Dictionary of Welsh Biography


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HOOSON, TOM ELLIS (1933-1985), Conservative politician.

He was born on 16 March 1933, the son of David Maelor Hooson, a farmer, and his wife, Ursula Ellis Hooson. He was a cousin to Emlyn Hooson (b.1925), the former Liberal MP for Montgomeryshire, 1962-79, and a grand-nephew to Thomas Edward Ellis (1859-1899), the Liberal MP for Merionethshire, 1886-99, and to the Welsh poet I. D. Hooson (1880-1948). He was educated at Rhyl Grammar School and University College, Oxford (MA (Oxon.)). He was called to the bar at Grays Inn and subsequently earned his living as a journalist for The Times. He served as an executive with Prentis and Varley Ltd., 1958-61, and with Benton and Bowles, 1961-76, of which he became a senior vice-president with responsibility for European operations. This work took him to the United States and to France. He was the founder of Welsh Farm News in 1957, and the chairman of the Bow Group, 1960-61, to which he felt an especial commitment, and Crossbow. He was a vice-president of the Federation of University Conservative and Unionist Associations, 1960-61. His career in advertising, publishing and marketing had been notably successful.

Hooson contested Caernarfonshire in the Conservative interest in the general election of 1959 when he stood against Goronwy O. Roberts, the sitting Labour MP. At the personal invitation of his party leader Margaret Thatcher, Hooson accepted the position of Director of Communications for the Conservative Party in 1976 and remained in the post for two years. He then became Director-General of the Periodical Publishers' Association in 1978. He captured Brecon and Radnor for the Conservatives in the general election of 1979 and held the seat until his death on 8 May 1985 at his Chelsea, London home after a long battle against cancer. He was working, signing letters to his constituents, only hours before he died. His funeral service was held at Brecon Cathedral. He was regarded as reserved and as a lone operator at Westminster. He focussed his attention on the direct interests of his constituents, and was highly regarded as a good constituency MP. In the by-election which ensued, the seat fell to Richard Livsey and the Liberal Democrats. He had published jointly Work for Wales (1959) and had contributed to Lessons from America (1973). His hobbies were walking, sailing, tennis and reading. He was unmarried.

Sources:

  • Who was who? ;
  • Etholiadau'r Ganrif / Welsh Elections 1885-1997 , Y Lolfa, 1999;
  • Welsh Hustings - 1885-2004 , Dinefwr Publishers Ltd, 2005;
  • The Times guide to the House of Commons , 1929, 1979 and 1983;
  • The Times , 10 May 1985;
  • Western Mail , 10 May 1985.

Author:

Dr John Graham Jones, Aberystwyth

Published date: 2008