29 December  
Search ON THIS DAY by date
Front Page |  Themes |  Witness |  Correspondents
About This Site | Text Only
1986: Harold Macmillan dies
Lord Stockton, the former Prime Minister Harold Macmillan, died peacefully today aged 92.

Members of his family were by his bedside at Birch Grove House, at Horsted Keynes, East Sussex, when he died at 1820 GMT following a short illness.

Tributes have begun flooding in for the former Conservative leader nicknamed "Super Mac".

The Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher said his death left a void in politics which could not be filled.

Fellow former Conservative Prime Minister Edward Heath described Lord Stockton as one of the most creative minds in British politics.

The family of Lord Stockton, Viscount Macmillan of Ovenden, founded the publishing house Macmillan & Company.

He was educated at Eton, then Balliol College, Oxford, and entered Parliament in 1924 after he served in World War One.

An advocate of social and economic reforms, his views were often criticised by his party for being too left wing.

But under Churchill he became minister of housing in 1951 and fulfilled his pledge to build 300,000 council houses in a year.

Memorable speech

He became prime minister in January 1957 after the Suez crisis forced Anthony Eden's resignation.

Lord Stockton led the Tories to election victory two years later under the slogan "You have never had it so good", pointing to low unemployment and a substantial rise in real earnings.

He accelerated Britain's decolonization and in 1960 gave a memorable speech in South Africa on the "winds of change" sweeping across the continent.

Mr Macmillan saw Britain's future within Europe but his bid to join the Common Market split the party and was blocked by President de Gaulle of France in January 1963.

Inflation and slow growth affected the economy.

And Mr Macmillan's handling of the Profumo Affair when minister John Profumo resigned over a liaision with Christine Keeler was judged to be poor.

In 1962 the government's general unpopularity led Mr Macmillan to abruptly dismiss six Cabinet members, an event which became known as the 'Night of the Long Knives'.

He resigned in October 1963 due to ill health and retired from the House of Commons in 1964, declining a peerage which he later accepted in 1984.

 E-mail this story to a friend

Lord Stockton, Harold Macmillan
Harold Macmillan left politics in 1964

The BBC's John Humphrys: "He pulled no punches"

In Context
Lord Stockton refrained from public comment on current affairs after his retirement.

But he broke his silence in 1976 to call for a coalition government to secure economic recovery.

He later accused Margaret Thatcher of selling the family silver regarding policies on privatisation.

He was considered to be more original and progressive than most of his generation and to have given Britons a better quality of life during his tenure as prime minister than enjoyed previously.

In retirement he worked on his memoirs, at the publishing house, and as chancellor of Oxford University.

Stories From 29 Dec

Web Links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Search ON THIS DAY by date

^^ back to top
Front Page |  Themes |  Witness |  Correspondents
©MMIII | News Sources | Privacy