Tristan Garel-Jones

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The Lord Garel-Jones

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Minister for Europe
In office
14 July 1990 – 27 May 1993
Prime MinisterJohn Major
Preceded byFrancis Maude
Succeeded byDavid Heathcoat-Amory
Treasurer of the Household
In office
25 July 1989 – 14 July 1990
Prime MinisterMargaret Thatcher
Preceded byDavid Hunt
Succeeded byAlastair Goodlad
Comptroller of the Household
In office
26 July 1988 – 25 July 1989
Prime MinisterMargaret Thatcher
Preceded byRobert Boscawen
Succeeded byAlastair Goodlad
Vice-Chamberlain of the Household
In office
16 October 1986 – 26 July 1988
Prime MinisterMargaret Thatcher
Preceded byRobert Boscawen
Succeeded byMichael Neubert
Member of Parliament
for Watford
In office
3 May 1979 – 1 May 1997
Preceded byRaphael Tuck
Succeeded byClaire Ward
Personal details
Born (1941-02-28) 28 February 1941 (age 78)
Political partyConservative

William Armand Thomas Tristan Garel-Jones, Baron Garel-Jones, PC (born 28 February 1941) is a British politician. A member of the Conservative Party, he served as the Member of Parliament (MP) for Watford from 1979–97, before being made a life peer in 1997.

Following his election to Parliament, Garel-Jones served in various whip positions and also as a junior minister at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.[1][2]

Early life[edit]

Born in Gorseinon, Wales,[3] son of Bernard Garel-Jones and Meriel (née Williams),[4][5] he and his family moved to Madrid, Spain, when he was seven years old.[6] Garel-Jones was educated at the King's School, Canterbury.[1]

Parliamentary career[edit]

Garel-Jones first contested Caernarvon in February 1974, but was defeated by the future leader of Plaid Cymru Dafydd Wigley. He was elected for Watford at the 1979 General Election.

Whips Office[edit]

Viewed as an effective whip who successfully delivered parliamentary votes in favour of Thatcher's legislation, Garel-Jones was nonetheless seen as a mixture of Machiavelli and Ivan the Terrible by the Thatcherite right-wing.[7]

Mr Garel-Jones is said to be the inspiration for the fictional Whip turned PM, Francis Urquhart in House of Cards.[8]


Garel-Jones was a leading pro-European and remained so despite the Conservative party moving to a more eurosceptic position by the end of the Thatcher era. This created suspicion among right-wing Thatcherites who thought of him as one of the "wets". However, he voted for Margaret Thatcher in the first round of the leadership challenge by Michael Heseltine, but reserved the right to vote against her if it went to a second round. He subsequently voted for Douglas Hurd.[7]

After he stepped down from the House of Commons in 1997, he was given a life peerage as Baron Garel-Jones, of Watford in the County of Hertfordshire.[9]

Other interests[edit]

Garel-Jones is a well-known Hispanophile.[10] A dedicated defender of bullfighting, he has worked as bullfighting critic.[6] He is also a supporter of Humanists UK, and a vice chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Humanist Group.[1]

Personal life[edit]

In 1966, Garel-Jones married to Catalina Garrigues Carnicer, niece of the Spanish bullfighting critic Antonio Díaz-Cañabate [es].[11][12] They have four sons and a daughter.[13]

In popular culture[edit]

Garel-Jones was portrayed by Hugh Fraser in the 2004 BBC production of The Alan Clark Diaries, and by Guy Henry in 2009's Margaret.


  1. ^ a b c "Lord Garel-Jones of Watford, PC". Archived from the original on 24 March 2012. Retrieved 4 May 2010.
  2. ^ "No. 54851". The London Gazette. 1 August 1997. p. 2.
  3. ^ Pérez-Maura, Ramón (3 May 2009). "Un lord en Candeleda". ABC.
  4. ^ Burke's Peerage, Baronetage and Knightage, 2003, vol. 2, p. 1525
  5. ^
  6. ^ a b "Lord Garel-Jones, premio Fundación Banco Santander a las relaciones hispano-británicas". ABC. 3 April 2013.
  7. ^ a b
  8. ^
  9. ^ "No. 54932". The London Gazette. 28 October 1997. p. 1.
  10. ^ George, Stephen (1 January 1997). "Britain and the IGC". In Geoffrey Edwards and Alfred Pijpers (ed.). Politics of European Treaty Reform. London & Washington: Pinter. p. 106. ISBN 1-85567-359-2.
  11. ^ "El crítico taurino Tristan Garel-Jones, Premio Fundación Banco Santander". El Confidencial. 3 April 2014.
  12. ^ "John Major invita a los británicos desde Ávila a 'asomarse a la verdadera España'". El Mundo. 2 September 2009.
  13. ^

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Raphael Tuck
Member of Parliament for Watford
Succeeded by
Claire Ward
Political offices
Preceded by
Robert Boscawen
Vice-Chamberlain of the Household
Succeeded by
Michael Neubert
Comptroller of the Household
Succeeded by
Alastair Goodlad
Preceded by
David Hunt
Treasurer of the Household
Preceded by
Francis Maude
Minister for Europe
Succeeded by
David Heathcoat-Amory