Prout was also involved in debates surrounding constitutional reform, particularly around the office he was shadowing, the Lord Chancellor. After Irvine's retirement in 2003 the Lord Chancellor's traditional duties were split three ways as part of the concept of separation of powers.
More DetailsHide DetailsThe government had intended to abolish the post of Lord Chancellor completely but, partly due to pressure from Prout, the title survived. Nevertheless, the post became diminished and from 2007 the holder (Jack Straw) sat in the House of Commons.
He also received several court appointments: became an assistant recorder for the Wales and Chester circuit, a recorder in 2000 and deputy High Court judge in 2005. In 1997, the new Conservative Party leader William Hague appointed Prout as the Shadow Lord Chancellor to Lord Irvine of Lairg, one of Tony Blair's closest intimates. Prout generally acquitted himself well against Irvine, warning of the risks from adopting the Human Rights Act 1998 and calling for Irvine's resignation in 2001 after it emerged Irvine had invited solicitors and barristers to a Labour Party fundraiser. Following the September 11, 2001 attacks, Prout was a key opponent to government legislation to make it easier to extradite Britons to the United States, though he ultimately gave up after the government introduced it for a third time.
More DetailsHide DetailsHe successfully defeated Labour moves to end the right to trial by jury in certain cases, considered to be his greatest achievement by his colleagues.
Following his election defeat, Prout received a life peerage as Baron Kingsland, of Shrewsbury in the County of Shropshire on 7 October 1994.
More DetailsHide DetailsHe reputedly took this title to avoid being nicknamed "Lord Brussels Prout". He was also made a Privy Councillor. He made his maiden speech on the subject of EU fraud and was a chairman of one of the Lords subcommittees on EU affairs.
He survived to the 1994 European Parliament election but lost the supposedly safe seat Herefordshire and Shropshire by nearly 2,000 votes.
Major's election prompted a thaw in Britain's relations with Europe. Prout supported Major's negotiation of the Maastricht Treaty while the Prime Minister supported Prout's efforts to gain entry into the EPP group. Finally, in April 1992, the EPP voted to accept the Conservatives as "allied members" of their grouping, though not the corresponding European political party, with Prout becoming a vice-chairman of the EPP group.
More DetailsHide DetailsHowever, following the events of Black Wednesday the Conservative Party became increasing split over the issue of Europe with Norman Tebbit describing Prout's supports as "mad keen federalists" and some MEPs attempted to remove Prout as their delegation leader.
Despite this, by November 1990 when Thatcher's position was under serious threat, Prout informed the 1922 Committee that 20 of his group wanted her to leave, whilst just five wanted her to remain as Conservative leader.
Though he criticised the President of the European Commission Jacques Delors - describing his blueprint for the future European Union as trying to "graft superfluous social engineering" to the single market - Prout proved to be somewhat pro-European and was visibly uncomfortable with Margaret Thatcher's euroscepticism during the 1989 European Parliament election.
More DetailsHide DetailsThe ED, before the election the third largest group, suffered heavy losses and fell to become the fifth largest group. After the election, the Spanish Popular Alliance left the ED to join the European People's Party Group (EPP), a more pro-European and Christian democratic group than the ED. Prout applied for the Conservative Party to join the EPP but suffered rejection, leaving the Conservatives in the now largely isolated ED group.
Prout received a knighthood in the 1990 New Year Honours.
By now, Prout was accused by some Conservatives in the UK of having "gone native". The Chairman of the Conservative Party Kenneth Baker attempted to improve relations in 1990 by arranging a series of meetings between the group and Thatcher.
In 1987, the ED chairman Henry Plumb was elected as President of the European Parliament.
More DetailsHide DetailsProut won the election to succeed him, defeating Baroness Elles, Sir Fred Catherwood and Claus Toksvig.
Prout also enjoyed sailing and gardening; he owned a Daring class yacht which won the Daily Telegraph Cup in 1987.
Prout was selected as the Conservative Party candidate for the Shropshire and Stafford constituency for the 1979 elections to the European Parliament, and won the seat with a 45,000 majority.
More DetailsHide DetailsSitting as a member of the conservative European Democrats Group (ED), he was elected as the Conservative deputy whip and then four years later as the chief whip.
He was called to the Bar in 1972 and became a Bencher of the Middle Temple in 1996.
More DetailsHide DetailsHe was made a Queen's Counsel in 1988 and continued practising at the Bar throughout his career in politics.
He was also a member of the Territorial Army serving with 16/5 The Queen's Royal Lancers and on headquarters staff of the 3rd Armoured Division.
In 1966 he joined the International Bank of Reconstruction and Development in Washington D.C. for three years before taking up a research fellowship at Sussex University and then becoming a lecturer in Law.
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