Alistair Cooke, Baron Lexden

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The Lord Lexden

Member of the House of Lords
Lord Temporal
Assumed office
23 December 2010
Life Peerage
Personal details
Alistair Basil Cooke

(1945-04-20) 20 April 1945 (age 74)
Political partyConservative

Alistair Basil Cooke, Baron Lexden, OBE (born 20 April 1945[1]) is a British historian, author and politician who sits as a Conservative life peer in the House of Lords.[2]

Lord Lexden has been official historian of the Conservative Party since 2009; Consultant and Editor in Chief, Conservative Research Department since 2004 and official historian and archivist of the Carlton Club since 2007. [3]

Early life and academic career[edit]

Cooke was born on 20 April 1945, second son of Dr Basil Cooke and Nancy Irene Cooke (née Neal). He was educated at the independent Framlingham College, Suffolk. He went on to study at Peterhouse, Cambridge, from which he graduated Master of Arts (MA) in 1970. He was a Lecturer and Tutor in Modern History at The Queen's University of Belfast from 1971–77 and was awarded a PhD from that institution in 1979.

Conservative Party[edit]

Cooke worked as a desk officer within the Conservative Research Department from 1977-83. During this period he served as political adviser to Airey Neave, Shadow Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, 1977–79. He joined the Conservative Political Centre in 1983 as Assistant Director, becoming Deputy Director two years later and Director between 1988-97. He was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 1988 New Year Honours.[4] He was a founder, in 1997, and member since 2005 of the Conservative Party Archive Trust. He was Chairman of Trustees of the pressure group Friends of the Union between 1995–2003 and has been Senior Trustee of the T. E. Utley Memorial Fund since 2000.

House of Lords[edit]

Cooke was made a life peer as Baron Lexden, of Lexden in the County of Essex and of Strangford in the County of Down, on 23 December 2010[5] on the recommendation of Prime Minister David Cameron. He sits in the House of Lords as a Conservative.

Lord Lexden's website highlights his work in the Lords, including speeches, videos, letters and articles for numerous publications, including ConservativeHome and The House magazine. [6]

Lexden is a frequent contributor to many national newspapers, offering a historical context to modern political life.

Other activities[edit]

With the Conservative return to opposition in 1997, Cooke worked as General Secretary of the Independent Schools Council from 1997–2004 and later became President of the Independent Schools Association. [7] He has also been a Governor of The John Lyon School Harrow from 1999–2005 and Patron of the Northern Ireland Schools Debating Competition since 2001. He is a frequent contributor The Times Letters and Obituary pages.


  • Lord Carlingford’s Journal (1971) (joint editor)
  • The Governing Passion; Cabinet Government and Party Politics in Britain 1885–86 (1974) (joint author)
  • The Ashbourne Papers 1869–1913 (1974) (editor)
  • The Conservative Party’s Campaign Guides (7 vols, 1987–2005) (editor)
  • The Conservative Party: Seven Historical Studies, (1997) (editor)
  • The Conservative Research Department 1929–2004 (2004) (editor)
  • The Carlton Club 1832–2007 (2007) (joint author)
  • Tory Heroine: Dorothy Brant and the Rise of Conservative Women (2008)
  • A Party of Change: a Brief History of the Conservatives (2008)
  • Between the Thin Blue Lines (2008)(contributor)
  • Tory Policy-Making: the Conservative Research Department 1929–2009 (2009) (joint author)
  • A Gift from the Churchills: The Primrose League 1883–2004 (2010)

As well as pamphlets on Northern Ireland and constitutional issues and articles in historical journals and educational publications.


  1. ^ "Birthdays today". The Telegraph. London. 20 April 2012. Retrieved 20 April 2014. Lord Lexden, Official Historian to the Conservative Party, 67
  2. ^ "My introduction to the House of Lords". The Blue Blog. 18 January 2011. Archived from the original on 2011-08-12. Retrieved 2011-01-19.
  3. ^ "Posts by Lord Lexden". Conservative Home.
  4. ^ "No. 51171". The London Gazette (Supplement). 31 December 1987. p. 9.
  5. ^ "No. 59656". The London Gazette. 30 December 2010. p. 24903.
  6. ^ "Lord Lexden OBE".
  7. ^ "The President carries out his duty". Alistair Lexden website.
  • Who's Who 2011

External links[edit]