Obituary: Lord Granville of Eye

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The Independent Online
Lord Granville of Eye

A LITERARY footnote should be added to Malcolm Baines's and Tam Dalyell's obituary of [19 February], writes Alan Deyermond.

Edgar Granville is one of relatively few MPs to have been the recognisable central character of a contemporary novel. Roger Fulford's The Right Honourable Gentleman (1945) tells of the rise and fall of Augustus Stryver, who is elected Liberal MP for a hitherto safely Conservative East Anglian constituency, becomes a junior minister in the National Government, and is brought down by sexual scandal.

The events of Stryver's career coincide only in part with Granville's, but the character is recognisable, and Fulford confirmed to me, a few years after publication, that Granville was indeed the model. Fulford knew the still ambitious Granville, unrecognisable in the older man so moving evoked by Tam Dalyell.

The Right Honourable Gentleman is still a good read: not, I think, in the top rank of this century's political novels (alongside William Cooper's Disquiet and Peace, 1956; Douglas Hurd and Andrew Osmond's Scotch on the Rocks, 1968; or Chris Mullin's A Very British Coup, 1982), but much above the average, and better, even, than C.P. Snow's Corridors of Power (1964).