Alan Lee Williams

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Alan Lee Williams OBE (born 29 November 1930) is a former president of the Atlantic Treaty Association, a British Labour Party politician, writer and visiting professor of politics at Queen Mary College, London.

Williams was educated at John Roan School, Greenwich and worked as a journeyman freeman and craft-owning freeman of the Company of Watermen and Lightermen, between 1945 and 1952, before attending Ruskin College, Oxford. He was elected a borough councillor in Greenwich in 1952, at the age of twenty-one, serving until 1955. He worked as the national youth officer of the Labour Party between 1955 and 1962 and then as the National Youth Officer of the United Nations Association between 1962 and 1966. He was chairman of the British National Committee of the World Assembly of Youth for four years.

He first contested Epsom in 1964. He was three times elected Member of Parliament (MP) for the marginal seat of Hornchurch, being elected in 1966. He lost to the Conservative John Loveridge in 1970, but regained the seat in the elections of February and October 1974. He was appointed Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Rt Hon Denis Healey MP in his role as Defence Secretary from 1967 to 1970. In 1974 he was again appointed as a PPS to the Rt Hon Roy Mason, Defence Secretary, remaining his PPS when Mason was appointed Secretary of State for Northern Ireland.

In 1979 he lost again to the Conservative Robin Squire, and has not been an MP since. In 1979, he was appointed Director-General of the English Speaking Union. In the 1980s, he joined the Social Democratic Party and became Chairman of the SDP's Defence Committee for four years, later rejoining the Labour Party. He was a long serving member of the Trilateral Commission and served on the Foreign Office's Advisory Board on Arms Control, and on the Lord Chancellor's Advisory Board on Public Records.

Williams first served with the European Movement as Deputy Director from 1970 until 1972, and as Director of the British Atlantic Committee between 1972 and 1974. From 1972 to 1973, he was Director of the Labour Committee for Europe. During this time he was awarded the Order of the British Empire for services to Europe. In 1978 he was Chairman of Peace through NATO, during the question over the Pershing Cruise Missile Deployment. In 1986 he became Director of the Atlantic Council of the United Kingdom, a member of the Atlantic Treaty Association. He served in this capacity until 2007. He was elected President of the Atlantic Treaty Association in 2000, serving until 2003, and from 2007 held the title of Honorary Vice-President for Life at the Atlantic Council.

In 1986 he was made Warden and Chief Executive of Toynbee Hall, the university settlement. He is Chairman of a number of major charities including Transport on Water Association and the Sir William Beveridge Foundation.

Alan Lee Williams has written and contributed to several books and articles, including A Radical Future(1966), Europe and the Open Sea(1966), Crisis in European Defence(1979), and other works on defence with his brother, Prof. Geoffrey Lee Williams.

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Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Godfrey Lagden
Member of Parliament for Hornchurch
19661970
Succeeded by
John Loveridge
Preceded by
John Loveridge
Member of Parliament for Hornchurch
February 19741979
Succeeded by
Robin Squire