William Teeling

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Sir Luke William Burke Teeling (5 February 1903 – 26 October 1975) was an Irish author, traveller and a Member of Parliament (MP in the United Kingdom). He was known for his enthusiasm for a Channel Tunnel.


Born in Dublin to a prominent Roman Catholic family, he was the son of the Accountant-General of the Irish Supreme Court. One of his great-granduncles, Bartholomew Teeling, was hanged by the British for taking part in the Irish Rebellion of 1798.[citation needed] He attended the London Oratory School and Magdalen College, Oxford, where he studied history.

Journalistic and literary career[edit]

On leaving university, Teeling became a journalist and travelled widely both at home and abroad, especially in the United States where he described himself as an "amateur tramp". He lived among the homeless and hitched lifts on freight trains, reporting back to The Times about his adventures. In the early 1930s he also studied the youth movements in Nazi Germany. In winter 1933 Teeling had walked all the way from London to Newcastle upon Tyne, sleeping in hostels and examining the efforts of local councils to tackle unemployment.

Another preoccupation when Teeling was travelling abroad was the treatment given to Irish immigrants and to the Catholic Church. In 1937 he wrote The Pope in Politics which suggested that Pope Pius XI was opposed to the new forms of Catholicism developing in the Americas. He followed this in 1939 with Crisis for Christianity, a book which dealt with the relations between the Catholic Church and Nazism.

Parliamentary career[edit]

When the Second World War broke out, Teeling joined the Royal Air Force. Having already fought the safe Labour seat of West Ham Silvertown in the 1929 general election, Teeling was elected to Parliament as a Conservative for Brighton in a 1944 by-election. This was a two-member seat, and Teeling was re-elected in the 1945 general election. The seat was divided into two individual constituencies thereafter, and Teeling was chosen for Brighton Pavilion.

Throughout his Parliamentary career Teeling remained on the backbenches, but his expertise on foreign affairs was acknowledged (he was a Freeman of Seoul in Korea). He was a strong supporter of all attempts to build a tunnel under the English Channel, and chaired an all-party committee which campaigned for it. He was also Secretary of the All-Party committee on holiday resorts. He was knighted in 1962. By 9 July 1968 he was a Member of the Conservative Monday Club and is mentioned as one of their MPs who signed a House of Commons Order Paper (no.151) calling for the government to "exclude all questions of sovereignty over the Falkland Islands from any talks they hare having with the Argentine Government".[1]

Later life[edit]

Teeling resigned in February 1969, owing to ill health. He travelled to Africa to help his recovery. He became secretary of the Irish Peers Association in June 1970, whose cause he had often promoted.


  1. ^ Monday Club Newsletter July 1968.
  • Obituary, The Times, 28 October 1975
  • M. Stenton and S. Lees, Who's Who of British MPs, Harvester Press, 1981

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Sir Cooper Rawson
Member of Parliament for Brighton
With: Anthony Marlowe
Constituency divided
New constituency Member of Parliament for Brighton Pavilion
Succeeded by
Julian Amery