Leeds MPs

PEAKE, Osbert (1897–1966) Conservative. Lawyer.

During World War I he served as a lieutenant in the Coldstream Guards being wounded at Cambrai. He graduated after the war and was called to the bar in 1923 but his interest lay in politics. His first attempt to enter Parliament was unsuccessful when he was defeated in 1922 standing for Dewsbury. However, in 1929 he won Leeds North a seat he held until boundary changes abolished it in 1955. The nearest he came to defeat was 1945 when his majority was reduced to just 128. With the disappearance of Leeds North he then was forced to stand for the newly created Leeds North East which he won convincingly in 1955. He held several Government positions. In April 1939 he was appointed Parliamentary under-secretary of state to the Home Office, followed in 1944 with promotion to Financial Secretary at the Treasury. When the Conservatives were returned to power in 1951 he was made Minister of National Insurance and in 1953 he headed the newly established Ministry of Pensions and National Insurance. He showed a particular interest in seriously disabled people and those suffering from industrial injuries. He was not particularly happy serving under Anthony Eden when he became Prime Minister but he remained loyally silent during the Suez crisis when he held strong reservations about the action taken. He was ennobled in 1956. For further reading see Oxford Dictionary of National Biography online edition (Oxford, 2014).