Brooke, John Warden (1922–87), politician and 2nd Viscount Brookeborough , was born 9 November 1922 in Colebrooke, Brookeborough, Co. Fermanagh, second of three sons of Sir Basil Brooke (qv), prime minister of Northern Ireland 1943–63 and first Viscount Brookeborough, Co. Fermanagh, and Cynthia Mary Brooke (née Sergison), of Sussex. Educated at Eton, he joined the British army in 1941 and served as captain with the 10th Royal Hussars in Italy where he was wounded in 1942. He subsequently served as ADC to Field-marshal Alexander in Italy, to Gen. Sir Brian Robertson in Germany, and to the viceroy of India, Field-marshal Lord Wavell, before invaliding out of the army in 1947.
He entered politics in that same year when he was elected to Fermanagh county council, which he chaired 1961–73. In 1967 he pioneered the streamlining of local government through the voluntary amalgamation of all councils in the county. Elected as a unionist MP for Lisnaskea (1968) he took his father's seat in the NI parliament at Stormont and served till 1973. In 1969 he became parliamentary secretary to the minister of commerce with special responsibilities for tourism. In 1970 he served as parliamentary secretary to the department of the prime minister, with responsibility for the government's publicity and information services, and in 1971–2 became minister of state, minister of finance, and government chief whip. Although opposing the moderate reforms of the NI prime minister Terence O'Neill (qv) in the 1960s, he supported the power-sharing group of Brian Faulkner (qv) and the Sunningdale agreement (1973), and joined the Unionist Party of Northern Ireland, a move that provoked bitter disagreement with his local unionist association in Fermanagh. He subsequently moved to the more moderate Down North constituency where he was elected to the Northern Ireland assembly in 1973, before taking a seat in the house of lords in the mid 1970s. There he defied a unionist boycott of both houses of parliament to express strong opposition to the Anglo-Irish agreement of 1985.
His entire political career was spent in the shadow cast by his domineering father. His entry into politics was a reluctant one and he stated that he would not have followed such a career had it not been thrust upon him by his eldest brother's death in the second world war, during which his younger brother also died. In the 1960s he led the all-Irish showjumping team, which competed under the flag of the four provinces; in other circumstances, he might have pursued his equine interests as a career. Although he inherited his father's title in 1973, he lived at Ashbrooke, the smaller of the two houses on the family estate, much of which was let out to tenants. He died 5 March 1987 after a short illness and was survived by his wife (m. 1949), Rosemary Hilda (née Chichester), two sons, including his heir Alan, and three daughters.