Peter Michael Kirk

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For other people named Peter Kirk, see Peter Kirk (disambiguation).
Sir Peter Kirk

Sir Peter Michael Kirk, (18 May 1928 – 17 April 1977) was a British Conservative politician and a junior minister in the governments of Alec Douglas-Home and Edward Heath.

The elder son of Kenneth Escott Kirk (later Bishop of Oxford), he was educated at Marlborough and at Trinity College, Oxford, where he was President of the Union.

At the 1955 general election, he was elected as Member of Parliament (MP) for Gravesend, defeating outgoing MP Sir Richard Acland, who had left the Labour Party to stand as an independent candidate. Kirk was re-elected in Gravesend at the 1959 election, but lost his seat at the 1964 general election to Labour's Albert Murray.

In February 1965, the former Conservative Chancellor and Deputy Prime Minister Rab Butler was elevated to the peerage and thereby gave up his parliamentary seat in Saffron Walden. Kirk was the successful candidate at the March 1965 by-election, and retained the seat until his death.

Under Alec Douglas-Home's premiership, Kirk was Under-Secretary of State for War from 1963 to 1964. When the Conservatives regained power in 1970, Prime Minister Edward Heath appointed him as Under-Secretary for Defence for the Royal Navy from 1970 to 1973. He led the first Tory delegation to the European Parliament in 1973.

He was married in August 1950 to Elizabeth Mary, daughter of Richard Brockbank Graham and Gertrude née Anson. They had 3 sons, including Matthew Kirk, who was later the British Ambassador to Finland.

Kirk was knighted in 1976. After his death in 1977 at the age of 48, the by-election for his Saffron Walden seat was won by the Conservative candidate Alan Haselhurst.


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Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Richard Acland
Member of Parliament for Gravesend
Succeeded by
Albert Murray
Preceded by
Rab Butler
Member of Parliament for Saffron Walden
Succeeded by
Alan Haselhurst
Preceded by
Philip Clarke
Baby of the House
Succeeded by
Marcus Kimball