Larry Whitty, Baron Whitty
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Born in 1943, Whitty was educated at Latymer Upper School and graduated from St John's College, Cambridge with a BA (Hons) degree in Economics. He worked for Hawker Siddeley Aviation from 1960 to 1962 and at the Ministry of Aviation Technology from 1965 to 1970.
He was employed by the Trades Union Congress from 1970 to 1973 and the General Municipal Boilermakers and Allied Trade Union from 1973 to 1985.
In 1985, Whitty became the General Secretary of the Labour Party, a post he held until 1994. He was part of the reforming leadership of Neil Kinnock and in the role progressed a wide-ranging agenda including the modification of internal rules, a shift towards a national membership scheme, the expulsion of the entryist Militant tendency, and, following the 1987 election defeat, the internal Policy Review. Whitty's period as General Secretary meant that he oversaw two general elections (the later in 1992), and the election of John Smith and Tony Blair as Leaders of the Party. He was the European Co-ordinator for the Labour Party from 1994 to 1997.
Election NHS/Geneva Convention controversy
Whitty, as General Secretary, was held answerable for Labour Party election literature from the 1992 General Election which used a symbol akin to the Red Cross symbol in electoral literature about the NHS, which, by inadvertently associating a symbol similar to the Red Cross symbol with a political matter, breached the protection afforded to the symbol by law. The Labour Party was prosecuted as a consequence through the personage of its General Secretary.
Larry Whitty was created a Life Peer in 1996 as Baron Whitty, of Camberwell in the London Borough of Southwark. From July 1998, Lord Whitty was Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Department of Environment, Transport and the Regions with responsibility for roads and road safety issues. From 1997 Lord Whitty was a Lord-in-Waiting (Government Whip) covering education and foreign affairs. Lord Whitty became Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at DEFRA with responsibility for Farming, Food and Sustainable Energy in June 2001, serving in this position until the general election of May 2005.
Lord Whitty was appointed as the first Chairman of Consumer Focus in July 2007. Consumer Focus is the statutory organisation campaigning for a fair deal for consumers in England, Wales, Scotland, and, for postal services, Northern Ireland. Consumer Focus was created through the merger of three organisations – energywatch, Postwatch and the National Consumer Council (including the Scottish and Welsh Consumer Councils) – by the Consumers, Estate Agents and Redress Act 2007.
Lord Whitty is married, with two sons from a previous marriage.
- Poulter, Sean. Labour in fresh jobs row as pro-GM Lord is given £60,000 Food Standards post. Mail Online. 1 July 2009.
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