The Writings of Luton MP Cecil Harmsworth

Cecil Bisshopp Harmsworth, 1st Baron Harmsworth (23 September 1869 – 13 August 1948), was a British businessman and Liberal politician. He served as Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department in 1915 and as Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs between 1919 and 1922.Cecil Harmsworth MP


Harmsworth was born at Alexandra Terrace, St John's Wood, London, the third son of Alfred Harmsworth and Geraldine Mary, daughter of William Maffett. He was the younger brother of newspaper proprietors Alfred Harmsworth, 1st Viscount Northcliffe, and Harold Harmsworth, 1st Viscount Rothermere, and the elder brother of Sir Leicester Harmsworth, 1st Baronet, and Sir Hildebrand Harmsworth, 1st Baronet. He also had four other younger brothers and four sisters.

Political career

Cecil served in the House of Commons as the representative for Luton, after winning in the 1911 by-election, and continued to sit for the constituency until 1922. He was Parliamentary Private Secretary to Walter Runciman between 1911 and 1915 and then briefly held office under H. H. Asquith as Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department between February and May 1915. However, he did not serve in the coalition government formed by Asquith in May 1916.

After David Lloyd George became Prime Minister in December 1916, Harmsworth was a member of the Prime Minister's Secretariat between 1917 and 1919 and Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs between 1919 and 1922 in Lloyd George's coalition government. He also served briefly as Acting Minister of Blockade in 1919. In 1939 he was raised to the peerage as Baron Harmsworth, of Egham in the County of Surrey. He became a regular contributor in the House of Lords, making his last speech in June 1945.


Lord Harmsworth married his cousin Emilie Alberta, daughter of William Hamilton Maffett, in 1897. His wife was born in 1873 and died in 1942. Lord Harmsworth survived her by six years and died in August 1948, aged 78. He was succeeded in the barony by his second but eldest surviving son, Cecil