The Lord Carr of Hadley
Robert Carr
Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer
In office
4 March 1974 – 11 February 1975
LeaderEdward Heath
Preceded byDenis Healey
Succeeded byGeoffrey Howe
Ministerial offices
Home Secretary
In office
18 July 1972 – 4 March 1974
Prime MinisterEdward Heath
Preceded byReginald Maudling
Succeeded byRoy Jenkins
In office
7 April 1972 – 5 November 1972
Prime MinisterEdward Heath
Preceded byWilliam Whitelaw
Succeeded byJim Prior
Secretary of State for Employment
In office
20 June 1970 – 7 April 1972
Prime MinisterEdward Heath
Preceded byBarbara Castle
Succeeded byMaurice Macmillan
Parliamentary representation
Member of Parliament
for Carshalton
In office
28 February 1974 – 15 January 1976
Preceded byWalter Elliot
Succeeded byNigel Forman
Member of Parliament
for Mitcham
In office
23 February 1950 – 8 February 1974
Preceded byTom Braddock
Succeeded byConstituency abolished
Member of the House of Lords
Lord Temporal
In office
15 January 1976 – 17 February 2012
Life peerage
Personal details
Leonard Robert Carr

(1916-11-11)11 November 1916
Died17 February 2012(2012-02-17) (aged 95)
Political partyConservative
EducationWestminster School
Alma materGonville and Caius College, Cambridge

Leonard Robert Carr, Baron Carr of Hadley, PC (11 November 1916 – 17 February 2012) was a British Conservative Party politician who served as Home Secretary from 1972 to 1974. He served as a Member of Parliament (MP) for 26 years, and later served in the House of Lords as a life peer.

Early life

Robert Carr was educated at Westminster School[1] and Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, where he read Natural Sciences, graduating in 1938. After graduation he applied his knowledge of metallurgy at John Dale & Co, the family metal engineering firm.[1] A collapsed lung kept him from war service but his firm specialised in the construction of airframes for Lancaster bombers.[2]

Political career

He was elected Member of Parliament for Mitcham in 1950 and served there until 1974, when the seat was merged and he moved to Carshalton.

In Edward Heath's government, he served as Secretary of State for Employment and was responsible for the modernising Industrial Relations Act 1971, which balanced the introduction of compensation for unfair dismissal with curbs on the freedom to strike and the virtual abolition of closed shop agreements. The Industrial Relations Act 1971 was deeply disliked by, trade unions, whose industrial action lead to the three-day week and ultimately to the defeat of the government. The victorious Labour Party promptly repealed the Industrial Relations Act and replaced it with the Trade Union and Labour Relations Act 1974, which scrapped the "offensive" provisions but effectively re-enacted the remainder of Carr's 1971 Act.

In 1971, Carr escaped injury when The Angry Brigade anarchist group exploded two bombs outside his house.[3] More than thirty years later, a member of the group issued a public apology to Carr and sent him a Christmas card.[4]

In 1972, Carr served a brief period as Lord President of the Council and then was appointed Home Secretary following the resignation of Reginald Maudling. Following Heath's defeat in the first ballot of the 1975 Conservative leadership contest, he asked him to "take over the functions of leader" until a new leader was elected.[5] The day after her election the new leader, Margaret Thatcher met with Carr, according to her at his request, before she formed shadow cabinet. According to her memoirs, Carr had been close to Heath and so she would have understood "if he did not relish the prospect of serving under" her. She stated that Carr made it clear that the only post that he would accept would be that of Shadow Foreign Secretary. She told him that she could not promise that and confided in her memoirs that at that stage, she was still considering appointments and was "not convinced" that she would offer Carr any role in the shadow cabinet. She proceeded to appoint Maudling as Shadow Foreign Secretary and saw Carr again later to inform him of her decision. In her memoirs, she speculated that Carr might have been "persuaded to stay in another capacity" but did not offer him the chance and noted, "I was not keen to have another strong opponent in any position on the team".[6]

Later life

Carr was created a life peer as Baron Carr of Hadley, of Monken Hadley, North London, in 1976.[7]


Carr died 17 February 2012 at the age of 95 years. His body was buried in the graveyard of St. Peter's Church, in the Gloucestershire village of Farmington. He was survived by his wife, Joan, and two daughters.[8]


  1. ^ a b Goodman, Geoffrey (20 February 2012). "Lord Carr of Hadley obituary". The Guardian. Retrieved 24 February 2012.
  2. ^ "Lord Carr of Hadley obituary". the Guardian. 20 February 2012. Retrieved 29 July 2021.
  3. ^ "1971: British minister's home bombed". On This Day 1950–2005. BBC News. 6 December 1972. Retrieved 22 August 2011.
  4. ^ Bright, Martin (3 February 2002). "Angry Brigade's bomb plot apology". The Observer. London. Retrieved 22 August 2011.
  5. ^ The Times. No. 59312. London. 5 February 1975. col A, p. 1. ((cite news)): Missing or empty |title= (help)
  6. ^ Thatcher, Margaret (2013). Margaret Thatcher the Autobiography. London: Harper Press. pp. 176–179. ISBN 978-0-00-742528-0.
  7. ^ "No. 46803". The London Gazette. 20 January 1976. p. 919.
  8. ^ "Lord Carr of Hadley". The Daily Telegraph. 19 February 2012. Archived from the original on 19 April 2012. Retrieved 12 August 2013.


Parliament of the United Kingdom Preceded byTom Braddock Member of Parliament for Mitcham 1950–1974 Constituency abolished Preceded byWalter Elliot Member of Parliament for Carshalton 1974–1976 Succeeded byNigel Forman Political offices Preceded byBarbara Castleas Secretary of State forEmployment and Productivity Secretary of State for Employment 1970–1972 Succeeded byMaurice Macmillan Preceded byWilliam Whitelaw Lord President of the Council 1972 Succeeded byJim Prior Leader of the House of Commons 1972 Preceded byReginald Maudling Home Secretary 1972–1974 Succeeded byRoy Jenkins