Butler, Richard Austen

Butler, Richard Austen, 1902–82, British politician. Educated at Cambridge, he entered Parliament in 1929 as a Conservative. As minister of education (1941–45), he piloted through Parliament the Education Act of 1944, which provided free primary and secondary education for all. He was minister of labor in 1945, before the Conservatives lost power. He later held almost every senior cabinet position except prime minister. He was chancellor of the exchequer (1951–55), home secretary (1957–62), deputy prime minister and first secretary of state (1962–63), and foreign secretary (1963–64). He was leader of the House of Commons (1955–61) and lord privy seal (1955–59). Retiring from politics, he accepted a life peerage as Baron Butler of Saffron Walden in 1965 and was master of Trinity College, Cambridge, from 1965 to 1978.

See his autobiography, The Art of the Possible (1971); biography by A. Howard (1987).

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