Sir Ian Macdonald Horobin (16 November 1899 – 5 June 1976) was a British Conservative Party politician, poet, and veteran of the First and Second World Wars. Horobin served as the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Power from 1958 to 1959, but stood down from politics shortly before his conviction for indecent assault, for which he served four years in prison.
Horobin was the son of J. C. Horobin, the principal of Homerton College, Cambridge, and his wife, M. A. Cloudesley Brereton. He was educated at Highgate School and Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge.
Horobin initially served with the Royal Naval Reserve in World War One before joining the Royal Air Force. Upon the outbreak of the Second World War Horobin rejoined the Royal Air Force, and was promoted to squadron leader. In 1941 Horobin was captured by the Japanese and detained as a prisoner of war until his release in 1945. The Japanese tortured and beat Horobin after he refused to reveal the methods of escape by key prisoners led by Laurens Van Der Post, and he played an important role in facilitating morale among prisoners at the Soekaboemi prison camp after volunteering as the camp's hygiene officer.
In 1923 he became the warden of the Mansfield House University Settlement in London's East End, which worked with vulnerable young men and children. Horobin helped raise over £500,000 for the settlement, and left it when he was elected as the National Member of Parliament (MP) for Southwark Central, a seat he held until 1935. Horobin returned to work at the settlement after the Second World War, and stood in the Oldham West seat in the 1950 general election, where he lost to Labour's Leslie Hale. In 1951 Horobin successfully contested Oldham East, and held the seat with a narrow majority of 380 in the 1955 election. Horobin was the first member of the Conservative government to lose his seat at the 1959 general election.
Horobin presented two episodes of BBC radio's The Week in Westminster in 1932. In 1935 a judge found in favour of Horobin in a case of trespass at his home in Essex, Blue House Farm in Lambourne End. Horobin had put a gate across a lane leading to Hainault Forest having been disturbed by the parking of cars on the lane, and it had been torn down by a woman who claimed that it had always been used for this purpose. The judge ruled that the nature of the lane had not been that it was to be presumed a place to park vehicles. Horobin sold paintings from his collection at Sotheby's in March 1962.
Horobin was held on indecency charges in May 1962, accused of several charges of indecent assault on boys aged under 16 in 1958 and 1959. A 17-year-old boy was also held with Horobin and he was jointly charged with committing two acts of indecency with Horobin in 1961, and attempting to procure another man for an act of indecency with Horobin. At the trial in June 1962 the prosecution alleged that Horobin had told his secretary that he was "virtually married" to the 17 year old and that the assaults had taken place at the Mansfield House Settlement of which he had been the warden since 1923. Several witnesses at the trial testified to Horobin's behaviour and the manner of his assaults. Horobin admitted ten charges of assault in July 1962, and was sentenced to four years imprisonment. Horobin had told the secretary of the settlement that his relationships with boys had been going on for over 40 years and described homosexuals as "...us poor devils who are born like this; nothing can change me. It is natural for us to love boys in this way."
Horobin moved to Tangier, Morocco, after his release from prison, and died there in 1976.
- The Pleasures of Planning (1935)
- Poems (1935)
- More Poems (1939)
- Collected Poems (1973)
- "Sir Ian Horobin.", The Times, London, 8 July 1976, pg. 18
- Our Political Correspondent. "Personalities In And Out.", The Times, London, 9 October 1959
- "Broadcasting.", The Times, London, 7 December 1933
- "M.P.'s Successful Action For Trespass.", The Times, London, 5 March 1935
- "Sotheby's.", The Times, London, 13 March 1962
- Our Political Correspondent. "Nine New Life Peerages: Five For Labour.", The Times, London, 30 March 1962
- "Peerage Creations, 1958–2008 - Parliament". UK Parliament. 24 Jul 2008. Retrieved 30 January 2014.
- Our Political Correspondent. "Sir Ian Horobin Withdraws From Life Peerage.", The Times, London, 14 April 1962
- "Sir Ian Horobin On Indecency Charges.", The Times, London, 16 May 1962
- "Charges Of Indecency Against Sir Ian Horobin.", The Times, London, 6 June 1962
- "Sir Ian Horobin Sentenced To Four Years' Imprisonment.", The Times, London, 18 July 1962
- Hansard 1803–2005: contributions in Parliament by Ian Horobin
|Parliament of the United Kingdom|
|Member of Parliament for Southwark Central
|Member of Parliament for Oldham East