In 1913 he had married the writer Vita Sackville-West, and she encouraged his literary ambitions. In 1921, he published a biography of Paul Verlaine, to be followed by studies of Tennyson, Byron, Swinburne and Sainte-Beuve. In 1933, he wrote an account of the Paris conference entitled Peacemaking, 1919.
Having dabbled with Oswald Mosley's party, he became a member of Parliament for West Leicester in 1935, for the ruling National Labour Party. He became Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Minister of Information in Winston Churchill's 1940 government. He lost his seat in the election of 1945. He was knighted in 1953.