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.


  • 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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