Richard Austen Butler, Baron Butler of Saffron Walden, , generally known as R. A. Butler and familiarly known from his initials as Rab, was a prominent British Conservative politician. The Times obituary called him "the creator of the modern educational system, the key-figure in the revival of post-war Conservatism, arguably the most successful chancellor since the war and unquestionably a Home Secretary of reforming zeal." He was one of his party's leaders in promoting the post-war consensus through which the major parties largely agreed on the main points of domestic policy until the 1970s, sometimes known as "Butskellism" from an elision of his name with that of his Labour counterpart Hugh Gaitskell.Born into a family of academics and Indian administrators, Butler enjoyed a brilliant academic career before entering Parliament in 1929. As a junior minister, he helped to pass the Government of India Act, 1935. He strongly supported the appeasement of Nazi Germany in 1938–39. Entering the Cabinet in 1941, he served as Education Minister . When the Conservatives returned to power in 1951 he served as Chancellor of the Exchequer , Home Secretary , Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Secretary .
Butler had an exceptionally long ministerial career and was one of only two British politicians to have served in three of the four Great Offices of State but never to have been Prime Minister, for which he was passed over in 1957 and 1963. At the time, the Conservative Leadership was decided by a process of private consultation rather than by a formal vote. After retiring from politics in 1965, Butler was appointed Master of Trinity College, Cambridge.