Timothy Kitson

Sir Timothy Peter Geoffrey Kitson (28 January 1931 – 18 May 2019) was a British Conservative politician who was Member of Parliament for Richmond, North Yorkshire. He was first elected in the 1959 general election, and stood down at the 1983 general election.

Kitson was the son of Geoffrey H. and Kathleen Kitson.[1] He was educated at Charterhouse and the Royal Agricultural College, Cirencester. He farmed in Australia, 1949–51.[2] From 1954–57 he served as a councillor on the Thirsk Rural District Council; and from 1957–61 on North Riding County Council.[3] In Parliament, he acted as joint honorary secretary of the Conservative parliamentary committee on agriculture, fisheries and food from 1965–66 and a Parliamentary Private Secretary to the then Prime Minister Edward Heath from 1970–74.

He married Diana Mary Fattorini in 1959; there were two daughters and one son.[4]

In 1964–65 Kitson supported the Labour M.P., Sydney Silverman's, successful 'Murder (Abolition of Death Penalty) Bill'.[5] He opposed abolition in the form finalised in 1969, however.[6]

Kitson received a knighthood in Edward Heath's resignation honours list in 1974.[7]

The droll side of his personality was caught in an anecdote told by Sir Edward Heath in his autobiography. Heath had friendly relations with the Singapore politician, Lee Kuan Yew ['Harry' Lee] : "Whenever I have visited Singapore, except for the 1971 Commonwealth Conference, Harry Lee has generously settled me in his personal guest-house, and extended his hospitality to me. His dinners are marked by an invitation card and a menu with 'Smoking is not permitted' heavily printed at the top. Dining with the Lee family one time outside in his garden, I was alarmed when the butler came up to Sir Timothy Kitson, my parliamentary private secretary, and handed him a note. After reading it, Tim apologised to the Prime Minister [Lee Kuan Yew] and asked to be excused while he made a telephone call to London. He returned after some twenty minutes, but half an hour later the same thing happened. Again Tim came back without a word of explanation. When we got up after dinner, I quietly went up to him and said, 'Tim, what was all that about ? Is something wrong ? What is happening in London?' 'I didn't worry you because everything is perfectly all right,' he replied. 'I just had to have a smoke.' "[8]

He died on 18 May 2019.[9]


  1. Who's Who 1974, London : A. & C. Black, 1974, pg.1839.
  2. Who's Who 1974, London : A. & C. Black, 1974, pg.1839.
  3. Who's Who 1974, London : A. & C. Black, 1974, pg.1839.
  4. Who's Who 1974, London : A. & C. Black, 1974, pg.1839.
  5. Times (London, England), 23 December 1964 April 1974, pg.5.
  6. Hansard, House of Commons, vol. 793, c.1296, 16 December 1969.
  7. Times (London, England), 5 April 1974, pg.1.
  8. E. Heath, The Course of My Life, London : Hodder and Stoughton, 1998, pg.242-3.
  9. "Sir Timothy Kitson obituary". The Times. 21 May 2019.
Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Thomas Dugdale
Member of Parliament for Richmond, North Yorkshire
Succeeded by
Leon Brittan
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