|This article does not cite any references or sources. (December 2009)|
|The Right Honourable
QC MP PC
|Chancellor of the Exchequer|
|Prime Minister||John Smith|
|Member of Parliament
for Leeds North
1964 – 6th May 2010
|Spouse(s)||Joyce Gould (wife)
Stephanie Arnold (mistress)
Kate Garthwaite (mistress)
The Rt. Hon Raymond Gould QC MP is a fictional character in the political novel First Among Equals, by Jeffrey Archer. He is a British Labour Party politician, representing the Leeds North constituency, who served under Prime Ministers Harold Wilson and James Callaghan.
Gould, a red-haired intellectual from a blue-collar background, reluctantly married when his girlfriend Joyce got pregnant. She miscarried not long after the wedding. Although she always loved him, Gould was bored and resentful of Joyce. He became active in politics, in part, as a way of escaping life at home, but mostly because of his childhood desire to bring about increased pensions for war widows (inspired by his grandmother, the impoverished widow of a soldier). Gould was repeatedly unfaithful to Joyce. He once visited a prostitute (fortunately, he avoided the scandal he was sure would result when he rejected the prostitute's blackmail threat), had an affair with a female barrister, and carried on a long-term affair with a vivacious American businesswoman. Gould was a barrister, who steadily made his way up the ranks to be appointed one of the youngest Queen's Counsel in the country.
Gould rose steadily through the Labour Party, making a name for himself as a highly capable administrator and an expert on economic theory. He served brilliantly as Chancellor of the Exchequer. At the peak of his career, Gould's biggest political rivals were Conservative front-benchers Simon Kerslake and Charles Gurney Seymour. The novel culminates in an extremely close general election in 1991 (it was published in 1984).
Gould became Prime Minister in the original British edition of the novel, as well as the ITV television adaptation which ends with King Charles III inviting him to Buckingham Palace and asking him to form a government. However, in the U.S. edition, Kerslake becomes Prime Minister.