David Cunliffe-Lister, 2nd Earl of Swinton

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The Earl of Swinton

Government Deputy Chief Whip in the House of Lords
Captain of the Yeomen of the Guard
In office
20 October 1982 – 10 September 1986
Prime MinisterMargaret Thatcher
Preceded by The Lord Sandys
Succeeded by The Viscount Davidson
Member of the House of Lords
Lord Temporal
In office
28 July 1972 – 11 November 1999
Hereditary peerage
Preceded byThe 1st Earl of Swinton
Succeeded byseat abolished
Personal details
Born21 March 1937
Died26 March 2006
Political partyConservative
Spouse(s)Susan Sinclair
Alma materWinchester College, Royal Agricultural College

David Yarburgh Cunliffe-Lister, 2nd Earl of Swinton, JP, DL (21 March 1937 – 26 March 2006) was a British peer and politician.


David Cunliffe-Lister was the son of the Hon John Yarburgh Cunliffe-Lister and his wife Anne Irvine Medlicott. His father died in 1943 of wounds received in action in during World War II. David was educated at Winchester College and the Royal Agricultural College, Cirencester.

His grandfather, Philip Cunliffe-Lister, created Viscount Swinton in 1935 and Earl of Swinton in 1955, had been an MP and a veteran of 11 Conservative cabinets. His great-grandfather was Samuel Lister, the founder of Lister's Mill in Bradford. Before the nationalisation of the coal industry, the family had owned the colliery in Featherstone and David never forgot his links with the area, being a fervent supporter, as well as president of, Featherstone Rovers Rugby League Club.

Cunliffe-Lister succeeded as the 2nd Earl of Swinton on the death of his grandfather in 1972 and served as Deputy Chief Whip in the House of Lords under Margaret Thatcher from 1982 to 1986. He was also government spokesman on agriculture and education from 1983 to 1986. He left the House of Lords following the House of Lords Act 1999.

Marriage & children[edit]

In 1959, he married Susan Lilian Primrose Sinclair who was created a life peer as Baroness Masham of Ilton in 1970. He and his wife were one of the few couples who both held noble titles in their own right. They adopted two children, Claire and John. As an adopted son, John was not an heir to the earldom.

Later life[edit]

Lord Swinton was a member of the North Riding of Yorkshire County Council 1961–1974, and of its successor, North Yorkshire County Council, 1973–1977. He was also a magistrate and Deputy Lieutenant of North Yorkshire. He was also formerly a member of the Countryside Commission and a director of the Leeds Permanent Building Society.


Dogged by illness for the last 10 years of his life, Swinton suffered a stroke and was disabled by its effects and those of Parkinson's disease. He also suffered from diabetes and eventually cancer. He died 5 days after his 69th birthday. His funeral took place at St Mary's Church, Masham on 6 April 2006. He was succeeded in the earldom and viscountcy by his younger brother Nicholas Cunliffe-Lister, 3rd Earl of Swinton.

Titles from birth to death[edit]

  • David Yarburgh Cunliffe-Lister, Esq (1937–1955)
  • Lord Masham (1955–1972)
  • The Right Honourable The Earl of Swinton (1972–2006)


External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
The Lord Sandys
Captain of the Yeomen of the Guard
Succeeded by
The Viscount Davidson
Peerage of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Philip Cunliffe-Lister
Earl of Swinton
Succeeded by
Nicholas Cunliffe-Lister