Alf Dubs, Baron Dubs
|The Right Honourable
The Lord Dubs
|Member of Parliament
for Battersea South
3 May 1979 – 9 June 1983
|Preceded by||Ernest Perry|
|Succeeded by||Constituency abolished|
|Member of Parliament
9 June 1983 – 11 June 1987
|Preceded by||Constituency established|
|Succeeded by||John Bowis|
12 May 1932
|Alma mater||London School of Economics|
Youth and education
Born in Prague, then in Czechoslovakia, Dubs was one of 669 Czech, mainly Jewish, children saved by English stockbroker Nicholas Winton from the Nazis on the 'Kindertransport'. His father had fled to England the day the Nazis arrived in Czechoslovakia and young Alf was to meet him at Liverpool Street station. He later said that he clearly remembered leaving Prague station at age six and not touching the food pack given to him by his mother for the next two days. His mother was initially denied a visa but was able to join him and his father in London shortly afterwards.
Dubs learned the facts when Nicholas Winton's story was broadcast on That's Life! in 1988. He later met Winton in person and campaigned for him to be honoured. Winton was eventually knighted in 2002.
Before gaining election, Dubs stood unsuccessfully for Parliament on a number of occasions. In 1970 he stood for Cities of London and Westminster, being defeated by the Conservative Christopher Tugendhat. He also stood in South Hertfordshire in both the February and October 1974 General Elections, each time being beaten by Cecil Parkinson.
Dubs was elected in the 1979 general election as Member of Parliament (MP) for Battersea South and in 1983 for Battersea, before losing his seat at the 1987 election. From 1988 to 1995 he was Director of the Refugee Council. In 1994 was appointed a Labour Working peerage as Baron Dubs, of Battersea in the London Borough of Wandsworth. He was Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Northern Ireland Office from May 1997 to December 1999.
Whilst Dubs was an MP, John O'Farrell worked in his office and was a Labour activist in Battersea. O'Farrell described in his book (Things can only get better) the events leading up to Dubs' shock defeat by the Conservative candidate John Bowis at the 1987 general election. Dubs stood for Battersea again at the 1992 election, only to see the Conservative majority increase against the national trend. Subsequently, he was given a life peerage.
Lord Dubs has served on an Area Health Authority and more recently on a Mental Health Trust. He was Chair of the Broadcasting Standards Commission until December 2003 and had previously been Deputy Chair of the Independent Television Commission. He is a Trustee of the Open University Foundation.
In the past, he has been a local Councillor, Chair of the Fabian Society, Chair of Liberty, a Trustee of Action Aid, a Trustee of the Immigration Advisory Service and of a number of other voluntary organisations.
Lord Dubs is a Distinguished Supporter of the British Humanist Association.
In 2008 Lord Dubs was an active member of the House of Lords, participating in 42 debates, well above average for a Peer. He has spoken on many varied subjects including the National Probation Service and Road Safety.
Lord Dubs was Chair of the Road Safety Foundation.
Dubs lists his main home as a cottage in the Lake District in Cumbria which enabled him to claim over £26,000 of overnight subsistence in 2007/8 although he has lived in Notting Hill, west London, since 1964. He argued in justification in May 2009 that Lords regard the overnight allowance as a payment in lieu of salary. "We are the only legislators in the world that don’t get paid," he said. "The overnight thing is quite generous because it compensates for not having a salary. In practice that’s how it works."
- "Winton's children: Alf Dubs". BBC News. 3 September 2009.
- "Breakfast With Frost: Interview with Sir Nicholas Winton & Lord Dubs". BBC Breakfast. 5 January 2003.
- "Notable Old Waconians". cheadlehulmeschool.co.uk.
- "House of Lords debates National Probation Service: Budget". TheyWorkForYou. Retrieved 2008-12-10.
- "House of Lords debates Thursday, 10 January 2008". . Retrieved 2008-12-10.
- "Peers claim thousands for mortgagefree homes". The Times (London). 2009-05-24. Retrieved 2010-04-23.
- Debating Group Chair of the all party Group on Moldova
- "Advisory Council - Political Council members". Henry Jackson Society. Retrieved 4 November 2014.
|Parliament of the United Kingdom|
|Member of Parliament for Battersea South
|New constituency||Member of Parliament for Battersea