Ronald Bell (politician)

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For other people named Ronald Bell, see Ronald Bell (disambiguation).

Sir Ronald McMillan Bell, (14 April 1914 – 27 February 1982), QC (1966), Knight Bachelor (1980), was a Conservative Party Member of Parliament (MP) in the United Kingdom representing South Buckinghamshire from 1950 to 1974 and Beaconsfield from 1974 to 1982.

Family and education[edit]

The younger son of John Bell, Ronald was educated at Cardiff High School, and Magdalen College, Oxford University, (BA 1936, MA 1941). In 1935, he was Secretary and Treasurer of the Oxford Union Society, and President of the Oxford University Conservative Association. In 1954, he married Elizabeth Audrey, eldest daughter of Kenneth Gossell, MC, of Burwash, Sussex, and by her had two sons (Andrew and Robert), and two daughters (Fiona and Lucinda). Lady Bell died in 2014.[1]

Military and civilian life[edit]

In 1938, he was called to the Bar at Gray's Inn, London, and practised as a barrister-at-law in London and on the South-Eastern Circuit. He took silk in 1966. Bell served in the Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve from 1939 to 1946. In 1975, he became a member of Court of the University of Reading.

Political career[edit]

Bell had unsuccessfully contested the Caerphilly Division of Glamorgan at a by-election in 1939, but was elected as Conservative Member of Parliament for Newport at a by-election in May 1945. He lost that seat just two months later, at the general election in July 1945.

He was a member of Paddington Borough Council in London from 1947 to 1949, and was elected as Conservative MP for South Buckinghamshire at the 1950 general election. When that constituency was abolished for the February 1974 general election, he was elected for the new Beaconsfield from 1974. That year, he became a member of the Parliamentary Select Committee on European Legislation.

Monday Club[edit]

Bell was an early (1962) and very active senior member of the Conservative Monday Club, and led the rebels in the House of Commons against the Race Relations Act 1965. He argued against the importing of a new law affecting freedom of speech, and freedom to employ whoever one wishes, and, supported by Enoch Powell, said the Bill made "very deep and damaging encroachments into the proper sphere of personal decision". He also felt that the Bill was an effort to achieve unwarranted equality, and that it was "concerned solely and exclusively with the intention to achieve social equality".[2]

In a vote on 22 December 1964, Bell was one of the 91 Tory MPs to vote in favour of the abolition of the death penalty.

He was one of the principal MP speakers at the Club's 'Law and Liberty' May Day 1970 rally in Trafalgar Square, in answer to the 'Stop the Seventy Tour' campaign designed to stop the South African cricket tour.

Bell was still a member of the Club's Executive Council in 1971 and 1972 when, in September of the latter year, he was a principal speaker at the Club's 'Halt Immigration Now!' rally in Westminster Central Hall, following which a resolution was passed calling upon the government to halt all immigration, repeal the Race Relations Act, and start a full repatriation scheme. This was delivered to Edward Heath, then Prime Minister, who said that the government had no intention of repealing the Act.


  • Bell, Ronald, Crown Proceedings, London, 1948


  1. ^ BELL
  2. ^ Hansard, 23 March (p. 102) and 23 April 1968, (p. 102)

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Reginald Clarry
Member of Parliament for Newport
May 1945July 1945
Succeeded by
Peter Freeman
New constituency Member of Parliament for South Buckinghamshire
1950February 1974
Constituency abolished
New constituency Member of Parliament for Beaconsfield
February 19741982
Succeeded by
Tim Smith