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William (Willie) Stephen Ian Whitelaw


(1st Viscount Whitelaw of Penrith)

1918 - 1999

Conservative politician. Brought up in Nairn, Whitelaw was born into a Scottish family with substantial lands and industrial property in Glasgow and Lanarkshire. His grandfather and great-grandfather were both Members of Parliament. He was educated at Winchester and Trinity College, Cambridge. Decorated for service in the Scots Guards Tank Battalion during World War II, he was persuaded to stand for election for East Dunbartonshire, but eventually entered Parliament as the Member for Penrith and The Borders in 1955. He was made Opposition Chief Whip in 1964. His various government posts included Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Secretary of State for Employment, Home Secretary and Deputy Prime Minister to Margaret Thatcher. In 1983, he was given the unusual honour of a hereditary peerage, created the 1st Viscount Whitelaw of Penrith. Known as a charming individual and highly effective conciliator, on his retirement in 1993 Mrs Thatcher famously commented "Every Prime Minister needs a Willie."

Whitelaw also served as President of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club.

He died without an heir.


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