Martin Attlee, 2nd Earl Attlee

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Martin Richard Attlee, 2nd Earl Attlee (10 August 1927 – 27 July 1991) was a British seaman and politician, the son of former British Prime Minister Clement Attlee, the first Earl Attlee.[1]

Early Life[edit]

Martin Attlee suffered badly from dyslexia, and was a poor student as a child. His father chose to tackle this issue by having his son educated at Millfield School, which under its founding headmaster, the educationalist R. J. O. Meyer, was noted for its progressive approach to reading problems.[2][3] Attlee did well enough to study at the school of navigation at what is now the University of Southampton, and served from 1945 to 1950 in the Merchant Navy. After a spell working for Iberian Airways, among other companies, he eventually joined British Rail's southern region, working for a long time in its public relations department; it was this experience that prompted him to write his book Bluff Your Way in PR (1971).

Parliamentary Career[edit]

Attlee inherited the earldom, which carried with it a seat in the House of Lords, on his father's death in 1967. For some fourteen years he sat on the Labour Party benches, as his father had done, but in 1981 he joined the Social Democratic Party (SDP).[4] After the SDP opted for merger with the Liberal Party, Attlee was one of the minority who chose to remain in the 'continuing' SDP led by David Owen, standing for that party in the Hampshire Central European Parliament by-election in December 1988, where he received 5,952 votes (7.7%). At the time, he commented that "Some people say that my father must be turning in his grave. But if so, it would only be because of the sight of the present so-called Labour Party."[5]


He died on 27 July 1991 at the age of 63, when his peerage was inherited by his son John, who takes the Conservative whip.

Styles of address and arms[edit]

Styles of address[edit]

  • 1927-1955: Mr Martin Attlee
  • 1955-1967: Viscount Prestwood
  • 1967-1991: The Right Honourable The Earl Attlee



  1. ^ Martin Richard Attlee, 2nd Earl Attlee at
  2. ^ Francis Beckett, Clem Attlee: Labour's Great Reformer (London: Haus Publishing, 2015), p. 126.
  3. ^
  4. ^ ATTLEE, 2nd Earl (Martin Richard Attlee). Who Was Who. 2018 (online ed.). A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc.  closed access publication – behind paywall (subscription required)
  5. ^ 'Earl Attlee' obituary, Times, 29 July 1991, p. 16.

Peerage of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Clement Attlee
Earl Attlee
Viscount Prestwood

Succeeded by
John Attlee