Philip Cunliffe-Lister, 1st Earl of Swinton

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The Earl of Swinton

Lord Swinton.jpg
Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations
In office
24 November 1952 7 April 1955
Monarch Elizabeth II
Prime Minister Winston Churchill
Preceded by The Marquess of Salisbury
Succeeded by The Earl of Home
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
In office
31 October 1951 24 November 1952
Monarch George VI
Elizabeth II
Prime Minister Winston Churchill
Preceded by The Viscount Alexander of Hillsborough
Succeeded by The Earl of Woolton
Minister of Civil Aviation
In office
8 October 1944 26 July 1945
Monarch George VI
Prime Minister Winston Churchill
Preceded byPost established
Succeeded by The Lord Winster
Secretary of State for Air
In office
7 June 1935 16 May 1938
Monarch George V
Edward VIII
George VI
Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin
Neville Chamberlain
Preceded by The Marquess of Londonderry
Succeeded by Kingsley Wood
Secretary of State for the Colonies
In office
5 November 1931 7 June 1935
Monarch George V
Prime Minister Ramsay MacDonald
Preceded by James Henry Thomas
Succeeded by Malcolm MacDonald
President of the Board of Trade
In office
25 August 1931 5 November 1931
Monarch George V
Prime Minister Ramsay MacDonald
Preceded by William Graham
Succeeded by Walter Runciman
In office
6 November 1924 4 June 1929
Monarch George V
Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin
Preceded by Sidney Webb
Succeeded by William Graham
In office
24 October 1922 22 January 1924
Monarch George V
Prime Minister Bonar Law
Stanley Baldwin
Preceded by Stanley Baldwin
Succeeded by Sidney Webb
Secretary for Overseas Trade
In office
1 April 1921 19 October 1922
Monarch George V
Prime Minister David Lloyd George
Preceded by F G Kellaway
Succeeded by Sir William Joynson-Hicks, Bt
Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Trade
In office
22 August 1920 1 April 1921
Monarch George V
Prime Minister David Lloyd George
Preceded by William Bridgeman
Succeeded by William Mitchell-Thomson
Member of the House of Lords
Lord Temporal
In office
4 December 1935 27 July 1972
Hereditary peerage
Preceded by Peerage created
Succeeded by The 2nd Earl of Swinton
Member of Parliament
for Hendon
In office
14 December 1918 14 November 1935
Preceded byconstituency established
Succeeded by Reginald Blair
Personal details
Born(1884-05-01)1 May 1884
East Ayton, Yorkshire, England
Died27 July 1972(1972-07-27) (aged 88)
Swinton, Yorkshire, England
Resting place Masham, Yorkshire, England
Nationality British
Political party Conservative
Spouse(s)Mary Boynton (died 1974)
Alma mater Winchester School

Philip Cunliffe-Lister, 1st Earl of Swinton, GBE , CH , MC , PC (1 May 1884 – 27 July 1972), known as Philip Lloyd-Greame until 1924 and as The Viscount Swinton between 1935 and 1955, was a prominent British Conservative politician from the 1920s until the 1950s.


Background and early life

Beginning life as Philip Lloyd-Greame, he was the younger son of Lieutenant-Colonel Yarburgh George Lloyd-Greame (1840–1928) of Sewerby House, Bridlington, Yorkshire, by his wife Dora Letitia O'Brien, a daughter of the Right Reverend James Thomas O'Brien, Bishop of Ossory. His paternal grandfather was Yarburgh Gamaliel Lloyd, later Lloyd-Greame (1813–1890), who inherited Sewerby House by the will of his maternal uncle Yarburgh Greame, later Yarburgh (1782–1856).[ citation needed ]

He was educated at Winchester College, an all-boys public school in Winchester. He studied law at University College, Oxford, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree in 1905. Then became an Honorary Fellow of his college and was admitted to the Inner Temple.[ citation needed ]

He joined the British Army in 1914, following the start of the First World War. He was mentioned in despatches and promoted to the rank of Major. In 1916, he was awarded the Military Cross (MC) while serving on the Western Front as a brigade major to the 124th Brigade of the 41st Division. During the war, Cunliffe-Lister spent time with Winston Churchill at his advanced HQ Lawrence Farm. [1] They later worked together in the Stanley Baldwin ministries of the 1920s, when Cunliffe-Lister served as a minister of state. [2] In 1917 he was appointed joint secretary to the Minister of National Service. He was noticed by David Lloyd George, who recruited the young man to be chairman of the Labour sub-committee of the war cabinet in Downing Street. At the end of the war, he stood as a Conservative candidate in the Coupon election of 1918.

Political career

He agreed to join the Coalition slate and was elected for Hendon. He would hold this seat until his elevation to the House of Lords in 1935. His strong intellect was immediately recognizable as a member of the National Expenditure select committee scrutinizing the controversial McKenna Duties and Homes Fit For Heroes, after which in 1920 he was knighted. [3]

He achieved his first ministerial post as Additional Under-Secretary Foreign Affairs in 1920 and took charge of the Overseas Trade Department in 1921 as Additional Parliamentary Secretary. In 1922 he became a Privy Counsellor [4] and was appointed President of the Board of Trade, an office he would hold with two breaks until 1931. This fast elevation to the Cabinet came about because of the collapse of the Lloyd George Coalition Government, which forced the new Prime Minister Bonar Law to promote many inexperienced MPs.

In 1923, Law was forced to resign due to failing health and there was discussion as to whether he would be succeeded by Stanley Baldwin or Lord Curzon. As the last survivor of Law's Cabinet, Lloyd-Greame would later assert that it was Cabinet hostility to Curzon that prevented his appointment as Prime Minister, when he returned from the Imperial Economic Council. On 27 November 1924 Lloyd-Greame changed his surname to Cunliffe-Lister so as to be able to inherit property from his wife's family. Raised to Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the British Empire in 1929. [5]

In 1931 Cunliffe-Lister was one of the Conservatives chosen to negotiate with the Labour Prime Minister Ramsay MacDonald as the latter's government collapsed and was replaced by the multi-party National Government. As a sign of his prominence within the party, Cunliffe-Lister was one of just four Conservatives in the emergency Cabinet of 10, serving for the third and final time as President of the Board of Trade.

The National Government won a massive election victory in the 1931 general election but was internally divided on the question of protective tariffs. So as to balance the Cabinet Cunliffe-Lister was replaced at the Board of Trade by the supposed Free Trader Walter Runciman, and instead became Secretary of State for the Colonies, which he would hold until June 1935. When MacDonald retired as Prime Minister and was succeeded by Stanley Baldwin a Cabinet reshuffle took place in which Cunliffe-Lister became Secretary of State for Air. At the 1935 general election he did not contest his seat and was instead ennobled as Viscount Swinton, [6] retaining his ministerial office for the next three years into the premiership of Neville Chamberlain he took the strategic post of Secretary of State for Air responsible for Britain air defences in the lead up to war.

As Swinton was now in the House of Lords his hands were free to be Chairman of the UK Commercial Corporation responsible for boosting enterprise and output. So Chamberlain appointed the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Lord Winterton (an Irish peer who sat in the House of Commons) to speak for the Air Ministry in the Commons. This arrangement did not prove successful and in May 1938 there was a disastrous debate on air and it became clear to Chamberlain that the Secretary of State must sit in the House of Commons. Swinton was dismissed, his political career seemingly over.

After serving as Minister Resident in West Africa and being made a Companion of Honour in 1943, [7] during the Second World War Swinton's career revived when he was appointed as the first Minister of Civil Aviation, a post he held until the end of the war. During 1944 he served on the Executive Committee and on the Steering Committee at the Convention on International Civil Aviation done in Chicago, formally representing the United Kingdom. [8]

When Winston Churchill formed his peacetime government in 1951 he appointed Swinton as Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for War Materials a year later. As Deputy Leader of the House of Lords Lord Swinton was also Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations for three years. When in 1955 Churchill retired, Swinton insisted on retiring too, and he was further ennobled as the Earl of Swinton. [9] Towards the end of his life, Swinton was an Honorary Fellow of University College, Oxford. [10]


Philip Lloyd-Greame married Mary Constance "Molly" Boynton (died 1974) on 5 September 1912. [11] [ better source needed ] She was the granddaughter of industrialist Samuel Cunliffe-Lister, 1st Baron Masham who had bought the castle in 1882. In 1924, Philip and Molly Lloyd-Greame took the name of Cunliffe-Lister and moved to Swinton Park (sold in 1980 by the 2nd Earl and bought back 2000 by his nephew, Lord Masham and the latter's family). [12]

Their elder son, John, was killed in the Second World War, leaving two sons of his own, of whom the elder grandson succeeded his grandfather as the 2nd Earl of Swinton, and was succeeded 2006 by his younger brother as the 3rd Earl of Swinton. The third Earl has two sons, both of whom are now married. [13]

Titles and styles


  1. "No. 29886". The London Gazette (Supplement). 29 December 1916. p. 37.
  2. Churchill to Sir Philip Cunliffe-Lister, 30 Dec 1924, Companion to Winston S. Churchill, vol.V, pt 1, p.326
  3. "No. 31840". The London Gazette (Supplement). 26 March 1920. p. 3759.
  4. "No. 32759". The London Gazette (Supplement). 24 October 1922. p. 7527.
  5. "No. 33512". The London Gazette (Supplement). 29 June 1929. p. 4355.
  6. "No. 34226". The London Gazette. 3 December 1935. p. 7659.
  7. "No. 36133". The London Gazette. 13 August 1943. p. 3645.
  8. "Chicago Conference – Committees of the Conference". International Civil Aviation Organization . Retrieved 14 March 2010.
  9. "No. 40470". The London Gazette. 6 May 1955. p. 2619.
  10. Honorary Fellows. University College Record , Volume III, Number 5, page 292, October 1960.
  11. "Philip Cunliffe-Lister, 1st Earl of Swinton". Retrieved 16 May 2019.
  12. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 19 May 2007. Retrieved 26 April 2007.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  13. Burke's Peerage, Baronetage & Knightage, vol.III, 107th ed., (London 2003), p.3838

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Parliament of the United Kingdom
New constituency Member of Parliament for Hendon
Succeeded by
Sir Reginald Blair
Political offices
Preceded by
Stanley Baldwin
President of the Board of Trade
Succeeded by
Sidney Webb
Preceded by
Sidney Webb
President of the Board of Trade
Succeeded by
William Graham
Preceded by
William Graham
President of the Board of Trade
Succeeded by
Walter Runciman
Preceded by
James Henry Thomas
Secretary of State for the Colonies
Succeeded by
Malcolm MacDonald
Preceded by
The Marquess of Londonderry
Secretary of State for Air
Succeeded by
Kingsley Wood
New office Minister of Civil Aviation
Succeeded by
The Lord Winster
Preceded by
A. V. Alexander
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
Succeeded by
The Lord Woolton
Preceded by
The Marquess of Salisbury
Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations
Succeeded by
The Earl of Home
Honorary titles
Preceded by
Sir Winston Churchill
Senior Privy Counsellor
Succeeded by
The Duke of Gloucester
Peerage of the United Kingdom
New creation Earl of Swinton
Succeeded by
David Cunliffe-Lister
Viscount Swinton