Victor Montagu

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Victor Montagu in 1943
Coat of arms of the Earls of Sandwich

Alexander Victor Edward Paulet Montagu (22 May 1906 – 25 February 1995), known as Viscount Hinchingbrooke from 1916 to 1962, as the Earl of Sandwich from 1962 to 1964 (when he disclaimed his peerages) and as Victor Montagu from 1964 to 1995, was a British Conservative Member of Parliament (MP). In 2015, it was revealed that he was cautioned for indecently assaulting a child for a period of two years between 31 December 1970 and January 1972.[1]

Early life[edit]

Montagu was the eldest son of George Montagu, 9th Earl of Sandwich, and his wife Alberta (née Sturges), and was educated at Eton and Trinity College, Cambridge. In 1926, he joined the 5th (Huntingdonshire) Battalion, Northamptonshire Regiment as a Lieutenant.

Political career[edit]

A member of the Conservatives, Montagu was Private Secretary to the Lord President of the Council, Stanley Baldwin, from 1932 to 1934 and Treasurer of the Junior Imperial League from 1934 to 1935.

He briefly served in France in 1940, during World War II. A year later, he was elected MP for South Dorset, replacing Viscount Cranborne, who was called up to the House of Lords. A radical backbencher, Montagu set up the Tory Reform Committee in 1943, and was its founding chairman until a year later. It was at this time he wrote Essays in Tory Reform, a response to the party's moves toward liberalism.

Montagu was elected in the following five general elections, and continued as MP for South Dorset until 1962 when his father died. Montagu succeeded to his titles and could no longer sit in the Commons.

Lord Sandwich disclaimed his peerages in 1964, however, under the Peerage Act, which was passed a year earlier. He unsuccessfully stood as Conservative candidate at Accrington at the 1964 general election.[2] Although he did not sit in the House of Commons again, Montagu was President of the Anti-Common Market League from 1962–84; he also joined the Conservative Monday Club in 1964 and wrote The Conservative Dilemma in 1970.

Personal life[edit]

Montagu, who was gay,[3] married firstly Rosemary Peto (1916-1998), on 27 July 1934. She was a goddaughter of Queen Maud of Norway and the only daughter of Major Ralph Peto. They had seven children but were divorced in 1958, after she left him for another woman. Their youngest son, therapist Robert Montagu, has since alleged that his father sexually abused him on an almost daily basis from ages seven to eleven.[4]

In addition to his son's allegations of child sexual abuse, in 2015, Freedom of Information requests revealed that Victor Montagu "was let off with a caution by police and the director of public prosecutions in 1972 for indecently assaulting a boy for nearly two years".[5]

He married secondly Lady Anne Holland-Martin (née Cavendish), the youngest daughter of Victor Cavendish, 9th Duke of Devonshire, and widow of Christopher Holland-Martin MP. Their marriage was annulled in 1965.

Montagu died in 1995, aged 88 and his eldest son, John, succeeded as the 11th Earl.

Sources[edit]

  1. ^ Sandra Laville and Alan Travis "Tory MP Victor Montagu escaped child sex abuse trial in 1970sSandra Laville and Alan Travis", The Guardian, 15 May 2015
  2. ^ "Socialist Cotton Vote that Melted". The Times. 14 October 1964. p. 15. 
  3. ^ https://www.theguardian.com/books/2015/may/16/double-lives-a-history-of-sex-and-secrecy-at-westminster
  4. ^ Sanderson, Elizabeth (23 August 2014). "My father, the Earl who raped me as a boy". Daily Mail. 
  5. ^ Laville, Sandra (15 May 2015). "Tory MP Victor Montagu escaped child sex abuse trial in 1970s". The Guardian. 

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Viscount Cranborne
Member of Parliament for South Dorset
1941–1962
Succeeded by
Guy Barnett
Peerage of England
Preceded by
George Montagu
Earl of Sandwich
1962–1964
Disclaimed
Title next held by
John Montagu