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Cecil Parkinson: Wikis


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The Right Honourable
 The Lord Parkinson 

In office
June 1997 – 2 December 1998
Preceded by Brian Mawhinney
Succeeded by Michael Ancram
In office
14 September 1981 – 11 June 1983
Preceded by Peter Thorneycroft
Succeeded by John Gummer

In office
24 July 1989 – 28 November 1990
Preceded by Paul Channon
Succeeded by Malcolm Rifkind

In office
13 June 1987 – 24 July 1989
Preceded by Peter Walker
Succeeded by John Wakeham

In office
12 June 1983 – 14 October 1983[1]
Preceded by Francis Cockfield (Trade)
Patrick Jenkin (Industry)
Succeeded by Norman Tebbit

In office
6 April 1982 – 11 June 1983
Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher
Preceded by Janet Young
Succeeded by Francis Cockfield

Born 1 September 1931 (1931-09-01) (age 78)
Carnforth, Lancashire, UK
Political party Conservative
Spouse(s) Anne Jarvis (1957-Present)

(Edward) Cecil Parkinson, Baron Parkinson[2], PC (born 1 September 1931 in Carnforth, Lancashire), is a British Conservative politician and former Cabinet Minister.


Early life

Parkinson had humble origins, being the son of a railway worker and educated at Lancaster Royal Grammar School, from where he won a scholarship to Emmanuel College, Cambridge to read English, later switching to read Law. At University he was a Labour supporter and in fact for a time was a member of the Labour Party. He did National Service as an NCO in the Royal Air Force. He married Anne Mary Jarvis in 1957. They have three daughters: Mary, Emma and Joanna.

After University Parkinson worked as a manager for the MetalBox Company, later becoming a consultant. He trained and qualified as a Chartered Accountant and in 1961 founded Parkinson-Hart securities.

Member of Parliament

In the June 1970 general election he stood as candidate for Northampton but was not elected. Parkinson was elected as MP for Enfield West at a by-election in November 1970, following the death of Iain Macleod. When that constitituency was abolished for the February 1974 general election he was elected for the new South Hertfordshire constituency. After the 1979 General Election, he was made a junior trade minister. In September 1981 he was made Chairman of the Conservative Party, and Paymaster-General with a seat in the cabinet and in 1982 was given the added official title of Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster. Despite his relatively junior status, he was a member of the small War Cabinet which Mrs Thatcher set up to run the Falklands War.

In government

He worked on the Conservative Party's 1983 election campaign, standing in the new Hertsmere constituency after Hertfordshire South's abolition. As a result of his success on the campaign, Mrs Thatcher had intended to promote him to Foreign Secretary, but instead, after being forewarned of certain developments in his private life, she appointed him Secretary of State for Trade and Industry.

Parkinson was forced to resign in October 1983 after it was revealed that his former secretary, Sara Keays, was carrying his child, Flora Keays (born Merton, Greater London).[3] Subsequently, as a result of a dispute over child maintenance payments, Parkinson (with Keays' initial consent) was able to gain an injunction in 1993, forbidding the British media from making any reference to their daughter. Flora Keays has learning difficulties and Asperger syndrome and had an operation to remove a brain tumour when she was four, which is thought to have caused her problems. This court order was the subject of some controversy, until Flora Keays reached her majority at the end of 2001, when the court order expired. Upon Flora turning 18, it was noted in the press that Parkinson had never met his child and presumably had no intention of doing so. While he had assisted with Flora's education and financially her upkeep, it was publicly pointed out that he had not ever sent her a birthday card and that her mother assumed that Flora could not ever expect to receive one.[4] At the time of the revelation of Parkinson's relationship with Sara Keays in 1983, Parkinson made much of what he described as the volume of supportive letters which he had received. By 2001, however, the media focussed more upon Flora and her difficulties than in protecting Parkinson's reputation, so more voices were raised in criticism of Parkinson.

After four years on the back benches, he was appointed Secretary of State for Energy in 1987 (having been tipped as a potential Chancellor of the Exchequer), and for Transport in the July 1989 reshuffle. One of the highlights in the latter job was announcing new main-line rail tunnels across London, called Crossrail. He resigned along with Margaret Thatcher when she was replaced by John Major. Parkinson knew that whoever succeeded Thatcher, whether it was Major, Michael Heseltine or Douglas Hurd, was unlikely to have kept him in the Cabinet anyway. He stood down at the 1992 general election.

He was created Baron Parkinson of Carnforth, in the County of Lancashire, after the 1992 elections. Shortly afterwards he made a daring appearance on the BBC topical panel show Have I Got News For You, which at the time - Edwina Currie apart - was still awaiting its first truly top-level Conservative guest who had some history to them. Parkinson, who partnered Paul Merton on the episode, took considerable ribbing (although the injunction prevented any reference to his major scandal) but emerged from the programme intact - even opposing captain and satirist Ian Hislop admitted afterwards that he had come across very well.[citation needed] Parkinson's appearance opened the floodgates for other very high-profile politicians to appear on the programme and display a lighter side to their personalities.

Parkinson also published his memoirs in 1992, in which he claimed that with a determined campaign Mrs Thatcher would have won the Second Ballot of the Conservative Leadership election in 1990, which her Cabinet had warned her she would lose in a successful bid to persuade her to stand down.

Shadow Cabinet

Parkinson returned to front-line politics when he was made Conservative Party Chairman again by William Hague in June 1997. He retired from this role in 1998 and has since kept a low profile, although he is a vice-chairman of the Conservative Way Forward group.

Parkinson's affair with Sara Keays was a running joke with the satirical magazine "Private Eye" for over a decade, with the magazine seldom passing up an opportunity to portray Parkinson as blessed with a voracious sexual appetite. In 1997, when William Hague promised to "bring Unity to the Party", the front cover showed Parkinson adding "she sounds like a splendid girl". In the late 1980s, when Parkinson had objected to Norman Tebbit's treatment of the issue on his memoirs ("Upwardly Mobile"), the front cover had shown each man telling the other "I told you not to stick it in".

In the media

Parkinson was interviewed about the rise of Thatcherism for the 2006 BBC TV documentary series Tory! Tory! Tory!.

An article in The Independent by Johann Hari questioned whether the Conservative party had left behind its association with racism in the distant past, it reported that, in recent years at a Tory dinner, Cecil Parkinson said of Africa; “God decided to create the most beautiful continent on earth – wide rivers, fertile land, and every kind of natural resource you can think of. An angel said to God – if you make a place like that then it will completely dominate the earth. And God said – wait until you see the people I am going to put in it.” The assembled party members loved it, and said they missed good old Ian Smith, the last white supremacist ruler of Rhodesia.'[5]






  1. ^ The Guardian on 15 October 1983
  2. ^
  3. ^ Births England and Wales 1984-2006
  4. ^ Angela Levin "The brutal sex attack that nearly destroyed Cecil Parkinson's child" Daily Mail, 14 November 2008. Article about Flora and Sara today, still focusing on Flora's medical condition.
  5. ^ 4
  6. ^ The Guardian on 15 October 1983
  7. ^ Births England and Wales 1984-2006
  8. ^ Angela Levin Daily Mail, 14 November 2008. Article about Flora and Sara today, still focusing on Flora's medical condition.
  9. ^ The Independent, 19 February 2010

External links

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Iain Macleod
Member of Parliament for Enfield West
1970February 1974
Constituency abolished
New constituency Member of Parliament for South Hertfordshire
February 19741983
Member of Parliament for Hertsmere
Succeeded by
James Clappison
Party political offices
Preceded by
The Lord Thorneycroft
Chairman of the Conservative Party
Succeeded by
John Gummer
Preceded by
Brian Mawhinney
Chairman of the Conservative Party
Succeeded by
Michael Ancram
Political offices
Preceded by
Francis Pym
Title next held by
John Gummer
Preceded by
The Baroness Young
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
Succeeded by
The Lord Cockfield
Preceded by
The Lord Cockfield
Secretary of State for Trade and Industry
Succeeded by
Norman Tebbit
Preceded by
Peter Walker
Secretary of State for Energy
Succeeded by
John Wakeham
Preceded by
Paul Channon
Secretary of State for Transport
Succeeded by
Malcolm Rifkind

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