Robert Forgan

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Robert Forgan
MP
Member of Parliament
for West Renfrewshire
In office
1929–1931
Preceded by Archibald Douglas MacInnes Shaw
Succeeded by Henry Scrymgeour-Wedderburn
Personal details
Born (1891-03-10)10 March 1891
Scotland
Died 8 January 1976(1976-01-08)
Nationality British
Political party Independent Labour Party, New Party, British Union of Fascists
Alma mater University of Aberdeen, University of Cambridge
Occupation Public Health Officer
Profession Physician
Religion raised as Church of Scotland

Robert Forgan (10 March 1891 – 8 January 1976[1]) was a British politician who was a close associate of Oswald Mosley.

Early life and medical career[edit]

The Scottish-born Forgan was the son of a Church of Scotland minister.[2] Educated up to doctorate level at Aberdeen Grammar School, and the Universities of Aberdeen and Cambridge, he entered the medical profession and served in this capacity in World War I.[3] Dr. Forgan became a leading light in his field, serving as Vice-President of the Medical Society for the Study of Venereal Diseases and became recognised as a leading expert on Sexually transmitted diseases.[2] He served as a Public Health Officer in Glasgow and in this capacity he adopted socialism due to the poor conditions in the city.[2]

Political career[edit]

ILP and New Party[edit]

Forgan entered local politics as a member of Glasgow council after seeing active service in the war.[3] Initially a member of the Independent Labour Party, he was elected to Parliament for West Renfrewshire in the 1929 general election. An early triumph saw him secure the installation of a ventilation system into the House of Commons, although after this he became a fairly marginal figure.[4] Forgan was one of the signatories of the 'Mosley Memorandum' which outlined his political vision and he followed Mosley into the New Party when it was set up soon afterwards.[5] He was appointed to a council for policy and strategy formation that was set up to decide the running of the party and also acted as Chief Whip during the New Party's brief run in Parliament.[6] At the 1931 general election, Forgan polled 1,304 votes in West Renfrewshire in what represented one of the better results for the New Party in a disappointing election.[7] A close friend of Oswald Mosley, Forgan was godfather to his son Michael.[8]

British Union of Fascists[edit]

With Mosley having embraced fascism Forgan followed his lead and on Mosley's behalf lead unsuccessful talks with the British Fascists, aimed at having that movement taken over by the New Party.[9] Forgan joined Mosley's British Union of Fascists and was initially Director of Organisation.[4] This administrative role did not prove suitable and soon he became an important background figure, arranging private functions with leading businessmen in an attempt to secure support for Mosley and organising the January Club to this end.[10] Forgan was keen to stress that the BUF had no ban on Jews despite the activities of Adolf Hitler.[11] Indeed Forgan attempted to court influential Jews, such as Liberal MP Harry Nathan and Sir Philip Magnus-Allcroft, 2nd Baronet, through the January Club and even held meetings with the leaders of the Board of Deputies of British Jews.[12] Forgan was also keen to keep the BUF aloof from rival far right groups such as the Imperial Fascist League as he felt it was essential to avoid making the BUF seem too foreign in ideological terms.[13]

As a result of his work, Forgan was promoted to deputy leader.[4] He held that position until 1934 when he left the BUF because of their drift towards anti-Semitism.[4] Forgan in particular disliked the growing influence of William Joyce, a staunch anti-Semite.[14] He took no further role in politics.

Bibliography[edit]

  • R. Benewick, Political Violence and Public Order, London: Allan Lane, 1969,
  • S. Dorril, Blackshirt – Sir Oswald Mosley and British Fascism, London: Penguin, 2007
  • R. Griffiths, Fellow Travellers on the Right, Oxford University Press, 1983
  • M. Pugh, Hurrah for the Blackshirts: Fascists and Fascism in Britain Between the Wars, Pimlico, 2006

References[edit]

  1. ^ Renfrewshire West MPs
  2. ^ a b c Dorril, p. 151
  3. ^ a b Benewick, p. 112
  4. ^ a b c d Benewick, p. 113
  5. ^ Benewick, p. 66
  6. ^ Benweick, p. 76
  7. ^ Benewick, p. 81
  8. ^ Dorril, p. 204
  9. ^ Griffiths, p. 36
  10. ^ Benewick, p. 94
  11. ^ Benewick, p. 153
  12. ^ Dorril, p. 310
  13. ^ Pugh, p. 130
  14. ^ Pugh, p. 221

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Douglas MacInnes Shaw
Member of Parliament for West Renfrewshire
19291931
Succeeded by
Henry Scrymgeour-Wedderburn