Keith Stainton was born in Kendal, Westmorland, the son of a Kendal butcher and a Belgian refugee his father had met during the First World War. He left Kendal School at 14 and worked as an insurance clerk from 1936 until military service. In early 1940 he volunteered for the Navy and was commissioned into the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve, into submarines and served on the famous French submarine Casabianca. Part French himself, he was awarded the Légion d'honneur, the Croix de Guerre avec Palme and a citation à l'ordre de L'Armée for his spy landings and torpedo actions in the Mediterranean.
After the war he read Economics at Manchester University where he was founder chairman of the Manchester University Conservative Association. From 1949 to 1952 he was a leader writer for the Financial Times. He was also a founder member of the Bow Group and first chairman of Croydon East Conservative Association. After working as a management consultant, he joined a major food manufacturing and distribution company and became managing director and chairman. He was a Lloyd's underwriter specialising in maritime and aviation reinsurance.
Stainton was Member of Parliament for Sudbury and Woodbridge from a 1963 by-election until the 1983 general election, when the seat was abolished by boundary changes. Edward Heath made him opposition spokesman on aviation in 1965.
Stainton married twice, and had six children by his first wife Vanessa Ann Heald (marriage dissolved). He married Frances Easton in 1980.
- Times Guide to the House of Commons 1966
- Times Guide to the House of Commons 1979
- Leigh Rayment's Historical List of MPs [self-published source][better source needed]
- The Independent, November 2001, obituary by Tam Dalyell
- The Times, November 2001, obituary
- Hansard 1803–2005: contributions in Parliament by Keith Stainton
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