Robert Horne, 1st Viscount Horne of Slamannan

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The Viscount Horne of Slamannan
Viscount Horne.jpg
Chancellor of the Exchequer
In office
1 April 1921 – 19 October 1922
MonarchGeorge V
Prime MinisterDavid Lloyd George
Preceded byAusten Chamberlain
Succeeded byStanley Baldwin
President of the Board of Trade
In office
19 March 1920 – 1 April 1921
MonarchGeorge V
Prime MinisterDavid Lloyd George
Preceded bySir Auckland Geddes
Succeeded byStanley Baldwin
Minister of Labour
In office
10 January 1919 – 19 March 1920
MonarchGeorge V
Prime MinisterDavid Lloyd George
Preceded byGeorge Henry Roberts
Succeeded byThomas James Macnamara
Member of Parliament
for Glasgow Hillhead
In office
14 December 1918 – 9 June 1937
Preceded byConstituency created
Succeeded byJames Reid
Personal details
Born(1871-02-28)28 February 1871
Slamannan, Stirlingshire
Died3 September 1940(1940-09-03) (aged 69)
Political partyUnionist
Alma materUniversity of Glasgow

Robert Stevenson Horne, 1st Viscount Horne of Slamannan, GBE, PC, KC (28 February 1871 – 3 September 1940) was a Scottish businessman, advocate and Unionist politician. He served under David Lloyd George as Minister of Labour between 1919 and 1920, as President of the Board of Trade between 1920 and 1921 and as Chancellor of the Exchequer between 1921 and 1922. In 1937 he was ennobled as Viscount Horne of Slamannan.

Background and education[edit]

Horne was born at Slamannan, Stirlingshire, the son of Reverend Robert Stevenson Horne, the village's Church of Scotland minister, and Mary, daughter of Thomas Lockhead. He was educated at George Watson's College in Edinburgh and the University of Glasgow, where he studied Law[citation needed] and was President of the Students' Representative Council.[citation needed]

Career until 1918[edit]

Horne then spent a year teaching philosophy at the University College of North Wales, before being elected to the Faculty of Advocates (Scottish Bar) in 1896.[citation needed] He became a successful advocate, specialising in commercial and shipping cases,[citation needed] and became a King's Counsel in 1910. He also served as Examiner in Philosophy (1896–1900)[citation needed] and Rector (1921–1924) at the University of Aberdeen. He was a board member of several companies including directorships of the Suez Canal Company, chairman of the Great Western Railway Company and director of several other companies and banks.[1]

During the First World War, Horne became Director of Railways on the Western Front with the honorary rank of Lieutenant-Colonel in the Royal Engineers. In 1917 he joined the Admiralty as Assistant Inspector-General of Transportation, becoming Director of Materials and Priority in 1918, and Director of Labour and Third Civil Lord later the same year.[2]

Political career[edit]

Having unsuccessfully stood for Stirlingshire in both general elections of 1910,[citation needed] Horne was elected as Member of Parliament (MP) for Glasgow Hillhead in 1918.[3] He served under David Lloyd George as Minister of Labour between 1919 and 1920, as President of the Board of Trade between 1920 and 1921 and as Chancellor of the Exchequer between 1921 and 1922.[citation needed] It was in that capacity that he was involved in the negotiations leading to the signing of the Anglo-Soviet Trade Agreement. Leonid Krasin pressurised Horne to support the treaty by threatening to cancel orders with textile mills in Yorkshire, as only the mills with Soviet orders were working full-time.[4] When the treaty was signed, it was the first recognition by Britain of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic.[citation needed]

When the Lloyd George Coalition Government fell in 1922, Horne refused to join the new government of Bonar Law. Two years later, Stanley Baldwin offered to make Horne Minister of Labour once more, but Horne declined, preferring to concentrate on work in the City.[1] Although he remained a Member of Parliament until 1937,[3] he never again held ministerial office. He was appointed a Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire (KBE) in 1918 for his war services, and raised to Knight Grand Cross (GBE) in the 1920 civilian war honours for his services as Minister of Labour.[citation needed] In 1919, he was also sworn of the Privy Council.[5] He was ennobled as Viscount Horne of Slamannan, of Slamannan in the County of Stirling, on 9 June 1937.[6]

Personal life[edit]

Horne, a womanising bachelor, was famously referred to by Baldwin as a "Scots cad", a remark that has stuck.[7] He died in September 1940, aged 69. The viscountcy became extinct with his death.


  1. ^ a b Williamson, Philip (2004). "Horne, Robert Stevenson, Viscount Horne of Slamannan (1871-1940), politician and businessman". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/33991. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  2. ^ Kent, Marian (2005). The Great Powers and the End of the Ottoman Empire. Routledge. p. 225. ISBN 9781135778002.
  3. ^ a b House of Commons: Hertford to Honiton
  4. ^ Jacobson, Jon (1994). When the Soviet Union Entered World Politics. berkeley: University of California Press.
  5. ^ "No. 31174". The London Gazette. 11 February 1919. p. 2147.
  6. ^ "No. 34408". The London Gazette. 15 June 1937. p. 3856.
  7. ^ Watkins, Alan (6 September 1998). "To hold the purse-strings, sport your top hat - The Chancellors by Roy Jenkins Macmillan pounds 25: From a 'Scots cad' to the originator of the Anderson shelter, the pre-1945 Chancellors were a colourful bunch". The Independent on Sunday. Retrieved 27 January 2019.

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
New constituency Member of Parliament for Glasgow Hillhead
Succeeded by
Political offices
Preceded by Minister of Labour
Succeeded by
Preceded by President of the Board of Trade
Succeeded by
Preceded by Chancellor of the Exchequer
Succeeded by
Academic offices
Preceded by Rector of the University of Aberdeen
Succeeded by
Peerage of the United Kingdom
New creation Viscount Horne of Slamannan