. After a period as a sales and marketing manager, he gained employment in the Conservative Research Department in 1965.
After unsuccessfully contesting St Helens in 1964, Speed was elected MP for Meriden in Warwickshire in a 1968 by-election and held the seat until 1974. New constituency boundaries were drawn up prior to the February 1974 general election and Speed lost his Meriden seat to Labour's John Tomlinson.
On 4 May 1979 he was appointed Parliamentary Undersecretary of State for Defence, a position known then as the Navy Minister. He was sacked by Margaret Thatcher in May 1981, after refusing to hand in his resignation. This was because he was unable to accept the reductions in the strength of the Royal Navy proposed by Mrs Thatcher and then Secretary of State for Defence, John Nott. With typical service humour, a Royal Navy saying of the time was the fictitious order "Less (K)notts, more Speed!". Later events in the Falklands War showed the shrewdness of his position, and he was made a Knight Bachelor in 1992. He retired as an MP in 1997.
In 1982 he wrote a book, Sea Change (see bibliography), which outlined the background to the Falklands conflict and expressed admiration for former Soviet Admiral Sergey Gorshkov.
- Speed, Keith (1982). Sea Change: The Battle For The Falklands And The Future Of Britain's Navy. Ashgrove Press ISBN 0-906798-20-5
- Speed, Keith (1982) Sea Change: The Battle for the Falklands and the Future of the Royal Navy, Ashgrove Press, jacket cover inset
- Rick Jolly, Jackspeak: A Guide to British Naval Slang & Usage, FoSAMMA (2000), ISBN 0-9514305-2-1
- Hansard 1803–2005: contributions in Parliament by Keith Speed
|Parliament of the United Kingdom|
|Member of Parliament for Meriden
1968 – Feb. 1974
|Member of Parliament for Ashford
Oct. 1974 – 1997