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Timothy Wentworth Beaumont, Baron Beaumont of Whitley (22 November 1928 - 8 April 2008) was a United Kingdom politician and an Anglican clergyman. He was politically active, successively, in the Liberal Party, the Liberal Democrats and the Green Party. A life peer since 1967, he became the only Green Party member of the either House of the Parliament of the United Kingdom when he decided to join the Greens in 1999 [1] [2].

Early and private lifeEdit

Tim Beaumont's father, Major Michael Beaumont, was a Conservative MP for Aylesbury, and his paternal grandfather, Hubert Beaumont, was the Radical MP for Eastbourne from 1906 to 1910 and son of Wentworth Beaumont, 1st Baron Allendale. His mother, Faith Pease, died when Tim Beaumont was six. His maternal grandfather was the Liberal politician Joseph Albert Pease, 1st Baron Gainford.

Beaumont was educated at Eton College and Gordonstoun School. He studied agriculture at Christ Church, Oxford, where he joined the Bullingdon Club and founded the the Wagers club, devoted, in the words of one author, to "bringing back the devil-may-care atmosphere of the Regency Bucks" [3]. He graduated with a Fourth, and then trained for the orders at Westcott House in Cambridge. He was ordained as a deacon in 1955 and as a priest in 1956. He married Mary Rose Wauchope (a cousin of Antony Armstrong-Jones, 1st Earl of Snowdon) in 1955, with whom he had had two sons and two daughters (Hubert Wentworth, Alaric Charles Blackett, Atalanta Armstrong, and Ariadne Grace Beaumont)[4], and a total of ten grandchildren. His son, Alaric, died in a road traffic accident in 1980. Also in that year, Hubert married Katherine Abel Smith, a great-great-great-granddaughter of Queen Victoria.

Church careerEdit

He became an Anglican priest in Kowloon, Hong Kong and served as assistant chaplain at St. John's Cathedral, Hong Kong between 1955-1957 and then was Vicar of Christ Church Kowloon Tong until 1959. Having received a substantial inheritance in that year, he returned to England to live in Mayfair and then Hampstead. Meanwhile, he was an honorary curate at St Stephen's Church in Rochester Row, Westminster, from 1960 to 1963. He represented the Diocese of London in the Church Assembly from 1960 to 1965. He became involved in church reform, supporting the Parish and People movement, and was editor of the political weekly Time and Tide and then the church reform magazine Prism (later New Christian , which merged with American Christian Century). Considering his views and lifestyle incompatible with his position as a priest, he resigned his orders in 1973.

He returned to the cloth in 1984 and became priest-in-charge of St Philip and All Saints with St Luke, Kew in the Diocese of Southwark, and then retiring to Clapham in 1991.

Political careerEdit

After making a substantial donation to the Liberal Party, he became its joint honorary treasurer in 1962-1963. He was created a Liberal Life peer as Baron Beaumont of Whitley, of Child's Hill in Greater London in 1967.[5] He was chair of the Liberal Party in 1967-1968 and then President in 1969-1970. In Parliament, he was Liberal spokesman on education and the arts until 1986. He also served as leader of the Liberals in the Council of Europe. He was co-ordinator of the Green Alliance from 1978 to 1980.

He joined the Liberal Democrats, but, objecting to their support for free trade, he moved to the Green Party in 1999, and became the Green Party spokesman on agriculture.

In a memorable action, Lord Beaumont put forth in May 1996 a bill to "draw up a plan to prohibit piped music and the showing of television programmes in the public areas of hospitals and on public transport; and to require the wearing of headphones by persons listening to music in the public areas of hospitals and on public transport."[6]

Other achievementsEdit

Beaumont was a patron of transgender equality campaign group Press for Change. He was chairman of the Albany Trust between 1969-1971, chairman of the Institute of Research into Mental and Multiple Handicap between 1971-1973, president of the British Federation of Film Societies between 1973-1979, and a member of the executive of Church Action against Poverty. He was chairman of "Exit" (as the Voluntary Euthanasia Society, the present-day Dignity in Dying, was known in the early 1980s) in 1980. He edited "The Selective Ego", an abridged volume of the diaries of James Agate, published in 1976, and a "Liberal Cookbook", published in 1972. He also wrote a food column for the Illustrated London News from 1976-80, and wrote the book "The End of the Yellowbrick Road", published in 1997.

Baron Beaumont of Whitley died at St Thomas' Hospital in London after being hospitalised for several weeks. He was survived by his wife, one of their two sons, and their two daughters.

ReferencesEdit

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