William Legge, 10th Earl of Dartmouth

William Legge, 10th Earl of Dartmouth FCA (born 23 September 1949), styled Viscount Lewisham from 1962 to 1997, is a British politician and hereditary peer, usually known as William Dartmouth.


The Earl of Dartmouth

William-(The-Earl-of)-Dartmouth -United-Kingdom-MIP-Europaparlamentby-Leila-Paul-4.jpg
Deputy Chair of the UK Independence Party
In office
24 February 2016 – 22 January 2018
Served alongside
Diane James (2016)
Suzanne Evans (2016–2017)
LeaderNigel Farage
Diane James
Paul Nuttall
Steve Crowther[1] (acting)
Henry Bolton
Preceded byNeil Hamilton
Succeeded byMargot Parker
UKIP Spokesperson for International Trade
In office
24 February 2016 – 22 January 2018
Preceded byRoger Knapman
Succeeded byVacant
Member of the European Parliament for South West England
In office
14 July 2009 – 1 July 2019
Preceded byRoger Knapman
Succeeded byJames Glancy
Member of the House of Lords
Lord Temporal
In office
14 December 1997 – 11 November 1999
Hereditary peerage
Preceded byGerald Legge
Succeeded byHouse of Lords Act 1999
Personal details
Born (1949-09-23) 23 September 1949 (age 71)
Westminster, London, England
Political partyIndependent (2018–present)
UK Independence Party (2007–2018)
Other political
affiliations
Conservative (before 2007)
Spouse(s)
Fiona Campbell
(m. 2009)
Children1
MotherRaine McCorquodale
FatherGerald Legge, 9th Earl of Dartmouth
EducationEton College
Alma materChrist Church, Oxford
Harvard Business School
Websitewilliamdartmouth.com

From 2009 to 2019, Dartmouth sat in the European Parliament as a Member of the European Parliament (MEP) for South West England. He was elected for the UK Independence Party (UKIP) and served as national spokesman on trade from 2010 to 2018.[2] He resigned from UKIP in 2018 due to his dissatisfaction with the way the party was changing.

Early life and educationEdit

Dartmouth is the eldest son of the 9th Earl of Dartmouth and Raine McCorquodale, the daughter of romantic novelist Dame Barbara Cartland. He became a stepbrother of Lady Diana Spencer when in 1976 his mother married secondly Earl Spencer.[3]

Dartmouth was educated at Eton and Christ Church, Oxford, where he was elected an officer of the Oxford University Conservative Association and of the Oxford Union Society. He graduated BA, later promoted to MA,[4] and proceeded to the Harvard Business School, where he graduated MBA.[5]

Life and careerEdit

Dartmouth qualified as a chartered accountant, which was also the occupation of his father Gerald Legge, 9th Earl of Dartmouth.[3]

At the general election of February 1974, as Viscount Lewisham, Dartmouth unsuccessfully contested Leigh, Lancashire, for the Conservatives, and at the election of October 1974 he fought Stockport South for them.[3]

In 1975, he became a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants.[3] In 1997, he inherited his father’s peerages, and as Earl of Dartmouth sat as a Conservative peer in the House of Lords until 1999, when the first Blair ministry’s House of Lords Act 1999 removed all but 92 hereditary peers from Parliament. In January 2007, Dartmouth announced he was leaving the Conservatives in favour of the UK Independence Party (UKIP), citing concerns about the policies of David Cameron, then Leader of HM Opposition.[6]

At the European Parliament election of 2009, Dartmouth was elected as the second UKIP MEP for the South West England region and re-elected in 2014, when he was the first UKIP MEP on the regional list. In the European Parliament he sat with the Europe of Freedom and Democracy group (later the Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy) and served on the Committee on International Trade. In 2010, he became UKIP’s national spokesman on Trade and Industry and in February 2016 was appointed as one of the party's two national Deputy Chairmen.[2] He was the author of many UKIP, EFD, and EFDD publications. On 22 January 2018, following UKIP's National Executive Committee vote of no confidence in leader Henry Bolton on the previous day, Dartmouth stood down as trade and industry spokesman, placing further pressure on Bolton to resign.[7]

In September 2018, Dartmouth resigned from the UK Independence Party, citing concerns about the behaviour of the new Leader, Gerard Batten, and complaining that the party was “widely perceived as both homophobic and anti-Islamic”.[8] Dartmouth condemned Batten for leading the party towards the far right and denounced his approval of and support for extreme right-wing groups and “outlandish individuals”.[9] Dartmouth said he would not be joining another political party and would serve the rest of his term in the European Parliament as an Independent, continuing to represent the South West of England and Gibraltar.[8]

Family and personal lifeEdit

 
Legge arms

In June 2009, Dartmouth married Melbourne-born former model Fiona Campbell, now styled Lady Dartmouth,[10] whose first husband, Matt Handbury, is a nephew of Rupert Murdoch.[11] They subsequently divorced.

Dartmouth has a son, Gerald Glen Kavanagh-Legge (born 2005), from his previous relationship with the television producer Claire Kavanagh.[12]

The current heir presumptive to the earldom of Dartmouth, and other peerages, is the present Earl's younger brother, the Hon. Rupert Legge.[3]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Steve Crowther (statement). "UKIP-Interim leader selected". UKIP-News and Media.
  2. ^ a b "UKIP leader Nigel Farage drops Hamilton as deputy chair". BBC News. 24 February 2016.
  3. ^ a b c d e Burkes Peerage volume 1 (2003), p. 1036
  4. ^ "www.oxfordmail.co.uk". oxfordmail.co.uk. Retrieved 21 July 2016.
  5. ^ Davison, Emma (10 November 2009). "Our House: Inside the home of Huddersfield's aristocracy". huddersfieldexaminer. Retrieved 29 January 2019.
  6. ^ "Conservative peer defects to UKIP". BBC News. 20 January 2007. Retrieved 14 May 2008.
  7. ^ Walker, Peter (22 January 2018). "Ukip leader under more pressure to step down as top party figures quit". The Guardian. Retrieved 22 January 2018.
  8. ^ a b MEP Lord Dartmouth quits UKIP saying party is 'widely perceived as both homophobic and anti-Islamic', Sky News, 26 September 2018.
  9. ^ Main page, williamdartmouth.com, 26 September 2018.
  10. ^ Hornery, Andrew (15 January 2013). "Good line for bodice ripper". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 21 July 2016.
  11. ^ "The Genealogy of the Murdoch Family". kittybrewster.com. Retrieved 21 July 2016.
  12. ^ Gerald Glen G J Kavanagh-Legge, in England & Wales, Civil Registration Birth Index, 1916-2007, ancestry.co.uk, accessed 1 July 2021: “Name: Gerald Glen G J Kavanagh-Legge / Registration Date: Apr 2005 / District and Subdistrict: 258/1B /Registration District: Westminster / Mother's Maiden Name: Kavanagh / Register Number: B97C / Entry Number: 193”

External linksEdit

Peerage of Great Britain
Preceded by
Gerald Legge
Earl of Dartmouth
1997–present
Member of the House of Lords
(1997–1999)
Incumbent
Heir:
Hon. Rupert Legge