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Sir Ian Stewart Lloyd (30 May 1921 – 25 September 2006) was a British Conservative Party politician. Born in South Africa to English parents, he worked as a civil servant in South Africa before moving permanently to the UK. He served as a backbench Member of Parliament for constituencies near Portsmouth nearly 30 years, from 1964 to 1992. He took an interest in African issues, shipping, and technology, and spoke about the dangers of global warming as early as 1989.

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Early and private life

Lloyd was born in Durban in South Africa, to where his great-grandfather, Walter Lloyd (1823-1878), had emigrated from Cardiganshire, where the Lloyd family's Coedmore estate was situated. Lloyd was educated at St. John's Preparatory in Johannesburg, at Michaelhouse in Natal, and at the University of Witwatersrand.

In the Second World War, he served in the South African Air Force as a Spitfire pilot and then flying instructor. After the War, he attended King's College, Cambridge. He was President of the Cambridge Union in 1947, served with the RAFVR, and sailed and skied for the university. He graduated with an MSc in 1952, and studied at the Administrative College at Henley-on-Thames.

He married Frances Addison in 1951, who survived him. They had three sons together.

He returned to South Africa, where he joined the Torch Commando protest group of World War II veterans, and the United Party. He became a civil servant, serving as economic adviser at the Central Mining and Investment Corporation, part of the South African Board of Trade and Industries. He resigned and permanently left South Africa in 1955, driven away by his disagreement with the policy of apartheid. Returning to the UK, he became a shipping executive, as Director of Research at British and Commonwealth Shipping Company from 1956 to 1964. He remained its economic adviser until 1983.

Political career

He was selected for the safe seat of Portsmouth Langstone in 1962, and duly elected as Member of Parliament at the 1964 general election. He remained an MP until his retirement at the 1992 election, having changed constituency twice after boundary changes, to Havant and Waterloo in 1974 and to Havant in 1983. All of his obituaries agreed that he had a cold, disdainful, superior, almost arrogant, manner, and was an "intellectual snob", and he had to fight for re-selection from 1971 to 1973, after the constituency boundaries changed, after the selection committee of his constituency party voted to deselect him. He was re-endorsed, but then his re-endorsement was challenged by Janet Fookes.

He served on the Council of Europe, and on the parliamentary assembly of the Western European Union, from 1968 to 1972.

In Parliament, he took a close interest in African issues, shipping, and science. He spoke against sanctions against Rhodesia after UDI, and compared Kenneth Kaunda to Hitler. He remained a critic of the apartheid in South Africa; however, he later opposed economic sanctions and the sporting boycott, arguing that closer links would be more effective in stimulating reform.

Although he had left his native South Africa in protest against its apartheid policies, he became a hard right-winger where policies towards Africa were concerned, but in many other respects he was forward-thinking. Highly numerate, he was known for his expertise on computers, argued the case for continued technological innovation, and was among the earliest to call for a Minister of Information Technology.

As the Chairman of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Energy in three successive parliaments, he was an advocate of nuclear power, although critical of the way in which the industry went about its business, and conscious of its relatively high costs. He recognised the dangers of global warming early, claiming in July 1989 that civilisation was clinging by its fingernails to the cliff over which it had fallen, the danger was so great; and he urged the Government to take compulsory measures to limit energy consumption. While he welcomed Margaret Thatcher's conversion to the cause in November 1989, he remained critical of the inadequacy of the investment in research to combat the threat.

He was a member of the Select Committee on Technology for 10 years, and then chairman of the Select Committee on Energy for 10 years. He drove the establishment of the Parliamentary Information Technology Committee (Pitcom), and the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology (POST). He argued for the appointment of a minister for information technology, and was one of the first to bring a microchip into the House of Commons. He was knighted in 1986.

Widely read, well travelled and extremely well-informed, Lloyd could be regarded as unlucky in not catching the whips' eyes when ministerial reshuffles were in train, but his somewhat disdainful manner did him no favours, and he was inclined, as another political journalist observed, to bore on about microchips. Peter Lloyd, who knew him as a neighbouring MP, put it more fairly and with a strong sense that both country and government were the worse for not harnessing his talents:

He was good at getting hold of major subjects, usually ones on which he was right and which were important to the future of this country, but he pursued them without any regard to matters of current political concern, and he therefore came to be regarded as boffinesque and slightly detached.

There was also a tendency in Margaret Thatcher's time to regard an MP who had not made the front bench earlier as having been passed over rightly. Lloyd may well have made a more substantial contribution to the shaping of public policy as a backbencher than he was ever likely to achieve as a junior minister, but, as Peter Lloyd hints, his namesake's failure to achieve high office speaks volumes about the inability of Britain's political system to identify significant longer-term issues.

Ian Lloyd had that gift, but was not honoured for it.

Further to John Barnes's perceptive obituary of Ian Lloyd he was, indeed, more respected and comfortable at all-party events, than among Tory colleagues may I testify to his huge service to Parliament, as a holder of every office on the Parliamentary and Scientific Committee? writes Tam Dalyell.

"Ian's trouble," mused our Honorary President from 1983 to 1986, the Nobel Chemistry laureate Lord Todd, "is that he insists on being before his time. And timing is everything in politics, isn't it?"

Lloyd was almost certainly the last surviving economist who was personally taught and supervised by John Maynard Keynes. This showed and did not help him with his Tory colleagues. If only he had done more to conceal how clever he was.

Outside politics

He wrote a series of books on the history of Rolls Royce, published in 1978. He was also a member of the Royal Yacht Squadron.

In retirement, he was a member of the council of Save British Science, and a member of the Science Policy Support Group. He died in Chichester, West Sussex.

References

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Geoffrey Stevens
Member of Parliament for Portsmouth Langstone
1964February 1974
Constituency abolished
New constituency Member of Parliament for Havant and Waterloo
February 19741983
Constituency abolished
New constituency Member of Parliament for Havant
19831992
Succeeded by
David Willetts
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