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Alec Douglas-Home

Alexander Frederick Douglas-Home (July 2, 1903 - October 9, 1995) was a Scottish politician, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom for a year from October 1963 to October 1964.

He was born in London, the eldest son of a Scottish earl, and from 1918 was styled Lord Dunglass. His brother was the dramatist, William Douglas-Home[?]. After an education at Eton College and Christ Church, Oxford, he became a Conservative MP in 1931. His aristocratic roots gave him a head start in the party as it then was, and he was soon appointed secretary to Neville Chamberlain, witnessing at first hand the latter's hopeless attempts to stave off World War II. He lost his parliamentary seat in the Khaki Election[?] of 1945, but regained it in 1950, being forced to resign it again in 1951, when he became 14th Earl of Home (normally known simply as "Lord Home") and enter the House of Lords. Home became Foreign Secretary in 1960. In 1962, he was created a knight of the Order of the Thistle[?], which would entitle him to be called "Sir" after resigning his earldom.

In 1963, the sudden resignation of the Conservative prime minister, Harold Macmillan, as an indirect result of the Profumo scandal, Lord Home, by a murky process the details of which were not clear, became chosen to succeed him, despite the support of a majority of the party for Deputy Prime Minister Richard Austen Butler[?]. Home resigned his peerage (under a law which was only passed in 1963) in order to be qualified to re-enter parliament as an MP and take on the leadership, becoming merely Sir Alec Douglas-Home. The government had been too badly damaged to survive, however, and the general election of October, 1964, was won by the Labour Party. Home remained leader of the party until July of the following year, when Edward Heath defeated him in an internal election. When, in 1970, Heath became prime minister, Home returned to the post of Foreign Secretary which was deemed to suit him so well.

In 1974, following the defeat of the Heath government by that of Harold Wilson, Home was restored to the House of Lords when he accepted a life peerage[?], and became known as Baron Home of the Hirsel (The Hirsel[?] being his family seat in Berwickshire[?]) for the rest of his life. On his death, he was succeeded as Earl of Home by his son, David.

Autobiography: The Way The Wind Blows (1976)



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