Who was Lord Michael Spicer, what was his cause of death and what is the 1922 Committee?


LORD Michael Spicer – former chairman of the Conservative 1922 Committee – has died.

Here’s what you need to know about the influential Eurosceptic Tory politician who served as an MP for 26 years.

Lord Michael Spicer served in Parliament as an MP and then in the House of Lords
Rex Features

Who is Lord Spicer and what was his cause of death?

A family spokesman said Lord Spicer, 76, had Parkinson’s and leukaemia, which he suffered from for many years, and died in hospital.

Michael Spicer was born in Bath the son of an army officer and was educated at Wellington College a then Cambridge University.

After graduating with a degree in economics he worked as a journalist.

He married with Patricia in 1967 and they had a son and two daughters.

Lord Spicer first stood for a House of Commons seat as the Conservative candidate for Easington in the 1966 and 1970 general elections.

Sir Michael was elected MP for South Worcestershire in 1974 and he retained the seat until 1997, when he won the picturesque marginal constituency of West Worcestershire.

He was in the Commons for 26 years and served as chairman of the 1922 committee of backbench Tory MPs for nine years before standing down as an MP at the 2010 general election.

He served in various ministerial positions from 1984 to 1990 in the government of Margaret Thatcher.

Lady Thatcher is greeted by Michael Spicer as they arrive at a dinner organised by the 1922 Committee in tribute to her
PA:Press Association

As junior transport minister between 1984 and 1987, he opposed high air fares and airline cartels.

Between 1987 and 1990 he again worked with Mr Parkinson as energy minister.

Sir Michael briefly became housing minister in 1990 but fell out of favour with Prime Minister over his Eurosceptic views.

In 1993, he founded the European Research Group, a Eurosceptic group of Conservative MPs.

He was knighted in 1996 and created a life peer in 2010 as Baron Spicer of Cropthorne in the County of Worcestershire.

In one of his last contributions in the House of Lords in June 2018, Lord Spicer set out his support for leaving the European Union, saying he believed the “nation state is the best unit for democracy”.

What is the 1922 Committee?

The 1922 Committee, also known as “the 22”, is a committee of all backbench Conservative MPs that meets weekly when the Commons is sitting.

Its chair is usually a senior MP elected by committee members and it has considerable influence within the Parliamentary Party.

Confusingly the committee was set up in 1923 and was made up of MPs who had been elected at the 1922 General Election.

Its members are often referred to as the “men in grey suits”, whose visit to a Tory leader losing support in the party results in them leaving office.

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