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| Jenkins |

Jenkins, Roy Harris (Life Peerage 1987) (b. 1920)
Politician; Labour Party MP; Home Secretary 1965-67 and 1974-76

Roy Jenkins was born in Wales and educated at Aberyschan Grammar School, and Balliol College, Oxford, where he took First Class Honours in Politics, Philosophy and Economics, before seeing service in the Royal Artillery during the Second World War. In 1948 he was elected as a Labour MP for the constituency of Central Southwark, a London constituency (1948-50) and then was returned in 1950 for the seat of Stechford in Birmingham (1950-76). Jenkins first came to prominence when he served as Home Secretary (1965-67). Amongst his responsibilities in this period was to deal with the growing concerns amongst backbench Labour MPs regarding the issue of civil rights in Northern Ireland. Along with the Harold Wilson, then British Prime Minister, he met with the Stormont authorities during 1966 and was prepared to accept their guarantees that a programme of reform would be gradually introduced. From 1967-70 Jenkins served as Chancellor of the Exchequer and when Labour returned to power in 1974 he was re-appointed Home Secretary (1974-76). During this spell he introduced the 1974 Anti-Terrorism Act in response to the Birmingham Pub bombings of November 1974. He resigned from parliament in 1976 to serve as President of the European Commission (1976-81). In the early 1980s he became involved once again in British politics by means of campaigning for the formation of a new centre party, the Social Democratic Party (SDP) and served as its leader from 1982-83. Having lost his parliamentary seat of Glasgow Hillhead (1983-87) at the 1987 general election Jenkins accepted a life peerage and took his seat in the House of Lords as Lord Jenkins of Hillhead.

Book References:
Jenkins, Roy. (1991), A Life at the Centre. London: Pan Books
Ramsden, John. (ed.) (2002), The Oxford Companion to Twentieth-Century British Politics. Oxford: Oxford University Press
Crewe, Ivor. and King, Anthony. (1995), SDP: The Birth, Life and Death of the Social Democratic Party. Oxford: Oxford Univesity Press.
Web Sources:
[Entry written by B.Lynn - 4 December 2002]

The information has been compiled from numerous primary and secondary sources.
The best general sources for additional information are:
  • Elliott, Sydney. and Flackes, W.D. (1999), Northern Ireland: A Political Directory, 1968-1999. Belfast: Blackstaff Press.
  • McRedmond, Louis. (ed.) (1998), Modern Irish Lives: Dictionary of 20th-century Biography. Dublin: Gill & Macmillan.
  • Ramsden, John. (ed.) (2002), The Oxford Companion to Twentieth-Century British Politics. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    For related and background information see also:
  • The list of acronyms associated with 'the Troubles'
  • The glossary of terms related to the conflict
  • The abstracts on prominent organisations
  • The chronology of the conflict

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