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Woodrow Wyatt

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Title: Woodrow Wyatt  
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Subject: Birmingham Aston (UK Parliament constituency), Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother, Elizabeth II, Mark Law, The Downing Street Years
Collection: 1918 Births, 1997 Deaths, Alumni of Worcester College, Oxford, Bbc Newsreaders and Journalists, British Army Personnel of World War II, English Journalists, English Male Journalists, Knights Bachelor, Labour Party (Uk) Life Peers, Labour Party (Uk) Mps, Members of the Parliament of the United Kingdom for English Constituencies, People Educated at Eastbourne College, Suffolk Regiment Officers, Uk Mps 1945–50, Uk Mps 1950–51, Uk Mps 1951–55, Uk Mps 1959–64, Uk Mps 1964–66, Uk Mps 1966–70
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Woodrow Wyatt

Woodrow Lyle Wyatt, Baron Wyatt of Weeford (4 July 1918 – 7 December 1997), was a British politician, published author, journalist and broadcaster, close to The Tote.


  • Early life 1
  • Politics 2
  • After politics 3
  • Writing 4
  • Marriages, children, and death 5
  • Notes 6
  • External links 7

Early life

Born in

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Redvers Prior
Member of Parliament for Birmingham Aston
Succeeded by
Julius Silverman
Preceded by
Arthur Allen
Member of Parliament for Bosworth
Succeeded by
Adam Butler
  • Hansard 1803–2005: contributions in Parliament by Woodrow Wyatt
  • Lord Wyatt dies aged 79 – BBC News December 9, 1997

External links

  1. ^ The Journals of Woodrow Wyatt, Volume 1, Woodrow Wyatt and Sarah Curtis, Macmillan, 1998, pg xvii
  2. ^ a b c d e f "To Move and To Shake" by Geraldine Bedell. The Independent on Sunday, 24 November 1996.
  3. ^ The Guardian. "The Conservative party's uncomfortable relationship with Nelson Mandela". 
  4. ^ The London Gazette: no. 49575. p. 16802. 20 December 1983.
  5. ^ The London Gazette: no. 50824. p. 1631. 6 February 1987.
  6. ^ Burke's Landed Gentry 1952, 'Wyatt of Hurst Barton Manor formerly of Bryn Gwynant', pp 2805
  7. ^ David Sexton, "Don't believe all those diary droolings", The Evening Standard (12 October 1998), A 11.
  8. ^ "Woodrow, Verushka, Pericles and Petronella: welcome to the world of the Wyatts". The Independent (London). 20 November 2004. 
  9. ^ a b c Sholto Byrnes, " Woodrow, Verushka, Pericles and Petronella: welcome to the world of the Wyatts" The Independent 20 November 2004. [2] Retrieved 21 September 2007.
  10. ^  
  11. ^ Confessions of an Optimist, Woodrow Wyatt, Collins, 1985, pg 22
  12. ^ Different Every Time: The Authorised Biography of Robert Wyatt, Marcus O'Dair, Profile Books, 2014, pg 6
  13. ^ Burke's Landed Gentry 1952, 'Wyatt of Hurst Barton Manor formerly of Bryn Gwynant', pp 2805-6
  14. ^ O'Dair, Marcus (2014). Different Every Time (1st ed.). London: Serpents Tail. pp. 20–22.  
  15. ^ O'Dair, Marcus (2014). Different Every Time (1st ed.). London: Serpents Tail. pp. 244–245.  


He died in Camden aged 79.

He was first cousin to Honor Wyatt, the mother of musician Robert Wyatt, who described him as an "appalling man with a sadistic sense of superiority".[14] Woodrow Wyatt influenced the musician to join the Communist Party of Great Britain to reclaim the Wyatt name.[15]

He was a first cousin of England Test cricketer Bob Wyatt.[10] He was a descendent of the architectural Wyatt family.[11][12][13]

He arranged for cousins to take care of his first child when his wife made it clear she was not interested.[2] When they divorced, he got custody of his son.

  • First (div): Susan Cox, no issue.[9] She was a fellow student at Oxford.[2]
  • Second (div): Nora Robbins, no issue.[9] She was his secretary[2]
  • Third (1957, dissolved 1966): Lady Moorea Hastings (b. 1928) daughter of the 16th Earl of Huntingdon and a granddaughter of Luisa Casati; one son: Hon. Pericles Plantagenet Wyatt.
  • Fourth (1966): Veronica (Verushka) Banszky von Ambroz, née Racz, a Hungarian and widow of a surgeon;[9] one daughter: journalist Petronella Wyatt (b. 1968).

Wyatt was married four times, to:

Marriages, children, and death

In 2000, the journalist Petronella Wyatt, his daughter by his fourth marriage, published a book entitled Father, Dear Father: Life with Woodrow Wyatt.

Andrew Neil in the New Statesman wrote of the diaries: "Wyatt has done the country a service in giving us the unalloyed truth about how this country's governing and social elite still operates", and the Daily Express called the journals "The most explosive political memoirs of modern times". However, the historian Robert Rhodes James "advised caution in believing them. 'Even if the diarist is not attempting to give a deliberately false version, a talented writer can easily over-dramatise...' There is plenty of internal evidence that Wyatt should be approached with a similar caution."[7] Robert Blake, Baron Blake, the Tory historian, called Wyatt a "notorious liar".[8]

Wyatt edited ten volumes of English Story (1940–50). His books include two autobiographies, Into the Dangerous World (1952) and Confessions of an Optimist (1985). The three volumes of his diaries (published posthumously as The Journals of Woodrow Wyatt by Macmillan, edited by Sarah Curtis) were: volume 1 1985–88 (1998); volume 2 'Thatcher's Fall and Major's Rise', 1989–92, (1999); volume 3 'From Major to Blair', 1992 until three months before his death in December 1997, (2000).

Wyatt's caustic, candid and mischievously indiscreet diaries were published posthumously in three volumes. He was knighted in 1983[4] and was created a life peer on 3 February 1987 with the title Baron Wyatt of Weeford, of Weeford in the County of Staffordshire.[5] The Wyatt family had lived at Weeford in the seventeenth century.[6]

Wyatt was a prolific journalist, with a diverse range of interests, and by the late 1970s he had crossed the political spectrum and became an admirer of Margaret Thatcher. During this period his News of the World column, 'The Voice of Reason', was regularly attacked by Thatcher's political opponents, who in latter years dubbed it 'The Voice of Alzheimers'.. During this time he was vocal in opposing the campaign against apartheid in South Africa writing that Nelson Mandela and the ANC were trying to establish "a communist-style black dictatorship" . [3]


In the mid-1980s he played a key role as Murdoch's fixer in brokering negotiations with the electricians' union, aiding News International to move to Wapping.[2] He set up a newspaper and printing business with his third wife, which soon failed.[2]

After ceasing to be an active politician, he was appointed by Roy Jenkins as Chairman of the Horserace Totalisator Board from 1976–1997. At first he was an active chairman, rooting out corruption, but later grew complacent and the Tote stagnated.[2]

After politics

He was seen by some as a maverick, and by others as a man of firm convictions which made him temperamentally unsuited to 'toeing the party line'. He returned to Parliament in 1959 as member for Bosworth, Leicestershire. He rebelled in the 1964–1970 parliaments over steel nationalisation.

Following the splitting of his Aston seat, Wyatt was unable to find a more promising option than the Conservative-inclined Grantham constituency, which he nonetheless fought in 1955, being defeated by 2,375 votes. During his period out of parliament, Wyatt was a reporter for the BBC's Panorama current affairs programme, in which a November 1957 report of Wyatt's revealed ballot rigging in the then communist-influenced Electrical Trades Union (ETU).

He was elected to Parliament in 1945 as the Labour MP for Birmingham Aston, and served until 1955 when that seat was broken up. During the Cabinet Mission to India in 1946 he served as an informal liaison officer between the Mission and the Muslim League. Wyatt was briefly a junior minister in Clement Attlee's final administration in 1951 but thereafter was never in office.


. Normandy from mentioned in despatches and rose to the rank of major. Wyatt was Suffolk Regiment with the Second World War. He served throughout the Oxford, Worcester College and Eastbourne College Wyatt was educated at [1]

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