Alan Williams (Swansea West MP)
Williams presiding over the election of a new speaker in 2009
|Father of the House|
5 May 2005 – 6 May 2010
|Preceded by||Tam Dalyell|
|Succeeded by||Sir Peter Tapsell|
|Shadow Secretary of State for Wales|
13 July 1987 – 9 January 1989
|Preceded by||Barry Jones|
|Succeeded by||Barry Jones|
|Member of Parliament |
for Swansea West
16 October 1964 – 12 April 2010
|Preceded by||Hugh Rees|
|Succeeded by||Geraint Davies|
|Born||14 October 1930|
Caerphilly, Wales, UK
|Died||21 December 2014 (aged 84)|
London, England, UK
|Alma mater||University College, Oxford|
Alan John Williams (14 October 1930 – 21 December 2014) was a British Labour Party politician, who was the Member of Parliament (MP) for Swansea West from 1964 to 2010. He was the longest serving MP for a Welsh constituency since David Lloyd George and built a reputation for his detailed scrutiny of the ways in which public money was spent.
Williams was born in Caerphilly, the son of Emlyn, a former miner who became a local government officer, and Violet (née Ross). He was educated at Cardiff High School for Boys (a state grammar school) then Cardiff College of Technology and Commerce when he gained a BSc in economics in 1954 (awarded by the University of London). At University College, Oxford, he studied PPE. He became an economics lecturer at the Welsh College of Advanced Technology then a broadcaster and journalist.
Member of Parliament for Swansea West
He unsuccessfully contested Poole in 1959, coming second to the Conservative incumbent Richard Pilkington. Shortly afterwards he was selected as the candidate for Swansea West which had been won by the Conservatives by a narrow majority of 403 votes. The constituency, containing the city centre, the university and the relatively prosperous western suburbs, had historically been a marginal one for Labour, in contrast to the more working-class Swansea East. Percy Morris, elected in the Labour landslide of 1945 had seen his majority cut to just over a thousand votes in 1955 before he was ousted by the Conservative Hugh Rees four years later. Williams recaptured the seat in 1964, and held it for nearly 46 years. However, it was never entirely safe, and Rees made two unsuccessful attempts to recapture the seat in 1966 and in 1970. Wiliams had a very tight contest at the 1979 election, in the wake of the "winter of discontent" and divisions in the Welsh Labour Party over devolution. He held on by only 401 votes – only two less than the Tory majority he had overturned in 1964. His majorities thereafter were more secure but the fact that the Liberal Democrats came close to winning the seat after his retirement in 2010 suggests that he had a substantial personal vote.
Williams served under Harold Wilson as Under-Secretary of State for Economic Affairs from 1967 until 1969 and then as a Parliamentary Secretary at the Ministry of Technology until 1970 when Labour lost power. When Labour were returned to power at the February 1974 general election, Williams was made Minister of State at the Department of Prices and Consumer Protection, serving until Wilson left office in 1976. The new Prime Minister, James Callaghan, then appointed him as Minister of State at the Department of Industry in which post he served until Labour lost power to the Conservatives under Margaret Thatcher in the 1979 general election.
Williams was made a Privy Counsellor in 1977. He was a backbencher from 1989 to 2010, and chairman of the Liaison Committee from 2001 to 2010. He was a Eurosceptic and was opposed to the devolution settlement that established the National Assembly for Wales.
Father of the House
He was the last MP to question Prime Minister Tony Blair at Prime Minister's Questions on 27 June 2007. He congratulated Blair for giving the Labour Party 10 years of government, called him one of the outstanding Prime Ministers of his time, and thanked him for making the Labour Party once again the "natural party of government".
Williams was the last parliamentary survivor of those who were elected in Wilson's 1964 election win. As Father of the House, Williams presided over the Commons Speaker election on 22 June 2009. He stood down from the Commons at the 2010 general election.
Styles of address
- 1930–1964: Mr Alan John Williams
- 1964–1977: Mr Alan John Williams MP
- 1977–2010: The Right Honourable Alan John Williams MP
- 2010–2014: The Right Honourable Alan John Williams
- Langdon, Julia (23 December 2014). "Alan Williams obituary". The Guardian. Retrieved 13 January 2015.
- Commons, Table Office, House of. "Votes and Proceedings".
- "The Father of the House" (PDF). House of Commons Information Office. November 2006. Archived from the original (PDF) on 25 March 2009. Retrieved 15 December 2007.
- Rob Owen (20 November 2005). "Five of the Best – sporting family connections". Wales on Sunday. p. 24.
- "Ex-Swansea MP Alan Williams dies". 22 December 2014 – via www.bbc.com.
- Association, Press (22 December 2014). "Former Swansea MP and minister Alan Williams dies, aged 84" – via The Guardian.
- Guardian Unlimited Politics – Ask Aristotle: Alan Williams MP
- TheyWorkForYou.com – Alan Williams MP
- Ministerial posts
- BBC Politics
|Parliament of the United Kingdom|
| Member of Parliament for Swansea West
| Father of the House