Tony Newton, Baron Newton of Braintree

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The Right Honourable
The Lord Newton of Braintree
PC
Leader of the House of Commons
Lord President of the Council
In office
11 April 1992 – 2 May 1997
Prime Minister John Major
Preceded by John MacGregor
Succeeded by Ann Taylor
Secretary of State for Social Security
In office
23 July 1989 – 11 April 1992
Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher
John Major
Preceded by John Moore
Succeeded by Peter Lilley
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
In office
25 July 1988 – 24 July 1989
Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher
Preceded by Kenneth Clarke
Succeeded by Kenneth Baker
Minister of State for Health
In office
10 September 1986 – 25 July 1988
Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher
Preceded by Kenneth Clarke
Succeeded by David Mellor
Minister of State for Social Security (Minister for the Disabled)
In office
11 September 1984 – 10 September 1986
Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher
Preceded by Rhodes Boyson
Succeeded by John Major
Member of Parliament
for Braintree
In office
28 February 1974 – 2 May 1997
Preceded by Constituency Created
Succeeded by Alan Hurst
Personal details
Born (1937-08-29)29 August 1937
Harwich, Essex, United Kingdom
Died 25 March 2012(2012-03-25) (aged 74)
Political party Conservative
Alma mater Trinity College, Oxford

Antony Harold Newton, Baron Newton of Braintree, PC, OBE, DL (29 August 1937 – 25 March 2012), was a British Conservative politician and former Cabinet member. He was the member of Parliament for Braintree from 1974–1997, and was later a member of the House of Lords.[1]

Early life[edit]

Newton was born in Harwich, Essex. He was educated at Friends School Saffron Walden and Trinity College, Oxford, where he was President of Oxford University Conservative Association and the Union.[2]

Member of Parliament[edit]

Newton was first elected for the new constituency of Braintree in February 1974 with a majority of 2,001,[3] and successfully retained the seat in the October 1974 general election with a reduced majority of 1,090.[4] The Conservative victory at the 1979 general election boosted his majority dramatically to 12,518,[5] and it increased at every subsequent election to a high of 17,494 at the 1992 general election[6] before his defeat in the Labour landslide at the 1997 general election.

In government[edit]

Newton was appointed a government whip when the Conservatives came to power in 1979. In 1982 he moved to a junior ministerial position at the Department of Health and Social Security, where he remained until 1988, becoming Minister for Social Security and Disabled People in 1984, and Minister for Health in 1986.

Newton became Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and a minister at the DTI for a year, before being promoted to Secretary of State for Social Security from 1989 to 1992, and then taking up the positions of Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons until 1997. His discretion about John Major's four year affair with Edwina Currie is credited with enabling Major to become prime minister.[7]

Peerage[edit]

After he lost his seat in 1997 he was created a life peer as Baron Newton of Braintree, of Coggeshall in the County of Essex.

Newton chaired the Hansard Society Commission on Parliamentary Scrutiny which ran from 1999 to 2001. The Commission concluded that Parliament was being left behind by changes in the constitution, government and society and set out reforms for improving its function.[8][9]

On 1 November 2007 he was appointed the first chairman of the new Administrative Justice and Tribunals Council.

Personal life[edit]

Newton was married to Janet Huxley from 1962 until they divorced in 1986. He married Patricia Gilthorpe later that year. He is survived by his two daughters from his first marriage.[2]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Former Conservative cabinet minister Lord Newton dies". BBC. 2012-01-25. Retrieved 2012-03-26. 
  2. ^ a b "Telegraph obituary". Telegraph.co.uk. 2012-03-26. Retrieved 2013-10-22. 
  3. ^ "UK general election results February 1974". Psr.keele.ac.uk. 2011-05-05. Retrieved 2013-10-22. 
  4. ^ "UK general election results October 1974". Psr.keele.ac.uk. 2011-05-05. Retrieved 2013-10-22. 
  5. ^ "UK general election results 1979". Psr.keele.ac.uk. 2011-05-05. Retrieved 2013-10-22. 
  6. ^ "UK general election results 1992". Psr.keele.ac.uk. 2011-05-05. Retrieved 2013-10-22. 
  7. ^ "obituaries:Lord Newton of Braintree". Daily Telegraph. 26 March 2012. Retrieved 1 April 2012. 
  8. ^ Lord Newton of Braintree (chair) (2001), The Challenge for Parliament: Making Government Accountable: Report of the Hansard Society Commission on Parliamentary Scrutiny, (London: Vacher Dod) ISBN 978-0-905702-31-5
  9. ^ Hansard Society - The Challenge for Parliament: Making Government Accountable: Summary of Hansard Society Research[dead link]
Parliament of the United Kingdom
New constituency Member of Parliament for Braintree
19741997
Succeeded by
Alan Hurst
Political offices
Preceded by
Rhodes Boyson
Minister of State for Social Security (Minister for the Disabled)
1984–1986
Succeeded by
John Major
Preceded by
Kenneth Clarke
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
1988–1989
Succeeded by
Kenneth Baker
Preceded by
John Moore
Secretary of State for Social Security
1989–1992
Succeeded by
Peter Lilley
Preceded by
John MacGregor
Lord President of the Council
1992–1997
Succeeded by
Ann Taylor
Leader of the House of Commons
1992–1997