Saturday, September 19, 2009

From Gumley Hall to Iain Duncan Smith

At my first meeting of Harborough District Council we were discussing our response to the Thatcher government proposed poll tax. Like most ruling Tory groups around the country, ours thought it was a great idea and told Whitehall that it should be brought in at once, not phased in over 10 years as proposed.

Like a good Liberal Alliance councillor I moved an amendment in favour of a local income tax. "It cannot be right," I said, "that the rich man in his castle pays the same as the poor man at his gate."

At which Tim Brooks, Tory councillor for Great Glen and owner of Wistow Hall, rose to say that I should bear in mind that owning a large house entailed considerable expense.

He later resigned from the council on being made Lord Lieutenant of Leicestershire - we had a higher class of by-election in Harborough in those days.

I saw Sir Tim, as he now is, across the room at the reception after Vince Cable's lecture on Thursday evening. And I remembered that I had come across him when researching Gumley recently.

One of the tenants of Gumley Hall in the 19th century was Thomas Tapling, who was Conservative MP for Harborough when he died there in 1891. The subsequent by-election was won for the Liberals by my hero J. W. "Paddy" Logan.

This auction record reveals that Sir Tim's wife Ann (nee Fremantle) is the granddaughter of Tapling's sister.

Not only that. Ann's niece Elizabeth is married to the former Conservative leader Iain Duncan Smith. In 2003 the Daily Mail reported:
Wife Betsy, whose work for her husband is under parliamentary scrutiny, contributes to the IDS budget through her stake in a family property company, Thomas Tapling & Co., which is co-managed by her father Lord Cottesloe.
Thomas Tapling & Co., incidentally, began in the 19th century as a manufacturer of textiles.

All this is a reminder of the persistence of Tory dynasties, both locally and nationally.

I don't know if this interests anyone else, but I wanted to write it down somewhere before I forgot it.

1 comment:

Senn the Cartoonist said...

lets hope not the tories...