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Sir Herbert Keith Speed, known as Keith Speed, RD DL (born 11 March 1934, Evesham) is a Conservative Party politician in the United Kingdom and former Member of Parliament. He is a descendant of the former map maker John Speed.

He was elected MP for Meriden in Warwickshire in a by-election on 28 March 1968, and held the seat until 1974. New constituency boundaries were drawn up prior to the February 1974 general election and Speed lost his Meriden seat to Labour's John Tomlinson.

He was selected to succeed Bill Deedes as Conservative Candidate for the seat of Ashford in Kent in the October 1974 General Election, and was elected as MP with a majority of over 6,000.

On 4 May 1979 he was appointed Parliamentary Undersecretary of State for Defence, a position known then as the Navy Minister. He was sacked by Margaret Thatcher in May 1981, after refusing to hand in his resignation. This was because he was unable to accept the reductions in the strength of the Royal Navy proposed by Mrs Thatcher and then Secretary of State for Defence, John Nott. With typical service humour, a Royal Navy saying of the time was the fictitious order "Less (K)notts, more Speed!".[1] Later events in the Falklands War showed the shrewdness of his position, and he was made a Knight Bachelor in 1992. He retired as an MP in 1997.

In 1982 he wrote a book, Sea Change (see bibliography), which outlined the background to the Falklands conflict and expressed admiration for former Soviet Admiral Sergey Gorshkov.

As of April 2005, Sir Keith Speed is a Deputy Lord-Lieutenant for the County Of Kent, and Vice President of the Maritime Volunteer Service.


  • Speed, Keith (1982). Sea Change: The Battle For The Falklands And The Future Of Britain's Navy. Ashgrove Press ISBN 0-906798-20-5


  1. ^ Rick Jolly, Jackspeak: A Guide to British Naval Slang & Usage, FoSAMMA (2000), ISBN 0-9514305-2-1

External links

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Christopher Rowland
Member of Parliament for Meriden
1968Feb. 1974
Succeeded by
John Tomlinson
Preceded by
W.F. Deedes
Member of Parliament for Ashford
Oct. 19741997
Succeeded by
Damian Green


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