Michael Stewart, Baron Stewart of Fulham
Robert Michael Maitland Stewart, Baron Stewart of Fulham, CH
Order of the Companions of Honour
The Order of the Companions of Honour is an order of the Commonwealth realms. It was founded by King George V in June 1917, as a reward for outstanding achievements in the arts, literature, music, science, politics, industry or religion....

, PC
Privy Council of the United Kingdom
Her Majesty's Most Honourable Privy Council, usually known simply as the Privy Council, is a formal body of advisers to the Sovereign in the United Kingdom...

 (6 November 1906 – 13 March 1990) was a British
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

Labour Party (UK)
The Labour Party is a centre-left democratic socialist party in the United Kingdom. It surpassed the Liberal Party in general elections during the early 1920s, forming minority governments under Ramsay MacDonald in 1924 and 1929-1931. The party was in a wartime coalition from 1940 to 1945, after...

 politician and Fabian Socialist who served twice as Foreign Secretary
Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs
The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, commonly referred to as the Foreign Secretary, is a senior member of Her Majesty's Government heading the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and regarded as one of the Great Offices of State...

 in the first cabinet of Harold Wilson
Harold Wilson
James Harold Wilson, Baron Wilson of Rievaulx, KG, OBE, FRS, FSS, PC was a British Labour Member of Parliament, Leader of the Labour Party. He was twice Prime Minister of the United Kingdom during the 1960s and 1970s, winning four general elections, including a minority government after the...


Early life

The son of Robert Wallace Stewart, author and lecturer, and Eva Stewart née Blaxley, Stewart was born in Bromley and educated at Brownhill Road Elementary School, Catford
Catford is a district in south London, England, located in the London Borough of Lewisham. It is situated south-east of Charing Cross. The area is identified in the London Plan as one of 35 major centres in Greater London.-Architecture:...

, Christ's Hospital
Christ's Hospital
Christ's Hospital is an English coeducational independent day and boarding school with Royal Charter located in the Sussex countryside just south of Horsham in Horsham District, West Sussex, England...

 and St. John's College, Oxford, where he graduated with a first class BA
Bachelor of Arts
A Bachelor of Arts , from the Latin artium baccalaureus, is a bachelor's degree awarded for an undergraduate course or program in either the liberal arts, the sciences, or both...

 in philosophy
Philosophy is the study of general and fundamental problems, such as those connected with existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language. Philosophy is distinguished from other ways of addressing such problems by its critical, generally systematic approach and its reliance on rational...

 in 1929.

While at university, Stewart was President of the Oxford Union
Oxford Union
The Oxford Union Society, commonly referred to simply as the Oxford Union, is a debating society in the city of Oxford, Britain, whose membership is drawn primarily but not exclusively from the University of Oxford...

, and of St John's Labour Club (1929). He began his career as an official in the Royal Household during 1931. He worked for a short period with the Secretariat of the League of Nations
League of Nations
The League of Nations was an intergovernmental organization founded as a result of the Paris Peace Conference that ended the First World War. It was the first permanent international organization whose principal mission was to maintain world peace...

, before becoming a schoolmaster, first at the Merchant Taylors' School
Merchant Taylors' School, Northwood
Merchant Taylors' School is a British independent day school for boys, originally located in the City of London. Since 1933 it has been located at Sandy Lodge in the Three Rivers district of Hertfordshire ....

 in London, then at Coopers' Company's School
Coopers' Company and Coborn School
The Coopers' Company and Coborn School is a 11-18 school in Upminster, in the London Borough of Havering, and is part of Essex.-Admissions:The school is a non-selective voluntary aided state comprehensive school describe by Ofsted as "an exceptional school of real excellence". The school excels at...

, Mile End
Mile End
Mile End is an area within the East End of London, England, and part of the London Borough of Tower Hamlets. It is located east-northeast of Charing Cross...

, and then at Frome
Frome is a town and civil parish in northeast Somerset, England. Located at the eastern end of the Mendip Hills, the town is built on uneven high ground, and centres around the River Frome. The town is approximately south of Bath, east of the county town, Taunton and west of London. In the 2001...

, Somerset
The ceremonial and non-metropolitan county of Somerset in South West England borders Bristol and Gloucestershire to the north, Wiltshire to the east, Dorset to the south-east, and Devon to the south-west. It is partly bounded to the north and west by the Bristol Channel and the estuary of the...

. During World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, Stewart served in the Middle East
Middle East
The Middle East is a region that encompasses Western Asia and Northern Africa. It is often used as a synonym for Near East, in opposition to Far East...

, joining the Intelligence Corps in 1942, before transferring to the Army Educational Corps in 1943. He was promoted to captain in 1944.

On 26 July 1941 he married Mary Birkinshaw
Mary Stewart, Baroness Stewart of Alvechurch
Mary Elizabeth Henderson Stewart, Baroness Stewart of Alvechurch, née Birkinshaw, JP was a British politician and educator...

, later Baroness Stewart of Alvechurch; they had no children. They were one of the few couples who both held titles in their own right.

Political career

Stewart had contested the Lewisham West constituency in 1931 and 1935, and Fulham East
Fulham East (UK Parliament constituency)
Fulham East was a borough constituency in the Metropolitan Borough of Fulham in London. It was represented in the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom from 1918 to 1955...

 in 1936; after the war he became MP for Fulham East 1945-55, then for Fulham 1955-74, and Hammersmith, Fulham
Fulham (UK Parliament constituency)
Fulham was a borough constituency based around the London district of Fulham. It was represented in the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom from 1885 until 1918 and from 1955 to 1997....

 1974-79. Soon after his initial election, he was made a junior whip, then a junior minister, as Under-Secretary of State for War (1947–51) and later as Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Supply (May–October 1951). Following Labour's defeat in the 1951 election
United Kingdom general election, 1951
The 1951 United Kingdom general election was held eighteen months after the 1950 general election, which the Labour Party had won with a slim majority of just five seats...

, Stewart was a rising figure on the shadow front bench, serving as Shadow Minister of Education (1955–59) and then as Shadow Minister of Housing and Local Government (1959–64).

Stewart was Fabian Summer School Director in 1952 and Lecturer in 1954. He was Fabian New Year School lecturer in 1954-55 and Publicist in 1956. Stewart is listed as a member of the Fabian Society International Bureau Committee during 1957-58 and was mentioned in Fabian News Nov-Dec 1964 as a former member of the Fabian Executive Committee.

Government 1964-70

When Harold Wilson
Harold Wilson
James Harold Wilson, Baron Wilson of Rievaulx, KG, OBE, FRS, FSS, PC was a British Labour Member of Parliament, Leader of the Labour Party. He was twice Prime Minister of the United Kingdom during the 1960s and 1970s, winning four general elections, including a minority government after the...

 became Prime Minister in 1964, Stewart was appointed Secretary of State for Education and Science. He was promoted to Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs in January 1965. He was described by the press as relatively unknown to the public but was extremely well known within Fabian Socialist circles. He became Secretary of State for Economic Affairs
Secretary of State for Economic Affairs
The Secretary of State for Economic Affairs was briefly an office of Her Majesty's government in the United Kingdom. It was established by Harold Wilson in October 1964...

 in 1966. From 1966 to 1968, he was First Secretary of State
First Secretary of State
First Secretary of State is an occasionally used title within the Government of the United Kingdom, principally regarded as purely honorific. The title, which implies seniority over all other Secretaries of State, has no specific powers or authority attached to it beyond that of any other Secretary...

. He returned to the Foreign Office from 1968 to 1970. As foreign secretary, he was instrumental in supplying arms to support the Nigerian government's crushing of the secessionist movement in Biafra (when up to one million people died), later saying "It would have been quite easy for me to say: This is going to be difficult - let's cut off all connexion with the Nigerian Government. If I'd done that I should have known that I was encouraging in Africa the principle of tribal secession - with all the misery that could bring to Africa in the future."


A committed pro-European
Pro-European is a subjective term applied to a person who supports the idea of European unification and generally supports further 'deepening' of European integration, specifically in the context of political argument over the current and future status of the EU and its policies.-The Pro-European...

, Stewart was Leader of the Labour Delegation to the Council of Europe
Council of Europe
The Council of Europe is an international organisation promoting co-operation between all countries of Europe in the areas of legal standards, human rights, democratic development, the rule of law and cultural co-operation...

 in June 1970, and joint president of the Labour Committee for Europe with George Brown
George Brown, Baron George-Brown
George Alfred Brown, Baron George-Brown, PC was a British Labour politician, who served as the Deputy Leader of the Labour Party from 1960 to 1970, and served in a number of positions in the Cabinet, most notably as Foreign Secretary, in the Labour Government of the 1960s...

 and Roy Jenkins
Roy Jenkins
Roy Harris Jenkins, Baron Jenkins of Hillhead OM, PC was a British politician.The son of a Welsh coal miner who later became a union official and Labour MP, Roy Jenkins served with distinction in World War II. Elected to Parliament as a Labour member in 1948, he served in several major posts in...

. He served as a member of the European Parliament
Member of the European Parliament
A Member of the European Parliament is a person who has been elected to the European Parliament. The name of MEPs differ in different languages, with terms such as europarliamentarian or eurodeputy being common in Romance language-speaking areas.When the European Parliament was first established,...

 from 1975 to 1976.

Stewart was made a member of the Privy Council
Privy council
A privy council is a body that advises the head of state of a nation, typically, but not always, in the context of a monarchic government. The word "privy" means "private" or "secret"; thus, a privy council was originally a committee of the monarch's closest advisors to give confidential advice on...

 in 1964. In July 1979, he entered the House of Lords
House of Lords
The House of Lords is the upper house of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Like the House of Commons, it meets in the Palace of Westminster....

 as a life peer
Life peer
In the United Kingdom, life peers are appointed members of the Peerage whose titles cannot be inherited. Nowadays life peerages, always of baronial rank, are created under the Life Peerages Act 1958 and entitle the holders to seats in the House of Lords, presuming they meet qualifications such as...

 with the title Baron Stewart of Fulham, of Fulham in Greater London
Greater London
Greater London is the top-level administrative division of England covering London. It was created in 1965 and spans the City of London, including Middle Temple and Inner Temple, and the 32 London boroughs. This territory is coterminate with the London Government Office Region and the London...

. He died in 1990, aged 83.

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.