Tristan Garel-Jones

William Armand Thomas Tristan Garel-Jones, Baron Garel-Jones, PC (28 February 1941 – 23 March 2020) was a British politician. A member of the Conservative Party, he served as the Member of Parliament (MP) for Watford from 1979–97, before being made a life peer in 1997.

The Lord Garel-Jones

Presidente Abugattás recibió a Parlamentario Británico (cropped).jpg
Minister of State for Europe
In office
14 July 1990 – 27 May 1993
Prime MinisterJohn Major
Preceded byFrancis Maude
Succeeded byDavid Heathcoat-Amory
Treasurer of the Household
In office
25 July 1989 – 14 July 1990
Prime MinisterMargaret Thatcher
Preceded byDavid Hunt
Succeeded byAlastair Goodlad
Comptroller of the Household
In office
26 July 1988 – 25 July 1989
Prime MinisterMargaret Thatcher
Preceded byRobert Boscawen
Succeeded byAlastair Goodlad
Vice-Chamberlain of the Household
In office
16 October 1986 – 26 July 1988
Prime MinisterMargaret Thatcher
Preceded byRobert Boscawen
Succeeded byMichael Neubert
Member of the House of Lords
Lord Temporal
In office
22 October 1997 – 24 March 2020
Life Peerage
Member of Parliament
for Watford
In office
3 May 1979 – 1 May 1997
Preceded byRaphael Tuck
Succeeded byClaire Ward
Personal details
William Armand Thomas Tristan Garel-Jones

(1941-02-28)28 February 1941
Gorseinon, Wales
Died24 March 2020
(aged 79)
Candeleda, Spain
Political partyConservative

Following his election to Parliament, Garel-Jones served in various whip positions and also as a junior minister at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.[1][2]

Early lifeEdit

Born in Gorseinon, Wales,[3] the son of Bernard Garel-Jones and Meriel (née Williams),[4][5] he and his family moved first to Las Palmas in the Canary Islands prior to settling in Madrid, Spain, when he was seven years old.[6] Garel-Jones was educated at the King's School, Canterbury.[1] His parents established successful language schools in Spain during this time. He moved back to the United Kingdom and worked as a merchant banker prior to embarking on a career in politics.

Parliamentary careerEdit

Garel-Jones first contested Caernarvon in February 1974, but was defeated by the future leader of Plaid Cymru, Dafydd Wigley. He was elected for Watford at the 1979 General Election.

Whips OfficeEdit

Viewed as an effective whip who successfully delivered parliamentary votes in favour of Thatcher's legislation, Garel-Jones was nonetheless seen as a mixture of Machiavelli and Ivan the Terrible by the Thatcherite right-wing.[7]

Garel-Jones is said to have been the inspiration for the fictional scheming Whip Francis Urquhart in the novel House of Cards and subsequent BBC TV drama adaptation.[8]


Garel-Jones was a leading pro-European, and remained so, despite the Conservative party moving to a more Eurosceptic position by the end of the Thatcher era. This created suspicion among right-wing Thatcherites, who thought of him as one of the "wets". However, he voted for Margaret Thatcher in the first round of the leadership challenge by Michael Heseltine, but reserved the right to vote against her if it went to a second round. He subsequently voted for Douglas Hurd.[7]

After he stepped down from the House of Commons in 1997, he was given a life peerage as Baron Garel-Jones, of Watford in the County of Hertfordshire.[9]

Other interestsEdit

Garel-Jones was a well-known Hispanophile.[10] A dedicated defender of bullfighting, he worked as a bullfighting critic.[6] He was also a supporter of Humanists UK, and a vice chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Humanist Group.[1] He was an honorary associate of the National Secular Society.[11]

Personal lifeEdit

In 1966, Garel-Jones married Catalina Garrigues Carnicer, niece of the Spanish bullfighting critic Antonio Díaz-Cañabate [es].[12][13] They had four sons and a daughter.[5] His death in Candeleda, Spain, where he lived,[14] was announced on 24 March 2020.[15]

In popular cultureEdit

Garel-Jones was portrayed by Hugh Fraser in the 2004 BBC production of The Alan Clark Diaries, and by Guy Henry in 2009's Margaret.


  1. ^ a b c "Lord Garel-Jones of Watford, PC". Archived from the original on 24 March 2012. Retrieved 4 May 2010.
  2. ^ "No. 54851". The London Gazette. 1 August 1997. p. 2.
  3. ^ Pérez-Maura, Ramón (3 May 2009). "Un lord en Candeleda". ABC. Archived from the original on 16 December 2018. Retrieved 13 December 2018.
  4. ^ Burke's Peerage, Baronetage and Knightage, 2003, vol. 2, p. 1525
  5. ^ a b "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 18 June 2019. Retrieved 18 June 2019.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  6. ^ a b "Lord Garel-Jones, premio Fundación Banco Santander a las relaciones hispano-británicas". ABC. 3 April 2013. Archived from the original on 16 December 2018. Retrieved 13 December 2018.
  7. ^ a b "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 25 September 2015. Retrieved 1 November 2017.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  8. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 20 July 2014. Retrieved 8 July 2014.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  9. ^ "No. 54932". The London Gazette. 28 October 1997. p. 1.
  10. ^ George, Stephen (1 January 1997). "Britain and the IGC". In Geoffrey Edwards and Alfred Pijpers (ed.). Politics of European Treaty Reform. London & Washington: Pinter. p. 106. ISBN 1-85567-359-2.
  11. ^ "National Secular Society Honorary Associates". National Secular Society. Retrieved 26 August 2019.
  12. ^ "El crítico taurino Tristan Garel-Jones, Premio Fundación Banco Santander". El Confidencial. 3 April 2014. Archived from the original on 16 December 2018. Retrieved 13 December 2018.
  13. ^ "John Major invita a los británicos desde Ávila a 'asomarse a la verdadera España'". El Mundo. 2 September 2009. Archived from the original on 16 December 2018. Retrieved 13 December 2018.
  14. ^ "Fallece en Candeleda el político Tristan Garel-Jones". Diario de Ávila. 25 March 2020.
  15. ^ [1]

External linksEdit

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Raphael Tuck
Member of Parliament for Watford
Succeeded by
Claire Ward
Political offices
Preceded by
Robert Boscawen
Vice-Chamberlain of the Household
Succeeded by
Michael Neubert
Comptroller of the Household
Succeeded by
Alastair Goodlad
Preceded by
David Hunt
Treasurer of the Household
Preceded by
Francis Maude
Minister for Europe
Succeeded by
David Heathcoat-Amory