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Vernon was the son of Granville Harcourt Vernon, M.P. for Retford, Nottinghamshire and was educated at Westminster and then Oxford. He entered public life in 1841 when he became Private Secretary to Earl St Germans, who was then Chief Secretary to Ireland.
He held this post until 1845 when he became Private Secretary to the Earl of Lincoln [later 5th Duke of Newcastle under Lyne], then serving as Chief Commissioner of Woods and Forests. When Lincoln moved to become Chief Secretary to Ireland in 1846, Vernon accompanied him.
Vernon was a proponent of ‘Liberal-Conservative’ politics and ultimately served in parliament himself. He was elected M.P. for Newark in 1842, and sat for the constituency until his retirement in 1857.
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