Nigel Birch, Baron Rhyl

The Right Honourable
The Lord Rhyl
Secretary of State for Air
In office
20 December 1955  16 January 1957
Monarch Elizabeth II
Prime Minister Anthony Eden
Harold Macmillan
Preceded by The Lord De L'Isle and Dudley
Succeeded by George Ward
Personal details
Born 18 November 1906
Died 8 March 1981 (1981-03-09) (aged 74)
Alma mater Eton

Evelyn Nigel Chetwode Birch, Baron Rhyl OBE PC (18 November 1906 8 March 1981) was a British Conservative politician.

The son of General Sir Noel Birch and his wife Florence Chetwode, Nigel Birch was educated at Eton. He was a partner in Cohen Laming Hoare until May 1939 when he retired to study politics. He served in World War II in the King's Royal Rifle Corps and on General Staff, being promoted to the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel in 1944. He was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 1945.[1]

He was Conservative Member of Parliament for Flintshire from 1945 to 1950 and for West Flintshire from 1950 to 1970. He served in government as Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Air from 1951 to 1952, Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Defence from 1952 to 1954, Minister of Works from October 1954 to December 1955, Secretary of State for Air from December 1955 to January 1957 and Economic Secretary to the Treasury from 1957 to 1958.

His resignation in 1958, along with that of the Chancellor of the Exchequer Peter Thorneycroft and fellow Treasury Minister Enoch Powell, was described by Harold Macmillan as "little local difficulties". He exacted his revenge when, in the wake of the Profumo scandal, he attacked the Macmillan government and quoted in his memorable speech the devastating words of Robert Browning on William Wordsworth: "Never glad confident morning again".

His speech showed Macmillan as weak and out of touch, and it sealed Birch's reputation of being as deadly as Leo Amery.

In 1950 he married Esmé Glyn, the daughter of the 4th Baron Wolverton.

In 1955, he was appointed a Privy Counsellor, and on 7 July 1970, he was created a life peer as Baron Rhyl, of Holywell in the parish of Swanmore in the County of Southampton.[2]



Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Gwilym Rowlands
Member of Parliament for Flintshire
1945 1950
Constituency abolished
New constituency Member of Parliament for West Flintshire
1950 1970
Succeeded by
Sir Anthony Meyer
Political offices
Preceded by
William Sidney, 1st Viscount De L'Isle
Secretary of State for Air
Succeeded by
The Hon. George Ward
Preceded by
Derek Walker-Smith
Economic Secretary to the Treasury
1957 1958
Succeeded by
Frederick Erroll
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