Alec Douglas-Home

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Alexander Frederick Douglas-Home, Baron Home of the Hirsel (1903-1995) was a British Conservative politician who served one year as Prime Minister. Long service in the governments of the 1950s and as Foreign Secretary led to his emergence as a compromise candidate in the feverish negotiations of 1963, but he narrowly failed to rebuild the Conservatives' popularity enough to win the 1964 general election. Following his resignation as party leader he remained involved in politics and again served as Foreign Secretary under the following government of Edward Heath. Home had inherited the title of Earl of Home in 1951 but disclaimed it in 1963 so that he could be elected to the House of Commons.


  • No, because I do my sums with matchsticks.
  • I suppose, when you come to think of it, he is the fourteenth Mr Wilson.
  • David Butler and Gareth Butler, "Twentieth Century British Political Facts", p. 292.
  • Television interview with Kenneth Harris, 21 October 1963, responding to Wilson (see below).
  • Now you can see me in the flesh, and I don't really look as I'm made to look on television.
  • D.E. Butler and Anthony King, "The British General Election of 1964", p. 147.
  • Remark frequently made during the 1964 general election campaign.


  • Douglas-Home: Can you not make me look better than I do on television? I look rather scraggy, like a ghost.
    Make-up girl: No.
    Douglas-Home: Why not?
    Make-up girl: Because you have a head like a skull.
    Douglas-Home: Doesn't everyone have a head like a skull?
    Make-up girl: No.
  • Michael Cockerell, "Live from Number 10", p. 105.
  • A story told by Douglas-Home about going on television in the 1964 election.
  • There are two problems in my life. The political ones are insoluble and the economic ones are incomprehensible.


  • This is a counter-revolution. After half a century of democratic advance, of social revolution, of rising expectations, the whole process has ground to a halt with a fourteenth Earl.
  • "Labour would reject move to postpone M.P.s' return", The Times, 21 October 1963, p. 6.
  • Harold Wilson speaking at Manchester, 19 October 1963, shortly after Douglas-Home's appointment as Prime Minister.
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