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Cranley Gordon Douglas Onslow, Baron Onslow of Woking KCMG PC (8 June 1926 – 13 March 2001) was a British politician and served as the Conservative MP for Woking from 1964 to 1997.

Onslow was related to the present Earl of Onslow, and was named for one of the subsidiary titles of the Earldom: Viscount Cranley. He was educated at Harrow School and then Sandhurst. He then joined the military in 1944 and was a Lieutenant in the Queen's Own Hussars. Upon completing this service he read history at Oriel College, Oxford. Onslow then joined MI6 as a field agent and had a tour of duty in Burma.

Onslow resigned from the civil service in 1960 and became active in politics, first being elected to Dartford Rural Council and later to Kent County Council. In 1963 he was selected to succeed Harold Watkinson as MP for Woking and he was elected the following year in the 1964 general election.

Once elected, Onslow demonstrated his right wing credentials by calling for lower taxes on the middle class and a reduction in third world aid. He also pursued a strong non-partisan interest in aviation, eventually chairing the Conservative aviation committee. He would later serve as Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Aerospace from 1972 to 1974 in Edward Heath's government.

In Margaret Thatcher's government he was made a Minister of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in 1983, but resigned a year later. In 1984, he was elected to Chair the 1922 Committee, and was therefore considered to be the most powerful backbencher in the Conservative party. In this post, he conveyed to Mrs Thatcher the desire of backbenchers that Leon Brittan should resign over the Westland affair and in the 1990 leadership contest that many backbenchers wanted a broader choice of candidates, causing her to drop out.

This angered many allies of Thatcher, and in 1992 he was forced from his post as Chairman of the 1922 Committee. He was subsequently honoured by being created a Knight Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George and upon stepping down from Parliament in 1997, with a life peerage as Baron Onslow of Woking, of Woking in the County of Surrey. He had previously been elevated to the Privy Council of the United Kingdom in 1988.

External links

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Harold Watkinson
Member of Parliament for Woking
Succeeded by
Humfrey Malins
Political offices
Preceded by
Sir Edward du Cann
Chairman of the 1922 Committee
Succeeded by
Sir Marcus Fox


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