Robin Butler, Baron Butler of Brockwell

Frederick Edward Robin Butler, Baron Butler of Brockwell, KG, GCB, CVO, PC (born 3 January 1938) is a retired British civil servant, now sitting in the House of Lords as a crossbencher.

The Lord Butler of Brockwell

Gater robe Lord Butler
Lord Butler in the robes of a Knight Companion of the Order of the Garter.
Cabinet Secretary
Head of the Home Civil Service
In office
Prime MinisterMargaret Thatcher
John Major
Tony Blair
Preceded bySir Robert Armstrong
Succeeded bySir Richard Wilson
Principal Private Secretary to the Prime Minister
In office
Prime MinisterMargaret Thatcher
Preceded byClive Whitmore
Succeeded byNigel Wicks
Personal details
Born3 January 1938 (age 81)
Lytham St Annes, Lancashire, England, UK
Spouse(s)Gillian Lois Galley (1962-present)
Alma materUniversity College, Oxford

Early life and family

Butler was born in Lytham St Annes, Lancashire, on 3 January 1938. He went to Orley Farm School & Harrow School (where he was Head Boy), then taught for a year at St Dunstan's School, Burnham-on-Sea, before attending University College, Oxford, where he took a double first in Mods and Greats and twice gained a Rugby Blue. He married Gillian Lois Galley in 1962. They have a son and two daughters.[1]

Civil service career

Butler had a high-profile career in the civil service from 1961 to 1998, serving as Private Secretary to five Prime Ministers. He was Secretary of the Cabinet and Head of the Home Civil Service from 1988 to 1998.[2]

He joined HM Treasury in 1961, becoming Private Secretary to the Financial Secretary to the Treasury 1964–66 and Secretary to the Budget Committee 1965–69.[2]

Early in his career, he was occasionally confused with his namesake Rab Butler. Memos for Rab Butler, some highly sensitive, ended up on his desk, and some of his ended up on Rab's. It was agreed that all memos ambiguously addressed to "R Butler" should go to Rab's office first, and then Rab's office would send on any intended for the other R Butler. It is said that one day the young Butler, who was still playing first class rugby, received a letter that read: "You have been selected for the Richmond 1st XV on Saturday. Please be at Twickenham by 2 p.m.". Underneath, in Rab's distinctive handwriting, was the message: "Dear Robin, I am not free on Saturday. Please could you deputise for me? Rab"![3]

In 1969, he was seconded to the Bank of England and several City institutions. Later at HM Treasury as Assistant Secretary, General Expenditure Intelligence Division, he led the team which installed the UK Government's computerised financial information system 1975&–77. He had been a founder member of the Central Policy Review Staff under Lord Rothschild 1971–2. After several senior appointments at the Treasury, he became second Permanent Secretary, Public Expenditure, 1985–87.

He was Private Secretary to Prime Ministers Edward Heath (1972–74) and Harold Wilson (1974–75), and Principal Private Secretary to Margaret Thatcher (1982–85).[1][2] Along with Thatcher, he was almost killed in the 1984 IRA bombing of the Grand Hotel in Brighton.[1] He was also Cabinet Secretary during the premierships of Margaret Thatcher, John Major and Tony Blair.[1][2]

Other activities

After retiring from the Civil Service, Butler was Master of University College, Oxford, 1998–2008.[2] He was announced to be made a life peer in the 1998 New Year Honours[4] and was raised to the peerage as Baron Butler of Brockwell, of Herne Hill in the London Borough of Lambeth.[5][6]

He became a non-executive Director of HSBC Group from 1998 to 2008. He is also Chairman of the Corporate Sustainability Committee and the HSBC Global Education Trust. In 2011, he was elected Master of the Worshipful Company of Salters.[2] He is a Trustee of the Royal Academy of Music. [7]

In 2004, Lord Butler chaired the Review of Intelligence on Weapons of Mass Destruction, widely known as the 'Butler Review', which reviewed the use of intelligence in the lead up to the 2003 Iraq War. The report concluded that some of the intelligence about Iraq's possession of Weapons of Mass Destruction was seriously flawed.[8] The report also concluded, in regards the so-called Niger uranium forgeries, that the report Saddam's government was seeking uranium in Africa appeared 'well-founded'.[9]

Styles, honours, and arms

Styles of address

  • 1938–1986: Mr Robin Butler
  • 1986–1988: Mr Robin Butler CVO
  • 1988–1992: Sir Robin Butler KCB CVO
  • 1992–1998: Sir Robin Butler GCB CVO
  • 1998–2003: The Rt Hon. The Lord Butler of Brockwell GCB CVO
  • 2003–2004: The Rt Hon. The Lord Butler of Brockwell KG GCB CVO
  • 2004–: The Rt Hon. The Lord Butler of Brockwell KG GCB CVO PC




  1. ^ a b c d BBC News Profile: Lord Butler of Brockwell
  2. ^ a b c d e f Salt Talk issue 9 (2011) p6 "The Master"
  3. ^ D. R. Thorpe (2011) "Supermac - the Life of Harold MacMillan" Random House, ISBN 1844135411, page 751
  4. ^ a b "No. 54993". The London Gazette (Supplement). 30 December 1997. p. 1.
  5. ^ a b "No. 55047". The London Gazette. 18 February 1998. p. 1911.
  6. ^ a b "No. 24350". The Edinburgh Gazette. 20 February 1998. p. 419.
  7. ^ "Governing Body". Royal Academy of Music.
  8. ^ The Daily Telegraph, 18 September 2011, p.16.
  9. ^ The Rt. Hon. The Lord Butler of Brockwell (14 July 2004). HC 898: Review of Intelligence on Weapons of Mass Destruction (PDF) (Report). London: The Stationery Office. p. 137. Retrieved 3 September 2011.
  10. ^ "No. 50361". The London Gazette (Supplement). 31 December 1985. p. 4.
  11. ^ "No. 51171". The London Gazette (Supplement). 31 December 1987. p. 3.
  12. ^ "No. 52952". The London Gazette (Supplement). 13 June 1992. p. 3.
  13. ^ "No. 56915". The London Gazette. 23 April 2003. p. 5017.
  14. ^ The Arms of The Right Honourable Baron Butler of Brockwell, Grants of Arms (December 2003). College of Arms website. Retrieved 19 December 2013.

External links

Government offices
Preceded by
Clive Whitmore
Principal Private Secretary to the Prime Minister
Succeeded by
Nigel Wicks
Preceded by
Sir Robert Armstrong
Cabinet Secretary & Head of the Home Civil Service
Succeeded by
Sir Richard Wilson
Academic offices
Preceded by
John Albery
Master of University College, Oxford
Succeeded by
Sir Ivor Crewe
Aneurin Bevan

Aneurin Bevan (; Welsh: [aˈnəɨ.rɪn]; 15 November 1897 – 6 July 1960), often known as Nye Bevan, was a Welsh Labour Party politician who was the Minister for Health in the UK from 1945 to 1951. The son of a coal miner, Bevan was a lifelong champion of social justice, the rights of working people and democratic socialism. He left school at 13 and worked as a miner during his teens where he soon became involved in local union politics, being named head of his Miner's Lodge at 19 years of age. He joined the Labour Party and was elected as the Member of Parliament (MP), for Ebbw Vale in South Wales, a position he held for 31 years. He was one of the chief spokesmen for the Labour Party's left wing, and of left-wing British thought generally.

He rose to national prominence during the Second World War due to his criticism of the Tory prime ministers of the time. When Labour came into power following the 1945 United Kingdom general election, Bevan was the surprise choice of Clement Attlee to become the Minister of Health, becoming the youngest member of the cabinet at 47. His most famous accomplishment came when he spearheaded the establishment of the National Health Service, which was to provide medical care free at point-of-need to all Britons, regardless of wealth. He was appointed as Minister of Labour and National Service in 1951 but resigned soon after when the Attlee government decided to transfer funds from the National Insurance Fund to pay for rearmament. He later returned to the party to serve as Shadow Foreign Secretary and Deputy Leader of the Party over the rest of his career before his death from cancer in 1960 at the age of 62. The left-wing group within the party became known as "Bevanite" but he did not control it.

Born into a working-class family in South Wales, Bevan eventually emerged as one of Wales' most revered politicians. In 2004, over forty four years after his death, he was voted first in a list of 100 Welsh Heroes, having been credited for his contribution to the founding of the welfare state.

Baron Butler

The title Baron Butler was created in the Peerage of England in 1666.

Butler Review

The Review of Intelligence on Weapons of Mass Destruction, widely known as the Butler Review after its chairman Robin Butler, Baron Butler of Brockwell, was announced on 3 February 2004 by the British Government and published on 4 July 2004. It examined the intelligence on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction which played a key part in the Government's decision to invade Iraq (as part of the U.S.-led coalition) in 2003. A similar Iraq Intelligence Commission was set up in the United States. Despite the apparent certainty of both governments prior to the war that Iraq possessed such weapons, no such illegal weapons or programs were found by the Iraq Survey Group.

The inquiry also dealt with the wider issue of WMD programmes in "countries of concern" and the global trade in WMD. Recommendations were made to the prime minister to better evaluate and assess intelligence information in the future before invoking action.

Honours Committee

The Honours Committee is a committee within the Cabinet Office of the Government of the United Kingdom formed to review nominations for national honours for merit, exceptional achievement or service. Twice yearly the Honours Committee submits formal recommendations for the British monarch's New Years and Birthday Honours. Members of the Honours Committee—which comprises a main committee and nine subcommittees in speciality areas—research and vet nominations for national awards, including knighthoods and the Order of the British Empire.

January 3

January 3 is the third day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. 362 days remain until the end of the year (363 in leap years). Perihelion, the point during the year when the Earth is closest to the Sun, occurs around this date.

List of Honorary Fellows of University College, Oxford

This is a List of Honorary Fellows of University College, Oxford.

John Albery

Charles Bathurst, 1st Viscount Bledisloe

William Beveridge

E. J. Bowen

Robin Butler, Baron Butler of Brockwell

Philip Christison

Derman Christopherson

Bill Clinton

Frederick Cockin

C. H. Dodd

E. R. Dodds

Sir David Edward

John Robert Evans

A. D. Gardner

Guy Garrod

H. L. A. Hart

Bob Hawke

Stephen Hawking

Leonard Hoffmann, Baron Hoffmann

C. S. Lewis

Rudolph A. Marcus

Festus Mogae

Sir Andrew Motion

Sir V.S. Naipaul

Patrick Nairne

Ronald Oxburgh, Baron Oxburgh

Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh

John Erskine Read

John Redcliffe-Maud, Baron Redcliffe-Maud

David Renton, Baron Renton

Bernard W. Rogers

Sir Maurice Shock

Herwald Ramsbotham, 1st Viscount Soulbury

Stephen Spender

Johan Steyn, Baron Steyn

P. F. Strawson

Philip Cunliffe-Lister, 1st Earl of Swinton

Tim Tacchi

John Taylor

Edward Maunde Thompson

Travers Twiss

Kenneth Wheare

John Wild

Harold Wilson

Derek Wood

List of Knights and Ladies of the Garter

The Most Noble Order of the Garter was founded by Edward III of England in 1348. Dates shown are of nomination or installation; coloured rows indicate Princes of Wales, Royal Knights & Ladies and Stranger Knights & Ladies, none of whom counts toward the 24-member limit.

List of Old Harrovians

The following is a list of some notable Old Harrovians, former pupils of Harrow School in the United Kingdom.

List of University of Oxford people in British public life

This is a list of University of Oxford people in British public life. Many were students at one (or more) of the colleges of the University, and others held fellowships at a college.

This list forms part of a series of lists of people associated with the University of Oxford – for other lists, please see the main article List of University of Oxford people.

List of barons in the peerages of Britain and Ireland

This is a list of the 1187 present and extant Barons (Lords of Parliament, in Scottish terms) in the Peerages of England, Scotland, Great Britain, Ireland, and the United Kingdom. Note that it does not include those extant baronies which have become merged (either through marriage or elevation) with higher peerage dignities and are today only seen as subsidiary titles. For a more complete list, which adds these "hidden" baronies as well as extinct, dormant, abeyant, and forfeit ones, see List of Baronies.

This page includes all life barons, including the Law Lords created under the Appellate Jurisdiction Act 1876. However hereditary peers with the rank of viscount or higher holding also a life peerage are not included.

List of current members of the British Privy Council

This is a list of current members of the Privy Council of the United Kingdom, along with the roles they fulfil and the date when they were sworn of the Council. Throughout this article, the prefix The Rt Hon. is omitted, because every Counsellor bears it, as is the postnominal PC, as every Counsellor who is also a peer uses it.

The Council is composed mostly of politicians (be they from the British government, other parties, or Commonwealth governments) and civil servants, both current and retired (since membership is for life). Among those politicians generally sworn of the council are Ministers of the Crown, the few most senior figures of the Loyal Opposition, the Parliamentary leader of the third-largest party (currently SNP Westminster Leader Ian Blackford), and a couple of the most senior figures in the devolved British governments, including the First Ministers. Besides these, the Council includes a very few members of the Royal Family (usually the consort and heir apparent only), a few dozen judges (the Supreme Court Justices, the Senior Judges of England and Wales, and the Senators of the College of Justice of the Inner House in Scotland) and a few clergy (the three most senior Church of England bishops).

List of life peerages (1997–2010)

This is a list of life peerages in the Peerage of the United Kingdom created under the Life Peerages Act 1958 from 1997 to 2010, during the tenures of the Labour prime ministers Tony Blair and Gordon Brown.

Peter Inge, Baron Inge

Field Marshal Peter Anthony Inge, Baron Inge, (born 5 August 1935) was the Chief of the General Staff, the professional head of the British Army, from 1992 to 1994. He then served as Chief of the Defence Staff before retiring in 1997. Early in his military career he saw action during the Malayan Emergency and in Northern Ireland and later in his career he provided advice to the British Government during the Bosnian War.

Vincent's Club

Vincent's Club is a sports club predominantly but not exclusively for Oxford Blues at Oxford University.

The club was founded in 1863 by the oarsman Walter Bradford Woodgate (1841–1920) of Brasenose College, Oxford, and he was the first president of the club. Woodgate stated that Vincent's "should consist of the picked hundred of the University, selected for all-round qualities; social, physical and intellectual qualities being duly considered."Vincent's Club is located in upstairs premises off the High Street at 1A King Edward Street in central Oxford. The Club was originally located in the old reading rooms which J.H.Vincent, the printer, had previously kept at 90 High Street. The undergraduate membership is limited to 150 at any one time. Members are elected for life.

Coat of arms of Robin Butler, Baron Butler of Brockwell
Coat of Arms of Robin, Baron Butler Brockwell
The Right Honourable The Baron Butler Brockwell bears the Coat of Arms granted to him by the College of Arms. A banner of his arms, a carving in wood of his crest, and a stall plate showing his whole achievement are set up in the choir of the Chapel of St George in Windsor, which is the chapel of the Most Noble Order of the Garter. Lord Butler of Brockwell, Master of University College, Oxford, and formerly Secretary of the Cabinet and Head of the Home Civil Service, was created a life peer on 12 February 1998. In 2003, he was invested as a Knight of the Garter and as such he places the Garter around his shield.
Coronet of a Baron
Out of a Well a demi Badger Azure the head Argent and eye-stripes Azure.
Mantling Or and Azure.
Azure a Cross flory and parted Or between four Covered Cups bases inwards Argent.
On either side a Lion Argent armed and langued Azure and holding in the interior forepaw a Lymphad flags flying Or.
Latin: Serve and maintain
The Order of the Garter circlet.
Other elements
Ribbon of KG appended[14]
Garter Banner of the Baron Butler Brockwell.svg The banner of the Baron Butler of Brockwell's arms used as knight of the Garter depicted at St George's Chapel.
Members of the Butler Review
Ex officio
Knights and Ladies
Royal Knights
and Ladies
Stranger Knights
and Ladies


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