Obituary: Sir David Llewellyn

Tony Heath
Sunday 16 August 1992 23:02

David Treharne Llewellyn, politician and journalist, born Aberdare Glamorganshire 17 January 1916, MP Cardiff North 1950-59, Under- Secretary of State at the Home Office 1951-52, Kt 1960, married 1950 Joan Williams (two sons, one daughter), died Yattendon Berkshire 9 August 1992.

DAVID LLEWELLYN was a Tory of the old school, a representative of that diminishing band of right-of-centre politicians who rate conciliation higher than confrontation and actually believe that there is such a thing as society. His service as an MP was relatively brief - from 1950 to 1959. But it coincided with the even- handedness of Harold Macmillan's leadership, an era which contrasts markedly with what some Tories today regard as the current damaging divisiveness.

He was one of many ex-servicemen - in 1944-45 he fought in north-west Europe as a captain in the Welsh Guards - who stood for Parliament in 1945. He polled a respectable 11,860 votes in the Labour stronghold of Aberavon. Five years later he won Cardiff North and increased a slender majority at both the 1951 and 1955 contests. He stood down in 1959 and was knighted the following year.

Forty years ago there was a dearth of Welsh Tories. Only three were returned in 1950 and in 1951 Llewellyn was appointed Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Home Office with the task of keeping an eye on Wales. The Welsh Office, a sizeable department of state, was not established until October 1964.

Llewellyn's ministerial appointment lasted only a year - he returned to the back benches suffering from Meniere's disease, which affects the inner ear. As a backbencher he had greater freedom to mix with Welsh Labour MPs, whose company he enjoyed. He was an admirer of Aneurin Bevan and in 1961, 12 months after that charismatic figure died, he published a tribute, Nye: the beloved patrician.

Although Llewellyn came from a prominent South Wales family of coal-owners and was educated at Eton and Trinity College, Cambridge, he had an affinity with the richly textured mining communities - communities which are today in danger of being neglected as grandiose projects such as the development of Cardiff's docklands proceed apace. He rounded on those in his party who publicly alleged that miners were guilty of self-pity and he once remarked that as a member of a family which owed its prosperity to coal he was indebted to miners for 'privileges I had not earned'.

To some he appeared eccentric - the Old Etonian who enjoyed to the full the company of those educated at the less exalted schools of industrial south Wales; while many of his circle were avid followers of horse-racing, he actually wrote - and wrote knowledgeably - about the sport. His brother, the celebrated showjumper Harry Llewellyn, was one of the links in that combination. Such contradictions helped to set David Llewellyn apart - perhaps even a little above the crowd.

(Photograph omitted)

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