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Robert Arthur James Gascoyne-Cecil, 5th Marquess of Salisbury KG, PC (27 August 1893 – 23 February 1972), known as Viscount Cranborne from 1903 to 1947, was a British Conservative politician.

Background

Nicknamed "Bobbety", Salisbury was the eldest son of James Gascoyne-Cecil, 4th Marquess of Salisbury, by his wife Lady Cicely, daughter of Arthur Gore, 5th Earl of Arran. He was the grandson of Prime Minister Robert Gascoyne-Cecil, 3rd Marquess of Salisbury.

Political career

Salisbury was elected to the House of Commonsmarker for South Dorsetmarker in 1929, and served as Joint Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs from 1935 to 1938, as Paymaster-General in 1940 and as Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs from 1940 to 1942. In 1941 he was summoned to the House of Lordsmarker through a writ of acceleration in his father's junior title of Baron Cecil. He was Secretary of State for the Colonies in 1942, Lord Privy Seal between 1942 and 1943, Leader of the House of Lords between 1942 and 1945 and again Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs between 1943 and 1945. In 1947 he succeeded his father in the marquessate.

During the 1950's he held office under successively Winston Churchill, Anthony Eden, and Harold Macmillan as Lord Privy Seal from 1951 to 1952, Leader of the House of Lords from 1951 to 1957, Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations in 1952 and Lord President of the Council from 1952 to 1957. He was known as a hardline imperialist. In 1952, as Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations, he tried to make permanent the exile of Seretse Khama, kgosi of the Bamangwato people in Bechuanaland, for marrying a white British woman. During the 1960s, Lord Salisbury continued to be a staunch defender of the white-dominated governments in South Africa and in Southern Rhodesiamarker (now Zimbabwemarker). He was also a fierce opponent of liberal-left attempts to reform the House of Lords, yet he created what is known as the Salisbury Convention. In 1961 he became the first president of the Conservative Monday Club, a post he held until his death.

Other public appointments

Apart from his political career Salisbury was Chancellor of the University of Liverpoolmarker from 1951 until 1971 and Chancellor of the Order of the Garter between 1960 and 1972.

Family

Lord Salisbury married Elizabeth Vere Cavendish, daughter of Lord Richard Cavendish, in 1951. They had three sons. The second son, the Hon. Michael Charles James Cecil (1918-1934) died as an adolescent while the third son the Hon. Richard Hugh Cecil (1924-1944) was killed in the Second World War.

Lord Salisbury died in February 1972, aged 78, and was succeeded by his eldest and only surviving son, Robert. Lady Salisbury died in 1982.

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