Sir Anthony George Berry (12 February 1925 – 12 October 1984)[1] was a British Conservative politician. He served as Member of Parliament (MP) for Enfield Southgate and a whip in Margaret Thatcher's government.

Sir Anthony Berry
1978 portrait
Vice-Chamberlain of the Household
In office
5 May 1979 – 30 September 1981
Prime MinisterMargaret Thatcher
Preceded byDonald Coleman
Succeeded byCarol Mather
Comptroller of the Household
In office
30 September 1981 – 17 February 1983
Prime MinisterMargaret Thatcher
Preceded bySpencer Le Marchant
Succeeded byCarol Mather
Treasurer of the Household
In office
17 February – 11 June 1983
Prime MinisterMargaret Thatcher
Preceded byJohn Stradling Thomas
Succeeded byJohn Cope
Member of Parliament
for Enfield, Southgate
Southgate (1964–1983)
In office
15 October 1964 – 12 October 1984
Preceded bySir Beverley Baxter
Succeeded byMichael Portillo
Personal details
Anthony George Berry

(1925-02-12)12 February 1925
Eton, Buckinghamshire, England
Died12 October 1984(1984-10-12) (aged 59)
Brighton, East Sussex, England
Cause of deathBombing
Political partyConservative
Mary Burke Roche
(m. 1954; div. 1966)
Sarah Clifford-Turner
(m. 1966)
Children6, including Jo (by Roche)

Berry served as an MP for 20 years until he was killed in the Brighton hotel bombing by the Provisional IRA.

Personal life edit

Born in Eton, Buckinghamshire, Berry was the sixth and youngest son of newspaper magnate Gomer Berry, 1st Viscount Kemsley, and his wife Mary (née Holmes).

He married firstly, at Westminster in 1954, the Hon. Mary Cynthia Roche (1934-2023), a daughter of the 4th Baron Fermoy. Mary's sister, Frances, married John Spencer, 8th Earl Spencer, and so Berry was an uncle of Diana, Princess of Wales.

Berry and his wife Mary had four children: Alexandra Mary (born 1955), Antonia Ruth and Joanna Cynthia (twins, born 1957), and Edward Anthony Morys (born 1960). They divorced in 1966.

He then married Sarah Clifford-Turner at Chelsea in 1966 and had two more children: George (born 1967), and Sasha Jane (born 1969).

Career edit

In 1962 he was appointed High Sheriff of Glamorgan.[2]

He was elected as Conservative MP for Southgate (later Enfield Southgate) at the 1964 general election,[1] and served in Margaret Thatcher's government after the Conservatives won the 1979 general election. He served as Vice-Chamberlain of the Household between 1979 and 1981, Comptroller of the Household from 1981 to 1983 and was appointed Treasurer of the Household in 1983. He was knighted in December 1983.[3] At the time of his death he was Deputy Chief Whip in Thatcher's government.[4]

Death edit

On 12 October 1984, Berry was killed in the Brighton hotel bombing, when a bomb was planted in the Grand Brighton Hotel during the Conservative Party Conference. He was 59.[5] He was survived by his wife, Lady Berry, who was injured in the blast.[4] His death occurred three days before the 20th anniversary of his first election to Parliament in 1964.

Berry's death in office triggered a by-election in Enfield Southgate, which was won by future Cabinet minister Michael Portillo.

In September 1986, Patrick Magee who carried out the bombing, received eight life sentences, but was released from prison in 1999 under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement.[6][7]

Since Magee's release, Berry's daughter, Jo Berry (a mother of three living in North West England), has received attention for her series of controversial meetings with the Brighton bomber, as part of her quest to come to terms with the bombing and, in her own words, "to bring something positive out of it". Some of their discussions were filmed for an Everyman programme, shown on BBC2 in December 2001. She has received some criticism from other families of IRA victims for these meetings.[5][8]

A ceremony was held in Berry's Enfield Southgate constituency on 12 October 2009, the 25th anniversary of the bombing, at which his widow (wife of Lord Donoughue) and her daughter Sasha unveiled a plaque in his honour at the newly renamed Sir Anthony Berry House in Chaseville Parade, Winchmore Hill.[4]

References edit

  1. ^ a b Hon. Anthony Berry (Hansard)
  2. ^ "No. 42623". The London Gazette (Supplement). 16 March 1962. p. 2145.
  3. ^ "No. 49575". The London Gazette. 20 December 1983. p. 16802.
  4. ^ a b c Crown, Hannah (12 October 2009). "Brighton bombing: 25th anniversary of Sir Anthony Berry's death remembered". Archived from the original on 4 June 2011. Retrieved 14 October 2009.
  5. ^ a b "Brighton bomb: Filming forgiveness". BBC News. 13 December 2001. Retrieved 8 November 2019.
  6. ^ "Patrick Magee: The IRA Brighton bomber". BBC News. 22 June 1999. Retrieved 8 November 2019.
  7. ^ "Outrage as Brighton bomber freed". BBC News. 22 June 1999. Retrieved 8 November 2019.
  8. ^ "Looking the Brighton bomber in the eye". BBC News. 13 December 2001. Retrieved 8 November 2019.
Political offices
Preceded by Vice-Chamberlain of the Household
Succeeded by
Preceded by Comptroller of the Household
Succeeded by
Preceded by Treasurer of the Household
Succeeded by
Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by Member of Parliament for Southgate
Constituency renamed
New constituency Member of Parliament for Enfield Southgate
Succeeded by