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Robert Temple Armstrong, Baron Armstrong of Ilminster GCB, CVO (born 30 March 1927), son of the musician Sir Thomas Armstrong, is a British life peer and former civil servant.

He was educated at the Dragon School, Eton, where he was a King's Scholar, and Christ Church, Oxford, where he read Greats. In a long civil service career, Armstrong worked in several departments, including HM Treasury and the Home Office. From 1970 to 1975 he served as the Principal Private Secretary to the Prime Minister. He was knighted in 1978. From 1979 to 1987, he served as Secretary of the Cabinet under Margaret Thatcher. He was subsequently made a life peer as Baron Armstrong of Ilminster, of Ashill in the County of Somerset in 1988, and sits as a crossbencher.

He is credited with bringing the phrase "economical with the truth" into popular usage, after he used it during the Spycatcher trial in 1986.

From 1994 to 2006 Armstrong was Chancellor of the University of Hull.

In popular culture

Armstrong has been portrayed by the following actors in film and television productions;

See also

Offices held

Government offices
Preceded by
Sir John Hunt
Cabinet Secretary
1979 – 1987
Succeeded by
Sir Robin Butler
Preceded by
Sir Douglas Allen
Head of the Home Civil Service
1981 – 1987


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