Diana Elles, Baroness Elles

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The Baroness Elles
Member of the European Parliament
for the Thames Valley
In office
10 June 1979 – 15 June 1989
Preceded byDistrict created
Succeeded byJohn Stevens
Personal details
Born19 July 1921
Died17 October 2009 (2009-10-18) (aged 88)
Political partyConservative
Spouse(s)Neil Patrick Moncrieff Elles
ChildrenElizabeth Rosamund (born 1947), James Edmund Moncrieff (born 1949)

Diana Louie Elles, Baroness Elles (19 July 1921 – 17 October 2009)[1] was a barrister and United Nations representative from the United Kingdom. She was a delegate to the European Parliament for over a decade. Her son is James Elles.

Early years[edit]

Born Diana Newcombe in Bedford, she was the daughter of Colonel Stewart Francis Newcombe and his wife Elisabeth Chaki, who he had met in his war captivity.[2] Her father was a close friend of T.E.Lawrence,[2] who was the godfather of her brother Stuart Lawrence Newcombe (born 1920).[3] After education at private schools in London, Paris and Florence, she went to the University of London, where she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in French and Italian in 1941.[2] During the Second World War Elles served in the Women's Auxiliary Air Force, becoming a Flight Officer in 1944.[2] Versed in mathematics she was attached to Bletchley Park and was part of a team of code-breakers.[4]

Career in England[edit]

Elles was called to the bar by Lincoln's Inn in 1956 and worked in the voluntary care committee in Kennington.[2] She was director of the National Institute of Houseworkers, opening a training college in 1963.[2] In July 1970, Elles became chairman of the British section of the European Union of Women and three years later of the organisation as a whole.[2] In 1972, Edward Heath, at that time Prime Minister of the United Kingdom arranged for her a life peerage[4] and on 2 May she was created Baroness Elles, of the City of Westminster.[5] When Labour took office in 1974, she sat on the Opposition benches in the House of Lords and acted as Spokesperson for foreign and European affairs.[6]

In 1977 Elles became a council member of the Royal Institute of International Affairs until 1986 and subsequently was governor of the University of Reading until 1996.[6] She was trustee of the Industry and Parliament Trust from 1985 and in 1990 a trustee of the Caldecott Community that was founded as a London nursery in 1911 - latterly a residential (therapeutic) community for children in care.[6] Elles was appointed an honorable bencher of Lincoln's Inn in 1993.[7] After her retirement from politician, she spent her time supporting the British Institute of Florence.[4]

Foreign career[edit]

In 1972, Elles joined the British delegation to the United Nations General Assembly and after a year was added to the UN Sub-Commission for Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities.[8] She was nominated UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in 1975.[8] Four years later, she resigned her offices with the UN.[8]

Edward Heath sent her to the European Parliament in 1973, where she headed the international office until 1978, when Elles had to make room for a Labour delegate.[2] In the Parliament's first election in 1979, she won the Conservative seat for Thames Valley.[9] Together with her son James, she was returned in 1984 for another five years.[2] From 1982, she served as the Parliament's vice-president and two years later, stood unsuccessfully for the presidency.[9] When in 1987, her term ended, she ran for the leadership of the European Democratic Group, however was defeated by Christopher Prout.[2] Elles left the Parliament in 1989 and became a member of the Belgian law firm Van Bael and Bellis.[2]

Personal life[edit]

In 1945, she married Neil Patrick Moncrieff Elles; they had two children, Elizabeth Rosamund (born 1947) and James Edmund Moncrieff (born 1949).[10] Her husband having predeceased her, Elles died on 17 October 2009, aged 88.[4]


  • The Housewife and The Common Market (1971)
  • Procedural Aspects of Competition Law (1975)
  • UN Human Rights of Non-Citizens (1984)
  • Legal Issues of the Maastricht Treaty (1995)
  • European and World Trade Law (1996)


  1. ^ "Leigh Rayment - Peerage". Retrieved 19 December 2009.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "Obituary - Baroness Elles". The Telegraph. 29 October 2009. Retrieved 29 October 2009.
  3. ^ 1988, Malcolm Brown ed: T.E.Lawrence - The Selected Letters ISBN 1-55778-518-X pg 174
  4. ^ a b c d "Obituary - Baroness Elles: human rights campaigner and Conservative MEP". The Times. 26 October 2009. Retrieved 19 December 2009.
  5. ^ "No. 45663". The London Gazette. 4 May 1972. p. 5315.
  6. ^ a b c "Parliament of the United Kingdom, Official website - Profile of Baroness Elles". Retrieved 19 December 2009.
  7. ^ "Appointments". The Independent. 7 August 1993. Retrieved 20 October 2009.
  8. ^ a b c Charles Roger Dod & Robert Phipps Dod (2001). Dod's Parliamentary Companion 2001. Vacher Dod Publishing Ltd. p. 489. ISBN 0-905702-30-1.
  9. ^ a b "European Parliament, Official website - Profile of Baroness Elles". Retrieved 19 December 2009.
  10. ^ "p. 19122 § 191219 - Diana Louie Newcombe, Baroness Elles". Retrieved 25 October 2009.[unreliable source]

External links[edit]

European Parliament
New constituency Member of the European Parliament for Thames Valley
Succeeded by
John Stevens