Lord Hurd of Westwell

Senior Adviser, Chatham House; Foreign Secretary, UK (1989-1995)


Lord Hurd of Westwell is a chairman of the Panel of Senior Advisors, and former president of Chatham House. He was an MP from 1974 to 1997 and spent 16 years in government.

During this period he held the posts of minister of state in the Home Office and the Foreign Office and served as secretary of state for Northern Ireland from 1984-85, home secretary from 1985-89 and foreign secretary from 1989-95.

After gaining a first class degree in history at Cambridge - where he was president of the Cambridge Union - Lord Hurd joined the Diplomatic Service where he served in Peking, Rome and as part of the UK mission to the UN in New York.

Leaving the Foreign Office for Conservative Research Department he quickly became Edward Heath's private secretary from 1968-70 and was his political secretary at Downing Street from 1970-74.

Lord Hurd's success as a statesman was mirrored in his business interests and he spent a large part of his career with the Natwest Group where he was a main board director between 1995 and 1999.

From 1997 until 2000 Lord Hurd was chairman of British Invisibles, from 1998 to 2001 chairman of the Prison Reform Trust Charity and from 2001 to 2004 chairman of CEDR. He is chairman of the Advisory Council at FIRST, an international affairs organization.

Lord Hurd is a celebrated writer and novelist, whose books include Choose Your Weapons (2010) and Disraeli: or, the Two Lives (2013). In 1998 he was chairman of the Booker Prize for Fiction.