Neil Marten

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Sir Harry Neil Marten PC (3 December 1916–22 December 1985) was a British Conservative Party politician.

Born in Lambeth, Marten was educated at Rossall School. During World War II he was parachuted into France to work with French resistance and later served with Norwegian resistance. He worked in the Foreign Office 1947–57 and was a solicitor and shipping advisor.

Marten was Member of Parliament for Banbury from 1959 to 1983, and served as a junior aviation minister 1962–64 and Overseas Development minister under Margaret Thatcher. Marten was a leading opponent of the European Economic Community. He died in North Devon aged 69.

A keen raconteur, Neil Marten told a story of a tour he took around the Palace of Westminster with his Banbury constituents. Touring through the maze of corridors they turned a corner and met Lord Hailsham, the Lord Chancellor, wearing the full regalia of his office.

Recognising his Parliamentary colleague in the midst of the Banbury constituents, Lord Hailsham boomed,"Neil."

Not needing to be told again, the tour party fell to their knees with some haste.

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Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Douglas Dodds-Parker
Member of Parliament for Banbury
19591983
Succeeded by
Tony Baldry
Political offices
Preceded by
Judith Hart
Minister for Overseas Development
1979–1983
Succeeded by
Timothy Raison