Peter Jenkins (journalist)

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Peter George James Jenkins (11 May 1934 – 27 May 1992) was a British journalist and Associate Editor of The Independent. During his career he wrote regular columns for The Guardian, The Sunday Times as well as the The Independent.

Jenkins was educated at Culford School and Trinity Hall, Cambridge, where he took a BA in History. He began his career as a journalist with the Financial Times (1958-60) and progressed to The Guardian where he was variously their Labour Correspondent (1963-67), Washington Correspondent (1972-74), and Political Commentator and Policy Editor (1974-85). He was political columnist for The Sunday Times (1985-87) and Associate Editor of The Independent from 1987 until his death.

He was committed to a vision of a European Britain, anti-communist, but more socially inclusive than the American model of society. He belonged to a group of "Königswinter journalists", who, meeting with politicians and civil servants in Königswinter near Bonn, the West German capital, attempted to build a pan-European group of opinion-formers, leaving behind the enmities of the past and looking forward to European community.

Jenkins was also theatre critic for The Spectator (1978-81) and his first stage play, Illuminations, was performed at the Lyric, Hammersmith, in 1980. He also wrote the comedy series Struggle, broadcast on Channel 4 (1983-84), a satire on the Conservative–Labour battles in local government at the time.[1]

Peter Jenkins was a visiting Fellow of Nuffield College, Oxford. Awards included Granada TV Journalist of the Year, 1978. His daughter is Amy Jenkins, author of the 1990s TV serial about twentysomething lawyers, This Life. After the death of his first wife, he married fellow journalist Polly Toynbee.


  • Jenkins, Peter (1970). The Battle of Downing Street. London: Knight. ISBN 978-0-85314-068-9. 
  • Jenkins, Peter (1977). Where Trotskysm got lost: the restoration of European democracy after the Second World War. Nottingham: Spokesman Pamphlet 59. 
  • Jenkins, Peter (1987). Mrs Thatcher's revolution: the ending of the socialist era. London: Cape. ISBN 978-0-674-58832-5. 

Moreover some of his work has been collected in an edited book:

  • Brivati, Brian, and Richard Cockett, eds. Introduction by Polly Toynbee (1995). Anatomy of decline : the political journalism of Peter Jenkins. London: Cassell. ISBN 0-304-34476-1. 



Marr, Andrew. My trade. A short history of British journalism. London: Pan Macmillan, 2005. (p. 354 ff.)