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Peter Thorneycroft

From Academic Kids

George Edward Peter Thorneycroft, Baron Thorneycroft (1909-1994) was a British Conservative politician who sat as MP for Monmouth in South Wales from 1945 to 1970. He served as President of the Board of Trade under Winston Churchill and Anthony Eden. In 1957, Harold Macmillan appointed him Chancellor of the Exchequer, one of the most senior positions in the government. He resigned in 1958, along with two junior Treasury Ministers, Enoch Powell and Nigel Birch, in objection to increased government expenditure. Macmillan, himself a former Chancellor, made a famous and much-quoted remark to the effect that the resignations were merely "a little local difficulty". In reality, Macmillan was deeply concerned about the possible effects of Thorneycroft's resignation, but chose to hide his worries from public view. The phrase is now so well-known that most people do not know what or who it refers to.

Thorneycroft returned to the Cabinet in 1960 and held a number of posts in government and then in opposition under Macmillan and Alec Douglas-Home. Ted Heath, who became leader of the party in 1965, had been Chief Whip when Thorneycroft resigned in 1958 and had seen the resignation as a betrayal. He removed Thorneycroft from the Shadow Cabinet in 1966. Thorneycroft left the House of Commons soon after, receiving a life peerage and taking a seat in the House of Lords as Baron Thorneycroft of Dunston in the County of Stafford. Thorneycroft was a strong supporter of Margaret Thatcher's monetarist policies, which had been inspired by Enoch Powell, and Thatcher made him Chairman of the Conservative Party in 1975. He held this position until 1981.

Preceded by:
Sir Hartley Shawcross
President of the Board of Trade
1951–1957
Followed by:
Sir David Eccles
Preceded by:
Harold Macmillan
Chancellor of the Exchequer
1957–1958
Followed by:
Derick Heathcoat-Amory
Preceded by:
Duncan Sandys
Minister of Aviation
1960–1962
Followed by:
Julian Amery
Preceded by:
Harold Watkinson
Minister of Defence
1962–1964
Followed by:
None
Preceded by:
None
Secretary of State for Defence
1964
Followed by:
Denis Healey
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