Henry David Leonard George Walston, Baron WalstonCVO, JP (16 June 1912 – 29 May 1991) was a British farmer, agricultural researcher and politician, firstly for the Liberal Party, then for Labour and then for the Social Democratic Party.
Walston married Catherine Crompton (1916–1978) in 1935, in the USA. Oliver Walston, a farmer and agricultural writer, is their second son. From 1946 Catherine was the mistress of the author Graham Greene, who was also her godfather. Walston demanded that the adulterous relationship should cease after the 1951 publication of The End of the Affair, Greene's roman à clef; but it continued, ending by about 1966. After Catherine's death, Walston married Elizabeth Scott, who had previously been the wife of Nicholas Scott.
Press reports that Betty Boothroyd, who acted as Walston's secretary before herself entering politics, had been his mistress and also cared for his six children by Catherine, were the subject of a successful libel case brought by Boothroyd.
Walston served as Member of the Huntingdonshire War Agricultural Committee (1939–1945), Director of Agriculture for the British Zone of Germany (1946–1947), Counsellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (1948–1950), Agricultural Adviser for Germany to the Foreign Office (1964–1967) and Chairman of the Institute of Race Relations (1968–1971).
In the early 1940s he was selected as Liberal prospective parliamentary candidate for King's Lynn. In 1945 his booklet 'From Forces to Farming' was published by the Liberal Party. The booklet called for state aided co-operative farming for ex-servicemen. He did not contest King's Lynn, instead switching to contest Huntingdonshire later that year at the general election.
In internal Foreign Office discussion, Walston supported James Cable's line, that the USA should cut its losses in the Vietnam War, and argued that the UK should have a pro-active policy of seeking peace. By the second half of 1965 Walston was in fact pushing this line harder than Cable himself. In June 1966 Walston was passing through South Vietnam on an envoy mission, when he was contacted by Janusz Lewandowski, who said he was acting for the Polish government and attempting to find peace in the Vietnam War. Walston, however, treated this as a freelance approach.
On a lecture tour of South Africa in 1968, Walston had private discussions with B. J. Vorster, and as a consequence attempted to open a channel of communication to Kenneth Kaunda. He also visited Nelson Mandela on Robben Island, concluding that the prisoner Mandela was being well treated. At this period the South African government wished to broker a deal between the UK and Ian Smith, and to use Walston's contacts.
Walston was a member of the Council of Europe between 1970 and 1975, and a Member of the European Parliament from 1975 to 1977. In the period from 1970 to 1976 Labour politicians met in his apartment in The Albany, forming a retrospectively-christened "Walston group" of pro-European MPs. Walston joined the Social Democratic Party in 1981.During the eighties, Walston became active with the UN accredited non-governmental organisation -Agri-Energy Roundtable and served as vice chairman for several years.
Walston published political pamphlets on agricultural topics:
From Forces to Farming. A Plan for the Ex-Service Man (1944), Liberal Party Publication Department; as prospective Liberal Party candidate for King's Lynn.
^Lord Walston, Thoughts on Southern Africa, African Affairs Vol. 63, No. 250 (Jan. 1964), pp. 23–31. Published by: Oxford University Press on behalf of The Royal African Society Stable URL: https://www.jstor.org/stable/719760
^From Forces to Farming. A Plan for the Ex-Service Man. by Harry Walston. Review by: G. M. R. International Affairs Vol. 21, No. 2 (Apr. 1945), p. 273. Published by: Wiley on behalf of the Royal Institute of International Affairs. Stable URL: https://www.jstor.org/stable/3016403
^Fabian Society 79th Annual Report, July 1961 – June 1962, p. 15; archive.org.
^Agriculture under Communism, by Lord Walston. Review by: Thomas Barman. International Affairs Vol. 39, No. 1 (Jan. 1963), p. 124. Published by: Wiley on behalf of the Royal Institute of International Affairs
Stable URL: https://www.jstor.org/stable/2610561
^Baron Henry David Leonard George Walston Walston (1970). Farm gate to Brussels. Fabian Society. Retrieved 2 May 2013.
Members of the House of Commons of the United Kingdom, British members of the European Parliament, and members of the British devolved assemblies sometimes cross the floor and abandon a previous party membership to take up a new one. The following list details the dates, members involved, previous and new party affiliations, and an explanation for their switch. In addition, this list notes MPs who have lost or resigned a party whip to become independent, or moved from being independent to taking a party whip.
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