Nigel Birch, Baron Rhyl
|The Right Honourable
The Lord Rhyl
|Secretary of State for Air|
20 December 1955 – 16 January 1957
|Prime Minister||Anthony Eden
|Preceded by||The Lord De L'Isle and Dudley|
|Succeeded by||George Ward|
|Born||18 November 1906|
|Died||8 March 1981 (aged 74)|
The son of General Sir Noel Birch and his wife Florence Chetwode, Nigel Birch was educated at Eton. He was a partner in Cohen Laming Hoare until May 1939 when he retired to study politics. He served in World War II in the King's Royal Rifle Corps and on General Staff, being promoted to the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel in 1944. He was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 1945.
He was Conservative Member of Parliament for Flintshire from 1945 to 1950 and for West Flintshire from 1950 to 1970. He served in government as Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Air from 1951 to 1952, Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Defence from 1952 to 1954, Minister of Works from October 1954 to December 1955, Secretary of State for Air from December 1955 to January 1957 and Economic Secretary to the Treasury from 1957 to 1958.
His resignation in 1958, along with that of the Chancellor of the Exchequer Peter Thorneycroft and fellow Treasury Minister Enoch Powell, was described by Harold Macmillan as "little local difficulties". He exacted his revenge when, in the wake of the Profumo scandal, he attacked the Macmillan government and quoted in his memorable speech the devastating words of Robert Browning on William Wordsworth: "Never glad confident morning again".
His speech showed Macmillan as weak and out of touch, and it sealed Birch's reputation of being as deadly as Leo Amery.
In 1950 he married Esmé Glyn, the daughter of the 4th Baron Wolverton.
- Hansard 1803–2005: contributions in Parliament by Nigel Birch
|Parliament of the United Kingdom|
|Member of Parliament for Flintshire
1945 – 1950
|New constituency||Member of Parliament for West Flintshire
1950 – 1970
Sir Anthony Meyer
William Sidney, 1st Viscount De L'Isle
|Secretary of State for Air
The Hon. George Ward
|Economic Secretary to the Treasury
1957 – 1958