Sunday, August 17, 2008

Sandy Bruce-Lockhart's Liberal connections

The New Statesman website recently called me "the family historian of British politics". So I would be failing in my duty if I failed to note these connections.

Sandy Bruce-Lockhart, the Conservative politician who died on Thursday, was the great nephew of Sir Robert Bruce Lockhart. R. H. Bruce Lockhart (as he is better known) was a British agent in Russia during and after the Revolution and (or so the legend goes) was the lover of Moura Budberg. And she is Nick Clegg's great great aunt.

Better than that, according to R. H. Bruce Lockhart's Wikipedia page he was a friend of the occultist, Aleister Crowley. Crowley was also a friend of Frieda Harris (she painted a set of Tarot cards for him), the wife of Sir Percy Harris. Sir Percy was Liberal MP for Harborough 1916-8 and Bethnal Green South West 1922-45. As was recently revealed, he was also the great grandfather of Matthew Taylor, the current Lib Dem MP for Truro and St Austell.

I wrote about both the Budberg/Clegg and Harris/Taylor connections in a House Points column in March.


HE Elsom said...

RH Bruce Lockhart was also allegedly the model for AJ Fothergill, the hero of James Hilton's novel Knight without Armour. The novel was filmed in 1937, directed by Jaques Feyder, with Robert Donat as Fothergill and Marlene Dietrich as the Russian countess he rescues from the Reds. (You couldn't make it up.)

It's a gem of a film with superb supporting actors and great production values, which include the construction of an entire Russian forest at Pinewood in order to slip in a dirty joke.

Jock Coats said...

The liberal connections clearly didn't count for much; he's still the man who pledged that Kent would have its own version of Section 28 if it was repealed at Westminster.