Nigel Birch, Baron Rhyl

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The Right Honourable
The Lord Rhyl
OBE PC
Secretary of State for Air
In office
20 December 1955 – 16 January 1957
Monarch Elizabeth II
Prime Minister Anthony Eden
Harold Macmillan
Preceded by The Lord De L'Isle and Dudley
Succeeded by George Ward
Personal details
Born 18 November 1906
Died 8 March 1981
Alma mater Eton

Evelyn Nigel Chetwode Birch, Baron Rhyl, PC, OBE (18 November 1906 – 8 March 1981) was a British Conservative politician.

The son of General Sir Noel Birch and his wife Florence Chetwode, Nigel Birch was educated at Eton. He was a partner in Cohen Laming Hoare until May 1939 when he retired to study politics. He served in World War II in the King's Royal Rifle Corps and on General Staff, being promoted to the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel in 1944. He was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 1945.[1]

He was Conservative Member of Parliament for Flintshire from 1945–50 and for West Flintshire from 1950 until 1970. He served in government as Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Air from 1951–52, Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Defence from 1952–54, Minister of Works from October 1954-December 1955, Secretary of State for Air from December 1955 until January 1957, and Economic Secretary to the Treasury from 1957-58.

His resignation in 1958 along with that of the Chancellor of the Exchequer Peter Thorneycroft and fellow Treasury Minister Enoch Powell, was described by Harold Macmillan as "little local difficulties". He exacted his revenge when in the wake of the Profumo scandal he attacked the Macmillan government and quoted in his memorable speech the devastating words of Browning on Wordsworth - "Never glad confident morning again". His speech showed Macmillan as weak and out of touch and sealed his reputation of being as deadly as Leo Amery.

In 1950 he married Hon. Esmé Glyn, daughter of the 4th Baron Wolverton.

In 1955 he was appointed a Privy Counsellor and on 7 July 1970 was created a life peer as Baron Rhyl, of Holywell in the parish of Swanmore in the County of Southampton.[2]

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Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Gwilym Rowlands
Member of Parliament for Flintshire
19451950
Constituency abolished
New constituency Member of Parliament for West Flintshire
19501970
Succeeded by
Sir Anthony Meyer
Political offices
Preceded by
William Sidney, 1st Viscount De L'Isle
Secretary of State for Air
1955–1957
Succeeded by
The Hon. George Ward
Preceded by
Derek Walker-Smith
Economic Secretary to the Treasury
1957 – 1958
Succeeded by
Frederick Erroll