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Woodrow Wyatt: Wikis


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Woodrow Lyle Wyatt, Baron Wyatt of Weeford (4 July 1918 – 7 December 1997), was a British politician, published author, journalist and broadcaster.


Early life (politics)

Born in Kingston upon Thames, Wyatt was educated at Eastbourne College and Worcester College, Oxford. He served throughout the Second World War with the Suffolk Regiment and rose to the rank of Major. Wyatt was mentioned in despatches from Normandy.

He was elected to Parliament as the Labour MP for Birmingham Aston in 1945 which he served until 1955. Wyatt was briefly a junior minister in Clement Attlee’s final administration in 1951 but thereafter was never in office. During his period out of parliament, Wyatt was a reporter for the BBC's Panorama current affairs programme, in which a November 1957 report of Wyatt's revealed ballot rigging in the then communist influenced Electricians Trade Union (ETU).

He was seen by some as a maverick, and by others as a man of firm convictions which made him temperamentally unsuited to 'toeing the party line'. He returned to Parliament in 1959 as member for Bosworth, Leicestershire. He rebelled in the 1964–1970 parliaments over steel nationalisation.

Later life (authorship)

After ceasing to be an active politician he was appointed Chairman of the Horserace Totalisator Board from 1976–1997. Wyatt was a prolific journalist, with a diverse range of interests, and by the late 1970s he had crossed the political spectrum and became an admirer of Margaret Thatcher. During this period his News of the World column 'The Voice of Reason', was regularly attacked by Thatcher's political opponents. His caustic, candid and mischievously indiscreet diaries were published posthumously in three volumes. He was knighted in 1983 and became a Life peer as Baron Wyatt of Weeford, of Weeford in the County of Staffordshire in 1987.

Wyatt edited ten volumes of English Story (1940-50). His books include two autobiographies, Into the Dangerous World (1952) and Confessions of an Optimist (1985). The three volumes of his journals published posthumously by Macmillan, edited by Sarah Curtis were: volume 1 1985-88 (1998) ISBN 0 333 74166 8; volume 2 'Thatcher's Fall and Major's Rise', 1989-92, (1999) ISBN 0 333 77405 1; volume 3 'From Major to Blair', 1992 until three months before his death in December 1997, (2000) ISBN 0 333 77406 X. Andrew Neil in the New Statesman wrote, "Wyatt has done the country a service in giving us the unalloyed truth about how this country's governing and social elite still operates", and the Daily Express called the journals "The most explosive political memoirs of modern times".

In 2000 the journalist Petronella Wyatt, his daughter by his fourth marriage, published a book entitled Father, Dear Father: Life with Woodrow Wyatt (ISBN 0-09-929760-4) which is an "affectionate portrait of the last great English eccentric" and has many personal and historically significant anecdotes [2].

Marriages and death

Wyatt was married four times, to:

  • First (div): Susan Cox, no issue.[1]
  • Second (div): Nora Robbins, no issue. [2]
  • Third (1957, dissolved 1966): Lady Moorea Hastings (b. 1928) daughter of the 16th Earl of Huntingdon and a granddaughter of Luisa Casati; one son: Hon. Pericles Wyatt
  • Fourth (1966): Veronica (Verushka) Banszky von Ambroz, née Racz, widow of a surgeon[3]; one daughter: Petronella Wyatt (b. 1969)

He was the cousin of England Test cricketer Bob Wyatt.[4] He died in Camden aged 79.


  1. ^ Sholto Byrnes, " Woodrow, Verushka, Pericles and Petronella: welcome to the world of the Wyatts" The Independent 20 November 2004. [1]. Retrieved 21 September 2007.
  2. ^ Sholto Byrnes. Ibid
  3. ^ Sholto Byrnes. Ibid
  4. ^ Martin-Jenkins, Christopher (1980). The Complete Who's Who of Test Cricketers (1st edition ed.). London: Orbis Publishing. p. 151. ISBN 0856132837.  

External links

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Redvers Prior
Member of Parliament for Birmingham Aston
Succeeded by
Julius Silverman
Preceded by
Arthur Cecil Allen
Member of Parliament for Bosworth
Succeeded by
Adam Courtauld Butler


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