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
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
Member of the House of Lords
Lord Temporal
In office
4 December 1935 27 July 1972
Hereditary peerage
Preceded byPeerage 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.

Military Cross third-level military decoration of the British Armed Forces, Commonwealth officers

The Military Cross (MC) is the third-level military decoration awarded to officers and other ranks of the British Armed Forces, and formerly awarded to officers of other Commonwealth countries.

Privy Council of the United Kingdom Formal body of advisers to the sovereign in the United Kingdom

Her Majesty's Most Honourable Privy Council, usually known simply as the Privy Council of the United Kingdom or just the Privy Council, is a formal body of advisers to the Sovereign of the United Kingdom. Its membership mainly comprises senior politicians who are current or former members of either the House of Commons or the House of Lords.

Conservative Party (UK) Political party in the United Kingdom

The Conservative Party, officially the Conservative and Unionist Party, is a centre-right political party in the United Kingdom. The governing party since 2010, it is the largest in the House of Commons, with 313 Members of Parliament, and also has 249 members of the House of Lords, 4 members of the European Parliament, 31 Members of the Scottish Parliament, 11 members of the Welsh Assembly, eight members of the London Assembly and 8,916 local councillors.


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 ]

Bridlington coastal town and civil parish in East Riding of Yorkshire, England, United Kingdom

Bridlington is a coastal town and civil parish on the Holderness Coast of the North Sea, situated in the unitary authority and ceremonial county of the East Riding of Yorkshire approximately 28 miles (45 km) north of Hull and 34 miles (55 km) east of York. The Gypsey Race river runs through the town and emerges into the North Sea in the town harbour. In the 2011 Census the population of the parish was 35,369.

Bishop of Ossory

The Bishop of Ossory is an episcopal title which takes its name after the ancient of Kingdom of Ossory in the Province of Leinster, Ireland. In the Roman Catholic Church it remains a separate title, but in the Church of Ireland it has been united with other bishoprics.

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 ]

Winchester College school in Winchester, Hampshire, England

Winchester College is an independent boarding school for boys in the British public school tradition, situated in Winchester, Hampshire. It has existed in its present location for over 600 years. It is the oldest of the original seven English public schools defined by the Clarendon Commission and regulated by the Public Schools Act 1868.

Public school (United Kingdom) Type of independent school in England and Wales

A public school in England and Wales traditionally refers to one of seven schools given independence from direct jurisdiction by the Public Schools Act 1868: Charterhouse, Eton College, Harrow School, Rugby School, Shrewsbury School, Westminster School, and Winchester College. These were all-male boarding schools, but many now accept day pupils as well as boarders, and the 'public school' label now includes two day schools, St Paul's and the Merchant Taylors'.

University College, Oxford college of the University of Oxford in England

University College, is a constituent college of the University of Oxford in England. It has a claim to being the oldest college of the university, having been founded in 1249 by William of Durham.

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 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.

A member of the armed forces mentioned in dispatches is one whose name appears in an official report written by a superior officer and sent to the high command, in which his or her gallant or meritorious action in the face of the enemy is described.

Major (Maj) is a military rank which is used by both the British Army and Royal Marines. The rank is superior to captain, and subordinate to lieutenant colonel. The insignia for a major is a crown. The equivalent rank in the Royal Navy is lieutenant commander, and squadron leader in the Royal Air Force.

Western Front (World War I) main theatre of war during the First World War

The Western Front was the main theatre of war during the First World War. Following the outbreak of war in August 1914, the German Army opened the Western Front by invading Luxembourg and Belgium, then gaining military control of important industrial regions in France. The tide of the advance was dramatically turned with the Battle of the Marne. Following the Race to the Sea, both sides dug in along a meandering line of fortified trenches, stretching from the North Sea to the Swiss frontier with France, which changed little except during early 1917 and in 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]

Hendon (UK Parliament constituency) Parliamentary constituency in the United Kingdom, 1997 onwards

Hendon is a constituency created in 1997 represented in the House of Commons of the UK Parliament since 2010 by Matthew Offord of the Conservative Party. An earlier version of the seat existed between 1918-45.

House of Lords upper house in the Parliament of the United Kingdom

The House of Lords, also known as the House of Peers, is the upper house of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Membership is granted by appointment or else by heredity or official function. Like the House of Commons, it meets in the Palace of Westminster. Officially, the full name of the house is the Right Honourable the Lords Spiritual and Temporal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland in Parliament assembled.

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.

Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs has been a junior position in the British government since 1782, subordinate to both the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs and since 1945 also to the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs. The post has been based at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, which was created in 1968, by the merger of the Foreign Office, where the position was initially based, and the Commonwealth Office. Notable holders of the office include Granville Leveson-Gower, 2nd Earl Granville, John Wodehouse, 1st Earl of Kimberley, Edward Grey, 1st Viscount Grey of Fallodon, George Curzon, 1st Marquess Curzon of Kedleston, and Anthony Eden. The current holders are Alistair Burt and Henry Bellingham.

President of the Board of Trade head of the Board of Trade, a committee of the Privy Council of the United Kingdom

The President of the Board of Trade is head of the Board of Trade. This is a committee of the Privy Council of the United Kingdom, first established as a temporary committee of inquiry in the 17th century, that evolved gradually into a government department with a diverse range of functions. The current holder is Liam Fox, the Secretary of State for International Trade.

Bonar Law former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom

Andrew Bonar Law, commonly called Bonar Law, was a British Conservative politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1922 to 1923.

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 succeed 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. [ dead 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