- 28 Jun 07, 04:46 PM
"So you'll be the first set of brothers in Cabinet since the Stanleys," I teased Ed Miliband the other evening, referring to the speculation that he would soon join his brother David in the new Gordon Brown Cabinet. Ed Miliband brushed my question off, of course, but then, once the camera was switched off, enquired eagerly: "Who were the Stanleys?"
Answer: the two sons of the seventeenth Earl of Derby, who sat in Cabinet together in 1938, under Neville Chamberlian. Lord (Edward) Stanley, was Dominions Secretary, while his younger brother Oliver Stanley, was President of the Board of Trade. It is not a happy precedent, however, since Lord (Edward) Stanley died only a few months after taking the job.
A more interesting pair of Cabinet brothers served after the war, though not simultanously, since they were on opposite sides of politics. Earl of Listowel briefly served for four months as Secretary of State for India in 1947, during Clement Attlee's post-war Labour Cabinet, whilst his brother John Hare (later Lord Blakenham) held posts in the early '60s, in the Cabinets of Harold Macmillan and Alec Douglas-Home.