William Joynson-Hicks, 1st Viscount Brentford

From Academic Kids

William Joynson-Hicks, 1st Viscount Brentford 23 June 1865-8 June 1932, popularly known as Jix, was a UK Conservative politician, most known for his tenure as Home Secretary during which he gained a reputation for strict authoritarianism.

He was born William Hicks to Henry Hicks and Grace Lynn in 1865 and educated at Merchant Taylors' School. In 1886 he changed his surname to Joynson-Hicks and practiced as a solicitor. He joined the Conservative Party and unsuccessfully contested seats in Manchester in the general elections of 1900 and 1906. In 1908 the Ministers of the Crown Act required newly appointed Cabinet Ministers to recontest their seats and the President of the Board of Trade Winston Churchill was obliged to restand. As Churchill had defected from the Conservatives to the Liberals, the Conservatives were disinclined to allow him an uncontested return. Joynson-Hicks was adopted against him and in a high profile campaign defeated Churchill. This provoked a strong reaction across the county with The Daily Telegraph running the front page headline Winston Churchill is OUT! OUT! OUT!

Joynson-Hicks lost the seat in the 1910 general election but the following year was elected for the seat of Twickenham, which he sat for until 1929. In 1919 he was created a baronet. By 1922 he had established a reputation as one of the "die-hards" on the right-wing of the party, and in that year he emerged as a strong critic of the party's participation in a coalition government with David Lloyd George. When the coalition fell in October, he entered government for the first time as Minister for Overseas Trade. In the fifteen month Conservative administration of first Andrew Bonar Law and then Stanley Baldwin, Joynson-Hicks was rapidly promoted, often filling positions left vacant by the promotion of Neville Chamberlain. In 1923 he became Paymaster-General then Postmaster General. When Stanley Baldwin became Prime Minister, he initially also retained his previous position of Chancellor of the Exchequer whilst searching for a permanent successor. To relieve the burden of this position, he promoted Joynson-Hicks to Financial Secretary to the Treasury and included him in the Cabient. Joynson-Hicks had hopes of eventually becoming Chancellor himself, but instead Neville Chamberlain was appointed to the post in August 1923. Once more Joynson-Hicks filled the gap left by Chamberlain's promotion, serving as Minister of Health until the government fell in January 1924.

The Conservatives returned to power in November 1924 and Joynson-Hicks was appointed to arguably his most famous role, that of Home Secretary. Joynson-Hicks became popularly known as Jix and was seen as a reactionary for his attempts to crack down on night clubs and other aspects of the "Roaring Twenties". During the General Strike of 1926 he emerged as one of the "hawks" of the government, wishing to pursue a confrontational policy, though in the event Baldwin overuled this. Later in 1927 Joynson-Hicks turned his fire on the proposed new version of the Book of Common Prayer. The law required Parliament to approve such revisions, normally regarded as a formality, but when the Prayer Book came before the House of Commons Joynson-Hicks argued strongly against its adoption as he felt it strayed far from the Protestant principles of the Church of England. The debate on the Prayer Book is regarded as one of the most eloquent ever seen in the Commons, and resulted in the rejection of the Prayer Book. A revised version was submitted in 1928 but rejected again. However the Church of England Convocation then declared an emergency and used this as a pretext to use the new Prayer Book for many decades afterwards. Joynson-Hicks also created a stir when, without consulting Baldwin, he pledged that the Conservatives would give the vote to all women over the age of twenty-one - a pledge which thus had to be honoured in 1928.

In 1929 the Conservatives lost power and Joynson-Hicks took a peerage as the 1st Viscount Brentford. He remained a leading figure in the Conservative Party, but due to his declining health he was not invited to join the National Government in either August or November 1931. The following June he died at the age of 66.


Template:Succession box one to three
Preceded by:
Arthur Henderson
Home Secretary
1924–1929
Succeeded by:
John Robert Clynes

Template:End box

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