Michael Spicer

William Michael Hardy Spicer, Baron Spicer, PC (22 January 1943 – 29 May 2019) was a British politician and life peer who was a Conservative member of the House of Lords from 2010 until 2019. He served as Member of Parliament for West Worcestershire from 1974 to 2010 and was a minister from 1984 to 1990. He later served as chairman of the 1922 Committee from 2001 to 2010.

The Lord Spicer
Michael Spicer MP.jpg
Chairman of the 1922 Committee
In office
June 2001 – May 2010
Preceded bySir Archie Hamilton
Succeeded bySir Graham Brady
Member of the House of Lords
Lord Temporal
In office
8 July 2010 – 29 May 2019
Life peerage
Member of Parliament
for West Worcestershire
(South Worcestershire, 1974–1997)
In office
28 February 1974 – 12 April 2010
Preceded byGerald Nabarro
Succeeded byHarriett Baldwin
Personal details
William Michael Hardy Spicer

(1943-01-22)22 January 1943
Bath, Somerset, England
Died29 May 2019(2019-05-29) (aged 76)
Political partyConservative
Patricia Ann Hunter
(m. 1967)
Alma mater
AwardsKnight Bachelor (1996)

Early lifeEdit

He was born in Bath, Somerset, to Lt. Col. (later Brigadier) L. Hardy Spicer and Muriel, daughter of Wallis G. Carter of Bath.[1] Spicer was educated in Vienna, at Gaunts House Preparatory School and Wellington College, and received a degree in economics from Emmanuel College, Cambridge. After graduation, he worked as a financial journalist for The Statist, the Daily Mail and The Sunday Times. He was Director of Conservative Systems Research Centre from 1968 to 1970, and managing director of Economic Models Ltd from 1970 to 1980.

Parliamentary careerEdit

Spicer joined the Conservative Party, and at the 1966 general election, he challenged Manny Shinwell in the safe Labour Easington constituency as the youngest parliamentary candidate in the country against the eldest. He stood in Easington again at the 1970 general election before he was elected at the February 1974 general election for South Worcestershire. He represented South Worcestershire until 1997. When boundary changes abolished the constituency; he then moved to the West Worcestershire seat, which he represented until his retirement from the Commons.

After the 1979 general election, which swept the Conservatives to power, he became a Parliamentary Private Secretary at the Department of Trade. He was later made a Deputy Chairman of the Conservative Party. He became a Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Department of Transport in 1984 and served until 1987 with specific responsibility for aviation.

In 1987, he moved to the Department of Energy, again as a Parliamentary Under-Secretary, this time with responsibility for electricity and coal. In January 1990, he was promoted to become a Minister of State at the Department of the Environment, but after the ousting of Margaret Thatcher in November 1990, he left the government payroll over his opposition to British participation in the European Exchange Rate Mechanism.[2]

On leaving the government, he became the chairman of the Parliamentary and Scientific Committee in the House of Commons. In 1993, he founded the eurosceptic European Research Group within the Conservative Party.[2] In the 1996 New Year Honours[3] he received a knighthood, with the honour conferred by Queen Elizabeth II on 13 February 1996.[4] After the 1997 general election he became a member of the Treasury Select Committee.

He was an author and had a number of books published, including The Spicer Diaries.[citation needed]

His majority declined in 1997 in keeping with the general trend across the country, but he kept his seat which had become West Worcestershire after boundary changes that year. His majority almost doubled four years later, at the 2001 general election. However, unlike most other Conservative MPs, he failed to increase his majority in 2005; instead, it was more than halved, and he held one of the Conservatives' most marginal seats against the Liberal Democrats, who had a 'decapitation' strategy.

After the 2001 general election, Spicer was elected Chairman of the 1922 Committee, a position that he held until he stood down in 2010.

As chairman of the 1922 Committee, he had the distinction of presiding over more leadership elections than any of his predecessors since Iain Duncan Smith, Michael Howard and David Cameron were all elected during his tenure.

In the Commons, he became known for asking short questions, usually of one-sentence questions to government ministers and at Prime Minister's Questions and once simply asking Gordon Brown, "Will the Prime Minister confirm that he will soldier on to the bitter end?"[5] On another occasion, he asked Brown, "Why are there always so many strikes at the end of a Labour government?"[6]

On 26 March 2006, Spicer announced that he would not contest the Worcestershire West seat at the 2010 election and that he would retire as an MP.[citation needed]

Later lifeEdit

He was created a life peer on 8 July 2010 as Baron Spicer, of Cropthorne in the County of Worcestershire.[7]

He was sworn of the Privy Council in 2013; as a peer, he acquired the post-nominal letters "PC" for life.

Coat of arms of Michael Spicer
A demi-lion Or resting its sinister paw on a Ministerial Box Proper.
Gules a cross moline Argent charged with another Azure between four quill pens in bend sinister Argent quilled Or each surmounted by a paint brush in bend Or the ferrule Argent.
On either side a lion resting the exterior paw on the grip of a tennis racquet the head downwards Or.
Et Facere Et Pati Fortia (To Act And Suffer Bravely)[8]


Spicer died from complications of Parkinson's disease and leukaemia on 29 May 2019.[9]


  1. ^ Forthcoming Marriages, The Times, 10 September 1940
  2. ^ a b "Michael Spicer, founder of European Research Group, dies at 76". The Guardian. 29 May 2019. Retrieved 29 May 2019.
  3. ^ "No. 54255". The London Gazette (Supplement). 30 December 1995. p. 2.
  4. ^ "No. 54537". The London Gazette. 27 September 1996. p. 12875.
  5. ^ "Engagements: 14 Oct 2009: House of Commons debates".
  6. ^ "Engagements: 18 Jun 2008: House of Commons debates". TheyWorkForYou. Retrieved 15 September 2020.
  7. ^ "No. 59487". The London Gazette. 13 July 2010. p. 13285.
  8. ^ Debrett's Peerage. 2019. p. 4435.
  9. ^ Wills, Ella (29 May 2019). "Lord Michael Spicer, former chairman of Conservative 1922 Committee, dies aged 76". Evening Standard. Retrieved 29 May 2019.

External linksEdit

News itemsEdit

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by Member of Parliament for South Worcestershire
Feb. 19741997
Constituency abolished
New constituency Member of Parliament for West Worcestershire
Succeeded by
Political offices
Preceded by Chairman of the 1922 Committee
Succeeded by
Other offices
New title
European Research Group founded
Chairman of the European Research Group
Succeeded by