Reg Prentice

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The Right Honourable
The Lord Prentice
PC
Minister of State for Social Security (Minister for the Disabled)
In office
7 May 1979 – 5 January 1981
Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher
Preceded by Alf Morris
Succeeded by Hugh Rossi
Minister of State for Overseas Development
In office
10 June 1975 – 21 December 1976
Prime Minister Harold Wilson
James Callaghan
Preceded by Judith Hart
Succeeded by Frank Judd
In office
29 August 1967 – 6 October 1969
Prime Minister Harold Wilson
Preceded by Arthur Bottomley
Succeeded by Judith Hart
Secretary of State for Education and Science
In office
5 March 1974 – 10 June 1975
Prime Minister Harold Wilson
Preceded by Margaret Thatcher
Succeeded by Fred Mulley
Minister of State for Public Buildings and Works
In office
6 April 1966 – 29 August 1967
Prime Minister Harold Wilson
Preceded by Charles Pannell
Succeeded by Bob Mellish
Member of Parliament
for Daventry
In office
3 May 1979 – 11 June 1987
Preceded by Arthur Jones
Succeeded by Tim Boswell
Member of Parliament
for Newham North East
In office
28 February 1974 – 3 May 1979
Preceded by Constituency Created
Succeeded by Ron Leighton
Member of Parliament
for East Ham North
In office
30 May 1957 – 28 February 1974
Preceded by Percy Daines
Succeeded by Constituency Abolished
Personal details
Born Reginald Ernest Prentice
(1923-07-16)16 July 1923
Croydon
Died 18 January 2001(2001-01-18) (aged 77)
Mildenhall, Wiltshire
Political party Conservative (1977–2001)
Other political
affiliations
Labour (Before 1977)
Alma mater London School of Economics

Reginald Ernest Prentice, Baron Prentice, PC (16 July 1923 – 18 January 2001[1]) was a British politician who held ministerial office in both Labour and Conservative Party governments. He is the most senior Labour figure ever to defect to the Conservative party.

Education and war service[edit]

Reg Prentice was born in Croydon, South London, and educated at Whitgift School in South Croydon, then at the London School of Economics. He served in Austria and Italy during the Second World War.

Early politics[edit]

He joined the staff of the Transport and General Workers Union (TGWU) in 1950.

Prentice was a councillor for Whitehorse Manor in the then-County Borough of Croydon from 1949, having stood unsuccessfully in Thornton Heath ward in 1947. He served on the Housing, Libraries, Planning & Development, Water and Reconstruction Committees.

He first stood, unsuccessfully, for parliament in Croydon North in 1950 and 1951, then Streatham in 1955. As Labour Member of Parliament from 1957 for East Ham North, later Newham North East, he was a minister of state in Harold Wilson's first government at Education and Science (1964–1966), then as Minister of Public Buildings and Works (1966–1967), and finally was put in charge of the still-new Ministry of Overseas Development (1967–1969).

When Labour regained power, he was Secretary of State for Education and Science between 1974 and 1975, subsequently becoming Minister for Overseas Development with a seat in the cabinet until 1976.

In 1976, he was deselected by his Constituency Labour Party. He appealed unsuccessfully for the National Executive Committee to overturn their endorsement of his deselection from the rostrum of the Labour Party Conference.[2]

Switch of party[edit]

In 1977, Prentice left the Labour Party after a series of battles with left-wing constituency activists such as Owen Ashworth[2] and joined the Conservative Party.

He was elected as a Conservative Member of Parliament for Daventry in the 1979 general election. Lady Hesketh was instrumental in him standing for Daventry.[3] He was a Minister of State at the Department of Health and Social Security in Margaret Thatcher's government between 1979 and 1981. He left the government owing to ill health.[2] He was knighted in 1987,[4] the year he stepped down as an MP. On 30 January 1992, he was created Life Peer as Baron Prentice, of Daventry in the County of Northamptonshire.[5]

In the last few years before his death at age 77, he was President of the Devizes Conservative Association. He diedin Mildenhall, Wiltshire. His daughter, Christine, followed her father as a London Borough of Croydon councillor for Coulsdon East ward from 1992 to 1998.

Archives[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Percy Daines
Member of Parliament for East Ham North
19571974
Constituency abolished
New constituency Member of Parliament for Newham North East
19741979
Succeeded by
Ron Leighton
Preceded by
Arthur Jones
Member of Parliament for Daventry
19791987
Succeeded by
Tim Boswell
Political offices
Preceded by
Charles Pannell
Minister of State for Public Buildings and Works
1966–1967
Succeeded by
Robert Mellish
Preceded by
Arthur Bottomley
Minister of State for Overseas Development
1967–1969
Succeeded by
Judith Hart
Preceded by
Margaret Thatcher
Secretary of State for Education and Science
1974–1975
Succeeded by
Fred Mulley
Preceded by
Judith Hart
Minister of State for Overseas Development
1975–1976
Succeeded by
Frank Judd
Preceded by
Alf Morris
Minister of State for Social Security (Minister for the Disabled)
1979-1981
Succeeded by
Hugh Rossi