Long-term Conservative Peter Carrington dies at 99

Tributes paid to the last surviving member of Churchill’s post-war government

Peter Carrington at the Ministry of Defence in Whitehall, London. Photograph: PA Wire

Peter Carrington at the Ministry of Defence in Whitehall, London. Photograph: PA Wire


Former long-term Conservative politician Peter Carrington, the last surviving member of Winston Churchill’s post-war government, has died at the age of 99.

Carrington had a number of roles over his time in his time in government, including Secretary of State for Defence during the early years of the Troubles.

He famously resigned as Margaret Thatcher’s Foreign Secretary in 1982 after taking responsibility for the Argentinian invasion of the Falkland Islands.

He had previously chaired the Lancaster House talks in 1979 which led to the establishment of the state of Zimbabwe, and later served as secretary-general of Nato from 1984-88.

The Eton-educated hereditary peer was a tank commander in the Grenadier Guards during the Second World War, winning the Military Cross in the North-Western Europe campaign.

He took up his seat in the House of Lords in 1946 and went on to become the oldest and longest-serving member of Parliament’s second chamber.

Downing Street described his death as “very sad news”, while prime minister Theresa May’s effective deputy, David Lidington, paid tribute to “a career given to public service”.

Former PM David Cameron said: “Peter Carrington was a lovely man and a great public servant.

“It was a huge honour having him to Chequers and listening to his stories of working with every Conservative leader from Winston Churchill onwards. Kindness and brilliance in equal measure; he’ll be deeply missed.”

John Major said he felt “immensely privileged” to have known Carrington.

“There are some of whom it is easy to say ‘I was proud to have known him’. Peter Carrington was one such.

“In war and in peace, he served our country with courage, grace and distinction. He never fell beneath the dignity of his office, yet leavened public life with an irreverent wit that delighted all who worked with him.

“The country has lost one of its greatest post-war statesmen. I not only feel proud to have known him, I feel immensely privileged.”

Mr Lidington, whose Aylesbury constituency in Buckinghamshire includes the Carrington family home at Bledlow, said on Twitter: “Very sorry to learn of the death of my constituent Lord Carrington, former Defence and Foreign Secretary & last surviving member of Churchill’s post-war govt.

“His career was given to public service. My deep sympathy to his family.”

International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt recalled a youthful encounter with the “kind and encouraging” Conservative peer.

“Very sad to hear of the death of Lord Carrington,” she said.

“First met him when he was Chancellor of Reading University and I was a student. He was kind, encouraging and generous with his advice.”

Carrington’s death on Monday came on the same day as the resignations of Boris Johnson and David Davis — the first time two Cabinet ministers had quit within 24 hours of each other since he and Humphrey Atkins resigned in 1982. – PA