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Born in Norwich, the second son of Rev. J. H. Shakespeare, he was educated at Highgate School. He served in World War I. He studied at Emmanuel College, Cambridge where he graduated with an MA and an LLB degree. He was President of the Cambridge Union Society in Lent Term 1920.
He was called to the Bar in 1922, was Private Secretary to David Lloyd George in 1921–1923, and worked as a political journalist. As Private Secretary, he attended the peace negotiations leading to the Anglo-Irish Treaty of 1921, of which he gave a valuable account in his memoirs, Let Candles be Brought In.
He served in government as a Lord Commissioner of the Treasury and Liberal National Chief Whip from November 1931 – October 1932, as Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Health in 1932–1936, Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Education in 1936–1937, Parliamentary and Financial Secretary to the Admiralty in 1937–1940, Secretary for Overseas Trade from April to May 1940, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs from 1940 to 1942. He was also Chairman of the Children's Overseas Reception Board, 1940–1942.
In 1949 he published a memoir, Let Candles Be Brought In. It was of great value to historians of the Anglo-Irish peace negotiations in 1921, to which he was an eye-witness. Particularly useful is his description of the final hours of the talks on 5–6 December 1921 when Lloyd George presented the Irish delegation with the famous ultimatum that they must sign the Treaty at once or face "terrible and immediate war".
- Craig, F. W. S. (1983) . British parliamentary election results 1918–1949 (3rd edition ed.). Chichester: Parliamentary Research Services. ISBN 0-900178-06-X.
- Mark Pottle, entry on Shakespeare in Dictionary of National Biography, OUP 2004–08
- Leigh Rayment's list of baronets [self-published source][better source needed]
- Leigh Rayment's Historical List of MPs [self-published source][better source needed]
- Hansard 1803–2005: contributions in Parliament by Sir Geoffrey Shakespeare
|Parliament of the United Kingdom|
Walter Robert Smith
|Member of Parliament for Wellingborough
Hilton Young and
James Griffyth Fairfax
|Member of Parliament for Norwich
With: Walter Robert Smith 1929–1931
George Albert Hartland 1931–1935
Henry Strauss 1935–1945
Lucy Noel-Buxton and
|Baronetage of the United Kingdom|
William Geoffrey Shakespeare