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The Lord Duncan-Sandys
|Secretary of State for the Colonies|
13 July 1962 – 16 October 1964
|Prime Minister||Harold Macmillan
Sir Alec Douglas-Home
|Preceded by||Reginald Maudling|
|Succeeded by||Anthony Greenwood|
|Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations|
27 July 1960 – 16 October 1964
|Prime Minister||Harold Macmillan|
|Preceded by||The Earl of Home|
|Succeeded by||Arthur Bottomley|
|Minister of Aviation|
14 October 1959 – 27 July 1960
|Prime Minister||Harold Macmillan|
|Preceded by||Office Created|
|Succeeded by||Peter Thorneycroft|
|Minister of Defence|
14 January 1957 – 14 October 1959
|Prime Minister||Harold Macmillan|
|Preceded by||Anthony Head|
|Succeeded by||Harold Watkinson|
|Minister of Housing and Local Government|
19 October 1954 – 4 January 1957
|Prime Minister||Winston Churchill
Sir Anthony Eden
|Preceded by||Harold Macmillan|
|Succeeded by||Henry Brooke|
|Minister of Supply|
31 October 1951 – 19 October 1954
|Prime Minister||Winston Churchill|
|Preceded by||George Strauss|
|Succeeded by||Selwyn Lloyd|
|Member of Parliament
23 February 1950 – 8 February 1974
|Preceded by||Sir David Robertson|
|Succeeded by||William Shelton|
|Member of Parliament
14 March 1935 – 5 July 1945
|Preceded by||Sir Walter Greaves-Lord|
|Succeeded by||Ronald Chamberlain|
|Born||(1908-01-24)24 January 1908
Sandford Orcas, Dorset, England
|Died||26 November 1987(1987-11-26) (aged 79)
(m. 1935; div. 1960)
|Children||4, including Edwina Sandys and Laura Sandys|
|Years of service||1937–1946|
Edwin Duncan Sandys, Baron Duncan-Sandys //; 24 January 1908 – 26 November 1987), was a British politician and minister in successive Conservative governments in the 1950s and 1960s. He was a son-in-law of Winston Churchill.(
Sandys, born on 24 January 1908 at the Manor House, Sandford Orcas, Dorset, was the son of George John Sandys, a Conservative Member of Parliament (1910–1918), and Mildred Helen Cameron. Sandys' parents divorced in January 1921 when he was 12 years old. His mother married Frederick Hamilton Lister in October that year, becoming Mildred Helen Lister. He was educated at Eton College and Magdalen College, Oxford.
He became Conservative Party Member of Parliament (MP) for Norwood in south London in a by-election in March 1935, at which he was opposed by an Independent Conservative candidate sponsored by Randolph Churchill.
In May 1935, he was in effect saying that Germany should have a predominant place in central Europe, so that Britain could be free to pursue her colonial interests without rival.
The Duncan Sandys case
In 1937, Sandys was commissioned into the 51st (London) Anti-Aircraft Brigade, Royal Artillery, of the Territorial Army (TA). In 1938, he asked questions in the House of Commons on matters of national security that reflected his TA experience. He was subsequently approached by two unidentified men, presumably representing the secret services, and threatened with prosecution under section 6 of the Official Secrets Act 1920. Sandys reported the matter to the Committee of Privileges which held that the disclosures of Parliament were not subject to the legislation, though an MP could be disciplined by the House. The Official Secrets Act 1939 was enacted in reaction to this incident.
His father-in-law gave him his first ministerial post as Financial Secretary to the War Office from 1941 to 1944 during the wartime coalition government. Sandys had been wartime Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Supply. W. A. Robotham who had been in the Ministry as "Chief Engineer of Tank Design" wrote that he was knowledgable on army matters. Robotham of Rolls-Royce who had headed development of the Meteor tank engine in WWII was surprised and pleased when in 1963 Sandys said "I regard the adoption of the Meteor tank engine as the absolute turning-point in the history of British tank development", at the opening of a Rolls-Royce aero engine factory at East Kilbride (aero engines being Rolls-Royce's main business).
From 1944 to 1945 he served as Minister of Works for the remainder of the coalition and in the Churchill Caretaker Ministry. While a Minister he was also chairman of a War Cabinet Committee for defence against German flying bombs and rockets, where he frequently clashed with the scientist and intelligence expert R. V. Jones. However, he lost his seat in the 1945 general election. He resigned his TA commission as a lieutenant-colonel the following year.
Sandys was responsible for establishing the European Movement in Britain in 1947 and served as a member of the European Consultative Assembly from 1950 until 1951. He was elected to parliament once again at the 1950 general election for Streatham and, when the Conservatives regained power in 1951, he was appointed Minister of Supply. For most of his time in that role, his private secretary was Jack Charles. As Minister of Housing from 1954, he introduced the Clean Air Act and in 1955 introduced the green belts.
He was appointed Minister of Defence in 1957 and quickly produced the 1957 Defence White Paper that proposed a radical shift in the Royal Air Force by ending the use of fighter aircraft in favour of missile technology. Though later ministers reversed the policy, the lost orders and cuts in research were responsible for several British aircraft manufacturers going out of business. As Minister of Defence he saw the rationalisation (i.e., merger) of much of the British military aircraft and engine industry.
Sandys continued as a minister at the Commonwealth Relations Office, later combining it with the Colonies Office, until the Conservative government lost power in 1964. In this role he was responsible for granting several colonies their independence and was involved in managing the British response to several conflicts involving the armed forces of the newly independent countries of East Africa.
He remained in the shadow cabinet until 1966 when he was sacked by Edward Heath. He had strongly supported Ian Smith in the dispute over Rhodesia's Unilateral Declaration of Independence. He was not offered a post when the Conservatives won the 1970 general election, but instead served as leader of the United Kingdom delegation to the Council of Europe and Western European Union until 1972 when he announced his retirement. The next year he was made a Companion of Honour.
In 1974 he retired from parliament and was awarded a life peerage on 2 May. As the title of Baron Sandys was already held by another family, he followed the example of George Brown and incorporated his first name in the title Baron Duncan-Sandys of the City of Westminster. He was an active early member of the Conservative Monday Club.
From his first marriage, with Diana Churchill:
- The Hon. Julian Sandys (19 September 1936 – 15 August 1997)
- The Hon. Edwina Sandys (born 22 December 1938)
- The Hon. Celia Sandys (born 18 May 1943). She married firstly Michael Kennedy and secondly Dennis Walters (divorced 1979).
From his second marriage, with Marie-Claire Schmitt:
- The Hon. Laura Sandys (born 5 June 1964). She was a Conservative Member of Parliament for South Thanet.
Among Sandys' other interests was historic architecture. He formed the Civic Trust in 1956 and was its President; the Royal Institution of British Architects made him an honorary Fellow in 1968, and the Royal Town Planning Institute made him an honorary member. He was also a trustee of the World Security Trust.
Between 1969 and 1984 he was President of Europa Nostra and acted for the preservation of the European cultural and architectural heritage.
His business activities included a Directorship of the Ashanti Goldfields Corporation, which was later part of Lonrho of which he became chairman. He was therefore caught up in the scandal in which Lonrho was revealed to have bribed several African countries and broken international sanctions against Rhodesia, as well as the "unpleasant and unacceptable face of capitalism" episode involving eight directors being sacked by Tiny Rowland.
- Coalition Government
- 20 July 1941 – 7 February 1943, Financial Secretary to the War Office
- 7 February 1943 – 21 November 1944, Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of Supply
- 21 November 1944 – 25 May 1945, Minister of Works
- Caretaker Government
- 25 May 1945 – 26 July 1945, Minister of Works
- Conservative Government
- 31 October 1951 – 18 October 1954, Minister of Supply
- 18 October 1954 – 13 January 1957, Minister of Housing and Local Government
- 13 January 1957 – 14 October 1959, Minister of Defence
- 14 October 1959 – 27 July 1960, Minister of Aviation
- 27 July 1960 – 13 July 1962, Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations
- 13 July 1962 – 16 October 1964, Secretary of State for the Colonies and Commonwealth Relations
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