Jenkins of Hillhead, Roy Harris Jenkins, Baron

Jenkins of Hillhead, Roy Harris Jenkins, Baron, 1920–2003, British politician, b. Abersychan, Wales; grad. Oxford. He entered the House of Commons in 1948 as a Labour member and soon became one of the most formidable debaters in Parliament. When the Labour party returned to power (with Harold Wilson as prime minister) in 1964, Jenkins became minister of aviation. As home secretary from 1965 to 1967 he worked for broader laws against racial discrimination and played a large part in liberalizing laws on abortion, homosexuality, divorce, and censorship. As chancellor of the exchequer (1967–70) he instituted a program of austerity in an effort to solve Britain's financial crisis. In 1971, in defiance of the Labour party majority, he supported Britain's entry into the European Community (now the European Union). He resigned (1972) as deputy opposition leader, but again served as home secretary (1974–76) under Harold Wilson until he resigned to become president of the European Commission (1977–81). In 1981 he cofounded the Social Democratic party as a moderate alternative to Labour and Conservative extremism. He returned to Parliament in 1982 but lost his seat in 1987. He was created a life peer in 1987 and became chancellor of the Univ. of Oxford the same year, serving until his death. His historical writings include Truman (1986), Baldwin (1987), and Churchill (2001).

See his memoirs (1991); biography by J. Campbell (1983).

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