Roy Jenkins

  • the right honourable

    the lord jenkins of hillhead

    om pc
    roy jenkins 1977b.jpg
    president of the european commission
    in office
    6 january 1977 – 19 january 1981
    vice presidentwilhelm haferkamp
    preceded byfrançois-xavier ortoli
    succeeded bygaston thorn
    chancellor of the university of oxford
    in office
    14 march 1987 – 5 january 2003
    vice-chancellorthe lord neill
    sir richard southwood
    sir peter north
    sir colin lucas
    preceded bythe earl of stockton
    succeeded bythe lord patten of barnes
    leader of the liberal democrats in the house of lords
    in office
    16 july 1988 – 19 december 1997
    leaderpaddy ashdown
    preceded bythe baroness seear
    succeeded bythe lord rodgers of quarry bank
    leader of the social democratic party
    in office
    7 july 1982 – 13 june 1983
    deputydavid owen
    presidentshirley williams
    preceded byoffice created
    succeeded bydavid owen
    home secretary
    in office
    5 march 1974 – 10 september 1976
    prime ministerharold wilson
    james callaghan
    preceded byrobert carr
    succeeded bymerlyn rees
    in office
    23 december 1965 – 30 november 1967
    prime ministerharold wilson
    preceded byfrank soskice
    succeeded byjames callaghan
    deputy leader of the labour party
    in office
    8 july 1970 – 10 april 1972
    leaderharold wilson
    preceded bygeorge brown
    succeeded byedward short
    chancellor of the exchequer
    in office
    30 november 1967 – 19 june 1970
    prime ministerharold wilson
    chief secretaryjack diamond
    preceded byjames callaghan
    succeeded byiain macleod
    minister of aviation
    in office
    18 october 1964 – 23 december 1965
    prime ministerharold wilson
    preceded byjulian amery
    succeeded byfred mulley
    member of the house of lords
    in office
    1 december 1987 – 5 january 2003
    member of parliament
    for glasgow hillhead
    in office
    25 march 1982 – 11 june 1987
    preceded bytam galbraith
    succeeded bygeorge galloway
    member of parliament
    for birmingham stechford
    in office
    23 february 1950 – 31 march 1977
    preceded byconstituency created
    succeeded byandrew mackay
    member of parliament
    for southwark central
    in office
    29 april 1948 – 23 february 1950
    preceded byjohn martin
    succeeded byconstituency abolished
    personal details
    born
    roy harris jenkins

    (1920-11-11)11 november 1920
    abersychan, monmouthshire, wales
    died5 january 2003(2003-01-05) (aged 82)
    east hendred, oxfordshire, england
    political partylabour (before 1981)
    social democrats (1981–1988)
    liberal democrats (1988–2003)
    alma matercardiff university
    balliol college, oxford
    military service
    allegiance united kingdom
    branch/serviceflag of the british army.svg british army
    rankcaptain
    unitroyal artillery
    battles/warssecond world war

    roy harris jenkins, baron jenkins of hillhead, om, pc (11 november 1920 – 5 january 2003), was a british politician and the president of the european commission from 1977 to 1981. he was at various times a member of the labour party, social democratic party and the liberal democrats.

    the son of a welsh coal-miner and trade unionist, himself later a labour mp, jenkins was educated at the university of oxford and served as an intelligence officer during the second world war. elected to parliament as a labour mp in 1948, he went on to serve as both chancellor of the exchequer and home secretary under the labour governments of harold wilson and james callaghan. in his first period as home secretary he sought to build what he described as "a civilised society", with measures such as the effective abolition in britain of both capital punishment and theatre censorship, the partial decriminalisation of homosexuality, relaxing of divorce law, suspension of birching and the liberalisation of abortion law. as chancellor of the exchequer he pursued a tight fiscal policy. he was elected deputy leader of the labour party in 1970, but resigned in 1972 because he supported entry to the european communities, which the party opposed.[1]

    he later chose to leave british politics in 1976, being appointed president of the european commission the following year, serving until 1981. he was the first and only british holder of this office. he returned to british politics in 1981; dismayed with the labour party's left-ward movement under michael foot, he was one of the "gang of four"—centrist labour figures who formed the social democratic party (sdp).[2] in 1982, jenkins won a by-election to return to parliament, taking the seat from the conservatives in a famous result. he was formally made leader of the sdp ahead of the 1983 general election, during the sdp-liberal alliance. however, after disappointment with the performance of the sdp, he resigned as leader.

    roy jenkins robed as chancellor of oxford university

    in 1987 he was elected to succeed harold macmillan as chancellor of the university of oxford following the latter's death; he held this position until his own death sixteen years later. a few months after becoming chancellor he was defeated at the 1987 general election by the labour candidate, george galloway. jenkins accepted a life peerage shortly afterwards, and sat in the house of lords as a liberal democrat. in the late 1990s he was an adviser to prime minister tony blair and chaired the jenkins commission on electoral reform. jenkins died in 2003, aged 82.

    in addition to his political career he was also a noted historian, biographer and writer. his a life at the centre (1991) is regarded as one of the best autobiographies of the later 20th century, which "will be read with pleasure long after most examples of the genre have been forgotten".[3]

  • early life (1920–1945)
  • early political career (1945–1965)
  • home secretary (1965–1967)
  • chancellor of the exchequer (1967–1970)
  • shadow cabinet (1970–1974)
  • home secretary (1974–1976)
  • president of the european commission (1977–1981)
  • social democratic party (1981–1987)
  • peerage, achievements, books and death (1987–2003)
  • marriage and personal life
  • works
  • references
  • further reading
  • external links


The Lord Jenkins of Hillhead

Roy Jenkins 1977b.jpg
President of the European Commission
In office
6 January 1977 – 19 January 1981
Vice PresidentWilhelm Haferkamp
Preceded byFrançois-Xavier Ortoli
Succeeded byGaston Thorn
Chancellor of the University of Oxford
In office
14 March 1987 – 5 January 2003
Vice-ChancellorThe Lord Neill
Sir Richard Southwood
Sir Peter North
Sir Colin Lucas
Preceded byThe Earl of Stockton
Succeeded byThe Lord Patten of Barnes
Leader of the Liberal Democrats in the House of Lords
In office
16 July 1988 – 19 December 1997
LeaderPaddy Ashdown
Preceded byThe Baroness Seear
Succeeded byThe Lord Rodgers of Quarry Bank
Leader of the Social Democratic Party
In office
7 July 1982 – 13 June 1983
DeputyDavid Owen
PresidentShirley Williams
Preceded byOffice Created
Succeeded byDavid Owen
Home Secretary
In office
5 March 1974 – 10 September 1976
Prime MinisterHarold Wilson
James Callaghan
Preceded byRobert Carr
Succeeded byMerlyn Rees
In office
23 December 1965 – 30 November 1967
Prime MinisterHarold Wilson
Preceded byFrank Soskice
Succeeded byJames Callaghan
Deputy Leader of the Labour Party
In office
8 July 1970 – 10 April 1972
LeaderHarold Wilson
Preceded byGeorge Brown
Succeeded byEdward Short
Chancellor of the Exchequer
In office
30 November 1967 – 19 June 1970
Prime MinisterHarold Wilson
Chief SecretaryJack Diamond
Preceded byJames Callaghan
Succeeded byIain Macleod
Minister of Aviation
In office
18 October 1964 – 23 December 1965
Prime MinisterHarold Wilson
Preceded byJulian Amery
Succeeded byFred Mulley
Member of the House of Lords
In office
1 December 1987 – 5 January 2003
Member of Parliament
for Glasgow Hillhead
In office
25 March 1982 – 11 June 1987
Preceded byTam Galbraith
Succeeded byGeorge Galloway
Member of Parliament
for Birmingham Stechford
In office
23 February 1950 – 31 March 1977
Preceded byConstituency created
Succeeded byAndrew MacKay
Member of Parliament
for Southwark Central
In office
29 April 1948 – 23 February 1950
Preceded byJohn Martin
Succeeded byConstituency Abolished
Personal details
Born
Roy Harris Jenkins

(1920-11-11)11 November 1920
Abersychan, Monmouthshire, Wales
Died5 January 2003(2003-01-05) (aged 82)
East Hendred, Oxfordshire, England
Political partyLabour (Before 1981)
Social Democrats (1981–1988)
Liberal Democrats (1988–2003)
Alma materCardiff University
Balliol College, Oxford
Military service
Allegiance United Kingdom
Branch/serviceFlag of the British Army.svg British Army
RankCaptain
UnitRoyal Artillery
Battles/warsSecond World War

Roy Harris Jenkins, Baron Jenkins of Hillhead, OM, PC (11 November 1920 – 5 January 2003), was a British politician and the President of the European Commission from 1977 to 1981. He was at various times a member of the Labour Party, Social Democratic Party and the Liberal Democrats.

The son of a Welsh coal-miner and trade unionist, himself later a Labour MP, Jenkins was educated at the University of Oxford and served as an intelligence officer during the Second World War. Elected to Parliament as a Labour MP in 1948, he went on to serve as both Chancellor of the Exchequer and Home Secretary under the Labour Governments of Harold Wilson and James Callaghan. In his first period as Home Secretary he sought to build what he described as "a civilised society", with measures such as the effective abolition in Britain of both capital punishment and theatre censorship, the partial decriminalisation of homosexuality, relaxing of divorce law, suspension of birching and the liberalisation of abortion law. As Chancellor of the Exchequer he pursued a tight fiscal policy. He was elected Deputy Leader of the Labour Party in 1970, but resigned in 1972 because he supported entry to the European Communities, which the party opposed.[1]

He later chose to leave British politics in 1976, being appointed President of the European Commission the following year, serving until 1981. He was the first and only British holder of this office. He returned to British politics in 1981; dismayed with the Labour Party's left-ward movement under Michael Foot, he was one of the "Gang of Four"—centrist Labour figures who formed the Social Democratic Party (SDP).[2] In 1982, Jenkins won a by-election to return to Parliament, taking the seat from the Conservatives in a famous result. He was formally made Leader of the SDP ahead of the 1983 general election, during the SDP-Liberal Alliance. However, after disappointment with the performance of the SDP, he resigned as leader.

Roy Jenkins robed as Chancellor of Oxford University

In 1987 he was elected to succeed Harold Macmillan as Chancellor of the University of Oxford following the latter's death; he held this position until his own death sixteen years later. A few months after becoming Chancellor he was defeated at the 1987 general election by the Labour candidate, George Galloway. Jenkins accepted a life peerage shortly afterwards, and sat in the House of Lords as a Liberal Democrat. In the late 1990s he was an adviser to Prime Minister Tony Blair and chaired the Jenkins Commission on electoral reform. Jenkins died in 2003, aged 82.

In addition to his political career he was also a noted historian, biographer and writer. His A Life at the Centre (1991) is regarded as one of the best autobiographies of the later 20th century, which "will be read with pleasure long after most examples of the genre have been forgotten".[3]