Ward's Book of Days.
Pages of interesting anniversaries.
What happened on this day in history.
On this day in history in 1995, died Sir Alex Douglas-Home.
Alex Douglas-Home became Prime Minister in 1963 in the most extraordinary circumstances. As Lord Home, he emerged from furtive discussions of the Conservative Party as party leader. However, as a peer he could not appear in The House of commons for Prime Minister’s Questions or other significant occasions. To crack this problem, he disclaimed his peerage and stood for Parliament in a seat kindly vacated by a benevolent colleague. During the run up to the bye-election, Sir Alex, as he had become after having quit the nobility, had neither a seat in either the Lords or Commons. This was possibly the greatest ever feat of political legerdemain in leading a government without being a member of it.
As Prime Minister, Douglas-Home presided over the Profumo scandal, which eventually led to the government’s defeat. After retiring from his political career, Douglas-Home received a life peerage and became Lord Home once more.
Douglas-Home was the only Prime Minister to have played first-class cricket. In his younger days, under the title of Lord Dunglas, his then courtesy title, he represented the M C C and Middlesex on several occasions. In 1923 Wisden, said ‘Lord Dunglass was a better batsman on wet pitches - he had the courage of his convictions and could hook and pull the turning ball effectively’. This epithet could equally be said of his politics. He was successful batting on a sticky wicket.
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