Tony Newton, Baron Newton of Braintree

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The Right Honourable
The Lord Newton of Braintree
OBE PC DL
Tony Newton 1995.png
Newton at the Despatch Box in parliament in 1995, when Leader of the House of Commons
Leader of the House of Commons
Lord President of the Council
In office
11 April 1992 – 2 May 1997
Prime Minister John Major
Preceded by John MacGregor
Succeeded by Ann Taylor
Secretary of State for Social Security
In office
23 July 1989 – 11 April 1992
Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher
John Major
Preceded by John Moore
Succeeded by Peter Lilley
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
In office
25 July 1988 – 24 July 1989
Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher
Preceded by Kenneth Clarke
Succeeded by Kenneth Baker
Minister of State for Health
In office
10 September 1986 – 25 July 1988
Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher
Preceded by Kenneth Clarke
Succeeded by David Mellor
Minister of State for Social Security (Minister for the Disabled)
In office
11 September 1984 – 10 September 1986
Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher
Preceded by Rhodes Boyson
Succeeded by John Major
Member of Parliament
for Braintree
In office
28 February 1974 – 2 May 1997
Preceded by Constituency Created
Succeeded by Alan Hurst
Personal details
Born (1937-08-29)29 August 1937
Harwich, Essex, United Kingdom
Died 25 March 2012(2012-03-25) (aged 74)
Political party Conservative
Alma mater Trinity College, Oxford

Antony Harold Newton, Baron Newton of Braintree, OBE, PC, DL (29 August 1937 – 25 March 2012) was a British Conservative politician and former Cabinet member. He was the member of Parliament for Braintree from 1974–1997, and was later a member of the House of Lords.[1]

Early life[edit]

Newton was born in Harwich, Essex. He was educated at Friends School Saffron Walden and Trinity College, Oxford, where he was President of Oxford University Conservative Association and the Union.[2] He unsuccessfully fought Sheffield Brightside in the 1970 General Election. In the 1972 Birthday Honours, Newton was appointed to the Order of the British Empire as an Officer (OBE).[3]

Member of Parliament[edit]

Newton was first elected for the new constituency of Braintree in February 1974 with a majority of 2,001,[4] and successfully retained the seat in the October 1974 general election with a reduced majority of 1,090.[5] The Conservative victory at the 1979 general election boosted his majority dramatically to 12,518,[6] and it increased at every subsequent election to a high of 17,494 at the 1992 general election[7] before his defeat in the Labour landslide at the 1997 general election by 1,451 votes.

In government[edit]

Newton was appointed a government whip when the Conservatives came to power in 1979. In 1982 he moved to a junior ministerial position at the Department of Health and Social Security, where he remained until 1988, becoming Minister for Social Security and Disabled People in 1984, and Minister for Health in 1986.

In the 1988 New Year Honours, Newton was sworn of the Privy Council.[8] He became Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and a minister at the DTI for a year, before being promoted to Secretary of State for Social Security from 1989 to 1992, and then taking up the positions of Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons until 1997. From 1992-95, he answered to Prime Minister’s Questions when Prime Minister Major was not present. His discretion about Major's four-year affair with Edwina Currie is credited with enabling Major to become prime minister.[9]

Peerage[edit]

In the 1997 Prime Minister's Resignation Honours, after Newton lost his seat, he was raised to the peerage as Baron Newton of Braintree, of Coggeshall in the County of Essex on 31 October 1997.[10]

He attempted to be selected for the 1999 European Parliament Election, but was unsuccessful.[11]

In 1998 he was appointed a professional standards director of the Institute of Directors. A position he held until 2004.

Newton chaired the Hansard Society Commission on Parliamentary Scrutiny which ran from 1999 to 2001. The Commission concluded that Parliament was being left behind by changes in the constitution, government and society and set out reforms for improving its function.[12][13]

On 1 November 2007 he was appointed the first chairman of the new Administrative Justice and Tribunals Council.

He became a chairman of the Further Education Funding Council for East Region, serving between 1998 and 2001, the privy councillors' committee on the Anti-Terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001 between 2002–2004, the Tax Law Rewrite Steering Committee between 2007 2007 and 2010), the North East Essex Mental Health NHS Trust between 1997 and 2001, the Royal Brompton and Harefield NHS Trust between 2001 and 2009, East Anglia's Children's Hospices between 1998 and 2002 and Help the Hospices between 2002 and 2010. He became a deputy lieutenant of Essex in 2002

Personal life[edit]

Newton was married to Janet Huxley from 25 August 1962 until they divorced in 1986. He married Patricia Gilthorpe nee Thomson on 26 September 1986. Her first husband had died. Among the many tasks he took on were the chairmanships of the Further Education Funding Council for East Region (1998–2001); the Council on Tribunals, later the Administrative Justice and Tribunals Council (1999–2009); the privy councillors' committee on the Anti-Terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001 (2002–4); the Tax Law Rewrite Steering Committee (2007–10); the Standing Conference on Drug Abuse (1997–2001); the North East Essex Mental Health NHS Trust (1997–2001); the Royal Brompton and Harefield NHS Trust (2001–8); the Hansard Society Commission on Parliamentary Scrutiny (1999–2001); East Anglia's Children's Hospices (1998–2002); and Help the Hospices (2002–10). He was the professional standards director of the Institute of Directors (1998–2004) and became a deputy lieutenant of Essex in 2002.

Newton was a heavy smoker from an early age. He died at Colchester General Hospital of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease on 25 March 2012. He was survived by his two daughters from his first marriage.[2]

Styles of address[edit]

  • 1937-1972: Mr Tony Newton
  • 1972-1974: Mr Tony Newton OBE
  • 1974-1988: Mr Tony Newton OBE MP
  • 1988-1997: The Right Honourable Tony Newton OBE MP
  • 1997: The Right Honourable Tony Newton OBE
  • 1997-2012: The Right Honourable The Lord Newton of Braintree OBE PC

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Former Conservative cabinet minister Lord Newton dies". BBC. 25 January 2012. Retrieved 26 March 2012.
  2. ^ a b "Telegraph obituary". Telegraph.co.uk. 26 March 2012. Retrieved 22 October 2013.
  3. ^ "No. 45678". The London Gazette (Supplement). 23 May 1972. p. 6265.
  4. ^ "UK general election results February 1974". Psr.keele.ac.uk. 5 May 2011. Retrieved 22 October 2013.
  5. ^ "UK general election results October 1974". Psr.keele.ac.uk. 5 May 2011. Retrieved 22 October 2013.
  6. ^ "UK general election results 1979". Psr.keele.ac.uk. 5 May 2011. Retrieved 22 October 2013.
  7. ^ "UK general election results 1992". Psr.keele.ac.uk. 5 May 2011. Retrieved 22 October 2013.
  8. ^ "No. 51171". The London Gazette (Supplement). 30 December 1987. p. 1.
  9. ^ "obituaries:Lord Newton of Braintree". Daily Telegraph. 26 March 2012. Retrieved 1 April 2012.
  10. ^ "No. 54939". The London Gazette (Supplement). 5 November 1997. p. 12422.
  11. ^ Butler, D.; Westlake, M. (16 March 2000). "British Politics and European Elections 1999". Springer – via Google Books.
  12. ^ Lord Newton of Braintree (chair) (2001), The Challenge for Parliament: Making Government Accountable: Report of the Hansard Society Commission on Parliamentary Scrutiny, (London: Vacher Dod) ISBN 978-0-905702-31-5
  13. ^ Hansard Society – The Challenge for Parliament: Making Government Accountable: Summary of Hansard Society Research Archived 19 November 2008 at the Wayback Machine.
Parliament of the United Kingdom
New constituency Member of Parliament for Braintree
19741997
Succeeded by
Alan Hurst
Political offices
Preceded by
Rhodes Boyson
Minister of State for Social Security (Minister for the Disabled)
1984–1986
Succeeded by
John Major
Preceded by
Kenneth Clarke
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
1988–1989
Succeeded by
Kenneth Baker
Preceded by
John Moore
Secretary of State for Social Security
1989–1992
Succeeded by
Peter Lilley
Preceded by
John MacGregor
Lord President of the Council
1992–1997
Succeeded by
Ann Taylor
Leader of the House of Commons
1992–1997