Eric Lubbock, 4th Baron Avebury
|The Right Honourable
The Lord Avebury
Lord Avebury in 2006
|Liberal Chief Whip|
1963 – 18 June 1970
|Preceded by||Arthur Holt|
|Succeeded by||David Steel|
|Member of the United Kingdom Parliament
15 March 1962 – 18 June 1970
|Preceded by||Donald Sumner|
|Succeeded by||Ivor Stanbrook|
|Born||Eric Reginald Lubbock
29 September 1928
|Died||14 February 2016
|Education||Upper Canada College
Balliol College, Oxford
Eric Reginald Lubbock, 4th Baron Avebury, (29 September 1928 – 14 February 2016) was an English politician. He served as the Liberal Member of Parliament for Orpington from 1962 to 1970. He then served in the House of Lords, having inherited the title of Baron Avebury in 1971, until his death. In 1999, when most hereditary peers were removed from the House of Lords, he was elected by his fellow Liberal Democrats to remain. When he died, he was the longest serving Liberal Democrat peer.
Early life and career
A descendant of William Lubbock (1701–54), he was the son of the Honourable Maurice Fox Pitt Lubbock (the sixth son of John Lubbock, 1st Baron Avebury) and the Honourable Mary Katherine Adelaide Stanley, daughter of Arthur Lyulph Stanley, 5th Baron Sheffield and Stanley of Alderley.
Lubbock was educated at Upper Canada College, an all-boys private school in Toronto, Canada, and at Harrow School, an all-boys public school in London, England. He read Engineering Science at Balliol College, Oxford.
Having joined the Liberal Party in 1960 and become a councillor the following year, Lubbock stood as his party's candidate at the Orpington by-election on 15 March 1962, and gained the seat with a majority of 7,855. This election victory, with a swing of nearly 22% from the Conservatives, was seen as a revival of the Liberal Party at the time. and brought the number of Liberal MPs to seven. Subsequently, Lubbock was dubbed "Orpington Man". However, the party did not make the anticipated recovery; it was hampered by organisational difficulties and progress was slow, with a loss of votes and seats under Harold Wilson’s Labour government.
As the MP for Orpington, he was appointed Chief Whip by Jo Grimond in 1963, a post he held until 1970. When the party leader Jo Grimond resigned in 1967, Eric Lubbock was one of the three Liberal MPs who stood for the position. Jeremy Thorpe, however, won with six votes to Emlyn Hooson's and Lubbock's three apiece.
In the Commons, Lubbock was on the Speaker's Commission on Electoral Law (1964–66), and proposed STV in multi-member constituencies, only to be voted down by 18–1. He also proposed reducing the voting age to 18, on which two Labour Members supported him. Orpington reverted to being a Conservative seat at the 1970 general election. On losing the seat Lubbock said, "In 1962 the wise, far-seeing people of Orpington elected me as their Member; in 1970 the fools threw me out".
The following year, John Lubbock, 3rd Baron Avebury died without a male heir and Eric Lubbock, his cousin, succeeded him. Now Baron Avebury, he sat on the Royal Commission on Standards of Conduct in Public Life (1974–76), and was Liberal Spokesman on Immigration and Race Relations (1971–83). Throughout his time in politics he was involved in human rights activism, both in and beyond Parliament. In 1976, he founded the Parliamentary Human Rights Group, which he chaired for the next 21 years. He continued as Vice-Chair after standing down.
In 1987, as a jocular protest against the cost of cremation, he offered to leave his body to Battersea dogs home "to vary the inmates’ diet." On being advised that the dogs would probably accept but the home's management wouldn't, he made the same offer to the cats. He was a member of the Liberal Democrat Foreign Affairs Team, speaking on conflict resolution and human rights.
Lubbock was an Honorary Associate of the National Secular Society and a Distinguished Supporter of the British Humanist Association. He frequently raised matters related to British nationality law in Parliament. In 1964 he sought a review of the Timothy Evans case. Evans was subsequently granted a posthumous pardon. He was a strong supporter of the citizenship rights of the solely British ethnic minorities in Hong Kong, and fought for their rights. Lord Avebury was awarded (with Dr Evan Harris MP) the National Secular Society's Secularist of the Year Award in 2009 recognising his role in the abolition of the common law offence of blasphemous libel.
He was President of the Peru Support Group, and advocates on human rights issues in Peru, and was a Patron of Prisoners Abroad, a charity that supports the welfare of Britons imprisoned overseas and their families. Lord Avebury was a Co-Chair of the CHT (Chittagong Hill Tracts) Commission, which monitors the implementation of the CHT Peace Accord by the Bangladesh Government.
Maurice Lubbock Memorial Fund
Trained as an engineer, Lord Avebury retained an interest in science and engineering. Together with his mother in 1957, he set up the Maurice Lubbock Memorial Fund to commemorate his father, following his early death. This established a Trust, which he chaired for 56 years, aimed at supporting Engineering and Management at Balliol College, Oxford. The Trust is still active and is one of the longest lasting of such ventures. He was elected to an Honorary Fellowship at Balliol College in 2004.
He married twice:
- Kina-Maria O'Kelly de Gallagh (2 September 1953 – 1983)
- Lyulph Ambrose Jonathan Lubbock, 5th Baron Avebury (born 15 June 1954); married Susan MacDonald 14 May 1977, with issue.
- The Hon. Maurice Patrick Guy Lubbock (born 5 November 1955); married Diana Tobin 1982 with issue.
- The Hon. Victoria Sarah Maria Lubbock (born 27 April 1959); married Alan Binnie 1983 with issue.
- Lindsay Stewart (1985–2016)
- The Hon. John William Stewart Lubbock (born 8 August 1985)
Lord Avebury lived in Camberwell, London. He was an atheist and humanist; he was both a member of the All Party Parliamentary Humanist Group and a patron of the British Humanist Association. He reconciled his humanist beliefs with Buddhism, and lived as a secular Buddhist. He died in London on 14 February 2016 from myelofibrosis.
- "BBC ON THIS DAY | 15 | 1962: Liberals seize Orpington". BBC News. 15 March 1990. Retrieved 9 January 2011.
- Macrory, Sam (24 April 2010). "Top Ten: Lib Dem 'breakthrough moments'". ePolitix.com. Retrieved 9 January 2011.
- "Orpington". BBC News. 2001. Retrieved 4 February 2011.
- "Lord Avebury - obituary". Daily Telegraph. 14 February 2016. Retrieved 14 February 2016.
- "Muslim leader praises British spirit of tolerance". Ahmadiyya Muslim Community. Press Secretary AMJ International. 28 March 2011. Retrieved April 3, 2015.
- "Letters: Harsh judgments on the pope and religion". The Guardian. London. 15 September 2010. Retrieved 16 September 2010.
- "BHA mourns Lord Avebury (1928–2016), human rights campaigner and humanist". British Humanist Association. 15 February 2016. Retrieved 18 April 2016.
- "Eric Avebury". Liberal Democrats.
- Perraudin, Frances (14 February 2016). "Liberal Democrat peer Lord Avebury dies aged 87". The Guardian. Retrieved 14 February 2016.
- Profile at Parliament of the United Kingdom
- Contributions in Parliament at Hansard 1803–2005
- Current session contributions in Parliament at Hansard
- Voting record at PublicWhip.org
- Record in Parliament at TheyWorkForYou.com
- Profile at Westminster Parliamentary Record
- Profile at BBC News Democracy Live
- Lord Avebury profile at the site of the Liberal Democrats
- Lord Avebury's personal blog
- On BN(O) minors of Nepalese origin entitled to British citizenship, 4 July 2006 letter to the South China Morning Post
- Highlighting the plight of Indian ethnic minority BN(O)s in Limbo in Hong Kong, 25 September 2006 letter to the South China Morning Post
- Criticising the delay in processing of British citizenship applications of Indian-origin ethnic minorities in Hong Kong, 23 October 2006 letter to the South China Morning Post
- On persons of Indian & Nepalese origin born in Hong Kong before 30 June 1979 and 30 June 1976 entitled to British nationality, 27 November 2006 letter to the South China Morning Post
- On difficulties facing British nationals of Nepalese origin entitled to British citizenship, 22 February 2007 letter to the South China Morning Post
- Speech at Committee Stage of the Borders, Citizenship and Immigration Bill 2009 advocating that solely British Nationals (Overseas) be given a right to register as British citizens
- Video of Committee Stage of the Borders, Citizenship and Immigration Bill 2009 advocating that solely British Nationals (Overseas) be given a right to register as British citizens
- Britain must resolve issue of stateless people, letter in the South China Morning Post 14 March 2009
- Eric Avebury publications archive
|Parliament of the United Kingdom|
|Member of Parliament for Orpington
|Party political offices|
|Liberal Chief Whip
|Peerage of the United Kingdom|