Barnett Janner, Baron Janner

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Barnett Janner, Baron Janner (20 June 1892 – 4 May 1982) was a Lithuanian-born British politician who was elected as a Liberal Member of Parliament (MP) and later as a Labour MP.[1][2]

Early life[edit]

He was born in Kaunas County in modern day Lithuania, and was the son of Joseph and Gertrude Janner.[2] At the age of nine months his family, who were Orthodox Jews, moved to Barry, Glamorgan, Wales, where his father opened a furniture shop.[2] He was educated at the local school before obtaining a scholarship to attend the University College of South Wales and Monmouthshire at Cardiff. He was president of the student's union and edited the college magazine. He graduated with a BA in English and mathematics in 1914 before serving in the Royal Garrison Artillery during the First World War.[1][2] Having studied law before the war, he was admitted as solicitor in 1919, and established a legal practice in Cardiff.[1]

Liberal politics[edit]

Janner entered politics in 1921 when he stood unsuccessfully for election to Cardiff City Council as a candidate of the Comrades of the Great War. Three years later he had joined the Liberal Party, but again failed to gain a seat on the council.[1][2] In 1926 he was elected to the Board of Deputies of British Jews, and subsequently became a member of the executive of the English Zionist Federation.[2]

In 1927 he married Elsie Sybil Cohen, daughter of the owner of a furniture store. At the 1929 general election he was the Liberal candidate for Cardiff Central, but failed to be elected. Later in the year he moved to Hendon, north London, and took up employment as company secretary and solicitor for his father-in-law's business.[2]

In 1930, Harry Gosling, the sitting Labour MP for the Whitechapel and St Georges constituency in the East End of London died. Janner was chosen to contest the resulting by-election. The area had a large Jewish population, and he campaigned in opposition to the government's policy on Palestine, but was narrowly defeated.[2] Ten months later a general election was held, and Janner again contested the Whitechapel seat for the Liberals, this time with success. At the next general election in 1935 Janner stood as a Liberal and Anti-Fascist candidate, but was one of many Liberals to lose their seats, with the Labour Party regaining the seat.[2]

Labour politics[edit]

Within a year of losing his seat as a Liberal, Janner had joined the Labour Party, and was quickly chosen as prospective candidate for Leicester West, which was held by National Labour with a small majority. In the event there was no election for ten years due to the Second World War.[1][2]

Janner returned to Parliament ten years later, when he was elected at the 1945 general election as Labour MP for Leicester West, ousting Harold Nicolson the incumbent National Labour MP. When that constituency was abolished for the 1950 election, he was re-elected for the new Leicester North West. He held that seat until he retired from the Commons at the 1970 general election, when his seat was held for Labour by his son Greville.

Knighted in 1961,[3] Janner was created a life peer on 20 June 1970 taking the title Baron Janner, of the City of Leicester.[4]

He held many positions in the Jewish community, including President of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, 1955-64.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e "Lord Janner Tireless champion of Jewish causes". The Times. 6 May 1982. p. 14. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Bernard Wasserstein (2004). "Janner, Barnett, Baron Janner (1892–1982)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press. Retrieved 31 October 2010. 
  3. ^ The London Gazette: no. 42274. p. 1015. 10 February 1961.
  4. ^ The London Gazette: no. 45137. p. 7103. 26 June 1970.

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
James Henry Hall
Member of Parliament for Whitechapel and St Georges
19311935
Succeeded by
James Henry Hall
Preceded by
Harold Nicolson
Member of Parliament for Leicester West
19451950
Constituency abolished
New constituency Member of Parliament for Leicester North West
19501970
Succeeded by
Greville Janner