Basil Stanlake Brooke 1st Viscount Brookeborough

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Brooke, Sir Basil, 1st Lord Brookeborough (1880–1974). Prime minister of Northern lreland 1943–63 and indelibly associated with the comment ‘a Protestant Parliament and a Protestant State’. Descended from Ulster plantation landowners, Brooke came late to politics after a military career. He was behind the establishment of the Ulster Special Constabulary, minister of agriculture 1933–40, and the most active of Sir James Craig's administration. Minister of commerce 1940–3, his criticism of the ineffective response to wartime emergency led to his assuming premiership. He was an intransigent opponent of any concessions to catholic minority and conservative in economic affairs while premier. During the tumultuous years following his retirement, he was an outdated and all-too-easily ridiculed man.

Michael Hopkinson