Philip Ingress Bell,
TD, QC (10 January 1900 â€“ 12 September 1986) was
a British barrister
and judge, who also had a political career.
whose father Geoffrey Vincent Bell was a sculptor, was educated at
While at school he wrote a book called
"Idols and Idylls", subtitled "Essays by a Public School Boy"; it
was published by Burns & Oates
in 1918. When he came to the age of 18 during the
First World War, he entered the
Royal Navy as a Cadet, and attended the
Royal Naval College in Keyham,
was a Midshipman from 1918 to 1920 when he was discharged.
went up to Queen's College, Oxford where he studied jurisprudence and obtained a Bachelor of Civil Law degree.
While at Oxford he was Captain of the Oxford University Boxing
Bell was called to the Bar by the Inner Temple, and went into practice on the Northern circuit,
based in Lancashire.
He enjoyed a good practice at the bar,
and in 1933 married the daughter of the High Sheriff of Lancashire.
In 1939 he enlisted again in the Territorial Army
Lieutenant, and was posted to the East Lancashire Regiment in
France. After making a successful return to England from Dunkirk
, he joined the Judge Advocate-General to
' staff, and was an Acting Major serving through
Normandy and in the team at the Belsen
At the end of the war, Bell returned to his practice. In 1950 he
was adopted as Conservative
candidate for Bolton East
more Conservative constituency in Bolton. He was defeated by 3,709
votes, but a Liberal candidate won more than twice that.
Liberal strength in Bolton
West, the Bolton Conservative and Liberal associations
adopted the "Huddersfield formula" which had been negotiated in the
two Huddersfield constituencies for 1950, whereby each agreed to
fight only one seat and to support the other's
With this help, in the 1951 general election
Bell was elected by 355 votes. His maiden speech in March 1952
concerned the National Health Service Bill which allowed the NHS to
charge for medical appliances; he called for pensioners to be
exempt from charges. In 1952 he was made a Queen's Counsel
. He introduced a private
members' bill a few days later to allow law cases to be transferred
from the Crown Court to the Court of Chancery of the County
Palatine of Lancaster. He often commented on foreign and colonial
affairs, and supported the Television Bill of 1954, arguing that
advertisers were not evil. He specifically advocated that religious
bodies be able to become television contractors.
In the 1955
Bell improved his majority to 3,511. He
supported retention of capital punishment
in the most extreme cases, and also signed an amendment which would
allow Judges to sentence murderers to whipping in addition to any
other punishment. In February 1958 he opposed the government's
Recreational Charities Bill, arguing that it extended the
definition of charitable purposes too widely. He also opposed the
Litter Bill introduced by fellow Conservative MP Rupert Speir
, saying that it criminalised those
who dropped litter but did not realise it. Bell also opposed the
Legitimacy Bill in 1959, contending that removing the legal
disabilities of illegitimate children would be a risk against the
institution of marriage.
Bell, who had continued his legal practice while in Parliament, was
made a County Court Judge in 1960, thereby giving up his seat. He
was already intending to finish his political career. At the end of
1971 he was made a Circuit Judge
retiring in 1975 on reaching the age of 75.
- "Who Was Who", A & C Black
- M. Stenton and S. Lees, "Who's Who of British MPs" Vol. IV
(Harvester Press, 1981)
- The Times