Bill Deedes

From Academic Kids

William Francis Deedes, Baron Deedes, KBE, MC, DL, PC (Bill Deedes, born Kent, England, June 1, 1913), is a veteran British journalist and ex-politician.

Educated with distinction at Harrow, he was elected Conservative Party member of Parliament for Ashford, Kent, in 1950 and entered Harold Macmillan's cabinet in 1962 as minister without portfolio. He left the cabinet in 1964 and stood down as MP 10 years later.

He served as editor of the Daily Telegraph from 1974 to 1986 and was close to Margaret Thatcher and Denis Thatcher. The spoof letters "from" Mr Thatcher which appeared in satirical magazine Private Eye throughout the Thatcher years in Downing Street were always addressed to Dear Bill - the "Bill" in question being Deedes. The two men regularly played golf together, with Deedes claiming it was a public service to take the Prime Ministerial consort away from the stress of being married to the country's governmental head.

Deedes was also the journalist used by Evelyn Waugh as the model and inspiration for the war hack Boot in the novel Scoop.

Deedes was made a life peer in 1986, becoming Baron Deedes of Aldington in the County of Kent, though has always been keener on being addressed by all as "Bill" rather than "Lord".

Married to Evelyn Hilary Branfort (d. May 2004), by whom he had two sons (one who died young) and three daughters; Deedes' son Jeremy is managing director of The Telegraph group of companies. His daughter Lucy Whaley (a lady master of foxhounds) was first wife of the present Baron Latymer.

Deedes continues to provide social and political insight and commentary through newspaper columns. He has recently gained a new, cult fanbase after two memorable appearances on Have I Got News For You and is the oldest guest ever to appear on the programme. He is also a stalwart member of the Carlton Club and has been an ambassador for UNICEF since 1998, running high-profile campaigns against landmines.


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