Alec Douglas-Home

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Alec Douglas-Home

Alexander Frederick Douglas-Home, Baron Home of the Hirsel (2 July 19039 October 1995) was a British Conservative politician who served one year as Prime Minister. Long service in the governments of the 1950s and as Foreign Secretary led to his emergence as a compromise candidate in the feverish negotiations of 1963, but he narrowly failed to rebuild the Conservatives' popularity enough to win the 1964 general election.


  • I suppose, when you come to think of it, he is the fourteenth Mr Wilson.
    • David Butler and Gareth Butler, "Twentieth Century British Political Facts", p. 292.
    • Television interview with Kenneth Harris, 21 October 1963, responding to Wilson (see below).
  • Now you can see me in the flesh, and I don't really look as I'm made to look on television.
    • D.E. Butler and Anthony King, "The British General Election of 1964", p. 147.
    • Remark frequently made during the 1964 general election campaign.
  • Russia's intention has been to build up her military forces everywhere to a point where she puts the maximum economic strain on democracies, and through that economic strain she weakens the political will of the democracies to defend themselves. ... The lesson seems to me to be clear. NATO must be underpinned by the maximum financial subvention, and that is best raised by the countries who are partners in the Economic Community. And not only that; in Europe we must have the will to defend our own way of life which we have chosen for ourselves which is only born out of and nourished in political unity. Therefore, I myself look upon the political side of the European Community as perhaps the most important of all.
    • Speech in the House of Lords (21 April 1975)
  • There is the chance, too, if we have the imagination to see it, to resurrect the vitality of European civilisation and give to our new generation of Europeans the inspiration to set against the alien but undeniably dynamic, almost religious, creed of Communism. At this point in time when we are seeking reconciliation and yet are faced with increasing evidence of militancy everywhere, I look to an active European Community as a necessary complement to the NATO Alliance.
    • Speech in the House of Lords (21 April 1975)
  • I think there is a strong reason for having PR as the method of election to the House of Lords because I do not think anyone would want to reproduce the House of Commons of the day in the second Chamber.
    • Press conference at Conservative Central Office (20 March 1978), quoted in The Times (21 March 1978), p. 2


  • Douglas-Home: Can you not make me look better than I do on television? I look rather scraggy, like a ghost.
    Make-up girl: No.
    Douglas-Home: Why not?
    Make-up girl: Because you have a head like a skull.
    Douglas-Home: Doesn't everyone have a head like a skull?
    Make-up girl: No.
    • Michael Cockerell, "Live from Number 10", p. 105.
    • A story told by Douglas-Home about going on television in the 1964 election.
  • In 1940, he was diagnosed with spinal tuberculosis and was immobilised for two years. Afterwards, he said that it was the first time in medical history that they had succeeded in inserting a backbone into a politician.


  • This is a counter-revolution. After half a century of democratic advance, of social revolution, of rising expectations, the whole process has ground to a halt with a fourteenth Earl.
    • "Labour would reject move to postpone M.P.s' return", The Times, 21 October 1963, p. 6.
    • Harold Wilson speaking at Manchester, 19 October 1963, shortly after Douglas-Home's appointment as Prime Minister.

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