Baron Bradwell - Tom Driberg

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Thomas Edward Neil Driberg, was born on 22 May 1905 at Crowborough to John and Amy Driberg. His father was a retired civil servant who had spent much of his life in India.

Driberg attended Lancing College where he developed three things that were to shape his life – an interest in the High Anglican Church, Far left communist politics and homosexuality. Although he obtained a place at Oxford University, Driberg became much too involved in Communist politics and partying to have time for studies and left the University with no degree.

The Daily Express offered the chance of employment as a trainee reported and Driberg showed such promise that he was given a daily column writing under the pseudonym of William Hickey.

In 1939 his widowed mother dies and with his inheritance he was able to buy Bradwell Lodge at Bradwell on Sea, Essex which was to be his main home for over 30 years.

He was not to stay at Bradwell Lodge for long as it was quickly taken over the Royal Air Force for use in connection with the nearby Bradwell Bay Airfield until returned to him in 1946.

During the war Driberg continued his work for the Daily Express although this changed in 1942 when the death of the MP for Maldon created a vacancy in parliament for the constituency where he lived. At that time there was a pact amongst the parties not to oppose the sitting party in vacancies so Driberg stood as an independent. The by election coincided with the fall of Tobruk and helped by Dribergs fame as William Hickey and his residence in the constituency he was elected to parliament.

In 1944 Driberg realised that an election was coming and so he applied to join the Labour Party. Once accepted the Maldon Labour party accepted him as their candidate and so he fought and won the seat for Labour in the 1945, 1950 and 1951 elections. He decided not to contest the seat in thr 1955 elections which saw a decline in the labour vote and the seat returned to the Conservatives.

In 1951 Driberg married Ena Binfield who was a Labour Party Official. The marriage was reported to be one of convenience for both parties and Driberg continued his active homosexual lifestyle thoughout. Binfield left him in 1961 although they remained married.

Despite promoting communism, he remained active within the Labour Party and in 1959 fought and won the seat of Barking for Labour to return to the commons. He remained MP for Barking until 1974 but played little part in the constituency, preferring to devote his energies to CND and left wing politics.

In 1975 he was given a Life Peerage and adopted the title Lord Bradwell of Bardwell Juxta Mare.

Mounting debts forced him to sell Bradwell Lodge although he tried at first to sell it to the National Trust but an examination showed that too much renovation was required for the National Trust to purchase and so it was sold on the open market.

On 12 August 1976 he suffered a fatal heart attack and was buried in the churchyard at Bradwell on Sea close to Bradwell Lodge.