Peto was born 13 December 1900 at Chertsey, Surrey the son of Sir Basil Peto a former Member of Parliament. Peto was educated at Harrow College and St John's College, Cambridge reading history and political economy.
In 1924 Peto was commissioned in the Royal Artillery, two years later he transferred to the King's Dragoon Guards. In 1929 he was appointed as ADC to the Governor of Bombay and from 1932 to 1935 he served in India. Peto retired in 1939 but with the start of the second world war in 1939 Peto rejoined the Army.
As a founder member of the Cambridge University Conservative Association and his father being a Member of Parliament he always had an interest in politics and in 1941 Peto was elected as Member of Parliament (MP) for Birmingham King's Norton at a by-election in May 1941 following the death of the sitting MP Ronald Cartland. From 1941 to 1945 Peto was a parliamentary private secretary to Geoffrey Lloyd chairman of the Oil Control Board. Peto stood again at the 1945 general election but was defeated by the Labour Party candidate, Raymond Blackburn.
Family and later life
Peto had married Patricia Geraldine Browne in 1934 and they had a son and three daughters. On 3 February 1954 Peto was found shot dead in the garden of his home in Witley, Surrey with the gun beside him. It was concluded that Peto who regularly shot in his gardens had slipped on ice and shot himself.
- Leigh Rayment's Historical List of MPs – Constituencies beginning with "K" (part 2)
- "Major John Peto." Times [London, England] 4 Feb. 1954: 8. The Times Digital Archive. Web. 28 Apr. 2013.
- Craig, F. W. S. (1983) . British parliamentary election results 1918–1949 (3rd ed.). Chichester: Parliamentary Research Services. p. 86. ISBN 0-900178-06-X. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
- "Former M.P. Found Shot Dead." Times [London, England] 4 Feb. 1954: 6. The Times Digital Archive. Web. 28 Apr. 2013.
- Hansard 1803–2005: contributions in Parliament by Basil Peto
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| Member of Parliament for Birmingham King's Norton