Theresa May pays tribute to Tory stalwart Lord Carrington after he dies at 99

Posted On: 
10th July 2018

The last surviving member of a Winston Churchill Cabinet has died at the age of 99.

Lord Carrington Lord Carrington at the Conservative Party conference at Brighton in 1969.
Credit: 
PA Images

Theresa May said Lord Carrington's death was "the end of an era" as she led tributes to the former Foreign Secretary, who served under no fewer than six Conervative Prime Ministers.

The life peer first entered politcs after the Second World War, serving in the Tory governments of both Winston Churchill and Anthony Eden.

Lord Carrington: Watching from the very start

After a spell as High Commissioner to Australia in the 1950, Lord Carrington returned to British politics and served under both Harold Macmillan and Alec Douglas-Home.

He re-entered government in 1970 after Edward Heath became Prime Minister, becoming Defence Secretary and then Energy Secretary until Labour beat the Tories in the 1974 general election.

When Margaret Thatcher entered Number 10 in 1979, she made him Foreign Secretary. He resigned from the post in 1982 following the Argentine invasion of the Falkland Islands, taking personal responsibility for his department's failure to foresee the attack.

Lord Carrington's remarkable career continued in 1984 when he became Nato secretary general, a post he held for four years.

He was the longest-serving member of the House of Lords, as well as the oldest.

Theresa May said: "The death of Peter Carrington at the age of 99 marks the end of an era and the loss of a statesman who was respected globally for his remarkable lifetime of public service.

"There can be few people who have served our country for as long, and with such dedication, as Lord Carrington did – from his gallantry as a tank commander in the Second World War, for which he was awarded the Military Cross, to his service in government under two monarchs and six Prime Ministers, dating back to Winston Churchill.

"He was a much-loved and widely respected member of the House of Lords for nearly eight decades, and served with great honour and integrity in government as Foreign Secretary, Defence Secretary, Leader of the House of Lords, chairman of the Conservative Party and much more besides.

"These were qualities that he also brought to bear as a highly esteemed secretary general of Nato – and, in the week of the Nato summit, I know that my fellow leaders will join me in offering our gratitude for his lifetime of service and our deepest condolences to his family."

Paying tribute, Labour Lords leader Baroness Smith said: "Lord Carrington was a politician and public servant to his core.  He had intellect, integrity, experience and great ability.  When he spoke in the Lords in later years his wisdom was valued and welcomed. On behalf of our benches, I would like to add our condolences to his family and friends.  I hope that they can take some comfort and pride in both his achievements and his legacy."