Alexander Fermor-Hesketh, 3rd Baron Hesketh
The Lord Hesketh
|Chief Whip of the House of Lords|
Captain of the Honourable Corps of Gentlemen-at-Arms
22 May 1991 – 16 September 1993
|Prime Minister||John Major|
|Preceded by||Lord Denham|
|Succeeded by||Viscount Ullswater|
|Minister of State for Industry|
2 November 1990 – 21 May 1991
|Prime Minister||Margaret Thatcher|
|Preceded by||Douglas Hogg|
|Succeeded by||post vacant|
|Parliamentary under-secretary of State for Environment|
31 January 1989 – 2 November 1990
|Prime Minister||Margaret Thatcher|
|Preceded by||Virginia Bottomley|
|Succeeded by||David Heathcoat-Amory|
|Member of the House of Lords|
28 October 1971 – 11 November 1999
|Preceded by||Frederick Fermor-Hesketh|
|Succeeded by||seat abolished|
House of Lords Act 1999
Thomas Alexander Fermor-Hesketh
28 October 1950
|Conservative (until 2011)|
Hon Claire Watson
Hesketh succeeded in the barony (and baronetcy) on 6 October 1955, aged four, when his father, Frederick Fermor-Hesketh, 2nd Baron Hesketh, died aged 39. His mother, Christian Mary McEwen, Dowager Lady Hesketh, served as the High Sheriff of Northamptonshire in 1981.
Hesketh automatically became a member of the House of Lords but took no active part in politics until he met Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher after the Irish Republican Army's bomb attack on her in Brighton on 12 October 1984. Thatcher visited Easton Neston and in conversation, Hesketh explained that he did not occupy his seat in the House of Lords. He later explained, "Mrs Thatcher asked me if I served on a regular basis in the House, and when I told her no, she said, 'You must. It's your duty, and I expect you to be there.'" From that point Hesketh worked under Thatcher, whom he described as "the most outstanding person I ever worked with" and held the office of Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment between 1989 and 1990 and was Minister of State in the Department of Trade and Industry between 1990 and 1991.
On 22 May of that year, he became Captain of the Honourable Corps of Gentlemen at Arms (Government Chief Whip in the House of Lords) under the next Prime Minister, John Major, a position he kept until 16 September 1993. During his period in office as Chief Whip he helped secure the Local Government Finance Act 1992, which introduced council taxes, and the European Communities (Amendment) Act 1993, which ratified the Maastricht Treaty.
Hesketh lost his seat in the House of Lords in 1999, when the House of Lords Act 1999 removed all but 92 hereditary peers, and he was not one of the 92 who were elected to keep their seats.
In 2003, he became Treasurer of the Conservative Party, resigning in 2006 owing to his own financial difficulties, and was formerly a board member of The Conservative Party Foundation.
On 10 October 2011, Lord Hesketh defected to the UK Independence Party, in response to Prime Minister David Cameron ruling out a referendum on Britain's membership of the European Union. During the years 2011/12 Lord Hesketh donated approximately £31,000 to the UK Independence Party.
Known for his love of motor racing, Lord Hesketh founded Hesketh Racing in 1972, best known for competing in Formula One from 1973 to 1978. The team was famous for its flamboyant and patriotic approach to the sport and for refusing sponsorship. Between 1973 and 1975 the team had some success with the English driver James Hunt, including winning the 1975 Dutch Grand Prix. He later was president of the British Racing Drivers' Club, from 1993 to 2000.
Hesketh formed Hesketh Motorcycles plc. In 1982 a modern purpose built factory was set up to manufacture the Hesketh V1000 motorcycles in Daventry. However, there were numerous problems. The bikes were heavy, made worse by a high riding style; and unreliable, with numerous manufacturing problems adding to an overheating rear cylinder due to lack of air flow. The resultant bad press combined on top of an under-developed bike, lack of cash and a collapsing market meant that after the production of 139 bikes, the company went into receivership. The Triumph Motorcycles co-operative looked at buying the rights to the machine, as they lacked a new model beyond the aged Triumph Bonneville. A V1000 machine even appeared with a Triumph badge on its tank, but Triumph also lacked funding to buy and develop the machine. In 1983, Lord Hesketh formed a new company called Hesleydon Ltd to manufacture a revamped V1000 with a full fairing, called the Vampire. However, although the company had produced a motorcycle with export potential in mind, the Vampire retained too many of the V1000's faults and only 40 were produced before the company closed again in 1984.
In 1994 Hesketh helped set up British Mediterranean Airways (BMED). He also became chairman of the new airline – a role in which he continued until early 2007, when BMED was purchased for £30 million by UK Airline BMI. He subsequently served as an "independent director" of Air Astana, the national carrier of Kazakhstan.
Hesketh joined the board of Babcock International Group on 6 October 1993, becoming non-executive Deputy chairman on 26 April 1996. He was forced to resign in November 2010 after a comment regarding the Royal Navy's new Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers to The Daily Telegraph newspaper, in which he was reported as saying the project would make the country a "laughing stock".
On 21 May 1977, Lord Hesketh married Hon. Claire Georgina Watson, a daughter of Rupert Watson, 3rd Baron Manton and the former Mary Elizabeth Hallinan. Together, they are the parents of three children who use the surname Hesketh day-to-day:
- Hon. Flora Mary Fermor-Hesketh (born 1981)
- Hon. Sophia Christian Fermor-Hesketh (born 1984)
- Hon. Frederick Hatton Fermor-Hesketh (born 13 October 1988)
In 2006, Lord Hesketh sold the family seat, Easton Neston, at Towcester, Northamptonshire—the only surviving complete house by the English baroque architect Nicholas Hawksmoor—together with the estate, the furnishings of the house and family portraits.
Honours and arms
In 1997, Hesketh was appointed a Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire (KBE). Hesketh was portrayed by British actor Christian McKay in the 2013 biographical drama Rush.
|Ancestors of Alexander Fermor-Hesketh, 3rd Baron Hesketh|
- "The Good Lord: A Profile of Alexander Hesketh". Archived from the original on 31 January 2009. Retrieved 26 October 2008.
- "Lord Hesketh 'Le Patron'". HESKETH RACING. Retrieved 8 June 2021.
- "Lord Hesketh". Retrieved 11 November 2010.
- "Lord Hesketh". The Observer. 3 February 2002. Retrieved 26 October 2008.
- European Communities (Amendment) Act 1993 Office of Public Sector Information
- Hough, Andrew (11 October 2011). "Lord Hesketh: former Tory party treasurer defects to Ukip 'over Europe'". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 5 June 2015.
- "Search - The Electoral Commission". search.electoralcommission.org.uk. Retrieved 14 February 2019.
- Air Astana, "Board of Directors" Retrieved 11 November 2010.
- "Babcock's Lord Hesketh resigns amid carrier row". BBC News.
- Tatler http://www.tatler.com/the-tatler-list/h/sophia-hesketh
- Whelan, Frank (7 June 2004). "For sale: $90 million ** English estate is what Easton and Northampton County were named for". The Morning Call. Retrieved 21 April 2021.
- "Reluctant Hesketh to sell £50m family seat". Telegraph.
- Burke's Peerage. 1949.