He was called to the Bar, Inner Temple in 1926. He joined the 4th Battalion of the Green Howards at the outbreak of World War II and served as served as Deputy Assistant Adjutant-General 50th (N) Division, AAG GHQ MEF. He was awarded the Military Cross in 1942.
At the 1929 general election, he was elected as was Conservative Member of Parliament for Thirsk and Malton, holding the seat until his retirement at the February 1974 general election. This was a very long time in Parliament, and near the end he was Father of the House. He attributed his election as an MP at the unusually young age of 25 to the death of his predecessor, and the local Conservative association did not want to waste its "Vote For Turton" posters.
He held ministerial office as Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Insurance from 1951-53 and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Pensions and National Insurance from 1953-54, as Joint Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs from October 1954-December 1955 and finally entered Cabinet as Minister of Health from December 1955-January 1957. He was appointed a Privy Counsellor in 1955. In Parliament he was Chairman of the Select Committee on Procedure from 1970-74. He was opposed to British membership of the EEC.